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Today, in addition to the knowledge we develop during high school and college, each of us also needs to know how to design and implement our own personalized self-directed learning programs. We need to know how to take the knowledge, perspectives, and insights we acquired in high school and college and use them as resources to help us leverage our life’s experiences into effective self-directed learning opportunities. Self-directed learning opportunities that move us closer to the careers we want and the lives we're hoping for.

In this regard, we need to see our formal education for what it is; simply the first steps in a lifelong focus on learning. Our high school and college degrees, along with all the additional advanced educational accomplishments we stack up, must become the 'Front-End' of our lifelong learning adventure. The self-directed learning experiments that we construct after college then can become the 'Back End' of our pursuit of new, more sophisticated perspectives and more advanced modes of thinking, feeling and acting. Simply put, these days, we all need to be intimately familiar with, and exquisitely capable of implementing this learning equation: 

"Formal Education + Self-Directed Learning Experiments = Successful Personal and Professional Development."

This equation highlights the idea that we need new knowledge, and we also need new experiences. Especially if we want to survive and thrive in today’s complex and rapidly changing world. In practical terms, this equation highlights the fact that, as adults, those of us who have personal issues to address and those of us who have professional goals to realize must learn how to organize for ourselves both the Front-End and the Back-End components of this new 21st Century learning equation. To learn more about this Front-End/Back End learning equation, check out the TLO thought papers available below.


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TLO’s Front-End / Back-End Approach To Learning

It used to be a good education was the doorway to success. At a minimum, a Bachelor's degree was the key to a good job, if not to a fulfilling career. Graduate degrees would take you even farther. Today we know better; neither a B.A. nor an MBA are enough to assure you of either an executive title or a house in the suburbs, let alone two cars in the garage and a comfortable retirement. Even a Ph.D. isn't enough these days to guarantee you a career and a life that includes a home in the suburbs, college for your kids, and a Sandals vacation in the Bahamas every year. 

EDUCATION IS NOT ENOUGH

Today, we're learning that a formal education will give us the knowledge we need to at least see our world's new challenges. But, we're also discovering that seeing these challenges is not the same thing as having the mindsets and the skillsets that are needed to respond and cope with them. In a world like ours -- one filled with radical…

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tlo’s approach to learning

The further we move into the 21st Century, the clearer it is that this century is going to be unprecedented. Already it's awash with amazing new technologies and startling new scientific discoveries. Each of which is fraught with demanding challenges. as well as scary new opportunities and responsibilities. Phenomena like globalization, automation, genomics, and cyber warfare, to name only the most inspiring or scariest headline grabbers, are bringing into our lives the proposition that everything we've learned at our mother's knee may be wrong. As well as the suggestion that many of this century's most radical ideas about how the world works may actually suggest much better ways for us to see and understand ourselves, our relationships, and the world we're a part of than anything we learned while we were growing up. 

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TLO’s 21st Century Learning Equation 

Twenty years ago, when you wanted an education, you had to pick your school, apply, enroll when accepted, select your major, pay your fees, go to class when scheduled, listen to the teachers’ lectures, and then take your tests, over and over again until you completed the required curriculum. This was the routine, at least until the 21st Century came around. This is when the 21st Century’s learning revolution really got started.

Today, we now know that a formal education will give us the knowledge we need to see our world's new challenges. But, we also know that simply having the knowledge and the perspectives necessary to see these challenges is not the same thing as having the mindsets and the skillsets we need to respond and cope effectively with these new challenges. In a world like the one we’re living in today -- one filled with radical complexities and accelerating rates of change — a high-quality education

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Transforming New Knowledge into New Skills

It used to be a college education was the doorway to success. At a minimum, a Bachelor's degree was the key to a good job, if not to a fulfilling career. Today we know better; neither a B.A. nor an MBA are enough to assure you of either an executive title or a house in the suburbs, two cars in the garage, and a comfortable retirement. Even a Ph.D. isn't enough to guarantee you a career and a life that includes a home in the suburbs, college for your kids, and a Sandals vacation in the Bahamas every year. 

Today, no amount of formal education can guarantee us sufficient knowledge, perspective, and skills to assure our comfort and safety. In a world like ours, filled with radical complexities and accelerating rates of change, as well as other contemporary challenges and opportunities, high-quality formal education is a necessity. But...

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The Difference between Formal Education & Self-Directed Learning

Formal education and experiential learning are two different approaches to learning, two distinct methodologies that produce different results. For sure, they’re both concerned with learning. But, while they do evidence certain commonalities, the differences between them are more significant than the similarities. These differences shine through when you examine their nature, purpose, history, and methodology.

Education is concerned with the transmission of knowledge from one individual to another. It’s the process through which a knowledgeable individual – usually a credentialed teacher – is formally charged with transmitting a community’s accumulated knowledge to other individuals who possess less knowledge and legitimacy.

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developing front-end knowledge

Whether you’re an adult who’s looking to accelerate your career, or you're an adult who’s looking beyond professional ambitions to a career and a life that’s both satisfying and meaningful, today it’s clear your learning efforts need to include both a Front-End educational program and a Back-End experientially-based apprenticeship. Regardless of whether you want to achieve your professional aspirations or realize your loftiest dreams, this new equation is telling you that, at this point in time, you need an advanced, very personalized educational program that offers you the advantages of a modern liberal education and, as well, the challenges of real-life learning experiments that are aimed specifically at helping you translate your formal educational achievements into real-world skills. Put simply, to succeed in today's complex, Mach 2 world, each of us needs a good Front-End education and…

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developing Back-End Learning

Several different experts authored the theories, models, and concepts that form the foundation for TLO's "Back End" approach to learning. David Kolb, from Case Western Reserve University, is our lead expert. He almost single handedly created the field of experiential learning, and his work is the launch point for TLO's approach to Back End learning. Jack Mezirow, from Columbia University, is due similar credit for his development of Transformative Learning. Three Self-Directed Neuroplasticity pioneers, Jeffery Schwartz, Anders Ericsson, and Louis Cozolino provide the ideas, concepts and  tools that make it possible for us to show our Thought Partners how the quickly and effectively learn even the most complex socio-emotional skills in  a concentrated, focused way.

Experiential Learning is the foundation for TLO's Back End skill building programs. We use experiential learning with individuals who want to develop more effective ways

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Online Learning: a New approach to Front-End Learning

Twenty years ago, when you wanted an education, you had to pick your school, apply, enroll when accepted, select your major, pay your fees, go to class when scheduled, listen to the teachers’ lecture, and take your tests, over and over again until you complete your required curriculum. This was the routine, at least until the 21st Century, came around, whereupon the online learning revolution got started.

Last year, the online learning market was worth more than $150 billion. Some are forecasting this will soon grow to $300 billion. Only the swelling numbers of students who are choosing online educations over formal bricks and mortar colleges matches this expanding market value.

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Three 21st Century Learning Tasks

Today, those of us working at TLO know that, at this point in history, all this means that both in and out of school, there are three types of learning that each one of us needs to know about, needs to knows how to organize, and ultimately needs to know how to take steps to accomplish: These three types of learning efforts are these:

        * The experiential learning we need to do to strengthen the skills we already have, especially those that are beginning to produce less than optimal results.

         * The experiential learning we need to do to develop the new skills we'll need if we're going to respond effectively to the new challenges we're facing at work and at home. 

           * The mindset development efforts we need to launch if we're going to reframe the basic assumptions and presumptions we're currently holding about our lives and the world we're living in that all too rapidly are becoming outdated. 

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