Continuing education programs: what is it and why is it important?

Continuing education programs
Continuing education programs

Companies around the world are introducing continuing education programs to respond to the demand of the market and remain competitive for as long as possible. But how to train continuously? Is it possible to motivate employees for continuous development? What is needed and can it be saved?

What is continuing education programs?

Continuing education programs
Continuing professional education

Continuous education is a concept that unites the very idea that a person learns from birth to death. Continuing education programs for citizens, and teachers, schools or universities in the country is not enough. Then it is difficult to say that optimal conditions for continuous education have been created.

But there is a reverse situation when the infrastructure is ready, and there is no motivation to learn. For example, in 2017, at Coursera, only 33.5% of students graduated from the courses they enrolled happily. Follow our advice for starting professional practice. 

Continuous education is the choice of everyone to receive and use new knowledge throughout life.

And the role of the company in which a person works is to create an infrastructure that will help to train continuously.

A private company can participate in the development of a continuing education infrastructure?

Yes, there are many examples of such participation. Of course, most of the burden falls on the state: the system of primary, higher education, and professional development is not yet “in the teeth” for the private sector. Now, there are organizations that have an impact on the accessibility and quality of education.

For example, the same Coursera or MIT – those universities lay out educational content in free access. We should not forget about the example of other firms with their system of lifelong hiring and the organization of private schools and universities.

Companies that train their own employees in one way or another contribute to continuing education.

From the point of view of an ordinary company, we will consider continuing education.

Why should a simple company invest in the infrastructure of continuing education?

Continuing education programs

There are four main reasons:

  1. Rapid development of technology.

This encourages the company to constantly improve the skills of its employees. In some industries, such requirements are fixed at the state level: training for doctors, pharmacists, auditors. Somewhere this is a market demand. If you have anything to do with IT business and do not know what blocking or e-learning is, there is a chance that in a couple of years you will simply be thrown out of the market.

  1. The influx of new ideas.

If the company is able to benefit from the training of employees, then it will not have an insufficiency in ideas. Employees will prompt how to increase the competitiveness of their product, save on production resources or improve the efficiency of the business as a whole. However, with this approach, the training system should be included in the overall management system of the organization. The remaining subsystems should support the initiative of employees. For example, the reward system should encourage the generation of ideas, and the project management system. Like collect applications and translate them into projects. And if at least one of the elements fails, do not expect good results.

  1. Social responsibility of business.

New jobs and staff development can positively affect the economy and demography of the region. Of course, this applies more to large enterprises.

  1. Increase the value of HR-brand of the company in the labor market.

The salary and bonuses are promised by all. There are no opportunities for development. People often choose companies that offer professional growth, albeit at the expense of wages.

Characteristics of continuing educationCharacteristics of continuing education

Yes, there are such differences. In the case of continuing education programs, you are aware that:

Training – A tool for achieving the company’s strategic goals. It will not be able to save without losing quality. Training is one of the main reasons that an employee came to your company.

The training should be really continuous: From the first day of the newcomer to the company to career change programs for the retired workers.

In other words, the management of the company understands what costs will require continuous education of employees. But he knows the benefits that it will bring. And the choice in favor of continuing education is made consciously.

What elements usually comprise the company’s continuing education system?

Usually, the system of continuous education is adjusted to the life cycle of employees. Here you can select several elements:

Testing

Most often used at the stage of recruitment to check the skills of the applicant. Here you can use simulators to perform virtual test tasks: it can be an analysis of the developed code, an automatic analysis of the written article, and an estimate of the quality of the layout. In addition to testing, applicants can be offered a short course on the history of the company, its values, principles of cooperation, etc.

Adaptation program

These are the courses of a “young fighter” or an onboarding program. They help the newcomer to adapt to the new workplace. The program includes familiarity with corporate standards and procedures, the rules of interaction with colleagues, the fundamentals of safety and information protection – all that every employee needs to know.

company's continuing education system
company’s continuing education system

The main training program

This includes courses on skills development, training for the development of individual skills, the exchange of experience among employees. Such training can be run inside the company or taken from private business trainers, at exhibitions, conferences.

Learning foreign languages

From basic communication skills to advanced techniques and passing qualification exams. As a rule, such training is conducted by companies that conduct international business.

Formation of the personnel reserve

Training in management skills of ordinary employees in recent times is considered a good form. Often such courses grow into corporate MBA programs.

In some companies, employees who are reduced are also studying. The list of directions is wide: from studying points of the provision on non-disclosure of information and rules of communication with the media to courses on changing professions or looking for a new job.

How to start a continuous education? Are there any standards?

Continuing education programs

Each company has its own methods. But you can track certain trends.

Often when starting a continuous education, all training is done internally and conducted by its external providers. The company does not yet have sufficient experience and ability to maintain corporate trainers and methodologists.

Over time, the learning vector shifts toward centralization. Several popular training programs appear in the company, the staff of corporate trainers appears and grows. As a result, some companies even create corporate universities.

As costs increase, the question arises of optimizing the costs of training. The further direction of development depends, first of all, on the Director for Personnel. In the worst case, they cut the training program, in the optimal case they master new, more budgetary formats.

For example, mixed training: the theory of employees is studied by electronic courses, and the practice is still in full-time training.

Are there any ways to make the system of continuing education of employees cheaper?

Yes, there are ways to save:

Learn distance learning

Develop an electronic course is cheaper than a series of face-to-face training. Employees learn when they are comfortable. At the same time, the manager through the distance learning system in details controls the process and result of training of each employee.

Continuing education programs
Open & Distance learning

Connect to create training courses for internal experts

Many order training content from external providers. It’s an unnecessary waste. Develop a useful course will help internal experts. The main thing is that the company has a methodology that will develop on the basis of this information an electronic course or face-to-face training.

Give training for outsourcing

It can be complete or partial. In the International market, there are many companies that offer business education as a service (Education as a Service). They can lease a distance learning system, help with the development of educational content or arrange the entire process of training the staff on a turnkey basis.

How to achieve efficiency?

There are several principles that will increase the chances of success. Teach employees only to help you work better. It’s foolish to pump staff with knowledge that is not useful.

All actions must be coordinated. Try to avoid situations when you teach employees of one model of behavior, but you want to implement another.

Distance and mixed training will help to achieve efficiency. In this case, it is not necessary to buy a distance learning system, many SDS are available by subscription. This will reduce the cost of training.

For example, you will no longer need to travel to the regions to train employees from branches.

How to motivate employees to learn?

It is necessary to form a culture of knowledge. Otherwise, no matter how modern the SDS was, how fascinating the educational content would be, the result will be minimal.

How to create a culture of knowledge?

If this is the first experience and employees do not yet believe that training will help them, discipline, requirements and performance control are the best set of implementation tools.

As the company develops and the interest of employees grows. The style of implementation changes democratically. But do not overestimate the craving of employees for knowledge – training is an energy-consuming process, it is common for a person to avoid it.

Encourage the desire to learn and teach, talk about the success of employees, come up with a system of rewards, and then the overall level of motivation will increase.

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