The importance of continuing education is perhaps more important today than in the past 50 years. One only needs to look at the rapid pace of technology in our everyday lives to see how one can be quickly left behind if they hit a learning plateau.
Learning for all walks of life
Continuing education comes in many shapes, sizes and mediums. It might be a two-hour seminar on investing, a weekend course on motorcycle safety or a semester at a local community college polishing up your programming skills. There are plenty of possible venues these days, from adult education classes at your local high school, night classes spent working towards an advanced degree or simply watching a YouTube video on how to install that smart thermostat. Blue-collar trade or white-collar office, day or night, formal or informal – any form of learning is beneficial.
While what you desire to learn is a personal preference, the options available today are virtually limitless. With digital learning and the explosion of video on the web, one doesn’t even have to leave the confines and convenience of their home to increase their knowledge.
Our workforce needs competitive people
This increased knowledge can be a true career changer as employers constantly look for employees that are well-rounded, organized and interested in continually building their skills. One of the greatest challenges in the workplace is staying on top of trends and technology as they improve company efficiency. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly competing with other companies, employees and changes in the marketplace that can impact your career growth. Stay on top of change and you’ll thrive; ignore it and you’ll ultimately fall behind.
Give back to the community
Another great benefit of continuing education is the ability to give back what you’ve learned through teaching. It is truly one of the best contributions that one can give to society. It can lead to an endless chain of exchange of knowledge between friends, colleagues and complete strangers.
One can see that learning comes in many shapes and sizes with benefits that last a lifetime both within and outside of the workplace. Whether it’s a new process at work that frees up a precious hour of time or a new exercise at home that improves your health, the key is that no amount of learning is too small to make a difference in your career and life.
Pat Cassella, President, United States Distance Learning Association, [email protected]