Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Don't miss out on opportunity to learn online

How do you go about gaining new skills and knowledge? The internet is brimming with resources for learning but it seems people are missing out.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started, and they're not as expensive as you might think.

The Londonderry-based Learning Pool launched a new service a couple of weeks back called My Learning Pool ( http://www.mylearningpool.com).

Learning Pool provides e-learning to the public sector. Not a bad company either - they've won the Deloitte Fast 50 award two years running. Their customer base is a very large portion of the public sector in the UK.

Since 2006 Learning Pool has successfully encouraged the public sector to share course material online. Their core product, the dynamic learning environment (DLE), handles all course content, user interaction and reporting.

The downside was that while it was exclusive to the public sector, it was not open to the public - until now, that is.

With My Learning Pool, individuals can pay a subscription to get access to courses on a wide range of topics. While it's primarily targeted at people involved with the voluntary sector it's a great general resource too.

If you're thinking about a career change or are unemployed then there's a 'get that job' course. Need a kickstart into social media? Then there's something in there too.

The price is competitive too, for the price of a couple of business text books you've got access to all the courses for a year.

If you want something a little more advanced then you could look at the OpenLearn system that's provided by the Open University ( http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/). While the courses are a lot more involved they cover topics such as art, social sciences and business management. Best thing of all is that it's free.

The pioneers of open learning are Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today they have a staggering 2000 courses at http://ocw.mit.edu. Their departments cover pretty much everything from anthropology to planetary sciences. The OU and MIT offer a good grounding to those who want an introduction to a degree type course.

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