Learning is a lifelong requirement now
You may have completed primary, secondary and tertiary education, now start your continuing education.
While all forms of education have long been available for those with the aptitude and access, the need for universal primary and secondary education has developed since the Industrial Revolution and there has been a much greater demand for tertiary education since the beginning of the information age starting in the 1950s.
Life is more complex than ever now and so too is work, preparing to perform the role you are required to at work requires more training than before. Once you are fully qualified you can expect more change which may result in your role being automated or requiring additional training.
Not only is there a risk of a job function being automated, but there is also a growing shift for work to be outsourced or made freelance. In order to get contracts, your skillset will need to remain up to date.
While a skill once learnt in the past may have remained useful for a period of 30 years, the World Economic Forum now calculates that to be 6 years.
These are some of the reasons we will no longer be able to stop continuing education.
Once you recover from the shock of having to go back to school, you can begin considering the options that will work best for you.
The first step is to sign up for a short course, ideally about something you have a passion for already or perhaps a course that helps you learn how to learn again.
Part of that process is to reflect on whether you have the kind of attitude that embraces change and learning new things which is ideal or if you tend to see your skills and abilities as fixed and opt to stop trying if you don’t succeed with your first attempts.
That is not to say anyone can do anything, but those with so-called fixed mindsets tend to not challenge themselves as much as those with a growth mindset.
Next, you need to decide how you will do the short course. There are a wide variety of options, but I will focus on those that have grown in popularity in the last decade, online courses.
From a video series hosted on YouTube to a lecture series made available as a podcast to an online course consisting of audio, text and video.
Some will go a step further and offer certification and formal qualifications for the work completed. This should be your ultimate goal, but if you are new to it, don’t sign up for the full course until you have tried a few that are free.
Once you have created the time needed to dedicate to the learning you can consider which courses your current employer would see as an advantage or you can look at which courses would help you pursue a new career direction.
Is this for me?
I would suggest that everyone should get comfortable with continuing education and the sooner the better.
For high school students, look for courses related to subjects you are interested in to help get a better sense of what direction you might want to go after school.
For those that have completed Matric but are unsure about what to study or did not gain entrance to your preferred course, look to take an online version to build the necessary skills and credits to gain entrance at a later date.
You might think those in tertiary education would have no need for additional short courses, but for life skills like your financial planning, or how to use the tools most often used in business like spreadsheets, word processing and even basic coding will make your transition to the workspace easier.
For those that are already employed the options are to extend your knowledge, specialise or branch out to understand the industry more broadly. Every business is being impacted by a need to do more with data, courses to improve your ability to work with data would work well with courses to give you at least an introduction to computational thinking and basic coding.
There are plenty of options to choose from, here are a few links to get you started.
- A list of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS)
- The MOOCs available from GetSmarter which is a South African option
- Search YouTube for video series about the subject you wish to learn about
- A variety of podcast options from The Great Courses, US Universities and Oxford University
- Brilliant which will help with understanding the concepts and principles to the subjects you may wish to study. A great option for parents to do with their children
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