If you’ve always pictured yourself as a successful entrepreneur, once you reach the age where you can actually follow your professional goals, you will need to adopt the right education path. As someone who will be entering the world of business, simply getting a business degree won’t be enough to obtain the promising skills you are targeting.

While being an entrepreneur implies life-long learning, you should focus from the start on both formal and informal training. There are a few relevant aspects to know about here, and the following insights might put things in a better perspective for you:

The difference between informal and formal learning

First, you should understand exactly how formal learning is different from the informal one. While formal learning takes place in a training based organization, university, workshop setting, e-learning portals etc., informal education is a concept that implies staying updated with any changes that occur over time, whether they have to do with economic shifts, tech advancements or other areas relevant for entrepreneurs. When you go to university and pursue a business major, for example, you are adopting a standard formal training approach, whereas when you are researching on your own a specific business-related technology, you are learning informally.

Building a successful career demands equal attention two both areas. You won’t be able to reach your desired professional objectives if you’re knowledge and expertise are limited to a standardized educational journey, without any self-learning processes outside of the formal system.

Education that is beyond limitations

This is how you could define in fewer word non-formal training: Education that goes outside the organized, traditional training environment. Whatever piece of information you assimilate in your day-to-day life and can be used to better your career can be considered an informal learning technique. Whether you’ve seen a more experienced entrepreneurs take a specific action, you’ve participated in a business conferences, you’ve discovered a new technology that can help you to develop a business, or you’ve got some interesting insights from the media – all of these things can be seen as methods to expand your expertise and improve your professional development.

Choosing the right formal training opportunities

Because the journey towards a rewarding entrepreneurial career starts with standardized, formal learning, it’s important to spot the right options here and choose the opportunities that are likely to ensure you of the level of expertise targeted.

  • College – getting a business degree can be a great starting point in your career. A proper college major will provide you with the fundamentals you need to make suitable future decisions for your profession. When you are comparing options, it’s important to analyze your specific expectations in regards to your professional development. The right studies can open the right doors for you.
  • Workshops – the education system has a wide range of schooling variation you can look into. Because there’s always something new to learn, business workshops are carried out regularly, targeting various topics relevant for professional growth. Workshops fall within the same formal education segment.
  • Training courses – Financial engineering, entrepreneurial finance, decision making – you will discover a great selection of training courses designed to support entrepreneurs in acquiring new skills and knowledge. Depending on the areas you think you still lack proficiency, you can enroll in different classes and explore new learning possibilities. A great course format can truly make a difference in how you will be viewing or handling different things related to your career. The theoretical pointers provided by trading courses, held in either physical classes or online, can be later applied to potential business development actions.

With e-learning becoming so popular in recent years, learning is far flexible today than it used to be a while back. An online course can be just as complex as one you would pursue in a physical classroom, so just because you have already started working in the field, and your time is limited, it doesn’t  mean you can’t continue your studies.

Recognition of non-formal learning opportunities

Informal learning has such a broad meaning that you might often not exactly recognize some opportunities. As an entrepreneur, being observant and assimilating knowledge from every situation you will differentiate your level of success. It’s rather difficult to segment informal learning into specific categories, considering it’s such an extensive concept. The professional development of each entrepreneur incorporates different self-education directions. A few examples of informal learning cases can be the following:

  • Internships – being around someone with more experience in the world of business as you can provide you with some valuable guidance. The majority of careers start with an internship, and while this type of “employment” isn’t exactly a standardized learning environment, the insights you will be able to access can be critical to your professional growth. Closely observing businessmen handling various entrepreneurial processes can offer you a real life example of how to put to good use the knowledge and expertise gained in school. Partaking in an internship can do a lot for your career.
  • Media – media has become, nowadays, a relevant source of learning. As long as use media channels to stay informed, it’s impossible not to make good use of the information provided. Keeping yourself updated in regards to important world news is a necessary informal learning approach.
  • Work settings – Work settings ensure employees of a continuous informal learning journey. From the moment you get your first job, you will enter a learning climate that puts at your disposal a wide variety of resources and positive interactions.

Both formal and informal learning opportunities are important for your entrepreneurial career. It’s critical for your training approach to include diverse experiences accumulated in multiple settings, and not just university or school grounds. As you can see, the topic is a rather complex one, but if you want your future career in the world of business to provide you with the outcomes you desire, understanding the specifics of non-formal and formal education comes as a priority. Use the details highlighted above to your advantage on the path to success.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected]

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