How Short Courses Boost Professional Development And Lifelong Learning



For many decades, global organisations such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Nations (UN) have espoused the many advantages of lifelong learning for individuals, businesses and institutions.



It has been in the last twenty years though, during the most rapid digital transformation of the world, that it has become clear that lifelong learning is not a 'nice to have' but an essential component of improvement and success in these times of the burgeoning 4th Industrial Revolution (4iR).

In the 21st Century, the list of critical workplace skills has changed notably with a number of what were referred to as 'soft skills' becoming essential, highly competitive competencies. Increased, digital-driven automation across diverse workplaces is increasingly freeing people from rote, mechanical tasks that can be executed more efficiently via technologies and shifting the focus to people rather doing what they can do better than any machine – critical thinking and interpersonal communications, creative thinking and problem-solving. 

This has set off waves of re-skilling and up-skilling employees and preparing adults of working age for a future of work that is surging powerfully into daily life.

In any era, there has always been a substantial portion of adults who enjoy lifelong learning through continuous reading and pursuing knowledge through their civic duties, interests and hobbies.  Today, there's a far greater push for more formalised lifelong learning and targeted professional skills development. 

However, for many individuals, the opportunities to study further qualifications or attend trainings are limited by availability, time and costs. To meet demand, some educational institutions such as SACAP (The South African College of Applied Psychology) have been reconsidering their formats and seeking ways to make continuous adult education more accessible and affordable for hyper-busy people.

The demand for continuous learning is reflected in the latest BrandMapp survey of 33 000 middle-income South Africans which reports that 39% have university qualifications and an additional 29% have diploma and artisan qualifications. In 2022, 70% of BrandMapp respondents also said that they are likely to study further.

Last year, SACAP launched a division  called SACAP Global with a range of online short courses and micro-credentials offered on the interactive OpenLearning platform. Aimed at working professionals, from junior staff to senior management level, these courses designed and overseen by SACAP's top educators in their Applied Psychology and Management & Leadership faculties, offer flexibility and require a commitment of just 10 to 12 hours of study on a weekly basis.  SACAP Global's online micro-credentials range from a 6 to 12-week duration, and combine both content knowledge and practical application. 

SACAP Global's Head of Strategic Innovation, Karolyne Williams says, "These specialised short courses enable people to up-skill, re-skill and develop competencies relevant to the 4iR context. They focus on contemporary topics within Applied Psychology, Communication, Business Management, People Management, Counselling and Coaching. The flexibility of the SACAP Global platform empowers us to effectively meet emerging workplace needs. 

For instance, this year we're delighted to launch a unique, affordable 20-hour short course, How to have critical conversations which teaches people the lifelong skills of engaging confidently in difficult conversations, at work and in their personal lives, to achieve positive, progressive outcomes for all involved."

Other short courses launched by SACAP Global in 2022 are Coaching Skills for Managers and Developing a Growth Mindset.  Ten micro-credentials are offered this year including Intro to Human Behaviour, Managing and Motivating People, Effective Interpersonal Communication and Deepening Your Counselling Skills.

In addition, from October to 31 December 2022. SACAP Global is offering three on-demand online Continuing Professional Development workshops for HPCSA registered professionals, educators, social workers and mental health practitioners. These workshops  are accredited with HPCSA CEU (Continuing Education Units):

  • Childhood Disorders – Causes, Symptoms, Misdiagnosis and Psychotherapeutic Treatment Modalities on demand workshop presented by Dr. Genevieve Da Silva. 3 CEU points
  • Trauma-sensitive Mindfulness for the Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) live workshop presented by Educational Psychologist Laila Jeebodh-Desai on 25 October and available on demand from 26 October - 31 December 2022.
  • The Long-Term Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health - Where to from here? which is also a live session workshop on 22 November that will be available on demand from 23 November - 31 December 2022. Presented by Clinical Psychologist Anita Kriel.

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