Is Professional Continuing Education really worth it?

Professional service firms are often driven to become their clients most innovative and detail oriented partners. Professional services organizations such as the Architects Institute of British Columbia or the Financial Planning Standards Council have helped fuel this culture of continuous improvement.

A common model for continuing education is members are required to complete several learning credits administered through seminars, lunch and learns or specific professional development days.  For many firms these courses can be costly, inconvenient and time consuming.  Do they offer the kind of value that will develop tangible benefits for those taking the courses?

Studies have shown that learning and retention are best encouraged through engaging content delivered in ways that appeal to different types of learning styles. The goal of continuing education is more than just credits. The investment should sharpen skills, knowledge, and help create ideas for the future.

Continuing education is valuable but not all programs are the same. Some suggestions to consider when selecting a continuing education course for your business:

• Does the subject matter builds skills needed to develop your strategic objective?
• Does the timing and location of your course align with your business workflow?
• Who is teaching the course? Do they have the credibility and expertise to teach what you need?
• How scalable is the course? Can you and your staff learn together to improve company culture?
• Is the course delivery and style engaging? Will it support long-term retention and impact?

These criteria can help you evaluate your continuing education decisions. The internet gives you the freedom to move out of the classroom and learn at your computer or your mobile device. Consider your continuing education requirements and see if you’re getting the value out of them that will drive your business up the Value Pyramid.

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