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General Finance Learning Path

Finance surrounds us in some way every day of our lives; therefore, it is important to have an understanding of the finance industry. The Alison Learning Path in General Finance will increase your knowledge an all topics associated with the world of finance. You will learn about the important role venture capital plays in the finance industry, explore the psychology of human behaviour with the traditional theories of finance and economics, and explain the effects the trade market has on future prices of essential items such as food, energy sources, and raw materials. You will study a sequence of courses designed to boost your awareness of the world of finance. You will be able to define how financial contracts work, describe how currency is valued, devalued, and how countries trade and lend money to each other, and explain financial instruments. This Learning Path in General Finance will benefit professionals in business and finance, and to financial, business and economic students who want a clearer understanding of the role of funds in financial economics.

Courses in this Learning Path

  1. Introduction to Venture Capital

    Venture capital firms play an important role in the financial services industry, yet not much is known about them by the average lay person. The venture capital market is made up of private equity firms and venture capitalism is a means of investing capital and helping new business start-ups.

    In this course on venture capital, we get an insight into how a company starts off based on available funds, and how they subsequently raise more funds as the company grows so that investments can be made in operations and other areas. Topics discussed include what shares are, how shares are valued, equity versus debt, and types of organisational structures. This free course also examines the difference between bankruptcy and liquidation, if a business should fail.

    This course will be of interest to business professionals and entrepreneurs who would like to learn more about the venture capital market and how it invests in and helps business start-ups and more established businesses grow and expand.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  2. Introduction to Financial Instruments in Economics

    A financial instrument is a tradable asset of any kind and they are a key component of the modern financial market system as they allow for efficient flow of capital through the global financial marketplace. In this course you will learn how financial institutions package and trade mortgage backed securities in financial markets and how collateralized debt obligations function. You will also learn about credit default swaps and interest rate swaps and their role in financial trading. This course will be of great interest to professionals in the areas of finance, investments and economics and who like to learn more about the function and use of financial instruments, and to all learners who are interested in how financial instruments help the global financial marketplace function.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  3. Introduction to Stocks and Short Selling

    Stocks are also known as shares or equity and are a type of security that signifies proportionate ownership in the issuing corporation. This entitles the stockholder to that proportion of the corporation's assets and earnings. This course will discuss how you essentially become a partial or part owner of a company when you buy stock or shares from that company. You will also learn what makes them different to bonds, which do not make you part-owner of the company involved.

    Shorting stock involves the sale of stock that a seller does not own, or shares that the seller has taken on loan from a broker. This course will discuss why short sellers take on these transactions. You will learn that they act on mere speculations that a stock's price is headed downward and that if they sell the stock, they'll be able to buy it back at a lower price at some point in the future. You will also learn the importance of selling high and buying low.

    The stock market plays an important role in many countries economies, both from the point of view of nations' industries, investors, and governments. This means that people who have a strong understanding of the stock market are in high demand around the world. If you are interested in getting to know more about this incredible industry, check out this course today and start learning something that can make a real difference to your bank account!

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  4. Understanding Risk and Reward in Finance

    This course begins by explaining the role and importance of risk and reward in investment. It then describes the different types of risk and rewards for the different types of investment. You will learn the definition of human capital and its significance when it comes to investing your money. The reason why we invest is because of the Return on Capital(ROC) that we can get. This course will discuss examples of investments and gives you an idea of how much ROC you can get from each.

    You will then learn the difference between investment and consumption so you will know if the money you are willing to spend is a wise investment or not. You will also cover how a housing bubble can actually lead to wealth destruction. You will then study office conundrums and the possible actions taken that might solve this problem. This course will finally discuss subprime loans and jingle mail.

    No pain, no gain. This cliche has often been used to describe something that we don't want to do but need to do, and it is particularly applicable in the field of investment. Investing carries a certain amount of risk, and with that risk comes some pain, and also some gain. If you are planning to invest your hard-earned money, take this course first so you will know the rewards you can reap for the amount of risk you are willing to take. Start learning something valuable, today.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  5. Introduction to Behavioural Finance

    This course begins by discussing the characteristics of human behaviour as defined in the areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and finance. You will study the Strong Axioms of Revealed Preference (SARP) which states that in a world where there are only two goods to choose from, the strong and weak actions are shown to be equivalent. You will also look into the Weak Axiom of Revealed Preference (WARP) which states that if one product or service is purchased instead of another, then the consumers will always make the same choice.

    You will then look into why individual demand curves cannot be converted into a market demand curve. This course will discuss how proof by contradiction shows that the Law of Demand does not apply to the market demand curve. You will learn why normal human behaviour must violate the Revealed Preference model which is an economic theory regarding an individual's consumption patterns and asserts that the best way to measure consumer preferences is to observe their purchasing behaviour.

    Behavioural finance is a new and exciting area in economics that combines the psychology of human behaviour with the traditional theories of finance and economics. The result is a new explanation of how modern economies work, such as how markets are affected by the behaviour of investors. Upon the completion of this course, you will have a better understanding of the role of behaviour in economics and become familiar with the rational behaviour in economic theory and the Axioms of Revealed Preference. Check out this course and developing a new understanding of modern economics and finance.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  6. Financial Funds

    An open-end mutual fund is a diversified portfolio of assets created by the pooling of investor money. This course will teach you how an open-end mutual fund provides an easy, low-cost way to pool money and purchase a diversified portfolio reflecting a specific investment objective. You will also look into a closed-end mutual fund which is a portfolio of pooled assets that raises a fixed amount of capital through an initial public offering (IPO) and then lists shares for trade on a stock exchange.

    You will then study Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which is a collection of securities that tracks an underlying index. You will learn that an exchange-traded fund is a marketable security with an associated price for buying and selling. You will also be introduced to hedge funds where you will learn about their structures and fees. You will also study venture capital which has high-risk/high-return opportunities, and private equity which is composed of funds and investors that directly invest in private companies.

    Hedge funds are typically open-ended funds invested in a diverse range of assets. Open and close-ended funds are straight forward. The former is open to shareholders in terms of buying and selling of shares. The latter is closed and once you buy in you cannot leave unless you personally trade your share. By taking this course and you will gain a clear understanding of these types of funds and learn how fund managers make money through performance and commission.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  7. Currency Exchange

    Currency exchange is, as the name implies, the exchange of one currency to another. It is also the value of one currency in relation to another currency. This course will introduce you to currency exchange how it works. You will study the treasury bond or T-bond which is a marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security that has a maturity of more than 10 years. You will also learn about liquid assets.

    You will then study the effect of currency on trade and look into the currency Chinese Yuan. You will learn that China buys the available excess U.S. dollars from the open market in the form of treasury bonds. This helps keep the US dollar inflated and the Yuan deflated. You will look at the rationale and effects of the American-Chinese debt loop, and learn how countries trade and lend money for development and growth.

    Currency is a system of money in general use in a particular country. By the end of this course, you will learn how currency is valued, devalued, and how countries trade and lend money to each other. You will also learn the knock-on effects of a lack of demand for Treasury bonds to a country and the costs thereafter. So, check out this course and start learning more about the role currency exchange practices play in the financial system.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  8. Virtual Currencies: A Case Study of Bitcoin

    Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that can be used in electronic payment systems. This course will teach you how to install the Bitcoin client on your computer to make Bitcoin payments. You will study MD5 and SHA 256 which are used as cryptographic hash functions. You will also learn the important functions of cryptographic hash functions which include computational efficiency, collision resistance, information privacy, and random generation of output.

    A Digital Signature Standard (DSS) is a collection of procedures and standards developed by the U.S. National Security Agency used to generate a digital signature to authenticate electronic documents. This course will discuss the RSA and DSS digital signatures. You will study the keys generated when creating a digital signature, which includes the signing key and verification key. You will learn that the verification key is kept public and the signing key is kept private.

    Bitcoin is a decentralized system, meaning no single institution controls the network. This currency model has been increasing in popularity and notoriety for some time, and is unlikely to disappear any time soon. By the end of this course, you will have a much stronger understanding of what Bitcoin is, how it can be used, and what its potential future may hold. This is powerful knowledge in the modern economy, so check out the course today and start learning something really useful.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  9. Trading in a Futures Market

    This course starts off by helping you understand what Contango means, examining how Contango is used in the financial markets, and showing you how it reflects the demand for a commodity. It will further explain how money is made based on the demand for a certain commodity and the trade-off between wanting a commodity now or waiting for it at a later date for a given price.

    High demand commodities are products that are normally traded in the futures market. Some examples of these commodities are gold, silver, oil, and corn. You will discuss how future curves will give you a snapshot of how much money you can earn if you acquire these high demand commodities today. Finally, you will learn the difference between Contango and backwardation and know more about the Contango theory and the normal backwardation theory.

    Futures market trading dates back to the mid-1800s and has since been an important activity in the world of finance. It can have a great impact on all our lives as it affects the future prices of essential items such as food, energy sources, and raw materials. If you are a financial player, investor, or speculator who is wondering whether futures deserve a spot in your investment portfolio, you might want to check this course out.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points
  10. Understanding Financial Contracts

    Put options and Call options are widely used financial contracts by investors and are part of very important financial trading methods that keep the financial markets running.

    In this course you will learn more about the role of put and call options as financial contracts, what the difference between American and European options are, what going short and going long on investments mean, how to balance investment risks by taking a long straddle and how to use payoff diagrams to read the outcomes of put and call options.

    This course will be of great interest to finance and business professionals who would like to learn more about put and call options and how they are used as financial contracts, and to all learners who would like a greater understanding of important financial trading methods.

    1.5-3 Hour
    50 Points


Successfully complete all of these courses to receive a General Finance Learning Path Award.

All your learning will be reflected in your Learner Record, which you can download for free at any time.

You also have the option of purchasing an Alison Certificate for each of the above courses you successfully complete.