As you may know, I teach a lot.
I love it.
I consider it an honor that people will listen to what I have to offer. I try very hard to make my classes entertaining and useful.
I have taught in many different settings:
- Trade shows
- Private companies
- Non-profit organizations
- Chambers of Commerce
- Community colleges
- 4 year degree colleges
I’m not sure if there is a type of venue that I haven’t taught in.
That has given me an interesting perspective of what education is in 2012. I have some very strong beliefs on the topic.
What I can tell you is: I believe Alvin Toffler’s 3 Waves.
He organizes societies into these waves:
- First Wave: an agriculture-based society. More advanced than hunters and gatherers, but primarily driven by agriculture.
- Second Wave: Industrial era. Toffler writes: “The Second Wave Society is industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. This is important: This is the era most of our institutions are still in. Government, education, etc.
- Third Wave: Post-industrial society. This is an era of demassification, diversity and knowledge-based production. This is the era I am coming from right now. If you are an accountant, lawyer, designer, coder, etc, you are living in the Third Wave.
What is important to understand here is that different parts of societies are in various stages of all these waves. It’s not like all of us are knowledge workers. We’re not.
That said, it is the predominant wave of most first-world countries.
However, our institutions are moving at a much slower rate than that of society.
In particular, our traditional education systems is rooted by unions, government and tenured positions. None of these institutions have any motivation to change. The current situation is ideal for them. You don’t need me to tell you about how much complaining goes on in schools every time a new idea is pushed forth. Just try proposing a meritocracy in school and see where it gets you.
Our schools are still firmly in the second wave. It’s mass education. It’s teaching the masses.
This is true in virtually all K-12 aged schools and it’s true for 4 year secondary schools.
The world has moved on and these systems have not.
I set all this up to tell you that there are answers out there.
There are solutions.
The most recent solution I found is Udemy.
This is an on-demand, online learning center where you can learn all sorts of things.
The possibilities are endless. And so are the professors… New York Times best-selling authors, CEOs, celebrities, and Ivy League professors.
The 2 big questions they ask on the home page are:
- who do you want to be?
- What do you want to learn today?
This is what education is in the Third Wave.
It’s not about getting a degree anymore. It’s about becoming more useful and valuable in society.
On the Udemy about us page they write:
Udemy helps students make moves. Whether you want to get promoted, break into a new industry, start a company, further a passion, or just accelerate your life, Udemy helps you learn from the amazing instructors in the world, so that you can get there and get there faster.
As a business owner I have never once hired a marketing or “e-learning” student that graduated from a 4 year program that knew anything about marketing or “e”.
The fact that someone has a marketing degree only tells me that they may be interested in marketing. That is helpful. I never expect them to know anything about marketing. And digital marketing? That’s laughable. There is no education happening in 4 year colleges that is keeping up with the digital marketing space.
I believe that once businesses stop putting a blanket, blind value on having a four year degree (which has happened with me) the current system will begin to finally erode.
And it can’t happen soon enough.
I am looking for people that are “ready now.”
I love when I can hire someone that knows our industry and is good at it.
Those kind of people only come to me from having experience.
People that have learned the basics, applied them to real world scenarios and then gotten proficient at them. That’s who I’m looking for.
A place like Udemy sets that ball in motion.
The kind of person that takes a class at Udemy is looking to learn specific Third Wave capabilities.
They are likely learning these capabilities to apply them to a real world scenario.
They are becoming “ready now.”
That’s the future of education.
If you are looking to become more valuable to the workforce, don’t go back to get your masters. Start looking at places like Udemy. Learn specific skills. Apply them to real world scenarios.
Now you have become someone of interest in the Third Wave.
If you are interested, I’ve put up 3 courses on Udemy. You can view them here: