Tag Archives: Training & Development

State of Continuing Education 2012


Presenting the ‘State of Continuing Education’ comes with at least two outdated and conflicting terms. Some changes have occurred, but many have not. We have been hopeful and disappointed, gone through set-backs and have led the way.

We see Education has taken many forms and have been used for different purposes. The challenge going forward will involve defining the education you need among multiple options. Some are costly, many are cheaper, a few are unnecessary, but all of them will teach.

Learning has also come into fashion, which makes it harder to determine its real impact. The shift has turned away from learning individually to learning as a group, with a community, or in a society.

It appears that problems will define what we decide to learn, instead of also curiosity. Although both are needed, the expectations for education and learning to provide solutions and credentials on a timeline, within a budget, for a job and trying to keep one, are trending increasingly higher.

What is getting better and expanding is that education is not just k-12, but throughout a lifetime.  What will be interesting to see is whether adults will capture all of their grade-school experiences, good and bad, and return back to these schools and improve them: Wouldn’t that be continuing education?

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Working Value of Education


“Who says you can’t put a value on education,” points a friend illustrating a chart by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The results favor the relationship that the higher the education, the lower rate of unemployment.  Yet, these numbers do not give any more comfort to those who may have a job with less education, and especially to those who are currently jobless or under-employed (educated with more schooling or not).

Yet this chart raises some important questions about the connection between education and work. So what can we learn about this issue?

First, maybe we need to start a different discussion. For example, some philosophers have questioned the ‘centrality of work’ and its dominating role in our society. Other thinkers see work as giving essential meaning to our personal lives.  Nevertheless, because many people still need to work, these kinds of discussions can come up empty if not tied to real-life solutions. 

Here is where the role of education is critical.  I would agree, it doesn’t help a jobseeker to hear that he or she must take more time, to spend more money, to get more education without any guarantee of a job waiting at the end. 

Therefore, there must be a closer link between education and the certainty of work. One of the drawbacks to selling the need of education is that it looks like an isolated pursuit, disconnected from the real world and current issues. More education requires a measure of time, patience, and money that appear unavoidable, yet conflicts with our technological, high-speed, microwave era.

Simply there’s no time. People want their degrees now, expressed as wanting to  learn what’s needed today-in-a-day. Offering alternatives may devalue the traditional process of education and undermine the efforts of those who have put in additional time and effort.

But what if education was apart of the job?  Not just continuing professional training for people with some level of experience and expertise; but rather positions for those with no experience, where jobs are created upon changing needs and connected to local schools, colleges, and universities for approved instruction and support.  

A suggestion in this different discussion would be for us to turn the old expressions such as “hands-on-training” and “learning on the job” into serious strategic approaches to pursuing work while getting an education:  Sort of working internships for adults where a person who has a job, or looks for one, is fulfilling the needs for more education, satisfying the requirements for current credentials, and hopefully securing the paths for continued employment.

Linking Music Lyrics to Learning


Many have different tastes and styles about the best music for reading or studying. Melodies like classical or light jazz are occasional suggestions, but there is something about hearing words, lyrics, and turn-of-phrases that teaches the experiences of living and learning. 

I think musical lyrics are often ignored lessons for learning and education.

In fact, I have a couple of questions for you:

First, what’s your favorite song or best lyric, verse, or title?  I mean the kind of song that you can remember without assistance from karaoke or concert.

Next question: Why is it remembered?

For me it depends on the specific lesson that the song brings. This can be the way the singer captures a moment that explains my whole life; or a key verse that teaches me something about society I won’t find in books.

We as listeners learn stories from music and its lyrics.  Stories about singers, situations, and solutions summed up into 3-5 minutes.   I argue these harmonious snapshots consist of our continual ups-and-downs, either personally, socially, or even spiritually. Sort of reminders of thoughts, choices, and actions seen through the mirrors of music.  Certain lyrics speak to us and lead in transforming our thinking, in how we treat others, and in the kind of life we would like to pursue. 

If all of us can agree that music teaches, then why not feature it in classrooms too.  In lectures, conferences, and discussions as well as exams, essays, and other forms of evaluation.  As adults, in addition to crafting a resume for employers, what about building a portfolio of learning music for yourself, linking lyrics to lessons learned that teaches others about who you are and in what ways you  have grown.

Emotions of Education: A Passion for Reform


Many agree that emotions can rule over all reason and sense. Emotions can also encourage and drive us to achieve enormous feats. They are a power with a wide range of potential. 

Now what if emotions were targeted toward education? I mean, what would be the emotional range that we could learn from?

I can think of three in particular: Pain, Pleasure, and Passion.  These emotions when geared toward education can reveal some surprising insights. For instance: What is it about education that brings us pain? Some are failing grades, tuition, student loans, finding the right schools, filling out entrance applications for our children or ourselves, and so on.   

What about the  pleasures of education? Some can identify with receiving great grades, degrees, diplomas, even ‘aha moments’ from learning something new or seeing someone grow in understanding and perspective.

Lastly,  there is the emotion of passion in education.  This is arguably the most misunderstood.  On one hand, we think about passion as a desire, pursuit, personal calling, or profound interest in an area or discipline.  Along these lines, experiencing passion in education would be a welcomed thing that helps define our purposes and pursuits.

On the other hand, passion relates to endurance. In fact, a Latin version of passion ties to patience and ‘suffering.’  Remember the ole saying: ‘Patience is a Virtue’? Well in this case, patience is having the passion to endure, suffer, and even overcome the circumstances.

Which leads me to a final insight for those who claim to have a passion for education: teachers, school boards, politicians, governments, and learning institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities. 

Can all of them match their desire to pursue education with the suffering and endurance that is necessary  to change it for everyone, especially for those who do not know educational reform and improvement must take place.   

My worry is that many are distracting us with superficial solutions for educational pains, promoting unearned pleasures, while ignoring the most important and emotional impact of advancing a full passion toward a lasting and lifelong education.

How Adult Learning Can Change K-12 Education


Adult Learning & Continuing Education is an emerging field that still has a long way to go in defining its discipline and securing its place in society. Yet there are significant points and challenges that must be understood. 

A common challenge has been distinguishing itself from traditional elementary and secondary schooling, always known as kindergarten through highschool (K-12).

An important point is that although college education is included in the field, Adult Learning & Continuing Education focuses more on post-college instruction, continuing-professional education, and learning for multiple situations.

Overall, the distinctive quality of the field is both common and unique. Common like any other academic discipline such as law, medicine, and even K-12 education. But unique in looking from two perspectives: the perspective of expert and of experience.

For example, those who study law, do not often learn how to be a client; medical doctors study medicine, but not enough time concentrates on learning how to be a patient.  K-12 educators learn how to teach programs, but not always about what it means to be a student.  Perhaps that’s why many believe that lawyers are the worst clients, doctors are terrible patients, and it’s harder to teach a teacher.

But Adult Learning & Continuing Education is a discipline that must learn its practice through sharing its problems, using their experiences as a resource for answers.  In this way, these adults become experts in discovering what kinds of learning works immediately and for what purpose, since results are coming from personal experiences.

So why is this important? Because this field has something to offer, especially to our children.  It gives a second chance to reexamine how we learned as kids: To discover what worked; what didn’t; when we learned best; what kind of study habits were productive; or even whether we had study habits at all. 

If society could see more of this value, then this field could be the research & development for education. K-12, for example, could benefit from findings that transform classes, programs and instruction, constructing more productive approaches for future education. 

In this effort, the fundamentals of education would be explored where current K-12 teachers would be able to advance their lesson plans into subjects and technologies, where we as kids never learned or experienced.