Education For Adults Living a World of Unscripted Problems


At this point in history it seems abundantly clear that the education most forward looking adults are searching for is something they’re only going to find in a program that offers them the kind of learning hinted at in this 21st Century learning equation:- 

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

 Whether you’re an adult who’s looking to accelerate your career or an adult who’s looking beyond professional advancement to building a career and life that’s both meaningful and satisfying, this equation highlights the proposition that your learning efforts need to include both a “front end” educational program and a “back end” experienced-based apprenticeship. Regardless of whether you want to achieve your professional aspirations or realize your loftiest dreams, you’ll need a personal learning program that offers you the advantages of a modern liberal arts education and the challenges of real-life learning experiments that help you translate your educational achievements into real-world skills.

A 21st Century Liberal Arts Education

In practical terms, the learning equation offered above highlights the idea that adults who are looking to realize their professional aspirations and/or their loftiest personal dreams need to get a good liberal arts education.  A high quality liberal arts education is the ideal “front end” component for this equation because this kind of education creates a better, more flexible foundation for your success in today’s real world than any narrow, more specialized professional education, no matter how good this specialized program is.

This is because, these days, our world is full of uniquely unscripted challenges that most technically oriented education program can’t help you address. Virtually all of today’s important problems, whether they’re business issues or public sector problems, require employees who have a working appreciation of the cultural, ethical, and global environments that surround their company.  In today’s world, businesses are looking for strategic thinkers, entrepreneurs, and complex problem solvers who can contribute to the success and future growth. That’s why the learning equation laid out above is so important; it points directly at the need for a high-quality front end education that’s relevant to the situation and circumstances adults living and working in today’s corporations are facing. Employers in every industry are realizing this, and consequently are increasingly reluctant to hire employees who are only prepared for one narrow professional specialty.

A 21st Century liberal arts education is based on the concept of “enlightenment.” It’s the kind of education that seeks to empower adult learners, to equip them with the kind of flexible modes of thinking that can help them deal with the complexity, diversity, and change that’s characteristic of today’s world. The essential aim of a liberal arts education is to provide its students with broad knowledge of the wider world, as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. When successful, a liberal arts education helps adult students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills, especially 21st Century skills like communication, critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the demonstrated ability to apply this knowledge and these skills in real-world settings.

A liberal arts education offers the kind of program that best qualifies as the kind of “front end” education called for by this learning equation:

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

If you’re interested in learning more about a liberal arts education and its place in 21st Century learning programs, here are three articles that offer more information on a liberal arts education, and three that talk about how you can get one without going to college:

  • What’s a Liberal Arts Education?
  • The LEAP Challenge: Education for a World of Unscripted Problems
  • The Enduring Relevance of a Liberal-Arts Education
  • Top 4 benefits of Higher Education
  • 5 Virtual Teaching Platforms That Educators Love
  • 10 Educational Platforms That Host Online Courses