Challenge Your Online Learning Expectations


By: Kathryn Landers

It’s the middle of the night. You sit alone, confused with only the cold, harsh light from your email lighting the room. Are you ever going to hear from your online college? Read More →

Distance Learning for Personal Enrichment

Online learning has been growing in scope and popular appeal for several years now.  The Internet has clearly provided a viable new venue for anyone interested in furthering their education.  Time, distance, and other commitments are no longer justifiable excuses for not achieving your educational goals.

However, distance learning has opened up another area for educational advancements that many people may innocently overlook.  Pursuing your life’s interests and passions, often referred to as personal enrichment, is an area that simply cries out for distance learning supplementation.  Any skill you want to learn, any talent you wish to cultivate, any knowledge you might want to acquire, can all be found with a few strokes on your keyboard.  Likewise, seeking out like-minded friends who share your passions is made easier through social networking sites and blogs devoted to your particular interests.

Have you always wanted to learn another language, simply for the sake of being satisfied with the accomplishment or to help fulfill your dreams of world travel?  Go to your favorite search engine and type in something like “online French lessons.”  You will pull up an amazing number of sites to look into that will get you started in your efforts to become bilingual. The Internet is the perfect medium for language courses. In some cases you might need to purchase a book or CD to supplement your efforts; in other cases you might just find everything you need right online.

Have you been longing to participate in a book club to share your love of reading a good book with other avid readers but just know you could never give up an entire evening once a week or even once a month to pursue this dream?  Or do you feel your particular favorite reading genre is just too quirky for you to ever hope to find enough readers with similar interests in your city or town?  Type “book clubs online” into your favorite search engine and browse through websites devoted to every imaginable genre of reading; you’re sure to find just the place for you.

Do you paint, write, or knit?  Are you an amateur photographer interested in improving your skills?  Are you a history buff intent on analyzing conspiracy theories of the Civil War?  Distance learning can tie you into a class or a complete course of study that will enable you to stoke that fire and thirst for knowledge of a subject just because it is of interest to you.  You will enjoy the added benefit of not having to restructure your family life, your job or your personal lifestyle to accommodate your newfound interests.

The great thing about distance learning for personal enrichment activities is that you can choose the level to which you want to commit yourself.  You may find classes offered through prestigious universities that come with an equally prestigious charge per credit.  You are just as likely to find a course offering at a minimal charge or even at no cost to you.  You can simply audit a class just to get an overview of a subject you’re interested in or you can devote time and money to deep diving into a subject to the extent that you become somewhat of an expert in your own right.  When you’re doing it for yourself, the choices and the commitments are yours alone.

Personal enrichment isn’t just about what distance learning and the Internet can do for you.  It can also be about what you can give back to the world around you.  Do you have a skill that could enrich the life of someone else?  Are you articulate enough to teach that skill to others?  If so, you may be able to find a distance learning platform to offer your skills to others.  Perhaps you can provide that knowledge through a personal blog dedicated to the subject you hold near and dear to your heart. You might even wish to create and facilitate online course through innovative training providers such as Ed2Go or WizIQ.

Personal enrichment is just that, personal and enriching.  It is the stuff inside of you that makes you interesting and interested in the world around you.  Just as distance learning has provided the means for aspiring students to fulfill their formal educational requirements, distance learning can provide any individual with an avenue for satisfying their soul.  So, the next time you find yourself wishing you could bake a beautiful birthday cake for your husband’s birthday instead of going to the expense of buying one, type “online cake decorating classes” into a search engine and you could be on your way this afternoon.