The Future of Professional Development: Online, Free, and Just-in-Time | Selingo | SCUP Links |

As we celebrate Labor Day this week, it's a time when many of us take stock of our work, our careers, and what changes we might want to make in the coming year.

Indeed, at some point in our lifetime we all have confronted—or will confront—a career change, a new job, or will simply realize our skills are outdated. In previous generations, knowledge developed so slowly that we could last in a job or career for a lifetime with one set of schooling.

But today, knowledge is growing rapidly by the year. Half of what is known today was not known ten years ago and the amount of knowledge in the world is doubling every 18 months, according to the Association for Talent Development. To survive, we constantly need to refresh our knowledge. ...

[A] new economy of learning is emerging. It won’t eliminate continuing and executive education programs, but it will certainly disrupt the field of professional development.

This new shadow learning system is defined by students who need to acquire knowledge quickly (within hours) and in chunks (while standing in line at the supermarket). It is supplied by the likes of the Khan Academy, which serves up 5,000 videos to some 10 million people a month,, which has more than 4 million subscribers for its how-to online tutorials, and even YouTube.