3D printing opportunities are abounding in both new careers and education, though most people assume it has to be hands-on experience working with 3D printers. The concepts behind them are normally taught in person so you can visualize how the whole process works. That doesn't necessarily count out online learning as we're starting to find out. Recently, Deloitte University Press started a new online course using the MOOC concept (or "massive open online course") teaching the business aspects of additive manufacturing.
Because MOOCs use video and are sometimes interactive, the course is an excellent option for those who want to learn more about additive manufacturing without spending any money. While many colleges have courses in 3D printing concepts, the MOOC system may bring a whole new spin on learning its concepts for those who want to apply it to something creative.
Will 3D Printing Open Up to Free Education?
While the above course from Deloitte University is about the business side of additive manufacturing, don't be surprised to see more 3D printing MOOC courses pop up on the web. Some of those can at least give a head-start to those interested in wanting to learn more about 3D printing concepts as possible careers. For kids, especially, it can be invaluable and persuade them to work on a degree in something technical later.
Already, some companies are providing free 3D printing camps that give kids one day to learn about additive manufacturing and the general 3D printing process. Whether that's increasing enrollment in colleges to learn more technical courses in 3D printing isn't known yet. Many universities and community colleges are starting to offer extensive courses on the subject.
As manufacturing begins to shift toward 3D printers, what happens if all of the education behind it becomes available online for free? Universities may not be happy, though many other courses are starting to be offered through MOOCs that provide individuals a complete education in a specific subject.
If 3D printing education became free, it could fast-track the needed education our new generation is going to need in order to use the technology in careers. Not everyone is going to be able to afford to take those courses in a university. With interactivity being quite vivid thanks to better video capability, a free education in additive manufacturing might well be readily available anywhere without needing anything other than an Internet connection.