Putting More Now Into The Internet
by Peter Drucker
Copied from Forbes
rlaexp.com site search: continuing education
Continuing adult education key phrases from the article that follows
- Online delivery is the trigger for this growth
- Demand for lifetime education stems from profound changes in society
- People who are already highly educated and high achievers increasingly sense that they are not keeping up
- Want and need new ways of looking at things outside of their competencies
- Want to learn to see things whole
- Reflect on their experiences, to see them in a broader perspective
- Need this perspective to cope with today's bewildering technological and economic changes
- Keeping up with knowledge and seeing the world whole mattered less in the days of lifetime employment
- Must take responsibility for their own futures. They cannot simply count on ascending a career ladder
- A great thing about knowledge is that it is mobile and transferable
- It belongs to you, not to your employer or the state
- It is highly marketable today
- With a potential market for continuing adult education thus embracing at least 40% of the typical developed-country's work force, conventional institutions no longer suffice
- Too expensive
- Insufficiently accessible in a physical sense
- They need accessible and flexible ways of learning
- People in the developing countries will be able to use the Internet to access the developed-world's best brains and valuable data, without the expense of building and staffing great universities equivalent of a one-to-one teacher-student ratio
- Online continuing education is creating a new and distinct educational realm
- It is the future of education
- There is a global market here that is potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars
Education is already grabbing a major chunk of America’s gross national product.
I believe that the U.S. now spends around $1 trillion on education and training.
This number will increase rapidly, but the growth won’t be in traditional schools, which currently take about 10% of the GNP (kindergarten through high school, 6%; colleges and universities, 4%).
The growth will be in continuing adult education.
Online delivery is the trigger for this growth, but the demand for lifetime education stems from profound changes in society.
In simplest terms, people who are already highly educated and high achievers increasingly sense that they are not keeping up.
I teach many senior executives in my Advanced Management Course at Claremont Graduate School.
Most of the class consists of men and women in their mid-forties who’ve been selected as comers by their companies.
They’ve come back to school because they want and need new ways of looking at things outside of their competencies.
They want to learn to see things whole.
Many of them are there to reflect on their experiences, to see them in a broader perspective.
They need this perspective to cope with today’s bewildering technological and economic changes.
Engineers tell me that they need a thorough refresher course in their specialties at least every other year and a “reimmersion” — their word — in the basics at least every four years.
So do millions of other knowledge workers.
The market for continuing education is already much bigger than most people realize.
A good guess is that it already accounts for 6% of GNP in the U.S. and is rapidly getting there in other developed countries.
It is going to get a lot higher.
Why this explosion of demand?
We live in an economy where knowledge, not buildings and machinery, is the chief resource and where knowledge-workers make up the biggest part of the work force.
Until well into the 20th century, most workers were manual workers.
Today in the U.S., only about 20% do manual work.
Of the remainder, nearly half, 40% of our total work force, are knowledge-workers.
Again, the proportions are roughly similar for other developed countries.
Workers have always had to gain skills, but knowledge is different from skill.
Skills change very slowly.
If Socrates were to return to the world and resume his trade as a stonemason, he would recognize every tool and would know how to use it.
His finished product would be identical for practical purposes with the steles he hewed for a living 2,400 years ago.
My Dutch ancestors — drucker means “printer” in Dutch — ran a print shop in Amsterdam from 1517 until around 1730.
In all those centuries none of them had to learn a new skill.
It was the same in most industries.
In dressmaking there hasn’t been a new skill required since a Hungarian invented the buttonhole in the 11th century.
For most of human history a skilled worker had learned what he needed to learn by the time his apprenticeship was finished at 18 or 19.
Not so with the modern knowledge-worker.
Physicians, medical technicians in the pathology lab, computer-repair people, lawyers and human resource managers can .
This is why so many professional associations put continuing education among their highest priorities.
Keeping up with knowledge and seeing the world whole mattered less in the days of lifetime employment.
When young people took a job at Metropolitan Life or the telephone company or General Motors or Royal Dutch/Shell or Mitsubishi, they often expected to remain there until retirement.
That assumed that the company would be around for the rest of one’s career.
In fact, few companies remain successful for more than two to three decades, and that organizational life span is shrinking.
And not just in declining industries.
In 1990 Digital Equipment Corp. was the second-biggest company in the computer industry; a decade later it no longer exists as an independent company.
In the early 1980s nothing could stop IBM; in the 1990s it shed more than 100,000 jobs.
Does anyone remember the once-great British motorcar industry?
As giant companies spin off manufacturing operations in favor of outsourcing, job turnover mounts.
A young person entering the work force in 2000, with a possible working life of 50 years, has little expectation and almost no chance of working for the same company even a decade hence.
In this world people must take responsibility for their own futures.
They cannot simply count on ascending a career ladder.
A great thing about knowledge is that it is mobile and transferable.
It belongs to you, not to your employer or the state.
And it is highly marketable today.
With a potential market for continuing adult education thus embracing at least 40% of the typical developed-country’s work force, conventional institutions no longer suffice.
They are too expensive and insufficiently accessible in a physical sense.
In southern California, where I teach, the highways are clogged.
People who have families and are already working a full day can ill afford the commuting time to get to a traditional school.
They need accessible and flexible ways of learning.
Already colleges and universities are putting some of their best teachers and their best courses on the Internet.
I myself (see Drucker’s Disciple) just produced ten teaching programs to be marketed on the web by Corpedia.
Students can access this sort of material from their homes at their own convenience.
Or the learning can be digitized and sent to satellite learning centers, where small groups of students can meet after working hours.
Imagine the potential in online learning for the world’s poor countries to leapfrog their way up the development ladder.
Assuming that their politicians do not try to control the Internet’s content and delivery systems, people in the developing countries will be able to use the Internet to access the developed-world’s best brains and valuable data, without the expense of building and staffing great universities.
Bright and ambitious young men and women of the emerging-market countries will get first-class educations without leaving home — thereby addressing the brain-drain problem that has helped to widen the gap between rich and poor nations.
Online teaching, however, is more than just time-efficient and cost-efficient.
It is more flexible than the classroom in that the student not getting the point right away can replay the material.
The interactivity of online education, its facility for blending graphics and pictures with the spoken word, give it an advantage over the typical classroom.
With the interactivity of the Internet, we get the equivalent of a one-to-one teacher-student ratio.
Around the world, chat rooms or study groups can easily be formed to discuss how best to apply global ideas to local businesses or health or other organizations.
In short, the means are finally at hand to improve productivity in education.
Judging by historical experience, the new online continuing education of the already well-educated will not replace traditional education.
New channels of distribution are typically additions and complements rather than replacements.
Television, for example, did not kill radio or magazines or books.
The new medium, TV, walked off with much of the growth, but the other media continued to thrive and grow, too.
Online continuing education is creating a new and distinct educational realm, and it is the future of education.
There is a global market here that is potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
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