Conversation with The President: What's the Lasting COVID Effect on Knowledge Delivery?

Conversation with The President: What's the Lasting COVID Effect on Knowledge Delivery?

COVID e-learning financial knowledge
Conversation with The President: What's the Lasting COVID Effect on Knowledge Delivery?
George Nichols III
Dec 28, 2020

COVID was, is, and forever will be an education game-changer. A once-in-a-century, contagious, deadly virus has and will continue to force educators and administrators to think differently about the delivery of knowledge and education.

To end 2020, I sat down to answer four pressing questions summing up The College’s 2020. I touched on technological advances, a renewed focus on transformative e-learning, and the potential outcomes The College can foster in economic empowerment and equality.

While these strategic successes are important to celebrate, they’re even more rewarding in the midst of a once-in-a-generation pandemic. COVID obviously has immediate impacts on our public health, the fabric of our communities, and the way we live. Long-term, the impacts will cascade down to the ways we learn.

The College is prepared to meet the learning needs of those who desire to absorb knowledge and pass it on to their clients, colleagues, and communities. Here are my thoughts on what’s next for knowledge delivery and how The College aims to meet the needs of the 21st-century learner. Listen to the short interview below, and make sure to subscribe to this blog to remain on the pulse of new College initiatives.

Jared Trexler: Hello, everyone. A happy holiday season to all as we near the end of one of the most challenging, chaotic, unusual years in our nation's history. We hope all of you listening are safe and well, and navigating these times with a strong belief for a brighter future. We at The American College of Financial Services are dedicated to being your lifelong learning partner and advancing our mission to benefit society. Today I'm sitting down with College President and CEO George Nichols III for his thoughts on The College's 2020 as well as his valuable perspectives from over three decades in the financial services industry.

Make sure to follow President Nichols on LinkedIn, Twitter, and sign up to receive his latest insights, right to your inbox, at We are living and working in the middle of a once-in-a-generation pandemic. COVID-19 continues to hang over the economy, with wide-ranging impacts on nearly every profession.

The financial education profession is a diverse one, with e-learning institutions, traditional colleges and universities, for-profit shops, and individual thought leaders. What's one or two ways that COVID-19, in your opinion, has changed the delivery of applied knowledge forever?

President George Nichols III: The first obvious one is the acceleration to online learning. Man, I feel sorry for traditional colleges and universities that are trying to shift their business model to deliver online learning, even if it's in a hybrid, where you go to class a couple of days, and you also go online. So it's accelerated online learning. And that's a good thing because our lives are getting more complicated. And, back to my original comment about our Personal Pathway™ and our new Brightspace system, we think we're poised to be one of the leaders and survivors of this online learning acceleration. That would be the first point.

The second point is that I think it has heightened our awareness of relationships and the physical interaction. I think all of us joke, before COVID-19, "My kids are sitting in the back of the car, and they're both on their phones, texting each other, because they don't want Mom and Dad to hear it," or they're just engrossed in their video games. And now that that's all we get to do, I think it's heightened our awareness that, really, what we need is each other and that human interaction, and that's important.

And not only the human interaction. I think the solitude that some of us have had in our homes has made us stop and think not just about, "I wish I had someone to talk to, or interact with, or play with," but, "How do I feel? How do my friends feel?" And when we go to a much deeper level, I think that's powerful. And I think it's positive.

Jared Trexler: And on that same line, how do you evaluate The College’s ability to meet these needs?

President Nichols: I think we are in an excellent position. We had a pretty good year in 2019. And in 2020, we really had some very ambitious and bold initiatives that, I will tell you, in March of 2020, as the leader, I was concerned about our ability to achieve them. However, our faculty and staff responded, I mean, beautifully, to where we were able to shift to a remote environment very quickly, not miss a beat in this pandemic. We maintained our focus on our strategy, and it was implementing the Brightspace system to create the flexibility. It was creating Personal Pathway™. It was structuring and creating more of a data-first mindset around all of the rich information that we have, which will allow us to serve our students and our business partners, and expand to consumers much faster. So, I think we're well positioned, and I think it's the platform that we're using.

I think it's the thought process that we're using, and then this recognition of those changes, this acceleration in online, this issue about the sensitivity of relationships, and that we're thinking about is how to incorporate those things into the applied knowledge and teaching that we've been delivering for 90-plus years. So, I think we're going to be one of the winners at the end of the day. Obviously, though, the thing that is going to be important is, I've learned in the last two years, our College is probably one of the best-kept secrets. I don't want us to be a secret. I want to tell the world about the great things that are happening at The American College of Financial Services.

Jared Trexler: Thank you so much, George. And thank you for listening. As the college continues to fulfill its mission, check back for another conversation with George in the months ahead. Here's to a safe, happy holiday season. And make sure to bookmark for President Nichols' latest professional insights and announcements of College initiatives.