In between sessions at the Forbes CIO Summit Europe event in London last month, I interviewed Mike Feerick (pictured with me above), CEO of Alison, one of the world’s largest free learning platforms for education and skills training.
Their mission is to act as a catalyst for positive social change, creating opportunity, prosperity, and equality for everyone.
As we stood on the sinuous Victorian Gothic staircase, enveloped by fleur-de-lis patterning within the opulent interiors of The Renaissance Hotel, Mike explained the importance of “agile learning” to me.
Let's look at the current status of our education system - generally universities and colleges are expensive to attend and slow to update their curricula.
Mark Twain famously said that cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education. And whilst we can laugh, perhaps he had a point.
Mike says corporations are waiting for universities to update their courses and provide the talent, but this process is far too slow. "Organisations have an amateurish approach to learning," he states. What's needed is a more informal, nimble way.
This is only too true in cyber security. Cyber breaches are occurring at an insane rate and the threat landscape is constantly changing. So how do we keep up?
The beauty of an online tool such as Alison is that it's free to learn, free to certify, free to invite people to a learning group and free to publish content.
So cyber experts in your organisation could work on a threat in the morning, upload information about it straight after and by the afternoon it's ready to be circulated within your team- a CISO can rest assured that employees are up to date.
Mike also stresses that companies should inculcate the learning process within their company. People join organisations and leave. What happens with the knowledge they take with them? There needs to be a way of passing it on and retaining it.
"Part of the problem of cyber security is not cyber security - it's about creating a culture of online learning and immediacy in learning," Mike states.
There is real conviction and drive in Mike's words and you feel that he is shaking up the system - not just in cyber security but for education worldwide.
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