Are You an Online Learner?Apr 23, 2020
Author: Charla Maarschalk
Where do you learn?
Some people go to university or college for their entire lives because they love to learn. Some people read a lot of books. Others Google incessantly. Do you Google?
If you do, you're a modern day online learner.
Ok, so Google is not the best way to get a degree in something. But we can agree that we get answers to a lot of our questions on Google or a platform like it. Can you remember the first time you heard of ‘distance learning’? For me it was hearing of someone taking University classes without actually going to a University Campus. Being associated with a University was the only credible way to learn in the beginning days of Internet education.
Another form of online learning I remember hearing about a long time ago was Online School for Homeschoolers. In fact, I homeschooled my kids for quite some time through Heritage Christian School here is Kelowna. Their online school became one of the leaders here in Canada.
My first online class.
The very first online class I took myself was a Bible class through a ‘far away’ college in the US (I’m in Canada). And another was a nutrition course through some kind of Naturopathic School because I was desperate for answers to my son's health problems. I even remember my first monthly subscription to a mostly unknown website called www.lynda.com where I spent many late nights furthering my photoshop skills. During those wee hours of the morning, listening to Lynda’s Chris Orwig talk Photoshop, the foundation for my belief in online learning was cemented.
Is online learning legitimate?
In those days, the early 2000’s, there was a stigma around online learning. Today, it is a respected and recognized way to receive qualification. You most likely go to a platform like Google, every day, to find respectable answers to your burning questions. It’s expected that ‘Experts’ in the world today have an online presence. If we search long enough we will find these experts and get our answers. Trusting online sources is much easier now than it was 20 years ago because we have learned how to weed out the fakers.
Why learn online at all?
But why do we go to the Internet to learn? Simply put, our dictionaries and encyclopedias are outdated, to put it mildly, and the qualified classes we look for are often not available in our cities. The world renown experts I wanted to learn from years ago (and today) were not within driving distance -- how about you?
As an eager artist I had the same problems. On the day I graduated, I left my University campus with a BFA and a lot of questions STILL in my head. One example being, I wanted to learn how to paint with unrealistic colors but the only classes I could find locally and abroad were traditional techniques, especially to do with landscape. And so, I began the slow process of figuring it all out on my own.
As Google has grown, so has online learning. Not only can I find a recipe for dinner in minutes, I can find answers to medical questions, how to fix the salt levels in my pool (actually had to do this via YouTube this past summer) as well as how to mix specific paint colors for my next portrait (yes, as a teacher I still am learning).
The question still remains, can you trust an educational website that is not associated with a credible school? My answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
You might think I’m saying that because I developed an online course that I really, really want you to buy. In full disclosure: I would love for you to buy my course, but more so, it took me a long time to believe that I qualified as a teacher because of my own skepticism in trusting online courses. I realized that, despite my own skepticism, I still went to the Internet for answers every day. In doing that I had learned how to weed through the regurgitated blogs, the fake information, and find the real deal.
There are indeed trusted sources to learn from on the Internet. You just need a plan to detect the right ones for you.
Thanks for reading and most importantly keep learning,
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