You may have heard about online classes, but you may not be aware of how popular and pervasive they have become. In the last few years, it seems as though everyone is online learning or researching something. The Internet provides unprecedented access to knowledge and education for people of all ages.
In addition to the over 3 million college students who are taking at least some of their classes online, there are online high schools, online career training schools and courses and continuing education for adults online.
A 2005 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 44% of American adults, almost 93 million people, were pursuing some type of continuing education.
They also note reported that 32% of these adults had participated in some form of distance or online education. This means that almost 30 million adults were involved in learning or taking a class online.
Why do people take online continuing education classes?
The NCES survey found that 27% of continuing education students were taking work-related courses or training programs, While 21% were taking courses to pursue personal interests, and 4% were part-time students working on a university degree.
Dr Kenneth Hartman, director of academic affairs for Drexel University Online says “Online learning is the fastest growing area in higher education today. As more and more adults look to higher education to expand their knowledge base for promotional or new career opportunities, they will look to online learning as a convenient and viable way to continue their education.”
It is now estimated that the average person will change careers 3-5 times during their lifetime. Online classes and training can allow you to prepare for a career change without quitting your job and going back to school. You can take university or college classes online that will count towards a degree, or career training classes, which generally are not transferable to universities.
What kind of personal interest classes are available online?
The second most common reason people take continuing education classes is for personal satisfaction or personal interest. In this area, the choices are tremendous.
Have you always been fascinated by ancient Egypt? Would you like to learn about the history of Egypt, study hieroglyphics and archeological discoveries? For only $149, you can take an interactive online course in Egyptology.
Or have you dreamed of tracing your family tree and exploring your family history, if you only knew where to start? You can take a 4-week online genealogy class that explains records searches, tips, chats and more for less than $30.
Or maybe you’ve always wished you could speak Italian or Spanish. You can take an online class, complete with instant translation features and become proficient in a short time. Courses are available in 7 languages for under $30.
Are there practical or hobby classes available online?
Oh, yes. There are hundreds of choices in the continuing education or noncredit field, and some of them are very practical and helpful. For example, would you like to learn how to prepare your own taxes instead of paying someone to do it? You can take an online course in Tax Preparation for around $50 that will teach you about forms, filing status, income, credits, pensions and more.
If you are over 50 and want to save some money or just refresh your driving skills, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers an online Driver Safety class for around $20. This could get you a discount on your auto insurance and make you feel more comfortable on the road.
Now that spring is on the way, are you thinking of gardens? Perhaps you live in an apartment or don’t have much of a yard. You can still have a beautiful garden in containers. The Horticulture Gardening Institute can teach you which plants to choose and how to care for them in their online class “Art and Science of Container Gardening” for around $70.
A more expensive option is an online class in digital photography. While the beginning class is around $300, it is an 8-week class and includes critiques and instruction from professional photographers. If you would like to learn photography on this level, this could be a great opportunity.
Or, if you are mainly concerned with learning how to use the digital camera you got as a gift, you may want to check out “The Art of Digital Photography” at UniversalClass. This class covers areas such as using the camera, scanning images, printing pictures and choosing cameras, along with basic photography for around $99.