You too (and U2!) must embrace Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning - Udacity - U2

If you’d asked us last month whether we expected to be mentioning Thomas L. Friedman, Bono, and Forbes in the same breath with the term lifelong learning, we might have briefly gazed quizzically into the distance, contemplated the possibility, then likely just returned to the daily reality of trying to deliver the best learning experience on the planet.

However, as it turns out, you’d have been the prophetic one if you’d proposed the idea, because Thomas L. Friedman and Bono are indeed together in Forbes discussing lifelong learning, and while the pairing may seem unusual, the insights throughout are laser-precise, and together they present a clear exhortation to embrace the path of lifelong learning.

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On Lifelong Learning, Parenting, and Career Change

How a former professor turned stay-at-home parent enrolled with Udacity and became a Data Analyst

Lifelong Learning - Parenting - Career Change - Udadity

I’d like to introduce you to Kevin. He’s a husband, father, and today, a data analyst. But that wasn’t always the case. A few years ago, his family undertook a major change that significantly impacted his life and career. At that time, he was teaching Arabic as an assistant professor at Appalachian State University.

The change was set in motion when his wife was offered an incredible career opportunity in her hometown of Austin, TX. Together, they made the decision to put Kevin’s career on hold so that she could pursue hers. With their 1-year-old son in tow, they trekked west, and Kevin became a stay-at-home dad.

Suddenly, his daily schedule shifted dramatically from being on the university campus all day teaching, grading and conducting research, to being in their new Austin home with his son, feeding, diapering, bathing, dressing, cleaning up, doing laundry and managing naptime.

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Put Your Soul Into It: Lifelong Learning and The Pursuit of Happiness

Student Success - Lifelong Learning - Cloud Nine - Udacity

As a young professional in the banking industry, Jennifer Tsou worked as a Relationship Banker—providing personal financial counseling, assisting with lending services, and building relationships with customers. Her university education—focused on finance and economics—provided her with the tools she needed to be successful in her role. Her career in banking afforded her stability, and the opportunity to further develop her customer relations skills. Still, she often found herself questioning her path. She occasionally indulged herself by imagining doing something different with her life and career, only to remind herself she should be happy to have a job.

Something was definitely missing.

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The Importance of Persistence and Curiosity in a Knowledge Economy

Persistence and Curiosity - Knowledge Economy

Understanding how persistence and curiosity can impact one’s career goals is important for anyone at any stage of career development, particularly in light of our continuing transformation into a knowledge economy, and the critical importance of embracing lifelong learning. It is especially important to recognize how the skills you learn, the knowledge you accrue, and the experience you gain, can translate to “value” for both yourself, and for employers. Finally, it can be instructive to explore concepts like planned happenstance and growth mindset, and to investigate differences between persistence and resilience, in order to effectively identify your personal strengths, and those areas you want to improve on.

The two most important traits in a job candidate

A recent Business Insider article highlighted an episode of Reid Hoffman’s podcast “Masters of Scale” that featured Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt as the guest. In the episode, Schmidt identifies what he believes to be the two most important traits in a job candidate—persistence and curiosity.

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Digamma.ai & Udacity: How Industry and Educators can Work Together to Address the Skills Gap in AI

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to dramatically reshape our world in ways we’re only just beginning to imagine. More so than perhaps any other technology, AI stands to become the transformative force of the future.

Talent, community, and investment

Understandably, some of the brightest minds in the world are already working in the field, and every day more innovators, risk-takers, and forward-thinkers arrive to join their ranks. In many respects it’s a simple equation—incredible new technologies attract incredible new talent.

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Building Meaningful Lives: Talking Lifelong Learning at the Milken Institute Global Conference

Building Meaningful Lives
Photo Credit: Jonathan Barenboim

The Milken Institute describes itself as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.” In addition to producing actionable policy initiatives, and publishing important reports focused on issues related to human, financial, and social capital, the organization holds an annual Global Conference every year.

Building Meaningful Lives

This year’s conference, with a theme of Building Meaningful Lives, concluded on May 3rd. Shernaz Daver, Udacity’s Chief Marketing Officer, spoke at the conference, on a panel called “Unbound: Retraining The American Workforce.” Joining her were the following panelists:

Arthur Bilger, Founder and CEO, WorkingNation

Allen Blue, Co-Founder and Vice President of Product Management, LinkedIn

Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Former Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Advisory Board Member, WorkingNation

Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation

The goal of the panel was to tackle questions related to this premise:

“Millions of Americans have lost the jobs they were trained for as the employment needs of entire industries have shifted, and millions still in the workforce lack the skill set for tomorrow’s jobs.”

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Are You Ready For The “Prove It” Economy?

Prove It Economy Udacity

There was a time when we spoke of education in the singular. Tell me about your education. One must have a good education. She is pursuing an education. Then came the binary world—“traditional” and “alternative” educations. Running parallel to of this, but operating in a sort of educational netherworld, was the ever shape-shifting concept of “vocational” education.

Now, as we enter what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution (”characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”) we are experiencing a disrupted world of learning; a kaleidoscope of theories, strategies, and approaches each trying to gain a foothold, each making a case for being the most strategic path to a secure future.

The “Prove It” Economy

As it turns out, there may be no one right answer. Each of us may instead need to assemble our own personal learning construct—an aggregate of experiences, skills, and accomplishments that together symbolize our leverageable “value” as contributing members of a workforce. A recent article in The Atlantic offers a succinct description of this new reality:

“The country has entered a “prove it” economy in which codified skills are currency.”

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