Northwestern Polytechnic University Peter Hsieh is a well-known expert on teaching and education in the USA. As President of Northwestern Polytechnic University, he introduced a number of new concepts on education that are still not used by many established universities.
NPU is known for being one of the best providers of Master’s degree programs in an online environment. Students also take classes at NPU’s Silicon Valley campus or its other campus in Fremont and San Jose.
Mr. Hsieh has recently completed a Q&A on the future of online education, which we would like to share with you:
Q: What is your opinion regarding American colleges and universities? Is the traditional model dead or close to being over?
A: The traditional model is not dead. However, the conventional model needs to change in some ways to accommodate the changes in workforce development needs and student preferences.
Q: What are the biggest benefits of online education? How can they be improved?
A: Online education offers students greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling classes around work and family. In addition, its interactive nature helps students consider alternative ways of thinking. There is definitely room for improvement as far as student engagement goes, but the potential is huge if we find a way to engage online learners better.
Q: How can online education benefit businesses?
A: Many people have shared their opinion about how online education can benefit businesses. I think the benefits are similar, whether online or in person. Education can help people become more marketable since they have acquired new skills through education. Education also helps diversify talent pools and reduce turnover rates at companies since employees who work for companies with training programs are much less likely to leave their jobs.
Q: What is the main reason for a business to invest in its employees? Isn’t it just because they have to pay them so much and hope this investment will pay off somehow?
A: It may seem that way from a certain perspective. In many cases, however, businesses invest in training not only because of market needs but also because we care about our people and want them to be successful. We invest in training just like we invest in new equipment or office space: not because it is required by law, but because we believe that having great staff members will translate into business success.
Q: Nowadays, working hours get longer and more dynamic; people work out of the office and communicate globally. Does this new dynamic need a new education system?
A: Technology has changed the way we work, and it will continue to do so. We may even see more changes in the future that we cannot predict today. For example, I got my first smartphone just three years ago, which is already outdated. Education needs to change as well to accommodate these changes in technology. However, there are two key features that education will always have regardless of how technology develops: first, education must give people the ability to acquire new knowledge and skills; second, just like our muscles need exercise to grow stronger, our brains need continuous stimulation to keep them sharp. Therefore, education remains the foundation of knowledge and skills acquisition, regardless of how technology changes our lives.