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Micro units explained: bite sized, future-focused learning 

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Micro units explained: bite sized, future-focused learning 

In a time of unprecedented technological and industry disruption, organisations are recognising the need to innovate and adapt their policies and processes to manage rapid change. It is imperative leaders have the skills and knowledge to ask the right questions, and by doing so implement effective organisational strategies. 

Studying a Swinburne Online micro unit is a way to immediately upskill in a specialised area of business leadership, and often it can be an ideal starting point for further study. 

cyber-security leadership

Each micro unit has a clearly defined focus on a key area of technology-based disruption, covering topics such as the rise of intelligent automation and big data, cybersecurity strategy from a leadership perspective, and the future of work in the industry 4.0 era and beyond. 

Upskilling in real time

The content for each micro unit is curated to be industry-relevant, and geared towards immediate professional applicability, so you will be able to apply what you’ve learnt to your current role and do so in real time.  

The units are designed and delivered in a flexible intensive online mode you can fit in and around your professional and personal commitments. In only four to six hours of study a week over a six-week period, you will be able to complete a Swinburne Online micro unit, bolstering your skill set in an area of industry need.  

Each micro unit includes a relevant assessment that allows you to test your understanding and clarify your knowledge. The assessment itself is optional, so the decision of whether to take your study one step further is up to you. By completing the assessment, you may be eligible for academic credit should you decide to pursue further study in future. 

Collaborative and future-focused learning

You won’t be going at it alone. With the direction of an industry-expert online learning coach, you will be encouraged to make valuable connections with your peers, while contributing your existing knowledge and expertise in an adaptable and collaborative online learning space. 

Upon completion, you will also have access to a one-on-one coaching session with your online facilitator. This a great opportunity to clarify your understanding of the learning materials and discuss how best to apply everything you’ve learnt within your specific professional environment. 

Micro units: a glimpse

Micro units cover a range of specialised topics on business leadership in the face of contemporary issues affecting modern workforces and industry. 

Intelligent Automation and Chatbots 

Equip yourself with a roadmap to traverse the intelligent automation landscape, empowering you to realise the potential of automating business processes. 

Cybersecurity Strategy for Leaders 

The threats that cyber criminals pose to organisations and individuals are many and varied. Learn to assess cyber threats accurately and make informed decisions to defend against the threat posed by cybercrime. 

Business Success in the Industry 4.0 Era 

Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – is already here. Make sense of the emerging business models and the mindsets that govern product and service design in the Industry 4.0 era. 

Driving Strategy with Big Data 

Realise the true value of business data. Learn to ask the right questions of data analysts and key stakeholders regarding the evaluation of outputs. 

Understanding the Future World of Work 

The modern workforce is undergoing frequent change, and so too are the observable patterns of work participation. Learn what leaders can do to improve workforce engagement and productivity at a time when the nature of work is shifting at a rapid pace. 

Online learning at every level

Another of the Swinburne Online short courses might pique your interest; we offer shorter professional development courses as well as single units. Or you may even decide that with the flexibility that online learning offers, it’s well worth the investment to enrol in an online undergraduate or postgraduate course. 

Criminal Justice and Criminology

Behind the scenes – your micro unit experts 

Swinburne Online’s micro units wouldn’t be what they are without the insights of industry leaders who co-designed the courses.  

Intelligent Automation and Chatbots – Anthony Bosisto

For Anthony Bosisto – an industry-leading practitioner, educator and speaker on Robotic Process Automation – intelligent automation offers businesses an opportunity to free employees from mundane and repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on higher value work.  

According to Bosisto, intelligent automation is set to have a significant impact on many industries over the next decade, and one of the chief obstacles is that currently ‘most business leaders have little experience in how to implement it’.  

Intelligent Automation and Chatbots is designed to provide business leaders with ‘a roadmap on how to identify and assess automation opportunities, develop cases for change, pilot solutions and grow automation programs to enterprise scale’.  

Business Success in the Industry 4.0 era – Robert Wichmann  

Robert Wichmann is one of the primary consultants who guided the design of the micro unit Business Success in the Industry 4.0 era. With a background in mechanical engineering and a passion for the evolution of manufacturing and design, Wichmann views digital technologies as crucial drivers for innovation, particularly as they become increasingly accessible and enable organisations to apply their competencies to new situations.  

Wichmann confirms that this micro unit is compelling for the way it ‘breaks down Industry 4.0 into comprehensible concepts that make the pursuit of manageable goals more systematic and focused’.  

Understanding the Future World of Work – Dr Sean Gallagher

The future of work is emblematic of the changing times we live in, and work is already underway across both the public sector and private enterprise to embrace the opportunities that the changing world of work entails.  

Sean Gallagher – Director of Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce – consulted on the micro unit Understanding the Future World of Work, a micro unit that he emphasises “provides insights into how to think strategically over the coming years rather than tactically over the coming months”.  

‘The future of work requires more than a mindset shift – it requires a mind reset.’ 

Cybersecurity Strategy for Leaders – Peter Long  

The proliferation of digital technology and advanced communication technologies has been overall positive, but there has also been a marked increase in sophisticated cybercrime. When it comes to ensuring the cybersecurity of contemporary businesses and organisations, a key and often overlooked consideration is the role effective management plays.  

As cybersecurity expert and technology entrepreneur Peter Long contends, an effective response to cyber threats ‘begins with the right relationships and engagement at a leadership level’. Leadership in cybersecurity is at the heart of the micro unit Cybersecurity Strategy for Leaders 

How studying a micro unit will benefit your employer

Is your organisation drowning in data or missing out on the huge productivity gains offered by technology? Swinburne Online’s six-week micro units are designed to help professionals embrace current challenges and take their organisations into the future, without the time and cost of completing an entire degree. Many employers will pay for this kind of learning, especially as it can be directly and quickly applied to the workplace. 

Here are six steps to follow when asking your employer to cover the cost of a micro unit. 

  1. Emphasise the 6-week timeframe

This is a unique feature of our micro units. They succinctly deliver in-demand, practical skills in just six weeks. You don’t need any prior expertise in the area. Tell your employer you can upskill quickly and start delivering benefits immediately. 

  1. Help the business face change

Micro units are designed with industry to address the specific issues that businesses are grappling with right now. You will gain the strategies to lead your organisation through change and into the future. Even if you’re not in a leadership position now, offering to help the business in this way will show your leadership potential. 

  1. Promote the affordable cost

With an introductory rate of $990 per unit (reduced from $1250), micro units will suit the professional development budgets of many organisations. What’s more, you can certainly complete the unit with minimal to zero impact on your capacity at work. We recommend four to six hours of self-paced study per week, across the six-week unit. 

Investigate your workplace education assistance policies to decide whether to ask for financial support AND study leave. 

  1. Describe the benefits

Before you approach your manager or human resources department, make sure you can describe how the micro unit with benefit the organisation. Talk about your vision for improvement and how it aligns with your employer’s goals. 

Here are some examples relating to each micro unit. 

  • Reduced labour costs (Intelligent Automation and Chatbots) 
  • Prevention of cyberbreaches, including the associated reputational costs (Cybersecurity Strategy for Leaders) 
  • Change management and business longevity (Understanding the Future World of Work) 
  • Evidence-based strategy, new business opportunities (Driving Strategy with Big Data) 
  • Improving business models (Business Success in the Industry 4.0 Era) 
  1. Mention our industry partners and coaches

We’ve collaborated with multi-national industry leaders like Tableau, SEEK, Palo Alto Networks and UiPath to make sure our course content is hugely relevant and practical. Our Online Learning Coaches are industry experts, guiding you through the unit and sharing industry insights you can’t find anywhere else. 

Importantly, your final assessment gives you the chance to apply your learning to your own workplace. You can then consolidate your new skills and strategies in a one-on-one mentoring session with your industry coach, before applying them at work. 

  1. Offer a return on investment

It’s worth doing the research to attach a dollar amount to the various improvements you can bring to the organisation (see tip no. four), then you can offer a convincing return on investment (ROI). You could even compare the cost of specialised consultants with the very affordable cost of this professional development. Perhaps you could add further value by training or informally coaching your colleagues? 

  1. Estimate the savings and earnings you could create on an annual basis. 
  2. Deduct the course fee combined with any study leave you are asking for. 
  3. Multiply the result by 100 to predict a percentage-based annual return on investment.