“Why not give students a chance to show what parts they know, and learn the parts they don’t?” Bill Gates
Continuing education using classrooms and charging high enrollment fees is (almost) finished. There is a change underway that will transform the model for continuing education services from complicated, expensive, inconvenient and hard to find to a situation where the services are simple, affordable and accessible. The disruptive innovations in education technology (EdTech), coupled with the drive of entrepreneurs, are meeting the need to lower education costs to make it available to the masses.
In the future, there is a good chance that more and more companies will hire based on people’s portfolio of work and demonstrated competencies. Many companies already do this, mostly in IT and entertainment. For those companies the formal education certificate is moot. Credentials will become finer and finer and, ultimately, is the competency of the professional that will matter. Professional activities are by nature multidisciplinary, making it almost impossible for Universities and Colleges to tailor their training exactly to industry needs.
Large companies understand that education is good for business. Many of them created internal “universities” to tailor their employees’ knowledge to what is really necessary. Most of that training focuses on specific needs in business, technical and soft skills. Most of the courses are taught by senior employees who share their lifelong passion for learning, bringing to the classroom real life experience.
Innovative leaders recognize that online learning is a key reform for doing more with less. Integration is also essential for the success of any venture in the online continuing education field. I am talking here about Integration of tools, subjects and media. This will enable a knockout student experience, maximizing the learning and, most likely, shortening the time from “enrolment” to “graduation”.
A specific group will benefit the most from this ongoing revolution - professionals that are going through career transition or upgrading their current skills to keep up with the job market demands. The convenience of the online delivery method and their commitment to learning will make it easier for them to bring their portfolio to current market standards. This is what matter for students that have an official certification.
Online learning still requires major investment of time, money and commitment from entrepreneurs and instructors to really hit the mark. Specifically, instructors need to focus on the learning process and master the tools available. Forget the old goal of replicating the classroom experience – this won’t happen. The courses need to be designed with the delivery method in mind to take full advantage of its potential. By doing that, students will benefit from an enhanced learning environment that will blow the classroom model away.
This article was also published on LinkedIn
Jose Cid is a Business Intelligence Consultant, an Educator and Coach. Throughout his life he has been helping people inside and outside of the work environment. His motto can be translated into a simple equation: Knowledge + Intelligence + Action = Power ©. Please visit www.josecid.ca for other articles and services.