The Need For Lifelong Learning
It’s the Year 2012.
Meet Mr Tan, a 50-year-old taxi driver who has been in this industry for the past 15 years.
He learnt the tricks of the trade in his first few years. Whether it’s which roads/highways to avoid during peak hours or where to wait for flag-downs, he has got it covered. In fact, his accumulated experience means he has been coasting in his job for the past 10 years.
Things were not so different as compared to the late nineties. He still derived most of his income from passengers who flag-down his taxi with the occasional bookings. Most of his customers still paid him in cash.
So far, his reluctance to embrace the internet and smartphones has had negligible impact on his life and job.
Fast forward to the Year 2017.
There are now a couple of smartphones in Mr Tan’s car, logged on to either a ride-hailing app or an app that updates him with the latest traffic conditions.
After a difficult initial phase of adapting and learning how to use a smartphone and its apps, Mr Tan has fully embraced the technology and adapted to the changing dynamics in his industry. Majority of his income is derived from ride-hailing apps these days.
Besides learning through practice with his children, Mr Tan also attended a course similar to this to get up to speed with the use of smartphones.
If he had not learnt and adapted, he knew he would have been obsolete in the industry by now.
Reduce The Cost Of Learning With ULeap
I am not sure about you but similar to Mr Tan in 2012, I do consider myself somewhat a tech dinosaur.
Despite the astronomical rise of the prices of cryptocurrencies and being a financial blogger, I cannot proclaim myself to be familiar with the ground-breaking blockchain technology underpinning these cryptocurrencies. Yeah, I know, I should be ashamed of myself.
To add salt to the wounds, I have also been quite lax in tightening the protection of my personal online data and know next to nothing about the Internet Of Things.
There are some common obstacles to learning something completely new and I reckon the biggest culprit is time.
In this Internet age, there are tons of information out there, which are available for free. But the problem for many is neither having the expertise nor the time to sieve the useful information out. Even if one is willing to pay to attend a course, time would have to be set aside to learn.
So I procrastinated really badly until coming across ULeap by the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) recently.
ULeap’s mobile learning platform is intended to be a 6-months pilot for working people to acquire new knowledge quickly through short multimedia content, stay up to date on current trending issues and participate in various learning communities to discuss best practices and exchange knowledge.
It’s like a localised version of EdX, as ULeap is the only learning platform in Singapore where local Institutes of Higher Learning and partners like professional guilds come together and create bite-sized modules relevant to the Singapore context.
ULeap also has a social feed where the ULeap community can discuss various topics and share information, and a leaderboard where you can compare your learning rank against your peers.
What I Learnt With ULeap
I found it interesting and proceeded to read about the architecture, components and applications of Internet Of Things (IOT) and was finally able to appreciate the potential of the Raspberry Pi.
Besides the content on PDF, there were also short, bite-sized videos that were good for learning on the go.
I am not going to kid you and claim that the stuff I learnt were advanced but the ULeap provides one of the best starting points on a fresh topic. Also along the way, the IHLs and partners will continue adapting their established curriculum on the ULeap app so that users will have more topics to choose from.
These IHLs and partners also play the roles of moderators and validators to the ULeap learning community and they’re just one app away if you have queries.
Or if you prefer to have access to live events for your learning needs, you could sign up for NTUC’s U Future Leaders Exchange (UFLX) which offers users unlimited access to more than 60 workshops over a year, ranging from data science to public speaking. The fee is $100 to use the service for a year while NTUC members only need to pay $30 for a year.
It really doesn’t hurt to be updated on the latest technological trends or to learn more. Who knows, they might come in handy in your job one day.
If a student approaches me wanting to know more about the Internet Of Things, I won’t have to give her a blank look anymore. Having a better understanding of the overview now, I could cite the Iron Man analogy and even go deeper into how gateways and cloud connectors are crucial to making the whole ecosystem work.
I think it’s also important to learn outside your immediate job scope or skillsets.
The calligraphy classes that Steve Jobs took even after he dropped out of college influenced him greatly. He injected some beauty in the computing typeface that the Mac used and just maybe, you might still be stuck with pixelated fonts on your smartphone today if not for those calligraphy lessons!