Internet Learning

Internet Learning

Over the past ninety days the planet has been suffering under a serious virus. Nearly everyone has been affected. Some of the results to the economy and societies are starting to come in with analysis on the longer-term impacts.

  • The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the US will see $7.9 Trillion in lost economic growth through the rest of the decade.
  • The World Bank predicts global domestic growth will shrink by 5.2% in 2020.
  • The World Bank expects 70 – 100 million people will be pushed to extreme poverty.

There are many statistics and forecasts being made now about the longer-term impact of this virus and shutting down the world’s economy.

And then we come to education.

There will be a wide variety of forecasts and statistics made here as there are some serious competing self-interests at play. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company shows that the shift to remote learning could set the average student back seven months academically. I suspect there are many reasons for that conclusion and many ways to overcome that difference.

Students and teachers alike struggled with the switch to remote learning after schools were shut down. By their midlife, people who graduate during a recession are also less likely to be married, more likely to be childless and face a higher chance of death than those who did not.

However, what this indicates is that we have to develop better tools for this new wave virtual teaching and schooling – from pre-school to high school. The Khan Academy programs, processes and courses are a good model to consider. They have provided free world-class education to 90 million learners since 2008.

Similarly, EdX, a non-profit created by Harvard and MIT, offers MOOC’s (massive open online courses) and interactive classes in law, history, science, engineering, business, social sciences, computer science, public health, and artificial intelligence. During this economic shutdown “Every faculty member is going to be delivering education online. Every student is going to be receiving education on line. And the resistance to online education is going to go away as a practical matter.” James N Bradley, chief information officer at Texas’s Trinity University. Goldie Blumenstyk, from “The Chronicle of Higher Education” suggests this is more than a Black Swan moment it is “more of a catalyst for online education and other ed-tech tools than decades of punditry and self-serving corporate exhortations.” Going further she says “It seems safe to say that this will be not only enormously disruptive but also paradigm changing. The “Black Swan”, that unforeseen event that changes everything is upon us.

Unfortunately, this will not all be good news. A lot of professors will simply video-conference lectures supplemented by emailed assessments. In truth it will be some time before we can draw any conclusions on what forms of learning the education elite will adopt. Will this rapid disruption produce better results? Only time will tell.

In the Industries, I serve dealers who have not been strong advocates of employee development. They have typically believed that they hired the skills and that was all that was needed. That ship has sailed. With the rapid advances in all aspects of engineering and manufacturing, of materials and ceramics, and computerization and telematics it has become very evident that the skills required to stay current have expanded and changed rapidly. That means adult education is something that equipment dealers are going to have to embrace going forward. The Associated Equipment Distributors Foundation published a goal for the Industry of 80 hours of training for each employee each year. Very few dealers meet that goal. I believe it should be 160 hours.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about how to assign your time each day at work. I started from a position put forward by Dirk Beveridge, he was presented to a sales meeting at a client of mine and he got my attention in simplifying my life in how I manage time. Time was, is now and will be forever, the enemy. The older I get the more this becomes true.

I look at time in blocks – to be precise five blocks.

  • Review Results
  • Working with people to improve performance
  • Communications
  • Process reviews
  • Personal growth.

The personal growth item is the one that I have to fight with every day. There is always something that I view to be more important that self-improvement. It is not that I don’t need improvement, I really do, it is that that other thing always seems more important. It is like exercise. How many of us actually invest our daily time on our health and self-improvement? We all know the answer. So, what are you going to do about it? This “shutdown” has allowed a lot more introspection than normal times. I hope this is a subject that you are thinking about. Your employees need the same push to improve themselves. That is where Learning Without Scars fits in to the employee’s life. It is at the time of their choosing, it can take as little as two and a half hours, and you can measure the improvement in their skills. And on top of that it is $125.00/course or assessment. If you don’t invest in your own personal development and you don’t encourage your employees to improve theirs, how long do you think it will take before your customers notice.

The Time is Now. If not now when?