Online learning could help you and your clients grow

The global pandemic closed many classrooms, but it also opened up a wider world of online learning. This has created new possibilities for your clients who find themselves between jobs or transitioning their careers, as well as for you to evolve your knowledge and skill.

While the headlines have tended to focus on homebound kids and stressed-out parents doing school online, there is more to the story. With just about every educational institution in the world – from your local trade school to Harvard University – expanding their online capabilities, today’s learning opportunities are arguably more diverse and accessible than ever before.

Another side effect of the pandemic has been a new dynamism in our working lives. Some have lost their jobs, many have seen their jobs undergo fundamental change, and others have taken this time to do some soul-searching and realized that they are ready to shift gears.

Opportunities for clients

Many clients these days are looking to enhance their skills – either by choice or by circumstance. Here are some conversations you might be having with them:

  • Moving in a new direction. For clients looking to get their start in a new career, the education options from colleges, universities and private institutes are limited only by their imagination. And with online learning, geography is no longer an issue. While not all online courses lead to degrees or diplomas, there are literally hundreds of choices out there, and many of them are offered for free – even from Ivy League schools.
  • Becoming credentialed for the first time. There was a day when many could work their way up from the bottom without necessarily having formal qualifications. For clients who have climbed the ranks in this fashion, even with all their hands-on skill, they might find that they need formal certification to get to the next level. Training online for a certificate or designation can tick that box for a formal credential.
  • Appearing in more online searches. It’s a modern reality that many employers and human resources agencies go online in search of candidates, and an educational credential can be one of the main search criteria. Having that accomplishment as part of your web presence or LinkedIn profile could mean the difference between being lost and being found.

If education costs are a concern, there are government programs that can help. For example, Ontario’s Second Career training program can provide up to $28,000 in education funding for people wishing to pursue a new line of work, with priority given to those who were laid-off during the pandemic.

Opportunities for advisors

As an advisor, there are endless opportunities to continue developing your knowledge and expertise to better serve your clients. 

  • Deepening your knowledge. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to pursue a degree in finance, or maybe you have an interest in a non-financial topic. You can explore continuing education courses to further your learning and knowledge on topics of general interest. Not only do you have these options through online learning, you also have something else in your favour: time. Most of us have been able to reclaim at least some time that we used to spend on less productive tasks, such as commuting.
  • Polishing your sales skills. Sales training is a genre as old as time, and there are always legendary books that you can turn to, such as ‘Think And Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill and ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. While these reads can offer great advice in principle, building rapport and closing business over online video conference may require a more nuanced approach. You can also explore training on how to better engage and present in an online environment.
  • Adapting to an online world. With fewer face-to-face networking opportunities available, you might be thinking about how to adapt online tools in your practice. Some areas you may wish to study include how to use your email, website and social media to communicate with clients and attract new leads. You might also want to learn about how to produce and incorporate webinars or videos into your marketing and communications.

Times of change are often times of opportunity. This has certainly been true during a pandemic that moved so much knowledge and training into the online world, where it can be accessed by more people than ever. Whether it’s merely for pleasure or by necessity, online learning could help you and your clients grow in new and surprising ways.

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