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The Third Sector of Education: Podcast Recap

The Third Sector of Education

Recently, Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele kicked off a podcast series about the third sector. 

What is the third sector? Serves the millions of adults that continue to learn and grow after their secondary and post-secondary education. This can be corporate training, LinkedIn Learning, associations and many more. What they have in common? Charging adults for this education. 

Financial investment as well as mergers and acquisitions have increased when it comes to learning technology. This can attest to the growing interest and attention to the sector. But why? 

Five Developments

Jeff and Celisa talk about five developments. 

  1. Humans are living longer 
  2. Advancement in underlying technology 
  3. Surge in content 
  4. What we know about neuroscience and the science of learning has made tremendous strides 
  5. The upheaval and disruption of the pandemic 

What Blue Sky Had to Say

Not only do Jeff and Celisa talk about the third sector, they interview many people in the industry, including two of Blue Sky’s own – VP of Association Solutions, Liam O’Malley, and VP of Continuing Education, Amanda Davis. 

Liam’s feedback was that there’s a many years long trend of opening up accessibility to education, networking and connection. Once upon a time bodies of knowledge may have required more investment to get to. There is maybe a little bit of the crumbling of the ivory tower as this content becomes more widely available, however organizations can sometimes get caught flat footed. A great example is the CLE (continuing legal education) space – this education may have once been more exclusive but now is widely available through corporate training companies as well as associations. 

When Amanda was asked about the level of awareness, she feels companies have about educational content becoming more widely accessible, she felt that there are certainly some blinders out there. For member-based organizations where a smaller part of their revenue comes from education may not be as aware as a group who relies on education as a large part of their revenue. Many times, these are regulated industries that are more aware. Others are sticking their heads in the stand and are holding strong that they will everything to everyone so they aren’t great for anyone. These are typically the same organizations waiting for in-person events to come back anormal and to adapting to virtual. 

Questions for Reflection

Jeff and Celisa leave us with some questions for reflection. 

What’s your learning business’s awareness of the third sector? How might a deepened awareness of the third sector help your learning business? This may take you from reflection to possibility – new products or services (or sunsetting those) or perhaps new partnerships. While they don’t except you to answer these questions overnight they hope they help you get the conversation started. 

To listen to the entire podcast, click here. To talk to us about our third sector eLearning offerings, contact us today! 

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