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Is This the Future of Education and Learning?

My grandfather grew up at the beginning of the last century. It was when cars were so expensive you had to rob banks to buy one.Is This the Future of Education and Learning?

Steam engines were connected to rail carriages and horses pulled carts around the streets. My “Pop” was a milkman for a large part of his life. That meant controlling a horse driven cart to deliver milk door to door. It was when milk turned up in bottles at the crack of dawn heralded by the clopping of hooves.

It was an industrial age.

Most people’s living was earned by the sweat of the brow, hard work and using dangerous machines. Occupational health and safety was still the figment of someone’s imagination.

I remember working during my school holidays in a steel fabrication plant as a teenager and sat behind a machine that creaked and groaned for many a 12 hour night shift. It had big sharp blades and dangerous moving bits.

Meal time at midnight in the workers lunch room was an observation of a parallel universe as brawny labourers paid special attention to newbies that didn’t understand the factory workers social protocols.

It scarred me for life!

The work night was so mind numbing, tedious and boring that dawn and knock off time couldn’t come soon enough. The wages were some compensation to a job that offered nothing but a bleak future.

The benefit was that I realised that I would rather use brains before brawn when choosing a career.

The knowledge economy

If there is one thing that my parents instilled in me from a young age was the value of education. I was also lucky enough to be born with an appetite for reading and learning that has never left me.

Curiosity was also inherited.

Those inclinations and innate abilities led me into teaching followed by a sales and marketing career in technology. This placed me as a consultant and marketer during the “Personal Computer” disruption,…then diving head on into the web industry, social media and blogging over the years.

I have never stopped learning.

The learning revolution

The knowledge economy rewards those that are willing to make their own path and invest in constant learning and education. The changes to how business and life works have been more revolution than evolution as information has moved online.

The social web is something that fits into that paradigm of education and learning as we move into an age of knowing and online expression. We don’t need a library to visit…it is all online.

Want to know?… then Google. Want to find out if a course is good or not…ask your friends on Facebook.

From formal to self directed

To go beyond high school education the choices in the past were limited. It was university or nothing, Formal education was often the only choice. You also had to attend in person and this often involved buses, trains and automobiles.

It took time, travel and money.

But the web has provided a freedom to learn anytime, anywhere.

One of these education portals is Open2Study which provides free, high quality tertiary and professional education online. It’s a fresh new approach to learning that is designed with the online student in mind.

Learning with emerging education platforms such as Open2Study is an effective strategy if you’re curious about:

  • Online study
  • Looking to boost your professional skills
  • Returning to study
  • Wanting to learn something new for fun

Currently there are 19 subjects available. Subjects vary from financial literacy to strategic management.

One class that I have started is “Writing for the Web“. The challenge for writing for blogs and websites is that people can easily click away so writing for short attention spans and skimming and scanning is a skill you need to develop. That is if you want build a loyal and faithful following.

My class started this week, but you can still enrol until 9 June and get started.

If this isn’t the ideal time for you to study, each subject will be available multiple times a year, so you can do it later if life is too busy.

What about you?

How are you using online education and courses? Has it changed your learning habits? Are you reading more?

I’d love to hear if you sign up and find out what you think about Open2Study. Nothing like quality free education. It took us from the industrial age to the knowledge economy.



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Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Jutta Harms

    Jeff, I agree with you that lifelong learning got so much easier with all these online programs available. Knowlege is spreading faster than ever. I signed up for an online master’s program at SNHU to learn more about social media

    • That is great to see you taking advantage of online education. How is the experience Jutta?

  • Cheri Carroll

    Jeff, thanks so much for sharing the class — I’m signed up and am starting it today. I love the Australian accent…and I really really like your blog.

    • That is very cool. Hope you enjoy the class Cheri

  • Very interesting topic which resonates with my own educational experiences. I agree that online learning is the future in education, but as part of a blended learning experience. As a recent mature graduate I learned via traditional classroom and online learning. The benefits of being in University with other students and my tutors was invaluable to my learning experience. I learned many important theories and concepts in Business & Marketing, but I had to learn much about social media by following thought leaders online. I’ll never stop learning as It genuinely gives me a buzz, but online learning mustn’t be autonomous. Of course we want to have tech-savvy teaching, but communication needs to involve real people in the flesh.

    You might be interested in reading an academic journal written by Norah Jones & Alice Man Sze Lau titled Blending learning: widening participation in higher education. I can pop you an email of it’s difficult to source online.

    • Thanks Jason for those insights and that research. I will check it out.

      • I researched a little when I was involved in a University debate about online & distance learning and their relevance in encouraging education for hard to reach groups, my topic was care leavers.
        Australia featured heavily in the distance learning research as they’re addressing the indigenous tribes as a hard to reach group and have lots of good research material available.

        • Thanks Jason for that information and that makes sense as Australia is a large country geographically with many remote areas.

  • Claire Lister

    Very interesting article. I agree that learning formats are changing, but would stress the perils of distance learning. I run a network of over 100 Pitman Training Centres, and our completion rates are 98% – unparalleled when compared to distance learning. We provide students with centre based learning, as well as blended learning options – all the benefits of online learning, with the back up support of a real network of student supervisors. Confidence and encouragement are key to achievement of a learning plan, so I definitely support some of the other comments about learning alongside other students and benefitting from that interaction, as well as having an effective support system to help you through.

    • Thanks Claire for that real life case study of the importance of a balanced approach to learning.

  • Good to see the social media evolution of learning.

  • AIMInternetMarketing

    Hey Jeff, thanks for the fascinating article. I think distance and online learning are great for the motivated learner. It’s pleasing to see the increase of free online resources that make learning more efficient and convenient.

    • Yes and think we have only seen the start of it! Much more to come.

  • Thanks for the comment Maggie and for the tip.

  • Jackie Willis

    Thank you Jeff. I have signed up to the Writing for the Web course on Open2Study. A great resource to have found because my linguist background does not help me to write short, clear, concise ‘snippets’ for the web, I am more of a lengthy prose person! Now I have launched a membership website for UK driving instructors, needing to attract both members and contributors to the site, I realise just how much I need to learn about writing to get my point across quickly, in the first couple of sentences!

    • Writing for the web is a bit different and good luck with everything!

  • I think it may actually diminish as people have the freedom to learn about what they really love and are passionate about.
    Time will tell

  • Yes, you are right it can give you access to the best teachers who walk the talk on a global stage.
    This was unimagined 20 years ago.

  • Hey Jeff, your article is truly valuable and I also think that people can learn anything from the web in order to enhance their educational knowledge and skills.