How Has the Internet Changed the Role of Education?

How Has the Internet Changed the Role of Education?

In this week’s post on Lifelong Learning, our Founder, Ron Slee, takes a deep dive into the worldwide web with, “How Has the Internet Changed the Role of Education?”

The Internet is transforming education by changing the way students learn and the way teachers teach. This is true in both public and private education. 

  1. Online learning: The Internet has made online learning accessible to everyone. Students can now attend classes and complete assignments from anywhere, anytime.
  2. Personalized learning: With the Internet students have access to a wide range of resources that allow personalized learning experiences.
  3. Collaboration: The Internet enables students and teachers to collaborate in real time from different locations, making it easier for students to work together on projects and assignments.
  4. Access to information: The Internet provides students with instant access to a vast amount of information, making it easier for them to research and learn about various topics.
  5. Improved communication: The Internet has made communication between teachers and students as well as between schools much easier and more efficient.

Overall, the Internet has greatly improved the education experience for students and teachers alike providing them with new tools and resources to enhance their learning and teaching experiences.

Learning Without Scars is a company that aims to improve the education system, by making learning a positive and enjoyable experience for students at schools or in the workforce. The company uses a variety of methods to achieve this goal. Reading material with audio tracks and quizzes; a series of segmented video classes using power point slides with text and audio tracks and strategically inserted film clips that are closed captioned.

Today there are a variety of companies providing Internet based learning. Kahn Academy for students from Preschool through High School through to EdX and Coursera for business applications. There is a lot available out there.

Our goal is to provide employees and students access to tools that can measure their skills and knowledge: the Job Function Skills Assessments. With these Comprehensive Assessments the individual has an opportunity to objectively measure their skills and knowledge and how it applies to their jobs. This is the first such assessment in our industry. This is viewed by the Workforce Development side to Technical and Vocational Schools to evaluate the needs of the employees working at businesses in their area that also are a potential employer for the students of the school.

We are experiencing difficulties, particularly with the group of technicians in dealers. Turnover rates are extremely high. A recent article in the New York Times by Christina Caron poses the question, “When is it time to quit your job?” The author covers the usual issues such as burnout. Burnout, according to Dennis Stolle, the senior director of applied psychology at the American Psychological Association is three symptoms; emotional exhaustion, negativity, and the feeling that no matter how hard you try you cannot be effective at your job.

There is another area of interest. Technicians have seen an amazing amount of change in the equipment that they perform repairs and maintenance. The job has become a serious challenge for advances in computers and telematics, allowing us to track the condition of equipment when it is working in the field using sensors everywhere. Many of the older technicians are struggling to keep up with these changes. In many cases a technician’s job defined who they were as people.

On the other hand, younger technicians, say under thirty-five years of age, are looking for different things in the workplace than the older generations. Laura Putnam, author of the book “Workplace Wellness That Works” addresses how the workplace functions. The younger workers want to have more control over how they work. They resist the old command and control style of leadership common in previous times. The employees are looking to organizations that support various aspects of wellness including physical, emotional, social as well as financial.

These younger technicians are leaving their jobs within six months at alarming rates. This is when the market is struggling to find qualified technicians to hire. Imagine spending all that time and money hiring someone and they choose to leave before they have been with you for six months. Billy Greenlee, Service Operations Manager/Rental Manager commented “I think retaining them becomes the next huge hurdle if you can get technicians on a good path. I’ve watched for years as my entry level techs start to mature it is all but impossible as a manager to bring their wages up, once they cross that threshold of being a “good” technician. It’s hard for a service manager to increase their salary to keep up with their market value when you start entry level techs at those lower hourly rates. I’ve been fortunate in my current position to not get pushback when I’ve gone to our ownership and request a 15-20% pay increase to bring my team up to their true market value as a technician. It’s paid dividends as most of my techs are at, or we’re just at, that transition point of being entry level to a seasoned tech. My other tool was moving to a rotating 4-10 schedule. But between those two things I have been able to keep my shop stable the last few years and get that return on investment on all of that education and training expense.”

Isaac Rollor recently posted a blog talking about technicians. He started as follows “Recently out of curiosity I used and searched “Heavy Equipment Mechanic.” For location I specified “USA.” Immediately there were 30,000 opportunities that populated my screen. Pretty amazing. Many of these job postings were urgently hiring. I saw many job openings for technicians at heavy equipment dealers. Isn’t it amazing that the focus of education for the past forty years has been on getting a University Degree? You will earn more money over your lifetime if you have a degree. Of course, they were making reference to high school graduation as the comparison. NOT technicians.

Bill Pyles took it further when we addressed the “On-Boarding” of new technicians. 

I feel it’s important to note that entry-level tech does not mean you’ve hired a technician to whom you can pay minimum wage for the next few years. The first two items a dealer needs are a developmental pay plan (earn while you learn) and a career-building training plan, from entry-level to Top Gun. Be sure part of the hiring process is a copy of your training and wage scale. Spend quality time with the new tech in explaining the “earn while you learn” approach. Remember, training never ends. 

Similarly, it helps to assign a “mentor” to these new employees. This is true whether you are hiring straight from a vocational or technical school or hiring a working technician. A mentor can be a great help in ensuring the new employees feel part of a team. An important member of the team.

I thought it would be worthwhile in Lifelong Learning to point out that it is not solely the responsibility of the employee to improve themselves through learning programs, but also how the business accepts new employees and how they are treated. One thing is certain: Technician turnover rates today are unacceptable. It is in every company’s best interest to address this issue soon.

The time is now.

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