Take Advantage of e-Learning with Mobile Technology
Advances in smartphones and tablets, combined with a proliferation of free online courses, have brought e-learning to the masses.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about nutrition, pick up a new language, write your own code for a computer program or just get a chance to hear a few lectures from some top university professors? For many adults, the chance to further their education is just a dream. Full-time jobs and adult-sized bills, as well as the inflexibility of living in mortgaged homes, often make uprooting and joining a traditional student body at a university not very realistic. But with mobile technology and a growing number of free e-learning sources, that dream can become a reality.
For the past 10 years, thanks to open-source software and access to the Internet, colleges and universities have been able to offer their students online classes. The demand for these courses has continued to expand, and now the rate of growth for e-learning has surpassed traditional enrollment. According to research from Babson College and the Quahog Research Group, enrollment in online courses grew 9.3 percent in 2011–2012, compared to a negative growth rate in overall enrollment, seen for the first time that same school year.
These classes may consist of video lectures; quizzes or assessments; and interaction with others in the courses via social media or message boards. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, students can access the Internet, social media and email beyond the walls of a classroom or home—making e-learning more mobile than ever.
Get on board with the new trend and find a class that’s right for you. Here are a few places to find courses for free:
Founded in 2011 by two Stanford University professors, this online education source offers free classes to the general public from top professors at 33 prestigious universities, including Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. As of July 2012, more than 680,000 students from 190 countries had enrolled. Students can choose from a wide range of courses, including topics in history, math, science and health.
If you’re looking for classes in math and computer programming, this is your source. Three robotics professors founded Udacity because they felt the courses would have more value online, where they could reach thousands of students rather than just 20 at a time.
MIT and Harvard University have partnered to form this not-for-profit enterprise that features learning designed specifically for interactive study online. Computer science, artificial intelligence and math are the predominant subjects, but you can also find courses on ancient history, human health and the global environment.
Even with these and other sources for free classes, the arena of free education is still in its infancy. For most courses, you receive a certificate of completion rather than a diploma; however, online degree programs are available. E-learning offers the opportunity to take training that will help advance or change your career, improve your mind and maybe even open up new interests you never even considered, all on your schedule.