Internet and computer learning is going through gymnastic gyrations attempting to redefine and legitimize itself in the whole range of educational institutions and disciplines. Often these new means of learning range from masters courses at many of The Nation’s leading universities to more casual courses offered at places like The Learning Annex and at every other fly-by-night corner store training center or Boys & Girls Club.
So who is utilizing it? What used to be confined to Computer Science majors is now open to high school drop outs and middle-age career changers looking to ride the crest of the next big thing.
Much of it can be easily accessed as elearning online or easily bought right out of a box in bite-sized pieces in the discount bin at your local retail computer store.
Some of it is actually accredited, certified and recognized although much of it is basic, casual and very ad-hoc.
It can even come buried or bundled as tutorials and help files in your commercial applications or extracted from low-priced DVD’s at the local Flea Market.
Often it is produced by experts in the field but can also be a product of self-appointed experts and gurus (see the New Media Channel at The Learning Annex.)
The subject matter ranges from how to build a web page to Social Media and Web 2.0 or How to Hack, Crack into any and everything.
The fees can go from supposedly free to multiple years of debt and the soul of your first born.
None of this is a criticism. In fact I run a computer training center in East Oakland that focuses on bridging the Digital divide by offering training to elders and teens in one of the most economically depressed areas of town. I have come to rely and depend on these varied means of training and instruction to provide skills to the least of us. The more the merrier, the cheaper the better.
Informal training RULES!