Education is an interesting discipline in the fact that it seems to often be very distant from reality. What you learn in a class room often has very little relevance to real life and still our educational systems cling to the notion of individual classroom learning in a group setting.
When you go to school you are told that you are supposed to solve problems on your own. In no way are you supposed to ask your friend for the solution, google it or simply create tools that solve the problem for you automatically (think Excel).
But once you get out into real life these are the actual skills that are highly valued in the work place. Problems are not solved by individuals but by teams and if you do not do at least a web search for an issue before it is discussed people look at you as if there is something wrong with you.
So our educational systems are set up to evaluate individual performance when that individual is removed from society as a whole. Change comes slowly so for standardized education chances are this is not going to change any time soon.
With higher education however one might say that there is indeed a revolution taking place. With more and more resources being freely available on the internet there is a race on for institutes of higher learning to promote and establish themselves as “The place to go for on-line education”. There are now numerous sites which offer real-time graded on-line courses in anything from computer programming to medical science to business and all for free.
The best news in all of this is of course that the real winners are the students. A 4 year university degree with all it entails can put a student hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt without any real promise that this will have real value for future earning potential.
Now it is suddenly possible to gain real knowledge from experienced professors of high-profile institutions like Harvard, Yale, John Hopkins & MIT without paying a dime. You can sign up, try the class and if you don’t like it you drop out without having spent anything but a little bit of your time.
My biggest hope is that companies also see the value in this as they look to hire people or when they are preparing development programs for their staff. Just because it is free does not mean that it has no value. The value is inherent in the hard work that the student puts into learning the topic and passing the course not in the money spent to attend in person.
So as has been said through the ages “Learn for life” & not for grades. If you know the topic you know it and no one can take that away from you.
Personally I am taking a course in introductory finance at Michigan University’s school of business. I am hoping it will allow me to deepen my understanding of how to run a company and how to find financing for some of the great business ideas that I have been brewing since my student days.
Learning shall never cease!