“The illiterate of the 21 st century will not be those who can’t read and write. They will be those who can’t learn, unlearn and relearn.”
These words, written in 1980 by the American futurist Alvin Toffler, are even truer today than they were a quarter-century ago. Here at the beginning of the 21 st century, changes are happening so quickly that it’s often difficult to keep up.
Our ability to maintain the credit union difference and meet members’ needs depends in large part on our willingness and ability to learn new skills and stay on top of new developments. Yet how can we do this when the average credit union person’s schedule is so crowded and the financial service world changes almost daily?
Is more and better technology the answer? Not necessarily. Any new technology or information still comes with a learning curve. As a result, “learning, unlearning and relearning” can become a full-time career in itself.
Complicating the process is the fact that everyone learns in different ways and at different speeds — some by self-study, others by jumping in and doing.
Still others learn best in an interactive classroom setting. In other words, one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to learning delivery methods. That’s why we’re careful to offer a balance of education styles and delivery methods.
A critical component of this balance is finding the right topics. We’re often asked how we determine our lineup of events each year. We receive input from several sources — the education survey we send out to credit unions every fall; feedback our consultants receive from credit unions throughout the year; suggestions from event attendees. Finally, there’s the old-fashioned way of just keeping our eyes and ears open for topics and ideas.
Once we’re sure we have a good mix of topics, we look at each event to determine the best way to reach our audience. This is probably the trickiest part. While we know many credit unions would love to have nothing but live education events all year, the reality is that remote sessions give everyone equal access to professional development.
Webcasts, Internet sessions, the MCUL Online Learning Center and our brand new cooperative Audio Conferences make access to training easy from anywhere in the state and give credit unions a great way to stretch their valuable training dollars. Participants register and receive session materials online, then attend the session via computer or telephone line. They save both time and money by never having to leave their office or home.
Another advantage of remote events is that they’re easy to set up and present. This gives us the ability to quickly add an event if a hot topic surfaces, which is why the 2006 Education calendar features more remote-learning opportunities than ever before.
Each type of remote event offers its own style. Our Online Learning Center, which was introduced at last year’s MCUL Annual Convention and Exposition, is the perfect tool for self-directed learners. Thousands of on-line courses are available in many disciplines, offering a reasonably priced alternative for those who prefer to study and test at their own pace.
Audio conferences are snappy one-hour telephone presentations meant to spark discussions and help credit union staff contemplate possibilities. Internet sessions are perfect for topics that require more depth and a more visual communication style.
Streaming Webcasts are the most popular form of remote session. This format allows participants to explore issues in almost as much depth as a live conference. You can attend either in person at the Michigan Credit Union Center or watch and listen to the presenter live on your computer in the comfort of your office.
But while we can cover an amazing range of topics remotely, there are some events just meant to be presented in a traditional classroom setting. And we’ve included plenty of these live events on our 2006 schedule.
For a detailed list of live and remote education events, check out our 2006 Education catalog or visit our Web site at www.mcul.org. There you’ll find links to the Online Learning Center and CUNA’s own CPD Online education program.
We’re proud of the subjects and world-class presenters we’re bringing to you this year, and we think you’ll be pleased with the results. After all, since “learning, unlearning and relearning” are today’s survival skills — why not make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible?