Value of tuition reimbursement and extra time in adult learning Essay

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Learning is life. We continue to learn as long as we live. In todays complex world, we often find it necessary to update ourselves, to keep pace with new developments. However learning new skills, organizing knowledge, at times, does not come free. Often, acquiring such specialized knowledge is beyond an individuals means. To sustain the process of keeping oneself updated with newer skills and knowledge, financial support is called for. As such, it is Important to provide reimbursement and make time in aid of Adult Learning.

The illiterate of the year 2000, will not be the individual, who cannot read or write, but the one who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. (Alvin Toffler). It is said that Education is an investment rather than a cost. In todays fast changing society, when technology and communication are changing rapidly, wide spread awareness of learning is a necessity. Adult learning was traditionally never very important. Stress was more on school age learning. It is only recently that researchers have turned their attention to learning at the workplace and in everyday settings.

(Essays in Rogoff and Lave, 1984; Sternberg & Wagner, 1986; Sternberg, Wagner & Okagaki, 1993). As learners, the adults articulate the personal goals better, develop motivational skills, and fine tune their knowledge, interests, and acquired skills. Adult learning is based on a learning culture. It involves learning of work related as well as, personal skills which help not only individuals but enterprises and nations to Benefit from. Today learning is a strategic feature of the corporate.

In times of reducing profit margins and stiff foreign competition, it is important to have a workforce which is not only professionally thorough in skills, but also ahead of others in the competition. So, employers have a vested interest in making their staff secures with knowledge and skill that will help them succeed at work. Learning is no longer a cost, but a benefit that can be quantified (The Adult Learner at work,p. 306). The adult learner uses transference to use the learnt idea in related jobs. In todays world where technology is changing fast, by earning a degree in a field related to the job, the employee can perform better.

Such learning boosts confidence in the employees and nurtures them to realize their full potential. In an organization, it is the climate of the organization that fosters learning. The staff is encouraged to gain mastery in its field of specialization. The organization must plan out the future allowing learning at every stage. Such organizations believe in empowering the employee. It believes that obsolescence of the staff will ring death knell for the organization. The management supports learning regularly and rewards such personnel accordingly. The commitment of the management makes the employees remain as a loyal workforce.

Such values create openness in the organization where individuals can develop, create and contribute ideas fearlessly. It minimizes problems by identifying them at an early stage and arresting the major setbacks. Organizations which encourage its staff in adult learning schemes, foster growth of the personnel, as well as the organization. Increasingly, companies will only survive if they meet the needs of the individuals who serve in them; not just the question of payment, important as this may be, but peoples true inner needs (Harvey Jones, 1987, Making it Happen, p.

249). It becomes important, therefore, that such learnings are supported by reimbursing the tuition fees or course fee of the personnel. The employee is able to convince the employer about the possible advantages of offering tuition reimbursement. The new skills will make the employee more productive. It would also foster leadership in the workplace. Such equipped individuals would enhance the companys image when working with the client. Globalization today has changed the way, the enterprises manage and perform .

The skill, innovation and quality improvement is imperative for productivity, quality, efficiency and competition. Thus training the workforce becomes a critical component of competition. The most successful companies therefore will have to balance the market pressure to adapt to changing skills. It is to cope with the pace of change that the companies or enterprises need to train their staff. The urge to innovate and outperform on the part of the individual and the enterprise tie them in a bond, where each looks after the others interest, apart from fulfilling their personal interests.

To keep the personnel abreast with the trend, there is a need for constant innovation and training the existing personnel with newer skills. It is always preferred to upgrade the existing personnel with newer skills than bringing in new personnel to meet the need. Existing personnel, being already familiar with the culture of the organization, Can adapt better compared to new personnel, who would have to struggle to familiarize themselves with the organizations culture. Possibly for this in U. K, Employers invested GBP 10.

6 billion in training in 1993 (The Learning Age, DFEE, 1998). Human Capital theory as revealed by Harriss study (2000) undertakes that training is an investment and will occur only when it can justify the cost. This theory holds good only when the company considers its employees as its asset. In such a scenario, specific skills of the employees are more valuable than generic skills. Making time for the employees training, needs to be decisively considered before deciding on a training schedule.

A number of factors like availability of in house training personnel, speed or number of training days needed, frequency of the skill to be used, difficulty of the task and its transference to real life situations need to be considered before an organization decides on a training project. Smaller firms will find it difficult to have in house training due to its higher costs, while bigger firms will find in-house and on-the-job training cost-effective. Large enterprises can afford to have in house training centers which pave way for self-paced and self-directed training.

It also aids training before or after work, without compromising on working time. The book Tuition Assistance Usage and First Term Military Retention by Richard Buddin, Kanika Kapur, Rand reports of a program, where Department of Defense Supported the employees (on active duty), who enrolled in a college course. It reimbursed up to 75% of their college fees, up to a maximum of $3500 for an Individual in a year. The program was started having considered the benefits of having More educated personnel, who would perform better and would exhibit potential for greater advancement.

The program was successful when more than sixty percent of the employees found the recruitment beneficial because of educational opportunities. Thus relevancy and value of tuition reimbursement and making time available for adult learning is synonymous with competitive performance and has become a critical component in todays changing scenario of globalization. So learning is Life. As we learn we grow.

References

Thomas. Pourchot, M. Cecil Smith (1998). Adult Learning and Development: Perspectives from Educational Psychology, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Robert Burns (2nd Edition).The Adult Learner at Work: The challenges of lifelong education in the new millennium. Richard Buddin, Kanika Kapur, Rand (2002) Tuition Assistance Usage and First Term Military Retention . AdultLearning. Directgov-Education and learning. Retrieved on August 30, 2007, from http://www. directgov. uk/en/EducationAndLearning/AdultLearning/Adultlearninggrant/index. htm Arizona Department of Health Services,(Fall 1991)Principles of Adult learning by Stephen Lieb . Retrieved on August 30, 2007, from http://. hcc. hawaii. edu/intranet/committees/FacDevcom/guidebk/teachtip/adults-2. htm

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