The Importance of Continuing Education

The Importance of Continuing Professional Development and How I Plan to Incorporate It Throughout My Career

When my parents were young, they used slide-rules to measure physical phenomena. They pondered the breadth and depth of human experiences with novels, the Dewey decimal system, and the daily newspaper if they were fresh out of wise grandmas. The idea of ‘the self-made person’ and ‘the American dream’ were solid pieces of furniture, hickory mantras. My parents saw people land on the moon – an event that heralded an acceleration of technological changes that made people aware we were in a new era.  People had less decisions to make than they do now. Resources were plentiful.

The Industrial Revolution used vast amounts of resources to bring permanent changes to our world. It allowed industrial nations to split the atom, to send spacecraft out of the solar system, and to produce vaccines for polio and smallpox. People learned, worked, and died according to the limits of pragmatic plans. Our hieroglyphs became alphabets, and our snail mail became bytes travelling close to light speed between smartphones: instantaneous global telepresence for entertainment, commerce, and education became…boring. Developing countries, though, would never have enough oil or mines to build the factories and schools to keep up with China or the US, but they needed to innovate solutions, to participate. In the Learning Age, entrepreneurs turned to smart cities  and sustainable green economies to pull us back from the precipice of mass extinction events, disease, and war. Continuing education united disparate groups caught in the grips of global change. Continuing education limited liability inherent in socialized inequalities.

Our book characters become memes. Our memes become tools to overhaul Wall Street. Our abacus became hordes of smart devices unleashing massive AI at the rate of Moore’s Law, and machine learning simulations solved conjectures that take lifetimes for consensus in scientific disciplines. Our libraries became cloud networks that organized automatically according to subscribers’ sentiment analysis probabilities. Things changed so fast that one could enter college for a degree for a job that became obsolete before they could move the tassel to the left side of the funny hat. So, whereas mercantile society had guilds, and industrialists their factories, we had hypermobile social engineering tools that influenced our behavior. We had limitless capacity to learn as a species, and blockchains became prosthetic.

People needed to balance knowledge with adaptability. People should have considered learning as a lifelong goal. We should have fought obsolescence instead of one another. Our species could no longer afford to consume resources at the rate it had in the past. If we had continued to educate one another to promote safe, positive, and productive spaces in which to pass the time, we could have eliminate labor for the sake of labor. We could always catch each other up. Like buffers, tragedies delayed the acquisition of verified learning to solve problems. Covid-19 recovery, for example, was a chance to learn something new. The displacement heralded a new chapter in the Long 19th Century, the Learning Age.

We had new mistakes to make that taught our next efforts. Continuing education was an unavoidable consequence of people who became separated by incompatible forms of intelligence in a web of global telepresence. In plain speech, humans were in a renaissance period of learning new things because of the internet.

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