The Learning Continuum
There is a long lived debate as to whether it was Sir Francis Bacon or Thomas Hobbes who first said “scientia potentia est,” or as we know it better in English, “knowledge is power.” Either way, both were extremely learned men. If knowledge is power, then the continuation of education is the best way to further empower yourself, whether to become smarter and worldlier, or as it is more common in today’s society, to get ahead in life with a better career.
Continuing education is a very open concept that means many things. Some people believe it to mean simply ‘adult education’ whereas others see it as mostly a term referring to non-academic trade schools. Continuing education is not limited to either of these two, but in fact includes a variety of programs and courses that are taken at the post-secondary level. Continuing education takes place on university campuses, in laboratories and workshops, and within the comfort of your own home. It is certainly not limited to a general interest in the humanities just as much as it is not limited to hands-on experience in the service industry.
Some of the most common forms of continuing education are the following:
– degree credit courses by non-traditional students, such as part-time students or students without a high school diploma or equivalent
– non-degree career training, for competitive jobs in industries that do not require a university degree, like the entertainment or design industries
– workforce training, specialized instruction for careers in various service industries that do not require degrees, such as the automotive and security industries
– formal personal enrichment courses, similar to university programs but without examination and grading processes
– self-directed learning, programs that offer guidance and and assistance to those seeking to educate themselves
– experiential learning, programs that encourage a more active approach to furthering education through problem-solving
Today, a lot of continuing education is done through distance learning and online courses, yet traditional classrooms and seminars continue to exist. It is not uncommon for the student in continuing education to make the best of a hybrid between regular on-site classes as well as online courses. Because of this versatility, continuing education’s popularity is constantly growing.
Another reason for the popularity of continuing education, whether on a traditional campus or taking online courses, is how financially feasible and affordable it has become learn a new trade or enrich your knowledge. By widening the scope of traditional classes in terms of scheduling and part-time availability, as well as making the most of today’s internet technology, many people are able to combine their studies with their regular jobs. Most schools also offer financial aid to students.
Benjamin Franklin once said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” It is never too late to invest in your mind, in your future, and in yourself with continuing education.