The rise of the Internet, and its widespread use, has led the times we are living in to be called the information age. Certainly, with people glued to their smartphones, this seems like a decent label for this era. Lamentably, it seems the information we tend to focus on via our ubiquitous mobile devices is often trivial. Such is life, I suppose.
Yet, while we often spend our time focused on things like friends and acquaintances announcing their latest meals on Facebook and Twitter, we are in a profoundly new age – the age of perpetual learning or, perhaps better stated, the age of lifetime education.
Owing to the Internet and the ability to share information at light speed, skill sets informed by timely information are, by their very nature, constantly changing. Because of this, the idea that we might go to school and learn a profession has been fundamentally altered. Sure, school provides a base, a foundation if you will. But the structure we place on top of it is, now more than ever, subject to a constant, rapid flow of information that is bound to alter it.
It is true, that for some time, continuing professional education has existed. However, with human knowledge expanding at the rate it is and with its dissemination taking place as fast as it does, the idea of returning to school on a frequent basis seems more likely than it ever has.
Though we are not there yet, we might – in the not too distant future – find ourselves in a time when we are always enrolled in at least one course at school, helping us to keep fresh with recent advents. And this will be driven, no doubt, by our desire to stay competitive.
Frankly, the very idea of school has undergone some fundamental changes over the last decade or so. The rise of distance education via the Internet is making ongoing learning more accessible. And in addition to distance learning, traditional higher education is focusing more and more on adult learners.
The concept of lifelong, formalized education seems to be rapidly approaching. Life as we know it continues to change. Where Alice Cooper once sang “Schools out forever,” today it might be fair to say, “School’s in forever.”
Image courtesy of [Naypong] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at CYInterview.com. For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.
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