Continuing Education - #fail

I'm writing this post while sitting in my mandatory continuing education course. In a room full of my peers, I can't see anyone who's engaged in the course material or focused on what the instructor is saying. It’s a group of people who, like me, are focused on their smart phones or engaged in sidebar conversations.

How excited can you get about spending six hours in a room regarding a topic that won't make you better at your job? 

New Jersey is relatively new to mandating continuing education for real estate salespeople and brokers. The State requires 12 hours every other year to maintain a salesperson's license, and I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't look at it as a necessary evil. 

When it became mandatory, the State Real Estate Commission issued guidelines and several entities rushed to get accredited to provide the courses. As a board member of CoreNet at the time, we decided against seeking the accreditation, as we didn't think it was a good use of resources given our constituency. 

However, it's my hope that this program evolves. Courses need to be offered that are specific to our industry and not the same as those offered to residential brokers. While I understand the importance of ethics, will something a 20+ year industry veteran learn in a continuing education course change the way he does business? I don't think so. 

However, courses on technology, computer skills, social media, trends in the market, case studies on creative deals, negotiating skills, financial analysis, or economics would help professionals stay current and further our industry. 

Is the goal to have bored people sit in a room making jokes, or is the goal to actually learn something? If it's the later, we are missing the boat. I have about 30 more years until I retire, which means I have 180 more hours of continuing education. I hope I'm not simply taking the same class another 15 times.