Whether you’re an adult who’s looking to accelerate your career or you're an adult who’s looking beyond professional ambitions to a career and a life that’s both satisfying and meaningful, today it’s clear your learning efforts need to include both a Front-End educational program and a Back-End experientially-based apprenticeship. Regardless of whether you want to achieve your professional aspirations or realize your loftiest dreams, at this point in time you need a personalized educational program that offers you the advantages of a modern liberal education and, as well, the challenges of real-life learning experiments that are aimed specifically at helping you translate your formal educational achievements into real-world skills. Put simply, to succeed in today's complex, Mach 2 world, each of us needs a good Front-End education and an even better Back-End learning program.

Formal Education + Self-Directed Learning Experiments = Successful Personal and Professional Development

A 'Front-End' Education

In practical terms, the learning equation offered above highlights the idea that adults who are looking to realize their professional aspirations and/or their loftiest personal dreams need to get a good liberal education.  A high-quality liberal education is the ideal Front-End component because an education that explores the sciences, the humanities and the arts creates a better, more diverse and flexible foundation for your success in today’s real world than any narrow, more specialized professional education, no matter how good this specialized technical program may be.

That's because, these days, our world is full of unscripted challenges that very few technically oriented education programs can prepare you for. Virtually all of today’s important problems, whether they’re business issues or public sector problems, require employees who have a working appreciation of the cultural, ethical, and global environments that surround their company. In today’s world, businesses are looking for strategic thinkers, entrepreneurs, and complex problem solvers, individuals who can help the company's respond to its most disruptive challenges. That’s why the learning equation laid out above is so important; it points directly at the need for a high-quality front-end education that’s relevant to the situations and circumstances faced by adults living and working in today’s corporations. Employers in every industry are realizing this, and consequently are increasingly reluctant to hire employees who are prepared for only one narrow professional specialty.

A 21st Century liberal education is based on the concept of enlightenment. It’s the kind of education that seeks to empower adult learners. It equips them with the kind of flexible modes of thinking that help them deal with the complexity, diversity, and change that characterize today’s world. The essential aim of a liberal education is to provide its students with broad knowledge of the wider world, as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. When successful, a liberal education helps adult students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills, especially 21st Century skills such as interpersonal communication, critical thinking, analytical decision-making and problem-solving skills, and the demonstrated ability to apply this knowledge and these skills in real-world settings.

If you’re interested in learning more about a liberal education and its place at the front-end of 21st Century learning programs, here are four articles that offer some useful information on a liberal arts education, and two that talk about how you can get one without going to college:

TLO’s Front-End Learning


At this point in history it seems clear that the education most forward-thinking adults are looking for is something they'll find only in a program that offers the kind of learning that's hinted at in this 21st Century learning equation: 

Formal Education + Self-Directed Learning Experiments = Successful Development

Understanding what the Front-End educational requirements are for a really good 21st Century learning program is necessary these days. It's particularly important to know whether the education you need in order to fulfill your professional ambitions and/or you life's dreams is a technical or a liberal education. As is knowing whether or not you can get the knowledge, skills, and certifications you need online.At this point in history it seems clear that the education most forward-looking adults are looking for is something they'll find only in a program that offers the kind of learning that's hinted at in this 21st Century learning equation.