The Future of Professional Education

We just finished up the first Future of Education in the Profession task force meeting and I am very excited and very worried at the same time. There is a tremendous opportunity to really improve training for the profession. We have the technology available to do many different things that have been scientifically shown to result in better learning with increased retention over the long haul. We also have a great legacy of requiring ongoing learning to continue to be a CPA, but that is also the scariest part.

That legacy of learning has become compliance focused instead of learning focused with learners seeking the lowest cost (or free) “hours” to meet the 40 hour a year compliance requirement without any regard to actually learning anything. We can change the way courses are designed, moving to a flipped classroom and using an outcomes based design process in a MOOC format (if your interested in what those are, why don’t you do some on demand learning and look them up), but if we, the members of the profession, don’t want to get back to the true meaning of continuing education – LEARNING something – then all the changes in the world to the courses won’t result in a better, more competent profession.

When was the last time you deliberately planned your training for the year? When was the last time you assessed your skills and competencies? When was the last time you actually forced your boss to tell you what you need to learn (not what training course to take) to get that promotion you want? I venture to guess most of you put more time into planning your one week summer vacation than planning your week worth of training for the coming year. Vacations are important, but that certainly seems backwards to me.

So I challenge all of you to take the first step in improving the quality of the continuing education you receive by actually planning the training you will take for the coming year to have a purpose – to make you more competent. If you do that I bet you will find the real quality training that exists and the more people take that quality training, the more it will be offered.

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