How the Continuing Education industry is evolving.

Imagine the last CE course you took. Was it filled with raucous laughter and high fives? I doubt it. More than likely you were sitting at a computer or in a classroom, listening or reading the same material from last year, and the year before that. How much information do you retain? Will you put it to good use?

In theory, continuing education was implemented to keep professionals current within their designated fields. Sometimes, it achieves that goal. But many times, it fails to teach new material. I’ve begun to wonder why so many professionals continue to torture themselves (and their wallets) with mundane courses. The continuing education industry needs a revolutionary change. Here’s why.

What’s wrong with the CE industry today?

To start, requirements vary immensely across the country, and the standard quality of education has declined. Knowledge evaluations are almost non-existent and quality control is rarely enforced. But the real issue is that not all continuing education is created equal.

In every state, each professional board draws the line on renewal requirements, deciding what is important and what is not. This could include specific required courses like Prevention of Medical Errors or Laws and Rules of the Board, in addition to general courses. In some states, there are no learning evaluations, meaning licensees doesn’t need to view the material, but instead they can check a box that states they have read all the material. That’s it. They never see the content, and they don’t learn. They pay to skip class, and get credit for their continuing “education.” If that doesn’t concern you, it should. This is not only isolated to online courses, individuals skip out on live classes too. Attendees often bring other work with them, sign-in and leave, or simply take a nap. No one can force you to pay attention. No one can force you to learn.

What’s even more frustrating is the continuing education providers. Giant corporations that have a large following and sell thousands of courses are often not run by industry professionals; instead they are individuals that have no experience in the given field that they have been tasked with writing material for. This leads to boring, irrelevant courses, and thus the cycle continues (and so do the naps).

Dreadful.

When did the industry become a corporate monster that doesn’t care about your interests? When did CE become an obligation, rather than an opportunity to expand your professional knowledge?

So many professionals struggle to renew their licenses each year due to these “dreadful” hours. How can we change this experience? How can we, as consumers, alter the industry to become an experience that we look forward to? How do we create content that truly challenges our thoughts in our professional fields?

I believe that the answer lies within each of us; that each professional knows their professional field better than any big corporation ever could. Nurses know nursing best, so why not give them the tools to create content for other nurses? A school teacher named Jackie Mutchenson coined the phrase “It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us.” It’s time to make a difference, and we need you to beat the system.

Have you ever considered becoming a CE provider? Have you ever sat in a class and thought you could teach the material yourself? You are exactly who we need on our side of the revolution. Ever heard of Udemy? They’re like the Etsy or Shopify of self-study courses. They’ve created an online platform where industry professionals can create, market and sell their own courses on just about any subject you can think of. What about Table Mesa? They’re doing the same thing but for continuing education courses. The students are becoming the teachers and the courses are becoming more relevant, more engaging, and licensees are learning more. Imagine a community of nursing providers who create compelling courses you can actually apply to your practice. That sounds nice doesn’t it?

There are people who are aware of the industry’s imperfections, and they are taking action. If we join together, we can flip the industry on its head. Let’s rewrite the rulebook and transform continuing education into what it was originally intended to be: an enlightening and enjoyable extension of our professional knowledge. Take charge of your education. Become an educational provider.

“Each of us owes a portion of our time to the profession wherein we make our living”
-Henry Ford

Go give back to your community. It feels good I promise.