Encouragement from Bill Gates is added to this 3rd edition together with an insight into the world's biggest free distance education program.
Few recent educational trends have caught on quite like online education, which is rising at a staggering rate. The hundreds of free courses offered by elite universities seem to herald a future in which world-class education becomes available to anyone with a reasonable broadband connection and a desire to learn. A recent survey found that enrolment in online education enjoys a 21% growth rate, compared with the two per cent in higher education. Many appropriate courses are now available for career climbers, humanitarians and hobby followers.
This book will help you plan your own study programme, provide strategies to overcome problems and give you techniques to reinforce the learning process. Website addresses are provided to help you start and develop your programme.
The last part of the book is directed to those who wish to embark on a research project. This may be for general interest, for publication, or for registration for a postgraduate degree. The author has wide experience in all these fields.
Distance education, open learning, self-studies, modules, professional registration, research methods, open postgraduate degrees, on-line studies.
Anybody embarking on a distance education programme must realise that there is a need for more discipline than is required of those who sit in formal class rooms on a full-time or part-time basis. The time-table and presence of other students reinforce commitment to attend. (Support strategies for distance learners will be covered in chapter 3).
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 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 is 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 distance education with formal college links, it is useful to review briefly the informal strategies that are available for self-directed learning.
Some people have set themselves reading targets by using libraries and resource centres. Many university 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). My favourite websites include: