Online Learning

Online learning is a term used for education that is provided using the Internet as the communication medium. Online learning allows a student to complete study sessions from home or work, by using the Internet. Learning resources may be in the form of printed material or material downloaded from the Internet. Due to its interactive nature, which permits two way communication, the Internet has emerged as an ideal medium for providing distance learning.

Online learning has made huge inroads in the corporate sector as well. One of the biggest drivers for online learning is the fact that businesses understand the importance of creating knowledge based organizations in order to stay competitive. New technologies and information keep proliferating and employee skills need frequent updating. In addition, executives realized that aligning training with the business goals of their companies was critical.

Online learning can be categorized into three types. The first type is non-formal education that simply involves gathering information for self study or undertaking research for a specific purpose, such as a school project, presentation or a home assignment. The other type of online learning is formal and involves enrolling for a course with an academic institution with the intention of earning an educational qualification in the form of a diploma or degree. The third type is online corporate training, which is usually provided or sponsored by a company for their employees, with the objective of improving their skills and imparting information.

It has been argued that online learning is a competent, if not better, mode of instruction, as compared to traditional classroom instruction. On the flip side, another argument put forward is that online courses may help the learner acquire a deeper understanding of fundamentals, but it does little to polish or build up an individual’s analytical or reasoning skills.

Statistics indicate that classroom teaching is still a predominant form of pedagogy, but online learning in undoubtedly getting popular.

Tips for Success in Online Learning

As the education sector comes to terms with increasing technological intrusion and changing reality of learning modes, online learning is fast catching up as a preferred medium for kids ‘education. As per the statistics in 2011, 40 states in USA have either virtual schools or some form of state-led online initiative. The technological influx has made education boundary less. A student sitting in Hong Kong can take classes in California without any glitch since free worksheets, education articles and every other imaginable information regarding any subject is available online. The growing fame of online learning in kids’ education is indicated in the online enrollments stats of 2011, which state that nearly 2,50,000 students enrolled full-time in online schools in 2010-2011.

The easy availability of learning information such as free worksheets, education articles, easy to download presentations, etc has made online learning a hit among students as well as professionals. Missed course credits can be recovered via online learning but how to be a top scorer in a virtual classroom requires a little bit of planning and preparation. Here are some tips to help e-learning students be better in their learning:

Create a regular learning schedule – Online classrooms provides a private space of learning and maximum advantage can be taken of this by having a routine study plan. Have a calendar planner to help you keep track of test and assignment submission dates. Ensure that you take a look at the planner once each day so that your dates and study plan do not skip from your mind. Try and have a dedicated study place with everything you need so that your concentration is at fullest when you are studying. Having a specific study place brings in the much-needed peace for learning and accords importance to what you are doing.

Be interactive and engaged – When studying online it is important to be at your interactive best. Participate in conversations and group discussions and engage others as well by sharing, exchanging your ideas, perspectives and comments. Your information and learning source is not restricted to your instructor only. Besides all the free worksheets and education articles, it is interaction with your colleagues and peers that helps you learn even more.

Know the online learning management system – Before taking up the course online, make yourself fully aware about online learning ways. This means read the “how to manuals” of working on online learning management software and/or tools.

Conferencing your way through learning – Online learning is a break from the traditional and conventional way of studying. Contrary to the dominant physical presence of teachers and classmates, online learning entails just you and your machine. This can leave you feeling a bit isolated which can harm your studying, learning capacity. So to avoid feeling cut-off, participating in online conferences related to your course is a great way to learn and meet other students. It helps you in connecting with different experts of course subjects as well as with students from the same course.

If you have a problem, you have to talk about it – One great thing about the online format of learning is how it puts people socially at ease and opens them up. Being online, you can and should put forth your problem without any hesitation. If there is something that you are unable to grasp, then be vocal about it. Post your problem on the discussion forum, email it to your instructor and the responses will start pouring in instantly.

Following these tips eases your climb to the success hill and helps you learn better in the process. To get more tips and more knowledge about e-learning check out sites such as Educationtiger.com

Are Free Online Spanish Courses a Waste of Time?

With the economy the way it is right now, everyone is looking for a good deal. So free online Spanish courses are looking pretty good to anyone who wants to study Spanish. But is it really true that you get what you pay for? Are free online Spanish courses a waste of time? Here is a mini-guide that covers the pros and cons.

Free Sometimes Is Free

Actually, for the skeptics, there are really some very good online courses that are free. Teachers, schools, or community organizations offer online sites because they really want people to learn Spanish, and post learning materials online for free. These sites may not have the best design or the latest interactive technology, but they do have the basics. And, when you are a beginner, the basics are what you need.

Free Sometimes Comes With Strings Attached

There are some online sites that offer free introductions to their courses. You may be able to download a free introductory lesson onto your computer, or they may send you a free introductory CD or DVD with a complimentary lesson. The site may also offer other items for sale that complement their course. These sites often are well designed and do have the latest interactive technology, but in order to use it, you eventually will be expected to pay for an entire level of study. In some cases, you will be paying for the entire course in advance, rather than paying as you progress to the next level.

Free Sometimes Has Only Part of What You Need

Some online sites dealing with learning Spanish offer just a part of what you need to learn the entire language. For example, you might find a free site that will teach you the Spanish alphabet and numbers. You might find a free site that explains the correct pronunciation of Spanish vowels and consonants. You might find a free site that will show conversation phrases for beginners. And some sites even offer entire vocabulary lists by themes, such as Family, Work, Meals, Greetings, Colors, Numbers, or Animals.

Free Usually Means You Will Organize Your Own Course

Ultimately, if you choose to go the free route, then you can expect to spend time organizing the different free offerings online into a course of study that is best for you. You must decide which elements of learning Spanish are important for you as a beginner. Then, you must go about organizing your schedule and sticking to it, so that you can continue to learn. Eventually, you may decide that you need more personalized help, or the attention of a tutor or a classroom Spanish teacher. And for that reason, you will eventually move up a level from free offerings and take on some kind of expense.

In the beginning, as you are making choices about learning Spanish, the free options available are really great to look over. You will most likely learn enough to decide if you wish to continue learning at a more intense level. So, these free resources are not a waste of time. Just use them wisely, and you will learn quite a bit of Spanish for free.