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How to Use Online Education

Updated on August 8, 2011
Online Education
Online Education | Source

There are now more ways than ever to learn, including online education. No matter where you live, with a computer and internet connection you can use adult education online programs or courses to learn basic skills, complete unfinished graduation requirements, pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, earn industry or vocational certifications, study those areas needed to advance your career, or just enrich your life. It takes some discipline, but if you are motivated, you can use online education successfully. Here are some ways to access and use readily available adult education online.

Identify Your Learning Goals First

To be efficient you should first identify your learning goals. Do you need a GED? Are your pursuing industry certifications or other specific qualifications? Is one of your goals an undergraduate degree? Once you list and prioritize your learning goals you’ll be ready to use online education to help you get what you need.

Outline Your Education Path and Plan

Adult education online should probably be your main focus if you are working full time. So develop your education plan based on online education, but include evening or weekend outside classes if they are affordable and make it easier for you.

Your plan should include what you want to learn, how you will learn it, and by when you will complete each course or phase. Committing your plan to writing will really help you focus and will be extremely useful when you start searching for specific programs and courses. Your plan should include a budget as well as a time line so that you realize what will be needed in terms of time and money.

Use Free Online Education Courses

There are plenty of free adult education online courses and programs, from basic skills and certifications to college courses. Here are some search terms you can Google to begin develop your choices:

  • For college courses, search for: free college courses online
  • For GEDs, search for: free online GED programs
  • For certification courses, search for: free online certification programs

Try any other searches that you think will be productive. The idea is to take advantage of as many free programs as you can to boost your career and income or to enrich your life.

Shop Carefully for Degree Programs That Charge Tuition and Fees

It may be hard to get a completely free college education online, so look for financial aid sources that you may qualify for. Involve the colleges themselves in searching for financial aid for you. Perhaps you can use a number of free adult education online courses to get you part of the way to your degree, if that is your goal. Don’t forget to search the web for financial aid sources as well.

Don’t Forget Free Lectures and Courses on iTunes

iTunes has entered the education market with college courses that you can download for free. Open iTunes and click on the iTunes Store. Go to the iTunes U drop down menu and select the field you are interested in. Click “See All” in the Featured section to see all the offerings in a field. There are hundreds of free college level courses available just through iTunes.

Other Considerations

Decide whether you want knowledge and skills or documented qualifications, or both. This awareness should help you design your education program.

If you continue to work full time, get the acceptance of family or important others on your educational plan and commitments. Otherwise your time spent learning may be resented.


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    • mandymoreno81 profile image

      mandymoreno81 6 years ago

      Just as in regular college, you want to have a clear direction of what you want to do and where you're going.

    • bdouble28 profile image

      bdouble28 6 years ago

      You always want to compare colleges on their costs and benefits. Some programs take a shorter amount of time or cost less.

    • Rob McKelvie profile image

      Rob McKelvie 6 years ago from USA and UK

      Good point, cmellon. Courses online are typically accelerated and taking more than one or two at a time is too challenging for most people. Slow and steady (one or two courses at a time) wins the race.

    • cmellon86 profile image

      cmellon86 6 years ago

      Many people need to know the pace of work in an online learning environment. Too many people think it'll be as easy as a traditional school and end up failing.