If you have a desire to learn a new skill or develop an existing one, you may have been discouraged by the cost of educational classes and materials. Indeed, the cost of education is one of the most common reasons for adults to stay away from the classroom. There are ways, however, in which you can access free online learning that could help you improve your prospects.
The Internet has recently seen a huge growth in web sites and blogs that concentrate on specific subjects. While some remain in a diary format, there are many blogs which offer step-by-step tutorials on many different topics. Craft and hobby blogs are by far the most common of these.
If you want to use one of these blogs to try out a new craft skill such as knitting, crochet or dressmaking for example, they are an excellent free resource. One of the best ways to find suitable blogs is to use the website StumbleUpon.
Here you can select the type of websites you wish to view, which are recommended by other StumbleUpon users. This gives you a certain level of confidence that the websites you will be viewing have already been tried and tested by other users. Then you simply click through the selections until you find a site you feel comfortable with.
As many websites now also include audio files, it is even possible to learn a new language for free by using online materials. The BBC website has a section devoted to offering bite-size language learning courses online. Here you will find video and audio files and lots of useful hints and tips for learning your chosen language. There are currently 36 languages available to select.
Another British institution that has been helping adults with distance learning courses for over 30 years is the Open University. Thousands of individuals have studied units with the Open University over the years, to gain stand-alone modular qualifications as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
In 2009, the Open University launched its own free online resource, Open Learn. This is a pioneering alternative to traditional paid Open University study, aimed at making learning accessible to all.
With Open Learn, many of the Open University’s older modules have now been added to the online directory. These modules are generally those which formed part of previous Open University courses, but which have now been updated for the paid courses. Learners can study the full range of Open University arts and science subjects, in short units that usually take around 10 hours to complete.
These are a great way to get back into formal learning again, even if you decide not to continue with the Open University in the future. The free units challenge you to think about subjects in a new and exciting way, and for many there is a written exercise that accompanies the unit.
While you receive no formal recognition for studying these units, you may still find it useful to add them to your resume.
If your goal is to learn for the sake of learning, or just to keep your mind active while bringing up children or enjoying your retirement, then these options could lead you to a whole new world of free online education.