The rise of online learning
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The rise of online learning

So much can be done online – whether it's working remotely or staying in touch with loved ones, the internet can be a wonderful thing. And for many, the ease and accessibility of online learning has opened the doors to new opportunities of continual education at any age.

For adults, online learning can be a fantastic way to continue their education. Whether it’s learning a new skill or updating an existing one, the beauty of online learning is that it can done around everyday life and all the commitments that come with it.

Throughout COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, students of all ages across the world, from Year K right through to university, have had to embrace online learning.

According to the United Nations, more than 1.2 billion children around the world were out of the classroom last year.

With COVID-19 cases fluctuating in Australia, online learning remains at the ready to handle outbreaks and lockdowns in various areas. In 2020, children around the country moved to online learning. Shortly after students eventually went back to school, Melbourne went into its epic lockdown in July, moving back to online learning. More recently, Greater Sydney schools transferred to online learning for the start of term three to help contain the latest surge of cases.

But it’s not just the kids who are benefiting from online learning, it’s adults too.

Continuing the education

For plenty of adults, continual professional development is important. No matter what line of work you’re in, upskilling and giving yourself a refresher is always a good idea. It means you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure you are doing your job to the best of your ability.

As Open Universities mentions on its website: “The beauty of online learning is that it gives students the freedom to juggle school and their careers without feeling tied down by a fixed schedule.”

Of course, the other benefit is having access to teachers and instructors from all over the world. Want to brush up on your French? You may be lucky enough to have a tutor in France. Learning has no geographical boundaries. Some of the top universities in the world can be brought into your living room through EdX, including Oxford, MIT and Harvard, as well as institutions and companies such as The Smithsonian and Google.

But for many people, it’s not just about formally continuing their education. It’s also about general education and life skills. Ted Talks, for example, are watched millions of times each day. When TedTalks launched in 2006, the main question was whether people would take the time to watch what was essentially taped lectures online. How far it has come.

The most popular TEDx talk has been viewed more than 55 million times online.

People are thirsty for information. People want to learn more and be inspired.

There’s also Masterclass, an online learning platform where ‘masters of their craft’ provide video lessons. Want comedy tips from Judd Apatow? They’ve got you covered. Natalie Portman teaches acting – who wouldn’t want to learn the craft from Portman. She is one of Hollywood’s leading ladies after all.

Get clicking

Whether it’s something creative, analytical, accredited or a way to learn something new, there’s no denying that the digital world has opened doors for everyone to further their education, from kids with their iPad apps through to adults with various online talks, courses and classes. It’s time to get clicking!

Editor’s picks

Looking to pick up some new skills? Here are our favourites.

  1. Learn a trade – whether it’s construction, automotive, beauty or telecommunication, your local TAFE can be accessed online or check out Australian Trade Training College.
  2. A whole new degree – many universities are now offering online courses. Open Universities Australia has a great reputation for studying online.
  3. Beyond borders – want to broaden your geographical horizon? EdX is great for accessing any course you want around the world.
  4. Following your artistic dreams – whether it’s culinary, craft or technological, Masterclass offers lessons from the professionals. You can even learn wilderness survival on there. Our other favourite option? Udemy, which offers design, health and fitness, music and more.
  5. Languages – there are fantastic websites around that connect you to local tutors so you can learn the language from native speakers. Head to Verbling or Duolingo.
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