Get Ahead By Going Online: Advancing your career may be one click away

Get Ahead By Going Online Advancing your career may be one click away by Louis B. Tharp, Ph.D. August 2000 The surest path to career success is learning. This fact becomes more obvious every day as we move into this third...

Get Ahead By Going Online

Advancing your career may be one click away

by Louis B. Tharp, Ph.D.

August 2000

The surest path to career success is learning. This fact becomes more obvious every day as we move into this third millennium, already being called "the millennium of knowledge." When the whole world is changing - at the fastest pace in history - people with cutting edge knowledge are in great demand. The best promotions are going to the people who know what's new - especially in technology. This means that learning is the primary runway for taking off to new career destinations.

The problem: Finding time for further training or continuing education

It seems like everyone today talks about having a "full plate." You may feel like you are trying to juggle six dinner plates, plus a large bowl of hot soup! How can you find the time to obtain the education and training that may mean career advancement? Taking formal scheduled classes requires you to jump several hurdles - getting registered, matching their scheduled meetings into your over-scheduled life, driving to the campus or training facility, and attending during those exact hours over several weeks. Meanwhile, work and home obligations and duties do not magically disappear. Studies show that the most common reasons students drop classes are not academic difficulties. It's personal factors - at home and on the job - that interfere with the good intentions of even the most ambitious students. How can you overcome these obstacles? The solution may be just one mouse click away.

Upgrading your skills online

Just as the Internet is revolutionizing everything else in our lives, it is changing the nature of learning. Online learning is here - and it's here to stay. This does not mean that traditional forms of training and education are doomed. There will always be a need for traditional classrooms and face-to-face instruction. This is particularly true in the area of technical training, since some tasks will always require hands-on shop experience. Pity passengers flying in planes maintained by any future A&P trained entirely in a virtual classroom, using virtual wrenches to tighten virtual bolts - with a mouse! I foresee FAA Advisory Circulars 747(a) (b) (c) and (d): Cautions Regarding Virtual Maintenance Techniques When Applied to Real Aircraft.

Seriously, however, there is much to learn that can be learned online. In fact, there are many things that may be learned better online. Online learning is primarily useful for the folks who already have had hands-on training, plus years of job experience, and can probably qualify for a Ph.D. - standing for Doctor of Practical Hardwork. For such professionals and other adult students, online learning is sometimes the method of choice.

Advantages of online learning

Your computer may be your ticket to further training and career advancement. The first advantage to online learning is that most online classes are scheduled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As a former college professor who only lectured on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am rather impressed with the work ethic of these "virtual teachers" - and the "Always Open" policy!

Online courses allow you the advantage of "byte-sized" learning. You can squeeze in learning at any time - putting in an hour here, 20 minutes there, or maybe half of your lunch hour at work. You can fit the course around your own busy schedule. Students can walk in and out of the "classroom" at their own leisure without bothering the lecturer. The silicon teacher will wait while you go to the fridge for a cold beer. Don't try that in a traditional classroom!

The third advantage is the chance to concentrate your efforts to produce efficient learning. In an online course, you can skip over what you already know. If you don't understand some point, you can review it, again and again, until you get it. Online learning puts you actively in charge of your own learning. It can be the most efficient educational process possible.

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