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Entries in education (6)


Learn to Think for Yourself

As much as I might boast on this blog that I know what works and what doesn’t in the marketing world, I’m sometimes (maybe more) wrong. As much as any self-proclaimed expert spurts ideas and opinions as facts, you have to take all of it with a grain of salt.

Republicans are SURE Obama won’t be reelected.

Investors were SURE Facebook was a good bet.

Social media marketers were SURE email was dead.

When you’re sure about something, you don’t leave yourself any room to question it. You ignore 50% of the equation. And it’s when you ignore 50% of the equation that you end up regretting your “expert” advice.

Don’t buy the hype. Learn to listen to different points of view. Learn to research and form your own opinions. In marketing, and in life.


The Problem with Continuing Education

The problem with continuing education is that it’s not all created equal. Certifications, badges, the way employers view it and what they’re looking for. It varies too much.

Today, more companies than ever before are offering educational opportunities. There are schools that offer courses long after you graduate, startups offering free or low cost online courses and diplomas in a never-ending variety of fields, and products or services that come with their own certification courses.

With all of the options available to us, and no clear sense of what employers value, it can be hard to navigate the waters.

But that does not mean it’s not important. In fact, it’s more important now than ever before. And it will be more important tomorrow than it is today.

A traditional college degree is no longer enough. Most of what you learn in college will have changed in some dramatic way within the first 5 years after you graduate. Therefore, continuing to learn while you pursue your career is vital. Employers have come to expect it.

But what are they looking for?

For the most part, that is left to us to figure out. Obviously any continuing education is better than none. It shows that you are committed to your field, your career, and to being the best possible candidate for any new job that exists.

There will be a time in the not too distant future where all the options out there are condensed, ranked, systematically brought into line with one another. A day when our resumes may feature badges earned in addition to our degree. But that day is not here yet.

Happy hunting!


The Future of Education

Prediction, there will be a well-respected, free online university supported by advertising and partnerships that will drastically change the way we think about higher education in the next 5 years.

Does that sound ridiculous to you? Have you heard of Coursera, or any number of online education startups that are taking the tech world by storm?

It’s true, it takes a lot more than money and online buzz to make a dent in the education world. Technology news is often fickle and doesn’t always translate to real world success or failure. But as a country we’ve finally come to the very true conclusion that education is in dire need of a fix. Higher ed is too expensive, and too slow to change. The best systems are underfunded, and the entire system is underappreciated by our politicians.

Combine all of that with the investment dollars that are flying around the education startup sector in 2012, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for something big to happen. Startups are working with respected universities to try to change the way we learn from the inside. Others are trying to change education from the outside.

In an age when online degrees are gaining validity and respect from both educators and employers, it’s only a matter of time before someone starts offering advertising supported degrees, or company-sponsored degrees to people all over the world. And all it takes is time to establish credibility of such a system before it starts becoming a very realistic substitute to a traditional 4 year college.

So 5 years might be too soon. But if it’s ever going to happen, it’s going to happen now. We’re standing at a crossroads, and the tech world is holding almost all of the solutions available.

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