A “blended” approach to continuous learning

Today’s guest is Richard Spires. He is well known in the federal community for his work at the Department of Homeland Services. Today he is the CEO of Learning Tree International.  We began the discussion by talking about his comments at a recent FITARA event.  Richard said that “There is a significant skill gap out there.”  He was referring to the difficulty that commercial and federal leaders have in attracting people with technical skills.

Headshot of Richard Spires
Richard Spires, CEO, Learning Tree International

The discussion compared traditional four year accredited educational institutions with offerings from The Learning Tree.  Richard Spires said he was a big believer in the classical approach — in fact he has a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree in engineering.  The issue, he said, is that a professional may need to combine supplement coursework with specific knowledge.  One could call this a blended approach.

For example, he mentioned that The Learning Tree has had over 2.3 million course participants since its inception in 1974.  The discussion dove into options like the Sans Institute, on line learning, and on line learning options like Coursera and the Khan Academy.

The Learning Tree is adapting to the needs of the federal workforce by offering courses on site, on line, as well in a standard classroom.


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