When we explore the cost of learning, we often find ourselves focusing on the cost in a transactional way. I pay this, and therefore I should get that.

Easy peasy, but is that a realistic assessment for how learning works?

Is it really that simple, that if I buy this degree, or pay for that certification, or attend some seminars or workshops, that I get back exactly what I put out? Can learning really be so commodified that we can speak about it as an investment, one that goes up if we chose wisely, or goes down if we wasted our time, money, and efforts?

The cost of learning is often beyond costs alone, as financial expenditure pushes buttons within us, so to speak, that often eludes a clear quantitative calculation.

The rub is that I can measure financial shifts, something easy to do with numbers, yet it is much more complicated when we seek to bring the same rigor to comparing our lives before we improved them through knowledge or skills or perspectives.

This is one of the reasons learning and professional development can be so much more complicated than educational transactionalism.

Does any of this feel like your experience?


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About Me

Jeffrey M. Keefer, Ph.D., is an educational consultant, institutional researcher and accreditation officer in higher education, professor of research methodology, nonprofit capacity building and strategic planning consultant, talent development coach, spiritual life advisor (chaplain) at New York University, spiritual director, and Wikipedian.