Does Continuing Education Always Have to be So Boring?

If you give a lot of coffee to an intoxicated person, you will have a wide awake drunk person.

The question to ponder is: Does continuing education assist in creating a more competent professional?’ That is a tough question to answer. In some instances, educational experience does assist in exposing people to topics and theories that prove useful in their trade. The question is best answered “it depends.”

By being introduced to a theoretical concept, a student is presented with two options: (1) pay attention, gain and understanding and thus change behavior; or (2) do nothing.

A prime example in our industry would be the exposure given to a real estate professional on a new form or disclosure requirement. Minnesota became a property disclosure state in 2002. (see Legislative Chapter 306-S.F. No. 2697). We saw a significant amount of changes of what must be disclosed, how it can be disclosed, can a waiver be provided, how the agent handles material information, etc. over the years.

So, licensees became aware of the fact that condition of property needed to be disclosed and forms were created to reflect state statute. The wording was changed to reflect ‘material facts’ instead of condition. Then, we added airport zoning, methamphetamine production and more items.

Eyes begin to roll, yawns are noticed as we start teaching a new disclosure course. Instructors notice that some of the licensees are wondering why we are teaching the same thing over and over and over while others are taking notes and asking questions. The answer to the question ‘does education assist in creating a more competent professional?’ really depends more on the recipient (the licensee) and not the messenger (the instructor or content).

Course content can fulfill one of two purposes. A course can convey meaningful content and be a beneficial use of time or the course can have less meaningful content, run its time and fulfill the hours requirement. In either situation, a pearl of wisdom conveyed is always an opportunity.

I recall teaching a course at an education provider and I looked at the new agents glazed eyes, slumped shoulders and wondered why I was teaching this one particular content. The content was maybe beneficial to one person out of 30. Most saw it as a soft-shoe tap dance to meet the minimum requirements of license education. As I completed the class, books were scooped up and people were happy to be done BUT there was one person who came to the podium with a bunch of questions which they did not want to ‘bore’ the class. We visited for a while and as the instructor, I was happy that the information reached someone.

As far as content goes with adult learners, we have discovered that when we shout “FIELD TRIP” to a listing in Course 3, our licensing students perk up, they become engaged in the class as we perform a live comparative market analysis, set up the preview and caravan to the property.

Wouldn’t it be great if all content made students sit up straighter, conveyed useful information and was engaging and fun? Maybe it’s not always the content that the student needs to rely on to make it worthwhile!

I have met some college graduates who are incompetent, and I have met some dropouts who are extraordinary professionals.

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