Tag Archives: workplace learning

Value of lifelong learning stands out for Millennials


According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, work/life balance and opportunities to progress are among leading factors (beyond pay and financial benefits) for evaluating job opportunities. Such factors signal an appreciation for lifelong learning within organizations that promote a collaborative work environment.

In fact, 76 percent of millennials prefer a more creative, inclusive culture rather than an authoritarian, rules-based work approach. Millennials globally reported greater work satisfaction that supported positive values, such as:

  • Open and flee-flowing communication;
  • Mutual support and tolerance; and a
  • Strong commitment to equality and inclusiveness.

Such emphasis on the organizational behavior of today’s work environment reinforces the essential value of lifelong learning.

Gloria Cordes Larson, president of Bentley University, cites this study by commenting that Millennials clearly understand the value of lifelong learning and its importance to acquiring new skills, staying ahead of market trends, even staving off “potential boredom” at work (“What to do when you’re bored with your job,” Fortune, April 2016).

The future value of lifelong learning has yet to be defined for the millennial generation. But a glimpse seems to reveal that entire work systems and organizations will have to change in order to accommodate the whole person.

Millennials are lifelong learners, who balance time, talent, and commitments and who work, not from a corner cubicle, but across a connected domain.

 

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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.

Engaged-Learning: Linking Education to Everyone


What do you think? Should education be a right or a privilege?

To be fair, I’m mostly talking about education beyond high-school or even college. But with rising costs of tuition, the inconvenience of attending, or the enormous time pursuing,  it offers us this kind of choice of going back-to-school or continuing as already predetermined.

In this way, education is a privilege afforded by those who either have the money (or worse, student loans), the time (balancing work, school, and life responsibilities), or convenience (or at least managing it).

But what if education was a right?

Where institutions of higher learning would provide free and low-cost continuing education; where employers would give money and sabbatical time for renewing and gaining skills; where society would embrace lifelong learning and education, as learning for-its-own-sake, to become more informed and enlightened citizens of communities.

This is what engaged-learning could be—and should be: Linking education for everyone at all stages of life and learning.

So, returning to the question: Should education be a right or a privilege? Or better, should we never have to answer this question because someday we will experience no difference.

No Adult Left Overlooked: Reforming Continuing Learning Too


Given the current debate for education reform such as fixing No Child Left Behind; promoting Race to the Top; and encouraging a  ’21st Century curricula’ , there still is a gap, a remaining empty space, incompletely filled by creating jobs or training  skills.

It relates to adults who must continue to learn regardless of high-school diploma or college degree. It involves educating for life and supporting continual learning for all people.

Some parts missing in the discussion:  

1) Lifelong learning accounts (similar to 401K, but for continuing education);

 2) More employer or independent contractor tuition reimbursement programs;

3) Paid educational leave, especially for near retirees to pursue formal education;

 4) Tuition reduction options and student loan forgiveness for recent college alumni;

5) Further allowing lifetime experiences to transfer as credit and acceptance within colleges and professions. 

The belief that ‘children are our future‘ is very true, but it is equally true that the future will depend upon how, and what, our adults’  learn today.

In the ‘Classroom of Experience’


They say that Experience is the best teacher: It gives you the test first, and then, teaches the lessons. Perhaps this was true, but now there’s more at stake.  With rising costs of education, not only does Experience require no paycheck, but in return could offer all the wealth you ever need. Quite a bargain considering we have experiences all the time. 

Just curious though: If you had to show what your ‘experience as teacher’ looks like, what would you come up with?

To the point: The classroom of experience requires no tuition, student fees or loans.  Yet there’s a way to include your ‘lessons learned’ from experience directly into the progress of your education, enrollment, and degree pursuit.

There’s a way to transfer your experiences from work and life into college credit.  It is called PLAs or Prior Learning Assessments where there are things you may have learned outside of the college classroom that will count toward getting an actual degree.

Many colleges and universities for decades have adopted some form of PLAs and improvements in evaluations and crediting continue today.  This topic is fascinating and I’m eager to learn more.  As I do, I will share with you my “experience.”