Engaging Education

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Engaging Education

The desire to pass on knowledge for the improvement of others is part of the human condition - it's been with us since time immemorial and is what sets us apart from the animals.

Early man would have been more interested in teaching survival techniques than the finer points of cave design, but by the time of Aristotle, philosophy and 'the art of thinking' were key lessons for the ancient Greek elite. Indeed, according to the great man himself - virtue, not wealth, was the ultimate aim of education (not sure that message got through too well though Aristotle...)

As the centuries progressed, and we pulled ourselves through the Dark Ages, knowledge of the world increased and eventually it became necessary to educate the masses.

It's been a long old haul to get to where we are today, with information buzzing around the world in a nano-second. But just as what we teach has changed out of all recognition (not much call for galleon building these days), so have the methods we can use. It's getting on for six centuries since Gutenberg invented the printing press, and books revolutionised the way facts and data were shared. No-one's suggesting that paper books have had their day, but sophisticated twenty-first century learning techniques can now go a lot further than just one-way visual input.

Primary schools in the UK would be thought very out-dated if they weren't using interactive white boards to engage children in the learning process. It's understood that in modern society, it's a very natural way for young people to absorb and retain information. But it's not just infants and juniors who have low boredom thresholds - men and women also need the same kind of stimulative teaching to lock-in knowledge and relate what they've learned to practical applications. Adult education today is very often concerned with IT and computer technology, and it should be much more than classroom attendance and slogging through manuals.

Fortunately, refined techniques are now available for those who demand cutting-edge training. Video streaming allows students to be educated from their PC anywhere in the world, around the clock. Real, hands-on learning is experienced by interacting with software online. Full motion videos allow instructors to teach and demonstrate as if in a one-to-one environment, with the student practicing their new skills every step of the way.

In a century where time and money are of-the-essence, it's vital that we use technologically advanced tools to inform and enhance our workforce. Colleges that insist on sticking to outdated methods are fast becoming the luddites of the training world.

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