Sustainable continuing education already exists. In Germany, you notice it a little later.
It is becoming increasingly pointless to learn in advance. Especially in the technological world of work, knowledge quickly becomes obsolete and new knowledge is constantly being added.
Communication and knowledge transfer increasingly no longer take place indoors, but in the virtual spaces of the internet. Both the feed points and the places of retrieval can be located anywhere with fast internet access.
The largest providers of continuing education in German-speaking countries are the Volkshochschulen (VHS), which are united in an association. The offer of the VHS, which was established in the 19th and 20th centuries, cannot be adapted to changing needs at short notice. The reason is the regional orientation and the organization at city or district level, which fits in with an authority. This corresponds to an antonym for an agile internet start-up.
In the most populous countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas, there is no continuing education at VHS. There, online courses on the Udemy learning platform are booked millions of times over.
In India, the Udemy app has been the 1st most accessed android app since the start of the Corona Pandemic: “Udemy crosses Tinder to become India’s top-grossing Android app – 스타트업앤칠”.
However, UDEMY and many MOOCs lack the shared learning experience or the personal approach via video conferencing or a combination of both. If you are a self-organised learner, you can find the missing native-speaking teachers for face-to-face conversations via videoconference on several platforms. Just search for “italki”, “Preply” or “Verbling”.
Verbling is a US company, italki comes from Hong Kong and Preply from Ukraine. All of them are similar in their offer, orientation, and short descriptions, e.g.: “Preply connects over 140,000 tutors teaching 50 languages in 203 countries worldwide”.
The above-mentioned providers offer a wide range of inexpensive native speakers of important European languages with a wide variety of specialisations, because in earlier centuries the European colonial powers spread the important languages all over the world. English lessons from South Africa, French from Cameroon and Haiti with trained young teachers often cost less in individual lessons than group lessons of the same duration at a VHS. Technical discussions with professionally experienced European academics can be had for as little as 30 euros per hour.
In contrast to the usual further education courses, you can choose the topics, scope, dates and level of difficulty yourself in private lessons, and if you don’t like the course, you can simply change trainers. Thousands of trainers can be found in the electronic catalogue with an introductory video. The profile often includes a curriculum vitae with school and university degrees as well as customer evaluations and comments. Most language teachers outside Germany do not have civil servant status or a comparable permanent position. There is international competition for clients, with teachers from poorer countries gaining access to the market with low fees. The fast internet makes this possible.
Thanks to low-cost or free introductory offers with 1:1 supervision, the individual teaching effectiveness of the teacher is quickly apparent to the client. The language competence as well as the language use can be compared by means of reference frames. Success can be certified if necessary. Sooner or later, everyone will find the teacher of his or her choice in the rich offer.
When continuing education goes beyond building language competence, it becomes complex because there are no common reference frameworks. The danger of being pushed into the low fee segments by foreign competitors does not currently exist for German-speaking engineers, master craftsmen and IT trainers. The market for coaching via videoconferencing is still at an early stage when it comes to further education beyond languages.
The growing demand for exclusive teaching offers and individual consulting services is also foreseeable in Germany. Anyone who attracts positive attention as a YouTuber with explanatory videos automatically receives enquiries about whether they can provide tutoring or coaching for various projects. The fees for the projects that the author has been offered range between 300 and 5,000 euros.
Often, very confidential company secrets are involved. That is why platforms and intermediaries in Hong Kong, the USA or Ukraine are out of the question for companies. If German law or EU standards are to be binding, the platform must be located in the EU.
It must be possible to take into account all the standards commonly used in companies, i.e. the platform must be open to a wide range of wishes.
In some companies, only WebEx, Zoom or Teams are allowed for video conferencing and the external coach must adapt to this if he is interested in the assignment.
Specialists and experts (such as the author) continue to earn good fees even after retirement because their collaboration is calculable and scalable. With coaching on demand, you only pay for services that complement self-organized training, because you can’t derive everything from YouTube or Udemy explainer videos. The clarification of needs and the discussion of possible cooperation via video conference is usually free of charge. Besides, this is a good way to see whether the technical prerequisites are in place. Only if both see a win-win situation, the temporary partnership is started. The discussed procedure and the settlement are set down in writing and confirmed.
Many experienced people with didactic skills can pass on their experience in this way. This should be particularly interesting if you don’t want to end up on the sidelines after a varied professional life.
As a senior with many years of experience, Konrad Rennert (the author) seeks contact with colleagues of all ages, i.e. trainers, coaches, lecturers, teachers and professionals of all kinds, to discuss contemporary continuing education. Professionals with visions could jointly found an open mediation or self-promotion platform. This would then be something like the yellow pages for continuing education via videoconferencing with a functionality and performance as can be seen with Udemy, italki, Preply or Verbling. Anyone who knows the functionality of Booking.com when booking suitable holiday accommodation knows what a newly designed platform for booking continuing education should look like.
There is a list of publications and a collection of material on the development of the vision:
Anyone who recognizes in the vision statement how future “continuing education on demand” can be implemented, please register for the dialogue: firstname.lastname@example.org