• Tanya Powers

Education in the era of Digital Disruption

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with education – allow me to explain.

I love learning new things and would enjoy a course in basket weaving as much as earning an advanced business analysis degree. I hate certificates and diplomas from colleges and universities that often contain outdated curriculum and courses that are of little to no value in the job market.

As annoying as it is to throw good money away, what bothers me most is the time wasted – time I could have spent learning something new and relevant to my career. I also appreciate accelerated learning and the pace of most classroom courses always seemed much too slow and the rewards much too distant.

The conundrum that plagues me

I’ve spent my career in cyberspace so I know how fast things change. Technological advances, new product offerings, or simply a shift in consumer behavior can change the game in a nanosecond.

It must be difficult for schools to keep their curriculum up-to-date in such a dynamic field. They are required to go through rigorous program approval processes that in some cases need to be accredited by a governing body. It takes time to make changes.

Then you have the non-accredited institutions. Their curriculum does not need to be approved by anyone, nor are they governed by any authority. They can make changes whenever they want. But with no one monitoring or reviewing their course content, how do we trust in the quality? Will potential employers even recognize non-accredited course-work?

So there you have it, my eternal struggle. I began to wonder if it was even possible to get quality education that satisfied my standards.

Luckily, while searching for the perfect course to upgrade my digital marketing skills, I came across a learning platform that peaked my interest.

Imagine a curriculum designed by leaders in the industry - companies that have mastered the digital space and want to hire grads that have current, in-demand skills. Udacity is an online learning platform that offers "Industry leading programs built and recognized by top companies worldwide".

Their program Digital Marketing Nanodegree, was built in collaboration with industry leaders like Facebook, Google and HubSpot. It offers "real world" projects (you run live campaigns in social media, email, Google Ads) and 1-on-1 mentors to guide you. The fact that it is online and self-paced is a bonus - full time, in-class programs are just not feasible with my work schedule.

So it may not be Harvard, but when it comes to keeping current in this crazy digital world, I decided to take a different path for my education. So far so good...