Today, people are turning to online education options instead of college classes. This is especially true for those who are taking classes to enhance their current job skills, seeking promotions or are raising families. In many cases, these students are older than the typical college student, but this does not diminish their desire to learn.
One of the challenges that many of these students face however is the diminished support system that often helps college students thrive. This does not mean that there are no options, it merely means these students need to find more creative ways to network with their fellow students. There are several opportunities to find this fellowship, even when students are engaged in online learning as the primary way of expanding their horizons.
Several networking sites are available for students to “meet up” and discuss class work, the challenges of studying on their own and simply socializing. Sites like Google +, Twitter and Facebook can be helpful tools. Other options include the various online meeting tools that are incorporated into popular programs like Skype and Windows Live. Online networking and socializing allows students to learn more about their fellow studying partners and can help provide a similar sense of community as a classroom. This also makes the learning experience more enjoyable and may actually be helpful for students who may be struggling.
Book club options
Outside of required classroom reading, which many students find less enjoyable, students with similar interests often find they like the same kind of books. This is when an online book-club can be a great option for students who are taking advantage of online learning opportunities. Not only does a book club engage students, but it also helps them expand their horizons. Often, when students are studying in groups, they have the opportunity to read material they might have otherwise ignored. This helps everyone take responsibility for their literacy. Great discussion groups can be formed from online book clubs as well. Scheduling becomes crucial as everyone needs time to read the book and schedule time to share their opinions. Not only is this fun, but it also helps enhance the learning process.
Self-directed learning and community
It is common for those who are taking advantage of online learning to feel alone, socializing with those who are taking the same courses can be beneficial to everyone. Not only does this help instill more of a sense of community, it reminds everyone involved that they have a support system of people who know how they feel. The benefits of self-directed learning are numerous but, knowing there are others there to help when you run into a problem are equally important.
Understanding the benefits of networking with self-directed learning can help make online learning a more pleasant experience. Social networking, book clubs and even meet-ups by region or by state can make all the difference in the world. These tools when used effectively can enhance the online learning experience by encouraging friendships, sharing information about classes and knowing there is someone nearby to help with study or when they simply need an understanding ear.