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Digital Continuing Education Programmes at the University of Freiburg and Furtwangen University

“It works!” This is the conclusion that many companies are currently drawing regarding digital collaboration. Working from home instead of in the office together – for a long time, many companies thought that was hardly feasible. Now it is being put into practice at a rapid pace.
Of course there are also difficulties: in some industries teleworking is simply not possible, others struggle with the balancing act between family and home office. And we would all be happy about a joint coffee break or a visit to a conference. Nevertheless, it is already impossible to imagine that we will go all the way back to the “pre-Corona state”. Now that so many of us have had a taste of the digital working world, the chance is greater than ever before to combine the advantages of the analog and digital worlds in our working culture.

Digital Work – Yes Please! And Digital Education?

Do we have similar opportunities in continuing education? Even in 2020, the most common continuing education formats will still be day seminars, evening classes, and weekend workshops. Online continuing education is still viewed with skepticism by many employers. Whether in-house, professional or academic continuing education: the question of the future of continuing education and its formats – digital or analog, block or flexible – is on everyone’s mind. This is not only about further training for digitalisation. Professional and job-specific content and methods in the context of digitisation are also in demand, as it has a massive impact on all areas of work.

The Best of Both Worlds

At the University of Freiburg and the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences, almost all further education courses are developed and conducted in blended-learning format: On-site and online teaching are combined and used differently than in traditional distance learning. Well-designed blended-learning formats deserve the label “the best of both worlds”: online, the focus is primarily on knowledge transfer, theoretical or conceptual transfer and professional exchange. In face-to-face meetings, the acquired knowledge is applied, practiced, tested, discussed and intensively networked between the participants using models or practical examples.

The Freedom to Learn When and Where Wou Want

Blended learning offers a great advantage: the online phases of these training courses usually last several weeks or months, thus enabling relatively flexible further training that suits your own requirements. Most further training courses require an average workload of 5 to 10 hours per week and can therefore be done on a part-time basis or while employed. Asynchronous learning gives you the freedom to learn when you want: if your employer supports further training, it can be integrated into the working hours. Others study in the evening or reserve a day on the weekend for their learning workload. Modern forms of communication such as online meetings, chats, joint planning tools with jointly set priorities and deadlines and, of course, the telephone, enable contact, exchange and “staying tuned”. Structure and support are also very important for many providers of blended-learning formats to ensure that the highly motivated participants, who are also juggling many personal obligations, successfully complete the training. Browse through our blended-learning offerings here.

Turning the Corona Crisis into An Opportunity

Blended learning or online further training courses can have other positive effects for you in addition to the acquisition of specialist knowledge: anyone who completes further training in an online format automatically learns how to work digitally and to use the corresponding technical tools. And vice versa: anyone who becomes familiar with digital formats for collaboration, whether at work or during online yoga, will also find it easier to integrate into the structure of an online or blended-learning course.
As difficult as the appeals to socially distance may sometimes be – doesn’t this also free up resources? Using this newly found time for good conversations and for taking a walk can be just as good as deciding to “continue learning”. More and more continuing education programmes at the University of Freiburg and Furtwangen University are now digitising attendance phases, while others are redesigning them. They too are taking the same steps that many of you are so courageously: Into the digital world!