The importance of continuing education (CE) is growing rapidly in line with the changes in our society and labor market. Learners respond to these changes by looking for opportunities to improve themselves professionally and continuously learn new skills. While higher enrollment numbers are decreasing, non-traditional learner numbers continue increasing, making it important for institutions to build their continuing education departments around the needs of non-traditional students.
This is a big opportunity for educators to not only mitigate the risks coming from the 2025 enrollment cliff, play a part in bridging society’s skills and knowledge gap but also a great time to scale their continuing education department. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 5 trends in continuing education that will ensure that your department is effective and meets the needs of non-traditional learners.
Don’t have time to read the article? Scroll for the video below to see our EdTech specialist cover these topics!
1. Expansion of online solutions for Continuing Education will expand in the next 5 years
While in-person meetings hold importance, non-traditional learners seek continuing education that meets their busy schedules. To meet their needs, continuing education departments should consider investing in online solutions that will make CE more accessible for a wide range of professionals. Innovative software for online continuing education programs allows for educators to create courses that mimic the interactions that typically occur between professors and students in-person, which is considered essential for effective learning. Moreover, this allows for educators to track student progress better which can be used to improve the overall effectiveness of the CE program.
2. Importance of Active versus Passive learning
Active learning compared to passive learning is viewed as the best practice for continuing education. Active learning refers to an active process where learners are actively involved in their learning process and actively apply new knowledge and skills. On the other hand, passive learning is a more traditional approach where learners passively receive information without actively engaging with the material. In active learning, the learners are given the opportunity to apply new knowledge, reflect on what they have learned and engage in discussions and activities that allow them to solidify their understanding.
The new software in education has allowed for educators to create more interactive experiences that are accessible for non-traditional learners and create an active learning environment through usage of gamification elements, discussions, and group work. This provides them with an opportunity to apply new knowledge, reflect on what they have learned and engage in discussions and activities that allow them to solidify their understanding.
3. A shift towards interprofessional education
Interprofessional education is becoming increasingly popular as part of CE. It refers to a process of educating learners from different professions together in order to foster collaboration and teamwork. Such a format is especially useful for professionals who often have to work with other professionals in different fields. One example of this is the healthcare field, interprofessional education helps train doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to work together more effectively.
4. Using Personalization in Curriculum and Training
Personalization over the past few years has taken over the customer experience and CE is no exception. Personalization allows learners to focus on the areas where they need the most improvement and gives spaces for them to study at their own pace. When learning materials are tailored to their specific needs, learners are more engaged and as a result more satisfied with their learning experience. By personalizing the learning experiences of non-traditional learners, educators can track the progress of learners and provide them with more in-depth guidance, this way improving the overall effectiveness of the CE program.
5. Ensure Continuing Education Fills Skill and Knowledge Gaps
Continuing education alone is not enough for skill development. By combining it with a comprehensive skill development program that includes practices, discussion, and remediation as well as hands-on training and on-the-job experiences, you are ensuring that students improve both skills and knowledge.
Listen to our EdTech Specialist share 5 trends that will lead to an improved continuing education