Elmbridge

ON-LINE LEARNING

On-Line Learning Today, through the internet. We have access to learning and educational resources which give us the opportunity to rediscover subjects we had learnt about in the past, to widen our knowledge base on subjects of interest or to take on new challenges. There are short courses available which are an ideal introduction to a new subject or to refresh the knowledge level. The range of subjects is vast, from science to literature, languages and arts and also more practical subjects. You can choose your level, the commitment you are prepared to give and, in some cases, the pace at which you wish to proceed. The key point is that these courses are there, ready and waiting to be accessed. Courses are developed by top universities, academic and professional establishments across the globe and many are free. The duration of the courses does vary but many are just a few weeks. The commitments involved depend on the course and its level. At one extreme you can study for a degree using on-line resources, for example through the Open University. Then there are shorter courses with formal certification, requiring a degree of assessment. Finally, there are the short courses for enjoyment, many of which encourage students to partake in on-line forums, if the individual so wish. My personal experienceis with Futurelearn. I have taken courses covering, amongst other things, climate change and mass extinctions (I have a degree of morbid pessimism) and I found the courses to be both intersting and stimulating. Typically the courses were 4 -5 weeks and needed 2 – 3 hours a week to work through the reading matter and videos. Have you considered on-line learning? If so, take a look at the following sites for courses:

https//www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full catalogue
https//www.futurelearn.com
https//www.edx.org
https//www.coursera.org
https//www.moocs.co

Also, the internet gives ready access to on-line talks and lectures. These can be watched in the comfort of your own home and at a time of your choosing. I must confess I now opt for on-line listening as it does save a trip and I do not feel guilty if I drop off during the talk! Here are some sites:
https//www.ted.com/talks
https//www.gresham.ac.uk/watch/
http//www.lse.ac.uk/lse-player?category=public+lectures+and+events

One problem with on-line learning is that one can feel isolated. On-line forums sound all very nice but it is not the same as talking to a human being in the same room. The U3A is an ideal place to find persons of like mind who might join you in an on-line course to form a group. You can then enjoy the experience of learning together and, at the same time, socialising. Well ... what are you waiting for?