Written by Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau, Northern Region Workforce Specialist and Regional Manager
Easy access to technology and the internet has opened up new possibilities for skill building and personal enrichment. At New Ventures Maine we have offered some online learning opportunities, and continue to explore how to best reach people through technology.
If you have never taken an online class, ask yourself the following:
- Am I too busy to take a live course but want to learn something new, increase my skills, or work towards or finish a degree?
- Do I like the flexibility of learning in the early morning or late at night?
- Is work, in combination with trying to balance parenting and other roles, preventing me from learning new things that I want to learn?
- Do I live too far from schools, universities, and organizations, making traditional classrooms difficult to get to?
If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, you may want to consider an online class.
Lifelong learning is not going away and demands us to consider thinking about how and when we plan to keep current – learning new skills or ways of doing things. Technology offers new options to take classes and webinars, many of which are free or very low cost.
Overcoming barriers to online learning:
1.) Lack of technology skills.
It can be scary to think about how to navigate an online class if you have limited computer skills. There are typically many supports available to those who are new to online classrooms. When I started taking online courses, I questioned if I had good enough computer skills to be a successful student. What I found is that many of the students in my classes felt the same way, and the instructors were very supportive and willing to provide tips and resources to help us.
2.) Ability to learn in an online environment.
Everyone has different learning styles, but I would suggest that you won’t know until you try! I was very surprised how much interaction there was in most online classes. I compare online classrooms to live classrooms – some instructors are better at classroom management than others. Do not give up if your first experience is less than pleasant. Try another class!
Online learning opens up new possibilities and access to education. Consider exploring what might be available the next time you want to update your current skills or learn something new!