The worldwide lockdown, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, has resulted in children and adults spending long hours on phones, tabs and laptops for education and entertainment. Organisations, schools and universities are requiring more people to work online to continue their studies and employment activities. Scientific and educational societies are exploring new ways to make their information available through the Internet.
Of longer-term significance, Harari, a University Professor who knows much about learning said in his recent book:
"Since we do not know what the job market will look like in 2030 or 40, already today we have no idea what to teach our kids. Most of what they currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are forty. Traditionally, life has been divided into two main parts: a period of learning followed by a period of working. Very soon the traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives and to reinvent themselves repeatedly."
It was this modern thinking and analysis that prompted a further edition of “The Guide to Online Learning”. Several sections have been rewritten. This book will help you plan your study programme, give strategies to overcome problems and provide ways to set up a research project. Website addresses are provided to help you start and develop your programme.
Anybody embarking on an Online Learning programme must realise that there is a need for more discipline than is required of those who sit in formal classrooms on a full-time or part-time basis. The time-table and presence of other students reinforce the commitment to attend. (Support strategies for online learners will be covered in a later chapter).
Additionally, humanitarian employees may face stresses abroad which they have not encountered when employed in their own country. They may be operating in a hostile and dangerous environment, surrounded by local people suffering an appalling tragedy, separated from family and friends, and trying to cope with extreme deprivation, language, geographic/climatic and cultural differences. In such circumstances, career development and further learning are not easy. Yet it is possible. Millions have done it and so can you.
Before looking at the skills and techniques that are required for Online Learning with formal college links, it is useful to review the informal strategies that are available for self-directed learning.
Some people have set themselves reading targets by using libraries and resource centres. Many universities or other institutional libraries (e.g. museums, hospitals, and non-government organisations) may be open to the serious reader.
If you are working abroad you can have your professional journals redirected, perhaps to your local country headquarters. Ask your colleagues if they have books, magazines or training materials that they can share. Your organisation may have a library with reading resources, videos and CDs that could be used for learning and leisure. Perhaps you have already arranged for CDs of literature to be supplied to you by TALC, ELDIS or another organisation. A complete library of resources can be transported on CDs, or flash drives and these are especially useful for those unable to get Internet access. Amazon Kindle and similar electronic devices are easily carried, easily perused while waiting for public transport, and they provide access to millions of magazines, journals and books, many of which can be obtained free of charge (or at a cost far lower than is required of a hard copy). (I have over 350 books in my Kindle and more than 6,500 books in a flash drive).