I wrote in the past on the value of post-secondary education and its need to adapt here. I also wrote on traditional examinations within the context of the CPA exam failures recently on testing there programs and usability. I was asked by somebody than where do I see things going in regards to education and that in my opinion is a difficult question but my take is below.
I really believe there is a large role for Universities and formal education institutions if they are able to adapt to learning. I remember on my first degree that I had one professor who still made students go to the library to photocopy slides and used an overhead projector and simply refused change and it was normal for at least 10 years prior to present with Powerpoint and have notes online. Now there is even more engaging technology for slides like Beautiful.ai, Prezi and keynote as examples. The refusal of one professor to modernize is a common issue I have seen with post-secondary institutions where one individual not adapting can change a student’s experience as tenured professors priority is often research and teaching is something that helps fund their priority. Organizational agility and change management is something government-funded, risk-averse organizations like post-secondaries might naturally struggle with as rocking the boat is often not rewarded and most often taking risks is not encouraged in this traditional environment. This has led to opportunities for entrants into training and education and more certification agencies. I am of the opinion that many vocational schools and privately owned certification bodies are gaining steam as employers often are looking for specific certifications and skillsets suited to their industry. Digital marketers for example now are probably very well served to have google analytics certifications and other credentials on top or sometimes instead of a traditional business degree. Some of the best digital marketers have no degree and many of the top respected experts in their field now are not academics like Gary Vaynerchuk or Neil Patel. Sometimes a degree is needed but a great thought piece on this can be read here.
So here we go, I understand there will always be a role for post-secondaries we are not going to go to a Bootcamp or self-learn being a doctor, lawyer or nursing. Many careers might be unable to shift for years to more agile learning but I will talk about this more below still on the opportunities of AR (augmented reality). My learning has shifted greatly over time to look at ROI and skillset I have realized with technology and trends moving so quickly being a lifelong learner is necessary to be effective for clients/ customers and employers. Often a 4-year degree has items you have no interest or would never use but is part of the requirements of a traditional University education – my first degree was an arts degree where I completed an Economics degree with a Sociology minor but I had many statistics and math courses mixed in which I thought might have a use but I was forced to take fine arts classes and second languages to get my degree. I had no interest in them and they provided little value and I hear the argument of being a more rounded individual as for one of my fine arts classes in drama I went to go see plays and wrote papers that were enjoyable. But these courses really reduce the ROI on my degree- I also did a business degree later online where I felt the ROI was a little higher as I did very little that would not benefit me. Still, I will say my highest ROI was from certifications like PMP, Lean-Six Sigma, and Prosci Certifications mainly as these were specialized and provided knowledge that was applicable and helped me in my career as actionable knowledge. You cannot master or learn a whole subject area in 3 days as mentioned in the article here and I think the article makes great points but often these boot camps and certifications expect application and knowledge to be gained and give you the base to start. Upskilling is becoming essential to keeping up with trends as mentioned before and being in the workplace for a bit it is clear that often there can be a gaps in skillsets when organizations do not invest in their employees for growth and in working with many different organizations and industries I find gaps can be large when this investment is ignored. Recently PWC committed to spending about $3 billion on upskilling its employees which can be seen here. Just my opinion but this is forward-thinking even with technology and AI people are at the center of growth and success of most organizations.
One of the best posts I might have ever read in regards to the change traditional schools need to make is here. One thing that sticks out for me for traditional universities or Colleges to keep up is understanding the market and adapting with speed with technology but also designing their own curriculum for it to be relevant to their career goals. I am very interested in understanding what will occur in the future as have two young kids and with online degrees and certifications is it worth investing in an RESP. How greatly will education change with AR and being able to learn hands-on items from home? Currently, I am learning to code and it is incredible the free resources available and released by private organizations. Will knowledge be more free-flowing in this way and what will be the role of formal education. I am in the middle of my MBA and really question the ROI and value currently but want to finish as understand this is an indicator of certain high-level knowledge to employers. I also feel like at times things are changing rapidly and wonder if I will have to ask my kids how to program some random item like my holographic personal assistant. Either way, learning is different for everybody and is changing rapidly in ten years I wonder which tenured professor will still be using traditional PowerPoint. Or maybe Microsoft will adapt PowerPoint rapidly to how learning is changing.
Fahim Moledina is the Principal Consultant for Opti-Syn Consulting and is a business leader with expertise in project/change management, finance, lean/agile methods, as well as marketing and sales.
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