Back in the day, learning a new skill was a detailed proposition for which you had to carefully prepare and budget. Now, thanks to eLearning, it’s as simple as opening a new browser window.
The main advantage of eLearning is that you can do it on your own time, which is convenient for those who are balancing work and family responsibilities. It’s also less frustrating because advanced learners can whiz past topics they already know, while novices can progress through new content at their own pace. Lower cost is obviously a benefit too.
The best thing about eLearning, in my opinion, is that it allows you to increase your marketability while still generating income, as opposed to traditional learning methods, which may require that you give up your whole life and financial livelihood.
Determine if It’s for You
eLearning comes in all shapes and sizes, but are some methods more effective than others? Some experts think that learning is maximized when digested in 45 minute online sessions as opposed to 8-10 hour blocks. Shorter sessions give people the ability to process the information at hand and apply it to their everyday jobs as they are learning it. I’ve also found that lectures interspersed with interactivity (videos or quizzes, for example) keep things interesting and help you avoid the temptation to surf the web.
However, online learning is not for everyone, at least not over the long-term. People who pursue distance coursework rely on online multimedia tools to simulate in-person lectures and tests, and you have to be completely self-motivated to make it work. Many are spurred to action by the camaraderie of being surrounded by fellow students, and online study groups are not the same.
To find eLearning options, tap professional associations in your target industry, media outlets who cover your area, or government entities that support people in your line of work. If a degree program is what you’re after, you can identify distance learning options by searching Google and the big social networks – just make sure your target institutions are accredited.
If you’ve never tried eLearning before, consider auditioning it in a situation with little to no risk or upfront investment. Popular and inexpensive eLearning sites to check out include prfessor.com, Lynda. com, and learningannex.com.
This post was originally published on Intuit's Quickbase blog.