The internet plays a key part in all of our lives. From work to play, the world wide web creates connections and opportunities. Nowadays, the most popular websites and platforms online are social media brands such as Instagram and TikTok. The seemingly endless appeal of scrolling mountains of algorithmically selected content can oftentimes make it difficult to remember that the internet is a tool that can be used productively.
One of the best manifestations of this, however, is the growing world of e-learning. In layman’s terms, elearning simply means ‘electronic learning’ – in much the same way that email and esports refer to digital versions of their respective adjectives.
Today though, elearning has grown into a $200 billion industry which is home to many specialist platforms and providers that can assist you in your learning journey. It doesn’t matter if you’re simply wanting to brush up on your understanding of a party game or take the first steps towards an undergraduate qualification. If you know where to look, the internet can provide heaps of valuable content focused on helping you develop as a student.
Where to start with elearning depends upon what a student wants to get out of the experience, but below we’re sure you’ll find information on your crucial next steps.
You don’t always need to sign up to an online university to gain the information you seek. In fact, most of the time, a simple web search will suffice. But there are some caveats to consider. Unlike conventional publishing, anyone can become the author of information that gets put on the internet. While this is, on balance, a good thing, it does mean that sometimes you risk learning from someone who has an insufficient understanding of the subject in question. In the long run, this could even result in you picking up bad habits you’ll have to unlearn later.
To skirt around this issue, it’s best to stick to verified and trusted resources when you’re learning. Suppose you had a friendly game of Texas Hold’em scheduled for the weekend with some friends. Even though you have some familiarity with it, it has been some years since you last played. Perhaps you want to brush up on your knowledge of poker hand rankings ahead of your casual game. In this event, you would be better off securing this information from well known and trusted poker platforms. That way, you can be certain that you’ll not mix your royal and straight flushes up at the critical moment. This is especially true when the alternatives are unverified resources needing citations.
There are a number of incredibly popular and dedicated elearning platforms now available online that offer students a selection of thousands of courses on every conceivable topic. These can range in scale from full degrees right through to casual taster courses, so you’ll be sure to find materials to suit the level you’re at.
Udemy and Skillshare are the biggest elearning platforms, and their general focus skews towards creative work, crafting and software development. If you have a more specific focus, sometimes it’s best to explore what dedicated elearning platforms are available for that topic.
For example, Brilliant is a STEM-focused provider. As such, it has the best courses on engineering, physics and applied logic you can find online. Equally, Codecademy is primarily geared towards learning programming languages – this makes it the perfect choice for someone wanting to learn to code.
While elearning is normally sufficiently diverse to be able to offer something for most students, there’s no escaping the fact that certain subjects require a more hands-on approach. For example, those learning a language or picking up a new instrument often progress faster in a 1-on-1 teaching context.
This is because these topics are often very nuanced to teach, and thus benefit from a freer flow of information both ways. Fortunately, there are hundreds of platforms out there designed to connect you with tutors in your chosen subject.
Here, too, you can find more general platforms, such as Tutorhunt, as well as specialised directories like MusicTeacher.com. It’s good to shop around to find a tutor that meets your requirements. Be sure to factor in their rates per session, as well as factoring in what time-zone they’re working out of.