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A push to close the skills Gap: Writing courses on the rise in L.A.

writing courses
writing courses
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To say that California’s education system and workforce are evolving would be an understatement. With that said, trends are showing a massive push towards colleges and universities that offer short-term writing study for managers looking to progress in their careers.

Naturally learners are turning to methods described below, and opting to take certificate and specialty classes/courses. Spend a few months getting niche writing-based training, and get an edge. That is where the trends are pointing.

The Rise of Creative Writing Workshops

Continuing education writing programs provide a quality education for those who want to improve their writing skills in the atmosphere of rising workforce competitiveness. Programs like UCLA Extension or classes by CourseHorse help adult learners to succeed at managerial communication.

The Rise of MOOCs

In LA, like in most other big cities, the amount of working people currently enrolled in MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses continues its upwards climb. One popular example is Coursera which has millions of “students” in its ranks. In fact, the platform was noted in 2012 as growing faster than Facebook.

Here is a brief look at some current Coursera classes that anyone in LA could take right now with a PC and an internet connection:

  1. A 6 week “Enhance Your Career and Employability Skills” class from the University of London.
  2. A 5 week “Logic: Language and Information 1” class from the University of Melbourne.
  3. An 8 week course called “An Introduction to Operations Management” from the University of Pennsylvania.
  4. A 4 week long “Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part II” from University of Virginia.
  5. Over at edX you can study poetry, Shakespeare, the Principles of English 1 and 2, or even International Human Rights. Just about every online course involves writing in one form or another.

The Dramatic Emergence of Free Online Writing

OCW, or OpenCourseWare projects are common now. Any Los Angelian can hop online without cost and take non-credited writing courses that teach the goods, but provide no conventional diploma. Does it matter? More and more companies care less about formal education. It’s all about proven results and authoritative knowledge. Some current examples include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “Writing and Reading the Essay” course, along with “Writing and Reading Short Stories.” You get graduate and undergraduate level material that covers everything from essays and expository writing to technical or personal writing.

New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a program “Technical writing.” It includes 40 video-taped lectures that challenge online students and give them the ability to write in a way that’s highly marketable. At Purdue University you can find a 24/7 access to professional and technical web-based writing education, along with English as a Second Language (ESL) training. University of Michigan offers a “Principles of Research and Problem Solving.” How valuable is that, and what’s it worth to the average professional looking to advance themselves? Utah State University offers materials: “Intermediate Writing: Research Writing in a Persuasive Mode.”

The list goes on and on and continues to grow as technology churns onward and revolutionizes career development. This applies just as much to minimum wage workers as it does to lawyers, doctors and other types of much higher paid professionals.

Why Writing Classes?

The rising popularity of continuing education can be explained by the fact that many students once underestimated the necessity of undergraduate study, depriving themselves of the opportunity to actually learn how to write. Or, they where lacking financial resources to get a quality education.

Solid skills are the basis of business communication. Here is why:

  1. Advertorial: The ability to write compelling and engaging content lends itself to many different kinds of career advancement. It also makes people better at selling themselves in a hyper-competitive culture.
  2. Resume Writing: This is an increasingly popular skill that people need more than ever. You head online, sign up for a short resume writing course and then know how to deck out your resume to apply to bigger and better opportunities in the digital sphere.
  3. Technical Writing: This skill is applicable in just about every industry out there. Now these courses are much easier to access for less or perhaps even free.
  4. Communication: Writing courses help people learn to communicate much better in the online world where most people do their talking through web articles, blogs, social media updates, etc. It also helps HR people, CEOs, project managers and their ilk get better results from their teams.
  5. Web Accessibility: Writing is a skill that’s accessible on a global scale. Professionals can write things and get noticed by someone from just about anywhere in the world. Let’s say they discover an issue in their industry, write a powerful web article on how to solve it, and land a much better paying gig. It happens all the time these days.
  6. Personal Platforms: Right now every human being is a potential brand. The individual’s personal platform (with the lines blending between real and virtual worlds) is their most precious asset in the information age. The ability to write and communicate is an invaluable skill.

Are There Any Downsides?

Yes. First of all, most if not all of this stuff requires people to be relatively tech-savvy. For older generations this is getting increasingly difficult because the gap is so wide. A 6 year old is accustomed to tech wizardry that a boomer would have considered complete and utter science fiction when they were a child.

It requires knowing your way around webinars, different formats of web-based videos, dedicated email correspondence, online chat room and forums, etc. This can be a bit challenging for professionals from the brick and mortar world trying to modernize.

Managers with excellent writing skills are generally seen as more credible. Continuing education requires a lot of time, but it is worth it. Good writing skills are no longer a desired qualification, they are an indispensable job requirement in 2014.