A big challenge for professionals of all ages is time. Balancing the responsibilities of work and life leave little time for self-improvement in the form of education. But ongoing education is more than just self-improvement. It’s also necessary. Technology continues to evolve and companies struggle to keep pace. They are in constant need of people who understand what the present and the future hold, not just the past.
This is why the future of education is one in which shorter, more intense courses will become more valuable and popular than ever before. When people are given the opportunity to learn in shorter periods or at their own pace and their own time of the day, it gives them a true advantage in a least five ways:
First, these courses are more up to date and manageable than traditional full semester courses. They provide information that is relevant to the current marketplace. This is knowledge that is needed now.
Second, shorter courses allow for greater retention of knowledge. We have all experienced information overload, even day to day in the workplace, and for many people who take full time degree programs over many semesters, it can be difficult to recall and use everything that was taught. The human brain is very versatile, but it can only manage a certain amount of information at any one time.
Third, you can take advantage of increased choice and random opportunities. Sometimes the best courses and the best life opportunities come from chance. For example while searching for a certain course, you might discover another one listed that is more relevant or more interesting that you weren’t aware of. Not only can this help you in your career, it might also open up other opportunities and pathways for you. Many people have become successful by allowing chance to play a role in their careers.
Then there’s networking. Meeting people is still one of the greatest career tools you can develop. The people you meet and collaborate with in courses can become instrumental in providing guidance, opportunities and ideas for you, and you can do the same for them. People often think that taking a course is a solitary activity, but in fact, it’s a great way to meet great people.
Fifth, the skills you learn in courses are non-transferable. They belong to you and you can take them anywhere and build upon them. That is not only a fact, it’s also highly energizing.
More than ever, we as individuals, have greater say over our futures. Earlier generations may have chosen a single job or career and stayed with it their entire lives, whether they liked it or not, but now, there is far more opportunity for people to find the right job for them, or to move from one to the other, gathering skills and experience along the way. No matter what age you currently are, this is the new positive reality of being a self-sufficient professional.
That’s why you do actually have time for education, because you can make time when it becomes important enough. Courses that have immediate relevance and which are delivered in shorter periods by experts, have immediate payoff, and can fit much more conveniently and pragmatically into people’s lives.
This is what we at GetSmarter believe in. People the world over deserve access to the type of education and skills development that will benefit them and their employers immediately, and we have made it our mission to ensure that you get that access, on their own time and in a way that best fits. Of course it’s up to each of us to decide if such a system is truly a fit, which is why we invite you to take a closer look at GetSmarter and decide for yourself.
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By Steve Prentice