Monday, December 20, 2010

What is the best way to spend your education time?

I recently had a conversation with a college about the value of post-secondary academic education for today’s IT leader. The discussion was cut all to short because we both had work to get back to. I really enjoy having a good honest thought provoking conversation about topics like this with someone I respect.
In retrospect I think our inability to finish the conversation due to other pressing needs was the basis for my side of the discussion. There are so many options for education and personal development out there, webinars, simulation software, blogs, podcasts, audio books, post-secondary academia, and on the job training.
It is not a matter of which one is good and which one is bad it is a matter of time management. Everyone has his or her own learning style and therefor will get a different ROI from each type of education. In addition the amount of work or personal spent on development needs to be balanced with all other pursuits in those areas.
I really want to apply a one size fits all educational approach to my team and personal development, because it’s easier to manage and understand. It’s just not that simple one person could gain more by listing to 20 audio books then they would from a year of academic study, yet another could get more out of a 2 year degree than 20 years of on the job training.
I think we need to keep an open mind when we are planning our education of evaluating someone’s credentials for a new position. All of these forms of education add something to the employee’s values in his or her role however we need to remember that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.