The State of Higher Education
We were already headed for a crisis in education before COVID hit. But that crisis has accelerated like so many other things this year.
Dozens and potentially hundreds of small four-year colleges are likely to go under within the next year, and others in the next five years, according Frank Bruni, NY Times article (6/4/2020).
As the virus proliferates, so does online instruction, as it allows for learning in a safe environment at home, expanded enrollment, better access to financially strapped students and adults wanting continuing education.
According to Wall Street Journal opinion writer, Douglas Belkin, “For millions of Americans, getting a four-year degree no longer makes sense.” It is being replaced by faster, cheaper, specialized credentials, alternative degrees, online certificates, and certifications more closely aligned with the labor market.
These new credentials are not limited to traditional colleges and universities but are being offered by private industry.
The Cost-Benefit Comparison
In a recent June 2020 article in Forbes magazine, after the pandemic passes, the University system will never return to its old glory. And it is no surprise. Who wants to load up young people with a $100,000+ debt in exchange for a degree that offers questionable value? A college education has jumped 15X the cost in the last 40 years. The average cost of a 4-year public college education runs about $28,000 vs. a private 4-year college degree for $59,000.
It is no wonder we are witnessing the end of traditional college as we know it.
The Acceleration of Global Online Education
Between market forces, the pandemic, economic hard times and the acceleration of global online education, many seeking to start or expand their career with new skills and knowledge will get their education online.
Online education is poised to grow 18-fold in the next five years. Mostly because it is far more efficient, requires less overhead and is scalable allowing teachers to teach far more students. In addition, the cost of online courses is significantly less than what traditional schools cost.
Many employers are willing to pay for an online course as a benefit in exchange for an employment commitment of several months to a year of work. That means minimal to no debt for many students seeking to learn a new skill or enhance their career with knowledge and expertise to fill a particular essential function or position for their employer.
Worksite International’s Online Ergonomics Training Academy (WIETA)
Worksite International launched our online Ergonomics Training Academy in April 2019, after several years of studying online instructional design and learning. The purpose of our virtual ergonomics training academy is to educate and inspire individuals and organizations to transform the way they work through ergonomics, human-centered work design, and safe work practices.
Our courses are aligned with the move towards online education as they focus on specific skill development, knowledge gains and practical experience applied immediately following course completion.
We call this guided practice leading to independent performance or transformation. Our courses guide students to achieve specific objectives relevant to each course’s primary learning outcome. The addition of live coaching and mentoring with a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) makes our course experience unique and highly valued in the current ergonomics training marketplace.
Two Tracks of e-Learning
The WIETA offers two tracks of online learning:
Corporate Online Courses: short courses of an hour or less for employees who want or need to learn basic ergonomic theory as it applies to the end user at work in the home or office, laboratory, hospitality, and industrial environments. These courses offer the practical application of ergonomics for employees to implement and use immediately for safe work practices, workstation set up, and self-care. By doing so, they provide a demonstrable level of accountability when students earn a certificate of completion.
Professional Online Courses: extended courses (some with CEUs) designed for professionals who want to achieve a specific goal such as perform ergonomic chair assessments and fittings; ergonomic evaluations in the office or home office; remote ergonomics evaluation or even manage an ergonomics process for their organization.
Our professional courses are eight -20 hours of video lessons, combined with assignments and quizzes to reinforce learning; include coaching and mentoring with a Board-Certified Professional Ergonomist. Each course includes a specific evaluation system (valid, and peer- reviewed) aligned with each course professional certificate goal.
Earning a certificate from the WIETA professional track, demonstrates competency in using the various WI Ergonomic Evaluation Systems used in managing an ergonomics process, performing an office evaluation, remote evaluation or chair assessment and fitting.
We currently offer the following professional certificates:
- Certified Chair Assessment Specialist (CASp)
- Certified Office Ergonomics Specialist (COESp)
- Certified Remote Ergonomics Specialist (CRESp)
- Certified Ergonomics Process Manager (CEPM coming soon)
All courses are set up in progression building on knowledge and skills gained to achieve ergonomics success. Courses can be taken independent of each other depending on the qualifications one possesses.
A Pathway to Ergonomics Success
Professionals who participate and successful complete any of our certificate courses, become a part of the Worksite International Network of Certified Ergonomics Specialists (WINetwork).
The WINetwork represents quality, consistency, and competency in ergonomics service delivery using the various WI Systems of Ergonomic Evaluations. The WINetwork helps participants stay up to date with happenings in the ergonomics marketplace as it applies to their current role. Certified ergonomics specialists who use the WI evaluation tools to enhance their small business are eligible for additional business opportunities.
All courses in the WIETA, either corporate or professional are available on-demand and self-paced. Our corporate programs are designed for one student to 10,000 students and are customizable and scalable.
Professional courses are open for enrollment now and do not require any prior experience in ergonomics, just the motivation, determination, and dedication to complete online learning.
The Worksite International Ergonomics Training Academy is perfectly aligned with the progression of advanced online learning happening in today's education marketplace. No longer is a 4-year degree and tens of thousands of dollars needed to learn a useful and practical skill. Having a Certificate in Ergonomics is something every employer will appreciate and benefit from to perform preventive, proactive individual evaluations, chair assessments, and help manage an ergonomics process.
Ergonomics certificates and certifications are much different than a four-year university degree in Human Factors and Ergonomics. To learn the differences between ergonomics certificates vs. certification, read our other blogs.
If you have questions about our corporate and professional courses in the WIETA and the WINetwork, please book a call with Alison Heller-Ono PT, MSPT, CPE and President, CEO of Worksite International, Inc.