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Updated at 2021-09-13 11:17:56 UTC

Online Learning Tools for Continuing Education

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The availability of free open textbooks, Webinars, Podcasts, and open source content college courses are described as to how they support and influence adult learning.

Advantages of Using the Internet for Lifelong Learning Endeavors

Online learning tools have virtually eliminated the need to attend traditional brick and mortar schools, when enrolled in continuing education programs. Advances in technology have resulted in numerous online tools that are free to users today, along with being user friendly. These tools have created rich educational opportunities for anyone with a computer and access to the Internet, especially lifelong learners. So, would you order custom term paper?

Adults enrolling in continuing education programs can use these online learning tools to their advantage. These tools, referred to as Web 2.0 tools, allow access to professional programs offering continuing education credits (CEU) and universities offering free college courses. Two advantages of using these tools include:

  • The need to travel to a college or other class location is eliminated.
  • The ability to complete education programs anytime and anywhere.

Four free Web 2.0 online learning tools that offer the most flexibility for adult learners include open textbooks, Webinars, Podcasts, and open source content.

Textbooks: Free Online Resources

Open textbooks are free and available online. They are licensed to allow students and others to download for materials for reading or printing any part of the text the student desires. This gives adults the ability to avoid paying the high cost print textbooks.

There are several advantages for using free open textbooks.

A significant reduction in textbook fees. This can be as much as 25 percent for four year colleges and 75 percent for community colleges (U. S. Government Accounting Office, 2005). These costs are increasing every year.
Purchasing the latest print textbook edition is eliminated. Instructors update the open textbook themselves and post changes to the free downloaded version, as necessary.

Although students can download and print the textbook themselves, it may more advantageous to purchase a bound copy of the open textbook from a college bookstore for approximately $25 or less. Of course this price varies; however this is significantly cheaper than paying hundreds of dollars for publishers print textbook.

Webinars: Teleconferencing with Instructors

Webinars are typically a one-way presentation over the Internet, from an instructor to students with little or no interaction. However, live webinars can be interactive with polling or question and answer sessions that allow full participation between the instructor and students.

There are several advantages of Webinars for those enrolled in continuing education programs.

Webinars are stored on the schools server for viewing anytime by students. This eliminates the need to watch Webinars in real-time.
Supporting course materials are downloadable from the Webinar site as PDF files.
Because the Web is based on hyperlinks, Webinars include links to real-world examples, which are far more effective than the often used static screen shots of PowerPoint presentations
The ability to archive Webinars means that they are available anytime and anywhere.
Webinars are used for every type of continuing education program.

Podcasts: Learning using Video or Audio on Computers or MP3 Players

Podcasts are downloadable files that are stored on a students’ computer or other MP3 device for listening or viewing when convenient. Typically a computer only needs Windows Media Player or Apple Quicktime to view or listen to these programs. However, sometimes a computer may need iTunes to download a Podcast.

In many college programs instructors provide reading materials to their students in the form of Podcasts. These pre-recorded lectures and lessons are available to help students increase their professional or personal knowledge without the formality of taking classes.

Podcasts have many advantages for students enrolled in continuing education programs. Also, you can get the online paper to write on free.

These files are downloadable to a personal computer for viewing or listening.
The offer of portability by transferring a Podcast to an iPod or MP3 player.
Accessibility through RSS feeds for selection of desired Podcasts.
The ability to learn a foreign language through podcasting or anything a student wants to learn on their own time.

Open Content: Completing Free College Courses Online

Open content has now come to the point that it is rapidly driving change in the process of education. At its core, open content takes advantage of the Internet for dissemination of the collective knowledge of universities to the general public through free college courses.

Open content is the contribution of college courses for free continuing education. These courses are offered by some of the major universities around the country and world. These courses are offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale, Tufts, Harvard, and many more.

The convenience of online learning tools have developed for two reasons, advances in technology and demand from adults enrolled in continuing education programs. These adults are changing the face of education from the traditional brick and mortar schools to online education. Adults in pursuit of lifelong learning or for advances in professional careers will find these tools useful in their quest for more knowledge – free knowledge.


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