Ways the Internet Has Given People Access to Education
The internet has drastically changed the way we do a number of things, and one of those things is how we educate ourselves. In the past, if you wanted to further your education under the guidance of an instructor, you literally had to walk into a classroom. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology, those days are gone. Through online learning, we now have the ability to bring a world of knowledge into our homes without even leaving it.
When you think of online learning you might be picturing a university-level course that someone has opted to take. But online learning actually encompasses a lot more. Do you want to learn how to change your car’s tire or maybe you want to learn how to knit a scarf. Chances are whatever you want to learn to do there’s at least an introduction video on YouTube.
And I’m not just talking about informal how-to videos. Today, teachers even assign YouTube videos for their students to watch on all sorts of topics. The point is that through online learning, education in many ways has moved outside the classroom.
Online learning has become so popular that several companies have developed websites for the sole purpose of providing instruction on many different topics. Online courses include everything from photography to physics, and they’re all taught by well-qualified instructors in their individual disciplines.
One of the nice things about online education companies is that many of them offer at least some free courses. One of the best-known education websites is Khan Academy. Khan Academy is actually a non-profit that was born out of the belief that students should be given every opportunity to learn. And the courses are free. Some other popular online education companies are:
- Coursera also offers free courses, though there’s a fee for a certificate of completion
- MasterClass’s paid courses are taught by some of the most famous people in the world
- Udemy offers some free courses with simplified instruction, but you’ll have to pay for other content
You may never have heard of Usenet, but it’s a communications platform similar to the web. On Usenet, people take part in discussion groups, forums, and online bulletin boards through what’s called newsgroups. You may be wondering what Usenet has to do with education, but the platform has more than 100,000 newsgroups and is an excellent source of information. Also, since Usenet has been around for decades, it’s an excellent repository of the past.
In order to access the network you’ll need a Usenet service provider, but once connected you’re free to browse and post as much as you’d like. People who want to broaden their education on a variety of subjects find Usenet helpful.
Online Colleges and Universities
Courses connected to a college or university are what many people envision when they think of online learning. And rightly so, the number of institutions of higher learning offering college-level courses has exploded. Even Ivy League schools like Havard, Yale, and Princeton offer free online courses through some of the education companies.
Another awesome thing about online education is that it gives people options. Even if you live in a remote part of the world, you have the opportunity to get an education from some of the best schools on the planet. While some colleges offer online learning only, others offer both traditional and online degrees.
With people moving away from tablets and even laptops, phone applications are becoming increasingly popular for online learning. One of the segments that have taken off through the use of phone apps is language instruction. Apps like Duolingo and Babbel offer instruction in several languages for beginners and more advanced students.
Because more people around the world access the internet through smartphones than any other means, it only makes sense that learning apps have found a home on mobile phones.
Asynchronous Vs. Synchronous Learning
During the pandemic when thousands of students were forced to receive instruction from their homes, many people became familiar with asynchronous and synchronous learning. Asynchronous learning allows students to set their own place because it isn’t in real-time. Synchronous learning, on the other hand, is in real-time. Picture a bunch of students on-screen in squares.
Whether asynchronous or synchronous learning is better may depend on the student and their learning style. But both methods have been effective when it comes to online learning. Another positive aspect of online learning is that there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, as long as learning is taking place.
Putting It All Together
The internet has broadened the scope of many industries and education is no exception. Modern technology has enabled teachers and students to leave the confines of the classroom and learn from wherever they can obtain an internet connection. Whether it’s through YouTube, colleges offering online courses, or phone apps, more people around the world have access to knowledge than ever before.