Learning has become a much easier task with the help of the internet.
Gone are the days when you would have to work with whatever tangible material you had or go to the library to dig through physical archives to find what you need to learn. Digital resources have now paved the way for quicker and more efficient knowledge sharing in our education systems.
On top of that, online learning solutions are generally way less expensive than traditional education materials.
As more resource materials such as books and research papers become digitized, doing more effective research, additional professional lessons and even formal education at home is now more possible than it ever was before. It is just a matter of knowing what options are available to you, where to look for the materials online, and how to get full access to these online treasures.
If you are a student doing research, a professional looking for tips on how to become better at your job, or even an out-of-school-youth who wants to finally get some formal education, this guide is for you. Here are four online educational tools that you can use to take yourself and your education to the next level.
Online Textbooks Are On The Rise
When you’re taking a degree, or you are interested in a particular subject, having subject matter resources readily available can help you effectively and efficiently finish your program or accomplish your learning task. Though textbooks are still popular for students and practicing professionals, the use of digitized materials is beginning to trump the paper-bound options. As such, almost every printed academic material has a digital copy to make sure that everyone has access to these ebooks with just one click of a button.
The benefits of these digitalized textbooks, or ebooks, cannot be overlooked. A good example is when the demand for certain text books becomes unexpectedly high, leading bookstores and publishing houses to face the challenges of print book production. This now becomes your problem as a consumer on the other end. Given this situation, ebooks serve as the answer to this problem since they are almost always available online, ready to be purchased or accessed anytime.
Aside from its accessibility, ebooks are also relatively cheaper than their paperback versions. According to a study by Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), individual academic textbooks are priced between $200 and $400. On the other hand, the price range for ebooks of the same title can go for anywhere around $100 to $150. Sometimes, some titles are even given out for free or at a next-to-nothing cost, just to get people using these platforms.
Textbook Revolution is one of the more popular sites that has paved the way toward the distribution of free online textbooks. It’s a student-run site that promotes access to educational materials collected from various learning institutions.
Another website you can visit is the Open Textbook Library where you can view a wide range of ebooks that are licensed to be used and distributed freely. These online textbooks are used by various universities and colleges, so you can be sure that you are learning topics that are on par with these educational institutions’ curricula.
Video Tutorials serve as a Professional Guide
One of the most sought after educational methods today is the use of video and audio lectures for online learning. Although it is not necessarily a new method, it is gaining more approval because of its proven effectiveness in facilitating rational and creative thinking, problem solving and professional reapplication.
Video lectures assist in effective learning by promoting greater information recall with their insightful and relatable visuals. In addition, they keep you more engaged during the entirety of your learning session.
This is why more educators are trying out this brilliant platform to have target learners – students, researchers, curious minds or on-the-go professionals – be more immersed in their learning processes. In fact, you might have already encountered at least one of these instructional videos on YouTube about a certain topic that you may have had a problem with.
For instance, say you want to understand and know how to do a complicated mathematical problem, like triple integration. There are various channels that can help you with your academic problem, one of which is the widely popular Khan Academy. This platform offers you an interactive and engaging way of understanding calculus or any other difficult academic topics.
You can readily watch the instructional videos online or save them for later use with your ever-ready video downloader. Also, what’s great with learning through this method is that these video tutorials are usually done by certified experts, so you can be sure that you’re learning from a credible source.
Open Courses lead to Better Professionals
Nowadays, open courses are becoming more popular as a means of getting formal education. It is a uniquely effective way to get a degree in the comfort of your own home.
Since the early 2000s, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been engaging students from all walks of life with its online initiative called the MIT Open Courseware. This program allows aspiring students to gain access to a wide range of courses and academic materials online. If you enroll in these online programs, you are taught with a high-level instructional approach and are provided with comprehensive examinations that are sure to test your knowledge.
Another notable professional online course provider is Alison. Founded in 2007, this e-learning platform allows you to learn at your own pace, assisted by Allison’s expertise in online education. The company offers free online courses that include learning materials you need, as well as assessments that are set to give you insights on how far you have gone in terms of understanding the course you have enrolled yourself into.
Generally speaking, there are various open courseware and e-learning platforms that offer opportunities to anyone who wants to widen their professional perspective through academic advancement. These educational vehicles are a collaboration of various online learning tools for your learning tasks.
Video lectures are part of the learning materials while the collection of online textbooks complement the overall learning experience. The various set-ups with online courses is a great way to allow yourself to choose from different options in terms of what type of approach is more effective for you to learn.
Forums offer Reliable Perspectives
While online textbooks and video lectures are primary options in online education, forum sites have been gaining popularity as a resource database since they offer a safe environment for educational discussion of practically any topic. They usually open their sites to anyone who wants to contribute to a certain topic of discussion. In turn, this allows academic conversations between learners and teachers as they share their concerns on their respective fields of interest.
There are lots of forum sites out there. One of the most popular is Stack Overflow. It is one of the largest online communities for programmers to learn, share their knowledge, and help others grow professionally. Though this site is focused on a specific discipline, there are also other sites that have a wider scope.
Quora, Reddit and Yahoo! Answers are some of the most visited learning sites. They offer a learning platform to anyone who wants to discuss practically anything under the sun. In fact, when you search for the answer on a rather unique or unlikely-to-be-answered question, you would often get a search results from forum discussions or learning sites.