New learning opportunities
Through the school, students usually learn about some topic related to science, getting information and facts about some subject or something that happened in the past. Rarely, they learn about some skills they will need for the future life or career. Internet, networks, smart phones, tablets, applications are not very familiar to everyone. Some people, usually adults, can feel hostility to this “new generation things from the future”. However, there are a lot of opportunities for adults in a kind of virtual way, to learn about some interesting topics, or for developing soft skills, or learn some new things like coding, cooking, or “The science of happiness”. They need support of the people who work with them, a little bit of self–confidence, and curiosity to start looking and discovering the field of e-opportunities.
As an educator in school, and a career counsellor, I want to introduce possibilities of e-learning for adults, and some activities in my school that we realize for teachers, parents, social partners, etc.
Possibilities of e-learning for students
For older students, who left school at some point but now want to continue education, or who are in the process of retraining, e-learning could be organized through video lessons or Skype meetings with teachers. In this way they could learn from home, at any time of the day, and collaboration with teachers could be organized in a more flexible way.
Possibilities of e-learning for the people living in the countryside
For people who live in the countryside, or away from school, education or training centres, but want to learn something new about some topic, e-learning is great opportunity. They could be connected through topics of interest and e-lessons with professionals who will provide support for their education.
Possibilities of e-learning for volunteers
Volunteerism is also a good way to get in the e-learning world. When adults like to volunteer in different areas, they do it because they want to give themselves and to feel useful. Some activities require online interaction and that can be the possibility for them to learn by doing things that make them feel better.
Possibilities of e-learning for teachers and school staff
People who work in school like learning. The need for continual education motivates school staff to learn harder and more. They want to keep up with the time, and to get a quality upgrade of the knowledge and skills they need in order to better perform classes in school. There are a lot of portals for teachers, e-courses, web-sites related to science, etc.
Possibilities of e-learning for parents
Parents are very important part of educational process. They can be supportive, they can guide non-formal educational process of their children, and it is very important for them to know what is new in the methods of education, what job market demands for the future jobs, how to support children to make a decisions about the future, etc. Many of these collaborative activities with school parents can be done through web collaboration, with digital tools, at any time they are available.
Activities that we carry out in our school are:
For teachers - First of all, we present them portals for teachers where they can develop their professional competences and careers trough courses on different topics, like eTwinning, Teacher Academy, MOOCs. Also, we present them opportunities to work with teachers from other countries through virtual projects, where, apart from digital and communication skills, they can also develop collaboration skills, presentation through the online channels, problem solving skills and so on.For parents - In our school we organize group parent meetings where we follow webinars (organized by Tempus Foundation in Serbia) on important topics which are of interest to them and in that way, they can learn how to support their children in making decisions about their future education, or career planning, for example. But there are so many other interesting and important topics where parents can be involved.For social partners – Our school organizes theoretical and practical classes in cooperation with our social partners – entrepreneurs usually, where our students are going for practical learning. From this year, thanks to Erasmus+ project and our partner organizations, we are a part of virtual practice for students in the field of tourism, and we involved our social partner (entrepreneur) to use e-learning process for realization of practical classes.
I believe that topics of interest are the first step in e-learning process for adults, and also learning at home, at any time, by short video lessons with basic information and some quiz at the end of the lesson. A lot of people, youth or adults, like to collect something, so opportunity to collect digital badges or certificates, for example, as is usual in e-learning, are one more motivator for involving adults in e-learning process, and they boost self-confidence as well.
The importance of industrial and social development, changes and digitalization, encourages us to think about new possibilities and new engagement in lifelong learning. Digital and online learning is a great opportunity for that.