Schools and classrooms have always been the environment in which we acquire the foundation of our knowledge. While the classrooms still remain to be the learning hub for the age of adolescence, as we delve into the 21st century, it has become increasingly evident in the workforce that real-world learning and application is beginning to overpower the merit of obtaining a college degree. As the workforce becomes more populated with college graduates, Ziprecriter reports that 45% of employers are turning the spotlight to skill and experience as opposed to the academic credentials they possess. Is this to say that obtaining a college degree is pointless? No. Attending college is a great way to become familiar with professional practices, however, it is crucial to understand the extensive role of interactive learning.

What is real-world learning?

Also known as real-life application, real-world learning involves engagement in programs, and learning outside of the classroom. This includes undergoing internship programs, and even pursuing online certificates and courses which are particularly designed to offer individuals experience with practical, up-to-date industry related knowledge and skills. These endeavors enhance one’s professional development and preparation in various fields of study. For example, as a Business Analytics major, I’ve come to the understanding that my desired field is very competitive when it comes to internships and overall employment opportunities. In order to help make my application and resume more competitive, I decided to take on professional analytics certifications in decision making, data visualization, and coding to demonstrate my eagerness and passion to learn by doing, more importantly on my own time.

Why is it important?

Learning beyond the traditional classroom setting in college is so important for career readiness, and opens more opportunities in a competitive job market. Not to mention that learning on external applications such as coursera, and etcetera, provide up-to-date content so learners can not only develop their industry skills, but also learn about the latest advancements and how to adapt to dynamic situations in a world prone to improvement. 

Concisely, as an undergraduate, real-world learning remains important to stand out and adapt in competitive and evolving fields as the application pool becomes more and more populated every year. It opens a world of diverse problem-solving, and offers the ability to comfortably transition into a professional environment as a result. So step out of your comfort zone, network, and research ways you can develop your skills and knowledge in your field to stand out in the application pool!

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