As we transition in Ontario from OREA as the designated provider for real estate education, there is a lot of uncertainty for students. The Real Estate Council of Ontario has published sparse information about the new course of study and the only thing that seems certain is that anyone in Ontario who seeks to register will be doing so under the cloud of this uncertainty.
Century 21 First Canadian is stepping up to the plate and helping students to enrich their education through the power of peer collaboration. On a weekly basis for the past eight months I have been facilitating study groups in our boardroom, where fellow real estate students come together to enrich our understanding of the course material. Students get a chance to learn from each other and from the agents in our office about the material they are studying, and what it is like to be in the environment of a major brokerage.
The sessions are not officially endorsed by OREA, nor do they need to be since we are not claiming to be instructors – simply a brokerage offering its facilities and expertise to help students get more out of the program. This is not designed to be a substitute for class time with an instructor, but a complement to it on the basis of students helping students – and in setting it up I am very clear in disclosing that I am a facilitator and not an instructor.
The idea was born from my recent experience in higher education, where I learned the value of both mentorship and peer collaboration. In school we came together in groups to do projects and to drill each other for exams and assignments, helping each other learn the material and in the process learning more ourselves. I have seen this from all sides – as a student, tutor, mentee and mentor – realizing that people are more likely to absorb education through human contact.
Our broker of record, Vito Campanale, has been strongly supportive from the beginning. “Courses now being offered online do not provide the human element where students can ask questions and discuss various relevant issues,” Campanale said, noting that the results for students are already apparent. “The study groups have proven to help students get better marks and complete their course requirements.”
Century 21 First Canadian has always prided itself in providing superior training programs for new sales representatives as well as support and mentorship for all salespeople we employ. The study group program is a great enhancement because it allows opportunities for students to meet new and experienced agents around our office to gain more confidence about pursuing a career in real estate.
“The Century 21 study group helped me to prepare for my real estate exams,” said Mark V., one of the students who has participated in the study sessions from the beginning and is now working on the fourth course in the pre-registration segment. “I was able to absorb information more efficiently working within a group. Each group member has different qualities and ideas to offer.” Mark also notes that being in a group can help with having the confidence to perform well on the exams. “It also helped ease my anxiety before the big test, because we would tackle practice exams together.”
Regardless of what changes take place in the delivery of education, that principle of the power of human interaction will remain the same. We will continue to offer these opportunities for students to come together and share ideas, since what we do know about the new program is that there will be a strong online component. Whatever becomes of real estate education in Ontario, we will continue to offer these opportunities for students in London to study and succeed together.