The new program fills a need for high-quality professional education that adheres to the university’s mission of promoting lifelong learning.
Elon University launched a continuing education and professional development program titled Elon NEXT. It has an initial offering of six learning modules in areas including cybersecurity, personal finance, video production, AI and machine learning, art and data analysis. Future phases in March and June will provide a wider array of offerings with continuing education units (CEUs).
“We want to provide lifelong learning opportunities to empower learners at different stages in their career through an accessible, impactful, and distinctive education that prepares them for success,” said Haya Ajjan, Gordon Professor in Entrepreneurship and director of the Center for Organizational Analytics, who organized the establishment of the Elon NEXT program.
Featuring in-person and online learning modules, the Elon NEXT program within the School of Education fits into Elon’s mission to support lifelong learning among its students, alumni and the community. Elon will use its dedication to academic rigor and innovation to help professionals keep up with changing workplace needs and learn new personal enrichment skills.
The learning modules, which range from six to 15 hours of class time, are also open to the general public, allowing Elon the opportunity to build new relationships through education.
Elon NEXT advances the university’s work to encourage lifelong learning, create new connections between Elon and the surrounding community and strengthen bonds with its growing population of alumni, some of whom may tap into the learning modules as they change career paths.
“We know that people want to learn in different ways, and at different times,” said Ann Bullock, dean of the School of Education. “Through Elon NEXT, we’re trying a variety of offerings to see what is most appealing to learners.”
The launch of Elon NEXT comes after the university conducted an extensive exploration into the demand for professional education offerings. A 2016 analysis by the Pew Research Center found a rise in continued education and training as employees realize the need to retrain and upgrade their skills throughout their lifetimes.
“Learning is a lifelong journey that does not end when one graduates from college. This journey offers distinct growth phases that have different needs and requirements,” Ajjan said. “It is this understanding that motivates Elon’s NEXT to provide faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends with unique learning opportunities to develop their intellectual quest and help them rediscover the joy of learning.”
The learning modules offered are:
- Cyber Security: Managing Risk in the Information Technology Age
- Demystifying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
- Introduction to R and Data Visualization
- Personal Finance 101: Get Your Money Right for a Better Life
- Video Production 101
- Watercolor for Beginners
A mixture of in-person and online offerings allows Elon to respond to a variety of professional development needs. “I believe we are going to learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t work, and how we can improve,” Ajjan said.
For more information, visit www.elon.edu/next.