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Educational technology (EdTech) is driving change across the adult learning and continuing education landscape. As technology continues to improve, access to education also improves for people across the spectrum of society.
A vast number of fascinating innovations have taken place in recent years, led by nimble and intelligent companies. Equal access to the resources needed for adult and continuing education has been the focus, and the results are impressive.
More people than ever can develop their skill sets and take control of their career growth through online learning platforms and resources.
The future is even brighter for educational technology, and the opportunities for its application appear endless - especially given the way the world is changing with COVID-19 and its impact.
Edtech shouldn't exist in an abstract landscape, however. Aligning tools and techniques with the realities of modern life is the best way to engage adult learners looking to improve their skill sets.
As more companies start to focus on educational technology tools for adult learners, these tools need to keep the mantra of "life happens" in mind. Adults have adult responsibilities. Even with the best intentions, it can be a challenge to maintain a consistent pattern of learning.
The Transformation Through Educational Technology journal published a brilliant piece on opportunities available to align EdTech offerings with the realities of adult life, including:
Companies that create educational technology tools that consider the realities of modern adult life - and all the responsibilities and requirements that come with it - will be those who separate from the pack and establish a foothold in the market.
There are a wide variety of benefits that come from adaptive educational technology tools that provide flexible use for adult learners.
The skill development benefits are apparent. When learners can work at a pace that fits their schedule, in a comfortable place, and without distraction, their absorption of material improves. Therefore, skill development moves at a rapid pace.
Other benefits are less obvious, perhaps, but just as beneficial, including:
Let's take a look at each of these.
Several studies exist in regards to the health benefits of edtech. A study from the International Journal of Epidemiology noted a decreased risk of coronary disease for people who don't finish a formal educational path but acquire skills through adult learning later in life.
In general, keeping mentally active each day is correlated with the creation of a "memory reserve" that helps people keep their memory sharp, and can decrease the onset of diseases like dementia later in life.
As adult learning helps people to improve memory and decrease the risk of some health conditions, it can also help to develop coping skills and mechanisms that help with tough decisions.
Studies also have examined the relationship between the demands of adult learning and increased coping skills. Taking time from your schedule to take classes, or work toward certifications, is a serious commitment.
It likely requires a sacrifice in some other area of your life that requires you to be flexible and adaptable.
To cope with the sacrifices necessary:
This problem-solving mentality, reactive orientation, and self-motivation are all personality traits which continue to serve the adult learner throughout their experiences with educational technology, and in the workplace.
People who take advantage of the opportunities which edtech and adult learning provide actively open doors to new opportunities. After all, just by using this technology, you're showing acumen and self-motivation, which most people don't have.
There's an old saying that 10% of people lead, 80% of people wait for someone to tell them what to do, and the other 10% never do anything.
Leaders continuously work to develop the skills, experiences, and attributes needed to rise to the top of their fields and find new opportunities to shine.
Adult learners who take advantage of everything edtech has to offer don't just get better at the development of professional skills.
They also shart to reshape their approach to daily life, outside of work. The obligations we all have to deal with are universal. Life happens.
People who develop healthy coping skills, build deep personal and professional networks, and take on life's challenges with a positive mindset and continuous learning orientation will always rise to the top of the pack.
Educational technology provides a wide variety of benefits to adult learners that aren't just professional. These tools, courses, and programs help people be less externally-focused, and take control over their lives and consistently improve.
If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, and rise above your competition, take learning seriously and aggressively pursue skill development as a personal priority.
You’ll be glad you did!
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