Online learning, or eLearning, is using the web to deliver educational material. eLearning can be big or small — you can watch a 4 minute basic origami how-to video, or you can take a complete university course that mirrors a real classroom experience.
The best things about eLearning? It's learning for just for you — learn what you want (eLearning covers almost every topic under the sun), when you want (at your own pace, when you have the time), where you want (in your house, on the bus, in a cafe, on the beach).
At the most basic, access to a computer/tablet/smart phone and a connection to the internet. Many online classes have audio or video, so speakers or headphones may be needed.
NOTE: Many eLearning platforms require you to create a free account. You will be asked to provide personal information - at the very least an email address. These accounts can be a big help with your learning - they can track your progress through an online course, and allow you to connect and communicate with other online learners. You can also set your account up to receive email notifications about upcoming learning opportunities that may be of interest.
The eLearning providers listed on this guide are not affiliated in any way with Vancouver Public Library.* We recommend you use your best internet privacy habits: read the terms and conditions on each provider's website to see how your personal information will be used and provide as little personal information as possible.
*exceptions are Lynda.com, Learning Express Library, Pronunciator and Coursera
Many of the eLearning resources you'll find here are absolutely free! Some of the eLearning providers have a tiered cost structure, where basic or partial access is free, but unlimited access or added functions/services may have a cost. Each eLearning provider is different, so you'll have to have a look around each of their websites to find the free content. Every resource we've listed on this guide offers plenty of free content.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. Major universities began offering their entire courses online to anyone and everyone, for free. Improvements in online sharing and communications meant that eLearners could now interact with instructors and with one another. There are MOOC's offered by institutions all over the world, covering any topic you can think of.
It all depends and what you want to learn, and the structure of the course. You can watch a one minute video, or take a full university course — it's all up to you.
The quick answer is...maybe. Some eLearning platforms offer some sort of certificate, but often require payment. And there's no guarantee that your school or workplace will accept the credentials — always check first if your goal is official qualifications.
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