Friday, February 14, 2020

How Online Education Helps Career Changers in the Automation Age

The mention of artificial intelligence (AI) elicits varying reactions. We have seen sensational headlines for years about its potential, typically propagating two extreme outcomes: a doomsday in which AI turns against humanity or a utopian future where the hardships and drudgery of the pre-automation days are distant memories.

With the growing adoption of AI across the globe, we can see that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

The McKinsey Global Institute recently found that a whopping 16 million to 54 million workers in the United States may need to switch occupations by 2030, learning new skills or increasing their level of education in order to find work.

The National Center of Educational Statistics (NCES) said that between 2001 and 2015, there was a 35 percent increase in college students between ages 25 and 34, and that between 2015 and 2026, enrollment in that age group was projected to increase another 11 percent.

These days, distance-based learning is more widely accepted and offers several unique advantages. Online education gives students the freedom to fit their school work around their existing obligations.

We asked Vickie Cook, executive director of online professional and engaged learning at the University of Illinois Springfield, to help us weigh the pros and cons of pursuing online learning later on in life.

“What I’ve seen is that more and more students who are older are coming back and getting advanced degrees, certificates, or taking a course, “Cook said. “A lot of these students are caregivers for parents, as well as having children of their own, so the online option is really convenient,” she said, adding that she believes there is “more acceptance by employers today for students who have been in the workforce for a while and want to go back to school.”

This story appeared on Online Education.

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