Did you know that non-formal education can make you a better entrepreneur?
Before setting out to explore the benefits that could be brought about by non-formal education, we need to make sure we’re familiar with the distinction between three types of education/learning.
The notion of learning usually triggers an association with a school or university or a similar educational institution which offers courses listed on curriculums and syllabuses. A learner is willfully exposed to the process of learning. This type of learning is called formal.
On the other hand, there is learning which happens on a daily basis while we conduct activities related to work or our free time. In most cases, this type of learning isn’t intentional and no certificates are awarded as a result. This is what we call informal learning.
Somewhere in between these two lies non-formal learning. It is structured and intentional, but doesn’t have the level of accreditation and certification associated with formal learning. If you think about swimming lessons for kids or various training courses for adults, for example, you should get a pretty good picture of what non-formal education really is.
This type of learning is much more flexible and ready to accommodate changes than formal one, since no accreditation or certification is required. Non-formal education programs and projects arise from the actual needs of the people in a particular area, rather than being imposed by a ministry or government. Such programs are also much more focused on helping people gain or hone skills they need. They are also much more appealing to young people because of the flexibility to respond to emerging interests.
What are the benefits for entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur means you need to combine knowledge and skills in many completely different fields and it’s practically impossible to receive formal education in every aspect of business you need to run a company. Unlike leaders, who need to be born as such, entrepreneurs are made. Everyone can be helped to become the best possible entrepreneur they can be. Just how good that is depends on many factors, primarily the entrepreneurial spirit.
Whether we talk about some specialized courses or more general, yet increasingly popular leadership courses, these forms of non-formal education are taking the world of entrepreneurship by storm. They can offer introduction to all aspects of business necessary or more advanced knowledge in particular fields.
What’s on offer?
For example, a lot of entrepreneurs use computers and IT on a daily basis, but many of them can’t even imagine what kind of benefits they could enjoy if only they utilized the potential of both hardware and software better. Luckily, there are courses available, even online, which can help such individuals.
Also, many entrepreneurs have never received any formal training in human resource management, which is an inevitable segment of running a company. They often “play by ear” when it comes to managing the most valuable asset of any company – its employees. This is potentially extremely hazardous and could be detrimental to the future of the company. The market has recognized this threat and entrepreneurs worldwide can now receive basic training or hone their skills in this field as well.
Other fields in which some entrepreneurs have received little or no training include accountancy, financial management, marketing and customer care, to name but a few. It goes without saying that one lifetime is not enough to receive formal education in all of them, but we can’t expect to be skillful at something we know nothing or very little about.
Experience has shown that in today’s business world, there’s no chance to have your business grow if you yourself don’t grow and develop. Receiving formal education while running a company is often too time-consuming and less likely to be tailor-made to suit your particular needs. After all, you don’t really need formal qualification in every field you deal with. What you do need, however, is knowledge. The more relevant it is, the better chances of you making correct, informed business decisions are.
On the other hand, it’s not wise to leave it to everyday situations to provide random, unstructured lessons in business. Such lessons could easily be too costly and you may never have another opportunity to prove you’ve learnt something. Hence, try to build on your formal education by embracing the opportunities and benefits provided by both informal and non-formal education, but also try to anticipate what knowledge and skills will be required in the future, so that you can get ready for the challenge.
My name is Alex Williams, born and raised in beautiful Sydney. I am a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at BizzMark Blog.