Continuing education. We talk about it a lot in the massage community. Should it be required? How much? Who should require it? Who should teach? What should “count?”

People seem to fall into two camps: continuing education junkies who are always looking for more classes taught by their favorite instructors or on a subject they’ve been dying to learn about (and there’s always a subject they’ve been dying to learn about) and those who do what they have to in order to stay licensed and insured.

You might be able to deduce that I am one of the former.

But, I’m also hovering valiantly above the poverty line. There are a lot of classes I’d like to take, books I’d like to buy, workshops I’d like to travel to, that are just not going to happen this year.

This doesn’t worry me.

I’ve got more than enough “official” continuing education this year (to be honest, I didn’t need any to begin with: Ohio doesn’t require it and I’m still on my AMTA student membership from before I graduated), which frees me up to learn without messing around with hours or accreditation.

I’ve written about formal continuing education before. I’ve also written about viewing your education as a process of capacity-building. Luckily, lots of other edpunks, autodidacts, and lifelong learners are out and about in the world, and learning what you want with out the BS is being refined into quite the artform.

What do you want to learn?

It seems kind of common-sense, in a way, to have a learning plan. You’ve got a business plan if you’re in business, after all. And since you’re definitely “in learning” even if you’re not in school, a plan for where you’d like to end up with all this learning business seems only sensible. The Edpunk’s Guide to a DIY Credential (a free e-book by Anya Kamenetz) will walk you through this process more thoroughly than I ever could here. It’s hugely helpful for differentiating what you want to accomplish from what you need to know from how you plan to learn it.

How will you get there from here?

I’m taking a class at Stanford University starting in February. No, I’m not a student there, but they are offering a course on starting a business, The Lean Launchpad online for free.

No, you don’t get actual college credit for it.

No, I have no idea how much of what I learn will be applicable to starting a massage business.

Yeah, I’m doing it anyway, because I think it will be pretty interesting not matter what. But you know what would make it even better?

If there were a small group of new massage therapists (or new/future massage business owners) who were taking this class, who could interact online as a study posse of sorts. And if there were established massage therapists with successful businesses who felt like taking the course, and thought they could contribute to the discussion as mentors.

That would be awesome.

Anybody up for it?

Drop a comment if you want to be a part of this. Or even if you don’t. What’s in your learning plan?

PS- Stanford is also offering a free course on the anatomy of the upper limb. I have no idea if it’s any good, but at the very least it could provide some extra study material for the students out there. Can’t beat free, right?

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