How to learn new skills for free!

 

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Start learning today and fill that page!

 

Hi there.

Nearly two years ago I wrote about some free courses which are available on the world-wide web.

I think it’s fair to say that an that an update is overdue, so this week I’ll be mentioning course providers who offer courses relevant to business people (SMEs) and individuals.

I am starting with a provider with a great range of course to suit all learners.

FutureLearn by  The Open University is a MOOC (massive open online course) and is privately owned by The Open University.  According to their website you:

‘Join over 1733635 people learning with FutureLearn. Enjoy free online courses from top universities and cultural institutions. Find the course for you.’

They also have another path to free learning called Open Learn.

Open Learn is: ‘The home of free learning from The Open University

The resources used by FutureLearn and Open Learn are no different from the main Open University courses, in that they all have well- designed course material. I have taken courses with both and find them to be informative and interesting. The only negative I can find is that there are so many courses you may have trouble deciding which ones you want to study!

FutureLearn courses have specified start dates and can run for two/three weeks through to eight weeks. You can interact with other learners via threads of comments. Open Learn, offers more flexibility as you start and finish when you want.  At the end of the course, FutureLearn gives you the option of purchasing a certificate, while Open Learn offers you a statement of participation.

I studied for my degree with The Open University (and while it’s not free), I loved the fact that my fellow students came from all walks of life, all ages and nationalities.  According to The Open University‘s Former Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean:

The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.’

They have always been proud of their great resources, which is evident in their factual programmes made with the BBC; such as Hospital, where The Open University‘s academics have been advisors on the co-produced programme.

Now onto a completely different organisation called Alison.

Alison describes themselves as ‘the original MOOC’ (massive open online course), and is:

‘a five-million-strong, global online learning community, filled with free, high-quality resources to help you develop essential, certified workplace skills.’

To be honest I have started a few courses with Alison but did not know that much about them. Wikipedia has some background information and says that ALISON stands for Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online. So, you can’t say that you have not learnt anything today.

From the information given on their website, and a promotional video, Alison started in Galway, Ireland and offers courses that are flexible and can be studied at your own pace wherever you are. They have over 750 courses on offer including diploma courses, free courses, languages, digital courses and courses for personal development. Students are assessed throughout the course and have the option of purchasing a certificate.

Lastly, a name that you associate more with recruitment than courses is Reed. While Reed, do not offer the courses themselves, they are a platform directing you to the sources of the courses. Rhyming was purely coincidental!

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I am always encouraging reading and research. I love learning new things, so I’ll be checking out the new courses from FutureLearn.

I believe that whether you are a business owner or a regular individual, you should always be looking for ways to develop yourself and your business.

I hope that you enjoyed the blog, and it’s made you want to learn something new.

Take care,

Tricia

p.s Speaking about learning new things, if you are new to blogging and want more information or you’d like to attend a future blogging workshop, contact me here at My email address or via the contact form on My Website.

Testing times ahead!

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Hello there.

Here is something a bit different this week.

As many young people start to revise for their GCSEs, I thought I would put you through your paces and test your general and education-related knowledge.

First round! These are questions which relate to education stories from 2016 –

Take this Guardian Education quiz

Next round! This will really get your brain working! I got 50% correct. See if you can do a bit better!

Telegraph 11+ article and quiz

Third round! For all those good with numbers take these Maths quizzes from the Guardian,

Are you smarter than a 16 year old?

and another from the Telegraph.

Could you pass GCSE Maths?

Last round! A hard general knowledge quiz, which has made me realise that I need to go back to school!

Buzz Feed General Knowledge Quiz

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I hope that you enjoyed these brainteasers. I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful that I’m not sitting exams right now.

How did you get on?

Have you ever thought about helping a young person with their revision? If you don’t already and feel you have the time and temperament to help a student in secondary education, why not get in touch with Action Tutoring. They are always looking for volunteer tutors to support young people. It is a rewarding experience.

Well, thanks for reading.

Take care,

Tricia

 

 

 

Free Can Be Fantastic – Part Two

Hello there!

Thanks for joining me again.

In Part One I mentioned Alison and The Open University and what they have to offer, today I will tell you more about FutureLearn, Open Learn and a new find- Reed.

These are only three, of thousands of courses organisations that display when you type ‘free courses in the UK’, in your search engine. When I am searching and find that I am looking for a needle in a haystack, I usually go for websites that are simple and straight forward to read. You have to be able to navigate around the website with ease if you are to study with them.

Of course choosing a free short course, to begin with, will help you to decide whether the course or the organisation is for you. Another factor to be considered is advertising and subscriptions.  Unfortunately, many of the free websites will have quite a few adverts and may ask you to sign up for their newsletters.

FutureLearn is privately owned by The Open University and according to their website you:

‘Join over 1733635 people learning with FutureLearn. Enjoy free online courses from top universities and cultural institutions. Find the course for you.’ And,

Open Learn is: ‘The home of free learning from The Open University

The resources used by FutureLearn and Open Learn are no different from the main Open University courses, in that they all have well- designed course material. I have taken courses with both and find them to be informative and interesting. The only negative I can find is that there are so many courses you may have trouble deciding which ones you want to study!

FutureLearn courses have specified start dates and run from between three to eight weeks. You can interact with other learners via threads of comments. While with Open Learn, http://www.open.edu/openlearn you start and finish when you want. Future Learn, see – https://www.futurelearn.com offers you a certificate if you wish to purchase one as proof of Participation, while Open Learn offers you a statement of Participation.

I recently came across a website that acts as a platform for organisations offering free and certified courses. I have only ever associated Reed, with recruitment, and in-house training for candidates. Their website is http://www.reed.co.uk/courses.

One example of the price range is:

The Elements of English Grammar, an online course which is £8.00 and at the other end of the scale is English Language and Linguistics MA for £8,385 at Leicester University.

As I have said previously, I would recommend that you do some research about these courses before undertaking any study. I cannot vouch for the courses Reed have on their website, as I have not taken any, yet!

I hope that this has helped to encourage you to look at what is out there, and take the plunge!

Take Care,

Tricia

Free Can Be Fantastic – Part One

Hi there!

The information contained in this blog will be divided into two parts, the second of which will appear in the coming week.

Last week I introduced you to Future Learn by The Open University; well today I want to tell you more about another path to free learning from The Open University called Open Learn, as well as another organisation that offers free online courses- Alison. See https://alison.com.

Alison describes themselves as ‘the original MOOC’(massive open online course), and is:

‘a five-million-strong, global online learning community, filled with free, high-quality resources to help you develop essential, certified workplace skills.’

According to Wiki, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALISON_(company), Alison stands for; Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online.

I have no experience of using Alison’s courses, so I cannot vouch for how good they are. The information provided here is a start. I will always recommend that you do your research before you start studying. These days we are fortunate to have access to the internet and are able to search for reviews or complaints about all kinds of goods and services.

From the information given on their website, and a promotional video, Alison started in Galway, Ireland and offers courses that are flexible and can be studied at your own pace wherever you are. They have over 750 courses on offer including diploma courses, free courses, languages, digital courses and courses for personal development. Students are assessed throughout the course and have the option of purchasing a certificate.

An organisation that I do have experience of – The Open University, see http://www.open.ac.uk/

According to The Open University‘s Former Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean:

The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.’

I studied for my degree with The Open University and agree that the people who I studied with came from all walks of life, all ages and nationalities.

The Open University has always been proud of their great resources, which is evident in their factual programmes made with the BBC; such as Secret History of Our Streets. They have now started working with other broadcasters.

Take care

Tricia

Let’s be vocal about vocabulary!

Hello again!

I have always harped on about the benefits of reading, and this has come in handy this week for my Start Writing Fiction Course with FutureLearn.

If you have not heard of them, FutureLearn is a MOOC (massive open online course), run by the Open University – see https://www.futurelearn.com/about.

Now as part of this course, we are encouraged to read all kinds of reading material which help with:

  • Understanding structures of written material
  • Introduction to various writing techniques
  • Generating ideas
  • Improving vocabulary

For the purposes of those reading this, if we take the last item on the list- improving vocabulary, we do this naturally when we are presented with new words on a daily basis. Any new words that I find are noted down in a notebook and kept along with their meanings. After all, you never know when a word may come in handy!

Reading encourages the flow of information and it increases your vocabulary. As far as I am concerned it is a win-win situation. I would suggest reading quality newspapers, however, if this is not possible, reading other newspapers and magazines can also help. I think that papers like The Guardian, offer a broad range of subject matter in an impartial way and have a good range of vocabulary.

There are all sorts of reading material at local libraries; Brochures, magazines, newspapers, quick reads and of course hundreds and hundreds of paperback and hardback books.

If you want access to other kinds of reading material, see – http://www.londontown.com › London essentials › London essentials results, which gives you names of some good libraries.

Also, try www.bl.uk, which is the website for the British Library.

I recommend English Grammar For Dummies. I have a copy and suggest that you buy one for your bookshelf along with a good dictionary and thesaurus.

If you are anything like me, the English Grammar For Dummies book will be on your desk more than it is on that shelf! I have different coloured sticky notes in various chapters for quick and easy reference.

If you cannot access information in book form, there are many resources on the internet, whether they are free courses, e-books, or online dictionaries, thesauruses, or websites offering help with grammar.

Each week I will try to mention any new finds that I feel will help you on your journey through the minefield that is English Grammar!

Thanks for reading.

Tricia