Computer Skills Required to become a Distance Learner

You’ve decided to take an online course. Are you excited? Are you now wondering what computer skills you might need to brush up on? The good news is that the skills you’ll need for online training, you probably already use on a regular basis. Whether you have a computer that you use all the time, or one that is just out of the box; there are some skills that you can work on that will benefit you when it comes to distance learning.

>READING & COMPREHENSION. Since most of your lessons will come to you via email with explicit instructions, you will need to brush up on your reading and comprehension skills. This won’t take much effort at all. You need to find your comfort zone and pace. If you read a paragraph or two and can basically sum up what you’ve read, then you’ll do fine.

>SENDING & RECEIVING EMAIL. Again, with most of your lessons being sent to you by email, and sending in the completed ones with attachments; you’ll need to be comfortable using email frequently. If you enjoy using email to send family or friends pictures, jokes, whatever; then you’ll be okay with this aspect of distance learning. If not, then pick a few people that you know, ask if they would be willing to help you, and start sending emails, with and without attachments, back and forth. You want to be comfortable and not completely stressed when it comes to using your email services.

>ORGANIZATION. When you do distance learning, you will be using different emails for correspondence, word processing programs, and some programs that you will download from the Internet. I can not stress enough how important it will be for you to know how to create a contact list, create folders, or to set shortcuts on your desktop for various programs. Play around with all of these things and get comfortable using them. You might even be surprised at how easy it actually is to make your computer do all of the hard organizational work.

>USING THE INTERNET. Often times you will find that in order to do research, you’ll need the help of the Internet. With such a vast array of knowledge at your fingertips; why not use it? Some people use MSN, some use Google, and some use Yahoo for doing an Internet search; it’s mostly about personal choice. Find the one that you’re comfortable with, and you’ll do fine.

>KEYBOARDING. Yes, you may need to brush up on your typing skills. You don’t have to be able to type 65 words per minute but if you can improve your typing speed even a little then you will have saved yourself some time in the long run. You can also work on some keyboard shortcuts that can save you time if you didn’t have that little mouse sitting there next to you. In other words, get comfortable with all the things that your keyboard can do.

>WORD PROCESSOR PROGRAM. Whether you’ve never used one of these, or you use one all the time; it’s always a good idea to reacquaint yourself with all of the handy features that a word program can do. Odds are that you’ll use one for typing out your homework assignments. Get used to using the spell check, thesaurus, word lookup, word count; all of the things that your word program can do. These will let you work smarter, not harder.

Even if you use some of these daily or once a week; know that with an online course, you will be spending at least 5 to 7 hours a week on your computer. Familiarize yourself with what you and your computer can do together. By brushing up, or learning a new computer skill beforehand, you’ll be saving yourself some time and anxiety when it comes to distance learning.