Education – An Indispensable Asset

“Education is the transmission of civilization.” – Will Durant (American Writer & Historian, 1885-1981).

Education is an indispensable asset to attain fame, power, money, freedom, social justice and peace. With the rising of global economic trends, education becomes more imperative in facing many challenges that the future holds for the humankind.

An ever changing and developing economy needs a well-educated workforce to thrust it forward to a newer world. With a recuperating economy, job market for new skill-set is born. Recruiters prefer people with fresh or recent degrees, attached to their existing education, to fill the vacancy. Today, a job seeker’s career may suffer due to lack of adequate education. Therefore, it becomes essential for each job seeker to continue evolving. Education, perhaps, is the best medium to improve knowledge, skills and personal development, resulting in building healthy relationships among individual, groups and nations for a better tomorrow.

Education has crossed boundaries and has become international. Today, distant learning has become a new face of education, recognized by the world over. Universities and colleges across the globe offer various programmes for individuals either seeking a continuing education or a professional degree.

Distant learning creates an educational experience outside the classroom. Teachers and students communicate either through a print & electronic media or through technology. Individual’s can now earn their degrees in the relative comfort of their homes.

Internet provides an array of online professional and educational courses, which comes with a price or free of charge. Many accredited universities, colleges and schools’ provide an online platform to revive and enhance continuing education. Individuals’ must wisely choose a virtual school from the whole gamut, and not be fooled by the freebies being offered.

Individuals’ must assess their need for earning a degree, first. Is it the need to graduate with flexible education program or increase the value of their resume for better jobs?

Making a choice of subject, curriculum, faculty, mode of correspondence and fee structure is the next step towards improving your future. Enrolling in an online degree course is the final step to improve your education credibility.

Credibility (Accreditation) and Learning Costs are the two parameters that should be kept in mind before pursuing online education.

Educational regulatory bodies are constructed to certify colleges and universities interested in providing online degree course. Based on which agency the college is affiliated to, individuals’ may choose their online education board.

The fee structure should be appropriate to the courses offered. It should be able to suit individuals’ pockets. After all, the purpose of online education is to impart knowledge to all humanity and the objective can be achieved when education is provided at a reduced cost.

Earning a degree at home can be achieved by choosing an option from the following six choices, which are:

– Correspondence conducted trough regular mails.
– Telecourse/Broadcast, in which content is delivered via radio or television.
– CD-ROM – student interacts with computer content stored on the CD.
– Pocket PC/Mobile Learning – student access course content stored on a mobile device or through wireless server.
– Integrated distance learning – interaction with distance learning curriculum integrated of live, in-group instruction program.
– Internet conducted programmes either synchronously (telephone, video & web conferencing) or asynchronously (message board forums, email, fax/voice mail, audiocassette & videocassette).

Online degrees encompasses subjects which are offered in the regular curriculum at the campus. Therefore, students enrolling for distant education can pursue subjects from the field of Science & Technology, Business & Finance, Humanity & Fine Arts as easily as a regular on-campus student.

Lifelong Learning and Workplace Learning: Relevant Education for a Knowledge-Based Economy

Introduction

Education is a human right issue for both personal enrichment and development. The Namibian Constitution made a provision for all people to have access to education. This is also supported by goal 4 for Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Goal 4 aim to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Today’s world is ever changing rapidly, in terms of social, economic, political and digital connectivity and usage. The changes requires individuals to adapt and adopt by acquiring relevant new knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies in a wide range of settings to remain relevant and unlimited. Lifelong learning opportunities would enable the acquisition of such relevant new knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies, for individuals to meet life’s challenges, remain relevant and sustain their lives, communities and societies in this digital world.

According to Toffler (1970) “the illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. Lifelong learning is about learning, unlearning and relearning through acquiring and updating all kinds of abilities, interests, knowledge and qualifications from the pre-school years to post retirement.

Learning means the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught. Unlearning is seen as deleting and replacing obsolete knowledge. Relearning means learn material that has been previously learned and then forgotten. Lifelong learning activities promote the development of knowledge and competencies that will enable adaptations to knowledge-based societies, while at the same time valuing all forms of learning. Lifelong learning (LL) is therefore an indispensable guiding principle of educational development.

The commonly understood definition of lifelong learning is ‘all learning undertaken throughout life which is on-going, voluntary and self-motivated in the pursuit of knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies for either personal or professional reasons.

What is Lifelong Learning?

The provision of learning through formal, informal and non-formal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives with the purpose of fostering continuous development and improvement of knowledge and skills needed for employment, community service and/or personal fulfilment. As could be deduced from this definition, lifelong learning is all-encompassing and integral to the vision of a knowledge-based economy and/or society. Lifelong learning can enhance our understanding of the world around us, provide us with more and better opportunities and improve our quality of life.

Types/categories of lifelong learning learners

• Skill-seeking – Learners who need to attain new or improved skills for the purpose of bettering themselves and be able to solve the challenges they face (or meet in the future) in their lives.

• Problem-centred – Learners who only want to learn specific skills needed to deal with a specific problem that they have encountered or might encounter in their particular life situations.

• Task-centred – Learners who only want to concentrate on tasks directed towards reaching some specific goals or solving a specific problem.

• Life-centred – Learners with great experience background and faced with a variety of issues in their everyday life and want to focus their attention on real-world/life challenges/situations and solving real-world problems. They also want to focus on applying newly gained knowledge and/or skills to everyday and real-world situations.

• Solution-driven – Learners who are interested in focusing their efforts to solving problems in real life situations, especially those found in their immediate communities and/or environments or dealing with tasks directed towards reaching specific goals or solutions.

• Value-driven – learners who require guidance why they should participate in learning endeavours and what benefit is there for them. These learners need to be motivated by other to explain to them why they should learn.

• Externally motivated – Learners who are motivated by such factors as better jobs, better salaries, and increased promotional opportunities.

• Internally motivated – Learners who possess strong internal motivation to learn, such as developing their self-esteem, confidence, recognition, career satisfaction, gaining skills to manage their time better or improving the overall quality of life for their families or communities or both.

• Active learners – Learners who are just willing to participate in the learning process (they could be internally or externally motivated or no motivation at all).

• Hands-on – Learners who prefer learning by doing rather than by listening and interested in being provided with opportunities to apply their newly gained skills right away.

• Self-directed – Learners who perceive themselves to be independent and responsible for their own learning, planning and directing their own learning activities. According to Fisher, King and Tague (2001) a self-directed learner takes control and accepts the freedom to learn what they view as important for them.

• Expert /experienced-based – Learners are practicing (working) in a specific field and want to gain knowledge/skills in that specific field for the purpose of improving their practice. These learners bring real-life experiences to the learning situations, thereby influencing the learning process and make it relevant.

• Independent – Learners who are more self-reliant and learn by utilising previously gained knowledge, skills and work experience in order to accomplish things for themselves. These learners rely on their own personal experiences, strengths and knowledge in seeking answers to problems and to solving such problems

Why do we need lifelong learning?

• Upgrade job

• Start a business

• Learn about a subject or to extend their knowledge

• Meet new people

• Develop self-confidence

• Participate in social networking

• Develop personal skills

Individual’s capacity for lifelong learning

• Capacity to set personal objectives in a realistic manner

• Effectiveness in applying knowledge already possessed

• Efficiency in evaluating one’s own learning

• Skills to locate the required information

• Effectiveness in using different learning strategies and learning in different settings

• Skills to use learning aids and resources, such as libraries, media and/or the internet

• Ability to use and interpret materials from different subject areas

The benefits of lifelong learning to society

From those critical statements regarding the importance of lifelong learning it emerges that lifelong learning holds both private and public benefits. The benefits of lifelong learning to society, business and the individual include, among others:

• The economic benefits of lifelong learning both for employment purposes and high earnings are regarded by many as the most important. People who have no jobs engage in lifelong learning in order to gain employable skills and to make a living. Those with jobs engage in lifelong learning so that they can upgrade their skills to be able to be promoted to higher positions in their jobs and earn more money.

• Enhanced employability which means lifelong learning adds value to the person’s ability to gain productive employment and make greater economic contribution to his/her organisation and to society as a whole. This is because lifelong learning enables more people to gain skills and competencies required for the job market.

• Reduced expenditure in unemployment and other social benefits and early retirement (in countries that have those benefits), which means if there are more people with skills and being productive government will concentrate the limited resources to developing infrastructure and create jobs rather than spending it on people who are unable to find work or not willing to work. Infrastructure development means more good educational and health facilities as well as roads and other transport infrastructure for promoting economic development. More jobs means there are more people contributing to government income through taxes and supporting the overall development of the country.

• Reduced criminal activities in societies that have high unemployment rates (Namibia is a good example) of which many of the criminal activities are due to citizens who have nothing productive to do, but having a lot of time on their hands to be idling and/or engaging in mischievous and unproductive activities. Lifelong learning opportunities enable people to gain useful skills and competencies so that they are more employable and there are plenty of opportunities for people to be engaged in productive and worthy causes. We are told that criminal activities are on the increase in societies where there is high unemployment, high illiteracy and /or less educated citizenry as well as where there are high levels of poverty.

• Increased high social returns in terms of civic participation and community involvement in activities that are aimed at improving the standards of living of all people in society. Lifelong learning enables citizens to be active in community development activities and thereby improving their health and well-being as well as generating and nurturing creative ideas for business and innovation development. Lifelong learning also increases high social returns in terms of civic participation and community involvement, for instance volunteering for good causes in their communities and societies thereby enabling government to save through increased civil society involvement.

Career development in the age of lifelong learning

Lifelong learning has been more linked to improving work activities through improving workers’ attitudes towards work and their productive capacities. Workplace learning whether formal, non-formal or informal is targeted to career development of employees. Lifelong learning helps people to develop their potential and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies required for the job market. They are required to constantly learn at the workplace. For the lifelong learning system to work at the workplace, where learning is mainly informal, there must be a self-regulating system that enable employees to access relevant information about the labour market and development in the economy. It has been proven across the world that people who are educated are more likely to find decent employment than those with no education. This mean that lifelong learning is currently being used for career development and progress in the labour market as much as it is being used for leisure and community development purposes.

Career development is an important aspect for the labour market as all employees aim for higher salaries, promotions and other incentives that comes with one’s job or employment contract.

Eraut (2007) found that most of the workplace learning of mid-career professionals is largely done in an informal way through consultation and collaboration. The joy of learning and the opportunity to apply the newly acquired skills to the workplace are the best sources of motivation for learning in one’s life.

Approaches to learning at the workplace

Eraut (2004) have identified five approaches for the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies for lifelong learning at the workplace.

• Group learning: participation in group activities such as team-working towards a common goal or outcome or group set up to work on special projects or for a special purpose. These circumstances will force members of the group to learn communally in order to accomplish their tasks.

• On the job training through social learning activities allows employees to observe others and learn as they learn new practices, new perspectives as they work alongside each other on a routine task or specific project.

• On the job training through understudy / deputizing allow employees to learn from those with more expertise than them but working in the same organisation / institution.

• On the job training by external expertise (consultants) through performance audits, consultancies, workshops.

• Assessment activities such as monitoring and evaluation are some of the approaches used by organisations to enable employees learn about their progress and address gaps.

Work processes through which employees learn better

• Group participation process: through asking questions and participating in decisions;

• Tackling challenging assignments/tasks/ roles;

• Through being supervised, coached and being mentored, shadowing and or reflecting;

• Working alongside colleagues, locating resource persons within the organisation as well as listening and observing others;

• Through problem solving, trying things out, suing models or mediating artefacts and learning through mistakes;

• Consultation with other employees and management;

• Visiting other sites/attending conferences and participating in short courses;

• Working with clients;

• Consolidating/ extending/ giving and receiving feedback;

• Working/studying for a qualification, working for a reward.

Factors affecting modes of learning in the workplace

Learning factors

The factors that enable employees to be proactive in seeking learning opportunities

• Challenging and value of the work: under challenged and over challenged might impact negatively on the person’s ability to learn;

• Feedback and support;

• Confidence and commitment; and

• The ability to recognise learning opportunities

Work context factors

The factors that attract the employees to the organisation and motivate them to learn and contribute to the goals of the organisation.

• Feedback and support (especially during the few months in a new job);

• Allocation and structuring of work;

• Encounters and relationship with people at wok; and

• Expectations of each person’s role, performance and progress.

Suggestions for employers

Promote Media and Information Literacy (MIL) to enables employees to be informed readers in today’s hyper connected world.

MIL enables employees to interpret the complex messages they receive in today’s hyper connected world.

References

Eraut, M. (2007). Learning from other people in the workplace. Oxford Review of Education, 33 (4), pp.403-422.

Eraut, M. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace. Studies in Continuing Education, 26, pp. 247-273.

Fisher, M, King, J., &Tague, G. (2001). Development of a self-directed learning readiness scale for nursing education. Nurse Education Today, 21, pp. 516 -525.

Toffler, A. (1970). Future shock. New York: Random House.

TOP 5 Tips for Academic Success: How to Make the Most of Your Education for a Career in Healthcare

Careers in Healthcare are BOOMING right now. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). If you want to pursue a career in healthcare, you need an in-depth education.

Education is one of the most important, and necessary steps to the start a career in healthcare. In the healthcare industry your body of knowledge and clinical expertise is your skill set. It is the marketable asset that will use to land that dream position you desire. Unfortunately, sometimes I see healthcare students who do not know how to maximize their training for the most benefit.

I have spent several years in education. Throughout that time I have noticed that there are 5 consistent habits and/or traits that successful students demonstrate. The students who embrace these practices are more likely to succeed in their career path than others that do not. If you implement these practices in your education it will be richer, more dynamic, and much more valuable.

Here are the TOP 5 traits of successful healthcare students that separate them from the crowd:

1. They engage with their teachers- The instructors are there for a reason, use them! Ask questions when you do not understand something. By having your question answered immediately you are helping to develop a better understanding of that theory or concept. In addition, when the teacher asks a question of the class, answer it. Be involved with your instructor’s discussion. Open discussion, if guided by the instructor, can be a valuable method of learning. However, be careful not to monopolize a discussion, instead seek to add to it.

2. They collaborate with others- Teachers are not your only ally in your education. Your peers in class and other professionals in the field can also complement your training. Many of the successful students whom I see form study groups. These groups create a synergy of learning. They use each other’s strengths to help one another. Students strong in one area can help those that are weak. Furthermore, another aspect of the group is accountability. While making a commitment to study to yourself can be easily dismissed, making a commitment to a group of peers carries a sense of duty and is not so easy to break. Aside from your peers, do not hesitate to utilize those already in the field. Not only are they a plethora of knowledge they can also become an integral part of your network.

3. They study for the present but look to the future- While studying for your career in healthcare you will feel the need to focus on the present (the next practicum, the next exam, etc.). However, do not become shortsighted to your goals. Those students who are focused on their end game will not let any small setbacks deter them from moving forward. By knowing what you want down the road, you are more focused on what you need to do to get there. In effect, by knowing what is ahead of you, allows you to better prioritize the present.

4. Know your resources- Many schools offer numerous tools that students can utilize to help them succeed in their course of study. Several have libraries, workshops, tutoring, and coaching readily available for students. For example, our school offers Skills Boot Camps in which students can come in and work on their patient care skills after class in a casual environment. In addition, there is a workshop where they can come in and work on getting vital signs from patients with one of our Nurses, almost one on one. Numerous schools in today’s world have online resources of which the students can use to augment their classroom time and better understand the material. This can range from books online, to practice tests to even games. Discover the resources that your school has and USE THEM!

5. Show up!- This is the most important, if you do not show up you will not succeed, PERIOD. Be there every day ready to learn. Any time you miss out on a class you miss out on the knowledge. Finding yourself falling behind in class is never a good way to find success. Besides physically being there make sure that you are mentally there as well! Show up well rested and prepared so that you are in the optimal mindset to absorb that day’s material.

So there you have it, the top 5 tips for a successful start to your career in healthcare. These tips by and large, are the pillars of successful students. Use these pillars to build a great foundation, and you will find success. Good Luck!

"Success" and Education

“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.” – Newston D. Baker

The prospect of success is what drives many people to continue their education. Whether this success means the expansion of their person, the opening of their mind to possibilities, the sharpening of their skill set, building marketability, or a pay raise – higher education is considered by most to be a very valuable asset. The implications are many: you have dedicated a portion of your life to studying a particular subject, and so have gained specialized knowledge and skills; you most likely have incurred some debt; and somehow, you are now supposed to be prepared to take on the world. But are the students of today prepared for life? Are they ready and equipped with what they need to be successful?

Everyone has an idea of what “success” means. And the general idea probably looks pretty similar for most – someone doing well overall; emotionally, financially, and spiritually. They probably have a good job, a good head on their shoulders, money in their pocket, and a good future ahead of them. They are moving along in their life, and they appear happy and fulfilled.

Although up front this dream may appear rather simple, figuring out the specifics, or one’s own path to reaching such success, is the real challenge. What decisions must be made so that one can have a successful life? Does education today prepare students to answer these difficult life questions?

Education blogger Tom Whitby touches on the lack of focus in K-12 schools on critical and out-of-the box thinking in this era of standardizing testing. “We talk about personalized learning for each student… We recognize that all kids are created differently. Even in consideration of all that, we standardize their assessment… We are not matching up the skills that our children will need in a future that we know little about to the education we provide today. Yet, we still claim to be preparing kids for life.”

“We cannot continue on the current path of education if we want to prepare our children for their future,” he declares. “Our children will not live in the world that we grew up in. We need to prepare them to be flexible, critical thinking, problem solvers. They need to be able to get beyond the limitations of their teachers and parents.”

In Alain de Botton’s TED talk “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success,” Botton points out that our ideas of success are often greatly influenced by society, by ads, and by our parents, and that we are highly susceptible to suggestion. We are also, Botton says, very worried about what others think of us.

“When we think about failing in life, when we think about failure, one of the reasons why we fear failing is not just a loss of income, a loss of status. What we fear is the judgment and ridicule of others. And it exists,” Botton said.

Botton suggests that we take care to ensure that our ambitions are our own, and that we recognize that “success” cannot exist without “failure.”

A paradox in our society, Botton continued, is the simultaneous existence of both the belief that we are all equal – that anyone can achieve anything – and low self-esteem. Suicide rates, he explains, are higher in the developed countries than anywhere else in the world. “[S]ome of the reason for that is that people take what happens to them extremely personally. They own their success. But they also own their failure,” he said. Our society, furthermore, and now more then ever before, attributes success to one’s own work ethic, ability, and determination; we believe that people deserve the lives they have, because we are all supposed to be in the driving seat.

In other words, we are supposed to have all that we need to succeed. However, disparities, gaps, influences, and circumstance, all exist and perpetuate inequalities within our society, and the individual is not always in control. We are not all on an equal playing field, either; we do not all have equal opportunities. This is not an excuse, but something that deserves consideration and care. America will continue to work towards the dream of a meritocratic society, but this dream is impossible to fully realize.

“The idea that we will make a society where literally everybody is graded, the good at the top, and the bad at the bottom, and it’s exactly done as it should be, is impossible,” Botton said.

It has been said that education is the great equalizer. And I believe that education can change the world, and our future is dependent on the youth and the quality of their education. Education can help people find their success because it can open their minds to the world and to their own potential so that they can have the opportunity to choose their way. But what can we do from here?

Continue to grow. Continue to move. Know that moving and growing is the only way. Not look back. Be bold. Instruction may end in the school-room, as Frederick W. Robertson said, but “education ends only with life.” And John Dewey concurs: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself,” he said. If these things are true, then success is not immediate, nor something that can immediately follow formal education either, but can be found only in the outcome of the entirety of our lives and the completion of our journeys. Education is a form of success on its own, and leads to more successes, but only if we choose to own our own person and lives, and accept our “successes” and “failures.” “You can’t be successful at everything,” Botton said. “You can’t have it all… [A]ny vision of success has to admit what it’s losing out on, where the element of loss is.”

School can’t prepare someone for all that will come, or give them direct answers for what choices they should make. Formal education is only a beginning. We don’t always know where we are going, and we can never know all that lies ahead of us, but we must continue moving forward and becoming the people we want to be. The paths will unfold as we face the challenges and are open to what may come. And if we get through all of that, we will have succeeded – in living.

Education Requirements For Aspiring Electricians

Becoming an electrician is not that easy because there are several requirements one has to fulfill in order to legally practice this job. Electricians do various things from installing electrical wirings to handling heavy equipment. Also, they can do maintenance or construction, or even both. If you want to pursue this job, you must have the following requirements at the very least.

Important Qualifications That You Need to Fulfill

A person wanting to become an electrician needs to be a graduate from a secondary school and must have a high-school diploma. In addition, you must have knowledge in technical drawing and mathematics, since having this job will require you to do computations and draw blueprints. You also need to attend courses provided by technical and vocational schools that teach about electrical concepts and theories. Attending these schools will give you more grasp on electrical codes implemented in your country as well as knowledge about power distribution concept.

Acquiring apprenticeship is also a requirement for this job. Any aspiring electrician has to undergo on-the-job training from a registered school or an experienced and licensed electrical professional. This training is tied up with classroom instruction that should be completed for a specified number of hours, depending on the country or state where you decide to take the course. During training, budding electricians learn about the techniques used in the trade. However, before you qualify for it, you must be 18 years old, have a high-school diploma, passed an aptitude test and drug testing. Apprentices can be given a portion of the standard salary received by an electrician during the training, and they can be lucky to gain a job right after.

Continuing Education

In order to increase salary rate, an electrician should continuously update his knowledge about the trade. An electrician should take further education and training on electrical codes and installation. Continuing education will allow electrician to update their knowledge on the latest electrical technologies used today. In addition that, participating in trainings and seminars will help them boost their skills and widen their knowledge. An electrician can also continue his education by taking manufacturer-specific training, safety programs and management training courses.

Electrician Schools

Fortunately, there are now plenty of schools offering short and long-term electrical courses to students who aspire to work in this kind of trade. Though most schools pretty much have the same requirements when it comes to enrollment, there are some that are quite strict as to the students that will be allowed to qualify to participate in this kind of course. That being said, you have to find all the requirements needed in a particular electrician school that you want to enroll in to ensure that you will qualify for admission. Doing so will help you save time, money and effort.

Remember that even the best electrical professionals, like the Atlanta electrician or Boston electrician, all went to school so they will be able to be efficient in their job to ensure that their customers are satisfied with the kind of service that they are offering them.