Computer Skills Required to become a Distance Learner

As distance learning grows in popularity, there are some skills you will need to become proficient at in order to succeed.

Email – Many distance learning programs give you the option of attaching your assignments to emails. Email is also a great way to ask questions or get clarification from your instructor. It is also useful for communicating with team mates. In your email program you should set up separate folders for each project or subject so you will be able to keep messages and information organized.

Chat Rooms – Some programs will require you to meet at certain times in a chat room to discuss projects, hold general Q&A sessions, or to get teams together. Brush up on your typing skills and you should have no problem holding your own in this environment. Be aware that unless the moderator does a good job of controlling the room, there may be multiple conversations going on at the same time. With a little practice you won’t be confused by this.

Word Processing and Spreadsheets – MS Word and Excel are the most popular brands. Because you don’t have the option of hand writing assignments, you must get proficient at using these programs. After you save your work it is easy to attach to an email to send to the instructor.

Scanning – Some project you work on will require you to scan items (i.e. magazine articles) to share with a team or for reference purposes. Because you can’t just make copies, you will have to know how to scan materials.

Some distance learning programs require you to submit your work through their program. This is very similar the process you go through to attach to an email. Browse to the document you are submitting, click “Submit” and your paper is on it’s way.

For many people, the skills you need to succeed at distance learning are skills you use on a regular basis at work and home. For others, there are a lot of places to pick up these skills. A lot of public libraries run free classes for basic computer skills. It’s easy to get signed up, and the price is right.