As a passionate believer in the value of education, I am continually disappointed at our overall development of application-challenged graduates. Whether graduating from top-tier universities, trade schools, or other educational programs, there continues to be no shortage of students who are prepared for test questions, but are totally unprepared to apply their knowledge. This has been a well-recognized shortfall of SOL: the standardized testing program in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As we develop our curriculum at Water Otter, one of our primary objectives is to fill the GAP that exists between Gaining new knowledge through education and Applying that knowledge in a way that results in increased Productivity with real value. Learning facts, skills, and ways to apply talents seems to be the end game of formal education, but it is only the start for those employers looking to hire new employees.
Employees need people that know how to Apply their newfound knowledge in a manner that leads to increased Productivity. As an example, teaching a salesperson about all the technical features and benefits of a new product, can be of value only if he/she understands how to Apply those features and benefits in ways that bring real value to their customer.
Likewise, the customer that buys and is trained to use that product can only benefit from their knowledge of the technology if they understand how to Apply that technology to their process. Continuing education has an opportunity to play a vital role in helping employees learn how to Apply their knowledge in ways that increase productivity.
So how do we fill the GAP? At Water Otter, we start by understanding that continuing education is about more than just courses. That’s why we’ve established a new continual learning program that includes access to course material as a reference that is quickly and easily reviewed AND access to peer-to-peer community discussions where common experiences can be shared, including other online resource materials for further exploration. In other words, it is an extension of continuing education beyond just a “bunch of courses/credits” to include tools that add the complementary knowledge needed to solve real world problems. THIS is where education returns its value. This is also the distinction between traditional continuing education and the modern e-learning continual education, hosted on an advance Learning Management System that provides learners with a well-rounded learning experience.
By offering our program on an LMS, members have 24/7 access to our program. Education is of little value if it is unavailable when needed. The days of taking boring classes in stagnant environments are over. We also structure our program so our learners only pay an annual fee, instead of paying for their education in pieces. This eliminates much headache and frustration, not to mention the cost savings. This means, our members have UNLIMITED access year-round.
Education today is about having the tools you need, when you need them. It’s about problem solving and adding productive value. It’s time to overcome the GAP and redefine the way we measure the value of education. At Water Otter, we believe that the real value of continuing education should be measurable in dollars and cents!