Learning on my schedule

Last updated on June 9th, 2022 at 01:35 am

Upgrade your skills via the Web – sometimes for free

– All around us people are being forced to learn new skills. Maybe your company is going through the painful process of upgrading people’s skills, too. But how can people learn new skills when they work all day and have kids or demanding pets at home?
One way for people to get the skills they need is through learning on the Web with Course Nerd. If you are fairly self-disciplined, a Web course can be just what you need. A well-written Web course has good examples, lets you try things and allows you to take quizzes that are instantly graded. One nice thing about a Web course is that you take it at your pace. If you have 30 minutes after putting the kids to bed, then that’s the chunk of learning you will chew on for today.
Before you begin your free learning on the Web, I’d suggest you get a new free Hotmail e-mail account at www.msn.com. The reason for this is that many of the free sites request that you register first before you take the free course. They will request an e-mail account, and you really don’t want their junk mail coming to your business or regular home e-mail account.
I knew MATC had great courses on the Web, but I was surprised at what I found when I did a simple search using my favorite search tool: www.google.com. There are literally hundreds of free courses on the Web. There are thousands of courses you can pay for. Some of them, like MATC’s, give you college credit.
If you wished you could take a trip to New Zealand but the budget didn’t allow it, you might consider the University of Aukland’s executive learning program (www.execpro.auckland.ac.nz/). That university offers an executive MBA program over the Internet.
The American Association of School Librarians offers small free courses on how to use the Internet at www.ala.org/ICONN/onlineco.html. The nice thing about these courses is that if you don’t feel comfortable on your computer, you can make lots of mistakes as you take the course and nobody will notice.
If you need golf lessons – mostly not via the Web – try going to www.golfhere.com. You can find the name and address of almost every golf course in North America. I know some of my readers will find the above link alone will be worth the price of this newspaper.
Getting back to more traditional learning topics, say your child needed your help to learn pre-algebra. I am not making this up. I had to try to help a high-school student on pre-algebra, and I wish I had known about the following options. One site you might go to is www.mathprep.com/. These interactive courses will cost up to $69.95. You can try a free demo of a pre-algebra course at: www.omegamath.com/Demo/k2.4.html. This must be a good site. I passed the quiz on fractions.
Speaking of children, would you or someone in your family like to take a course on how to take care of young children? A site where you can learn about conflict resolution with toddlers and toilet learning techniques is www.carecourses.com. The first course costs $8.
This time of year, parents may find it helpful to learn more about soccer. At www.facoachingcourses.org.uk/ you can take free courses to learn about goalkeeping, dribbling, and defending responsibilities.
I was not so lucky in learning Spanish on the Web as I was on fractions. The www.learnplus.com/ site does offer free “starter” courses on Spanish or German. There has to be a better way to learn Spanish on the Web. If you find it, please let me know.
Possibly the most interesting web learning site I found was www.docnmail.com. It is a master list of free courses on the Web. It includes courses on accounting, Spanish, science, etc. The only problem I found at this site is that, like many free things on the Web, there is a lot of advertising on the pages. Some of the free classes require you to register first.
Similar to free courses on the Web is free help on the Web. There is a business owner’s web site with lots of free help. At www.toolkit.cch.com/text/P06_4248.asp, you can learn basic rules for inventory management. The full www.toolkit.cch.com site has useful information on hiring and managing staff and about how to win government contracts.
A last enjoyable free learning site I found was www.boatsafe.com. This site includes boating safety information, such as the placement of running lights and how to use satellite communications on your boat.
If you or anyone in your company needs to complete a regular college course, you might consider www.etechcollege.com. This new site contains the list of Web college course being offered by all 16 of Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges. Courses on the site range from Microsoft Office to business law fundamentals. This site explains how to register for these courses and lists the cost of the courses.
In the Milwaukee area, when you want to find out about learning using your computer and the Internet, I, of course, recommend you check out www.matc.edu. MATC has more than 200 classes you can take at home – on your schedule, drinking your coffee.

Mark Trask is associate vice president for information technology at Milwaukee Area Technical College. He holds a master’s degree in business from UW-Oshkosh.

June 7, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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