Online learning

One of the best things that I have found with online learning, is that it is really flexible.  For example if you want to earn a certificate, there are plenty of options out there.  If you want to learn for fun or pleasure then there are other options. The same apples if you just want to learn something new, revise a subject, or try out a new subject.

The Open University Openlearn [1] courses are the best of both worlds,  you can try something out and get a certificate of participation.

You can also learn, when and where you want. This is great for bite size learning, during a lunch break for example.  If you work during the day time, It may not be an easy for you to attend classes or for your employer to release you.  Any decent employer will provide CPD anyway,  a really good employer will encourage life long learning too.  So for a lot of people,learning out of normal working hours is their only real option.

You are also not tied to attending a classroom, where you have to fit in with the class / college time table.  Not always easy at the best of times and life can get in the way.

So what options are there?  In addition to Open Learn, there are a real multitude of options out there.   The Open University [2] offer a wide range of courses to degree level and beyond.

If, for example, you want to learn programming the Codecademy [3] have a wide range of different courses.  You can login any time from anywhere, which is great and really flexible.  Along with  a really good support network within these platforms.

You can also study longer courses and earn certificates with EdX [4] in a very wide range of subject areas.  Freecodecamp [5] is also excellent option, you get bite size activities that build up your skills in a manageable way.

Sites such as Repl.it [6] provide an in browser IDE.  I have written a post about repl.it previously.  With this you can experiment within the browser IDE and see results.  This can be shared with the community or shared more widely e.g on your website or social media as a link or embedded project.  See ( Learning BASH 2) post for an example.  If you’re learning HTML etc then you can view the resulting code as a website too.  This is great for testing in different browsers or developing and showcasing your own project(s).

Here in Tor bay, there appears to be very limited options for adult learning.  Again main issue is that places are open during term time only,  or during the normal working day.  If you are not working, this is still not so great as you need to be available for work.  Being able to login from anywhere keeps you available and I would think some employers would be sympathetic to you wanting to develop new skills especially if they are job related.

Online learning courses are also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.   This brings life long learning to everyone, especially as many courses can be accessed on tablets, phones and other connected devices.

Not all courses are free, some, in the case of certification or degrees can cost several thousand, but if you can earn while working, but study while doing so everyone should win.  In the case of Codecademy you can pay for extension activities.

The argument for seeking out and learning online is very strong.  Perhaps the need for a community of distance / 0nline learning to provide, if nothing else just encouragement from those who are also taking this route is also very strong.

If you are looking to run a code club, then some of the training for this is delivered free online via Futurelearn [7] plus you also have the option, for £32 to upgrade and get a certificate and unlimited access to the course.  Which is great as evidence for employers too.

I think this is really going to be the future of learning.  Websites such as EdX offer a wide range of courses, plus courses from some of the worlds leading universities and learning institutions.

References

  1. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/
  2. http://www.open.ac.uk/
  3. https://www.codecademy.com/
  4. https://www.edx.org/
  5. https://www.freecodecamp.org/
  6. https://repl.it
  7. https://www.futurelearn.com

 

Please feel free to discuss on twitter @zleap2018.  I can also be contacted on friendi.ca

Update 5/8/2019.  Just been through this post and tidied it up a little more.