What Do Rich People Think about Online Learning?

Barry Lenson

What Do Rich People Think about Online Learning?

What Do Rich People Think about Online Learning?  Somebody recently asked me, “What do rich people think about online learning?”

That struck me as an interesting question, but also a bit ill-conceived. After all, “rich people” don’t fit into any one neat group these days.  They don’t all wear ascots, have chauffeurs, keep stables of polo ponies, or belong to posh country clubs.

Today, there are all kinds of wealthy people. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and a growing number of ebusiness entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg are certainly rich, after all. Yet they certainly have embraced the use of computers in the educational process.  There are also other wealthy older executives who understand the embrace new technologies – people like Jack Welch who grew up in the pre-Internet days, but who have been ready to embrace new technologies. I bet that Welch would love online learning, if he doesn’t already. Just show him its power to educate large numbers of people at low cost, and he would be a fan.

So I think it might be a good idea to toss aside the question about what rich people think of online learning, and replace it with a better one . . .

What can we online learners do to convince the world that our way of learning works so well?

We are pioneers. We’re the first people who have gotten to the peak of a mountain and seen a fertile valley ahead. Now we’re in the position of telling all the learners who are behind us to follow us. We’ve got to tell them that online learning is going to create a new world of affordable, high-quality,  democratic and flexible education.

How can we be crusaders for online education?

  • Be successful. When you achieve success following your online studies, other people will notice. As the old principle holds, you can lead by example.
  • Talk proudly about your online education.  Be positive. Refuse to let anyone put your education in second place. When someone asks how you earned your college degree or trained for your career, say proudly that you did a lot of it online.  People might be curious about that. But before you know it, their curiosity will turn to appreciation and respect.
  • Become a lifetime online learner. The idea of “going back to college” is now old-fashioned, because you can take college courses online any time you want.  When people realize what you are doing to stay current, they will probably do the same.
  • Become an evangelist for online learning. Tell younger students that it is possible to earn credits online, take college courses flexibly, and even attend excellent colleges that deliver many of their courses in an online format.

So, what do rich people think of online learning? It doesn’t really matter. So get going, get learning, and start on the road ahead.

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