One often thinks of learning as something that is done in a school. The truth is that learning occurs everyday, and it continues throughout life. When it comes to formal academic subjects, many adults think that their time is past, and that they’ve missed their only opportunity to study. However, there are now numerous sites on the Internet that introduce lifelong learners to a myriad of topics. These sites have the added bonus of being free, which makes them accessible to everyone with Internet access. They are also interactive which, as studies have shown, is the best way for adults to learn.
Khan Academy’s math offerings begin with basic arithmetic and continue through Calculus. One begins by creating an account. They are then shown an interactive map that lists many of the possible topics. One simply chooses where they would like to start. Each lesson consists of a video and several problems. Once mastery is achieved in a specific topic, it is noted on their chart. If one does not understand the topic, they can click on the associated video and watch it. Hints are available and one can choose to have individual problems worked out step-by-step. This program is highly efficient because it is possible to move through known topics quickly. One can simply move directly to the problem set, complete it and move on.
Smart History is a website that covers art history, from ancient to modern. From the homepage, one is able to choose a topic from “Ancient Cultures” to the “Age of Post-Colonialism.” One is then shown a variety of images. Clicking on an image takes the learner directly to a instructional video, as well as written information. In many cases, there is also the option to use the mouse to view and explore actual exhibits.
Open Culture is a site dedicated to making culture available to everyone. It contains a wealth of information that includes languages, history, literature, philosophy, math, science and much more. It includes links to video lectures at various web pages and on iTunes.
Interactive Biology contains lessons in high school biology including ecology, cell biology, genetics and the human body, as well as pathology and physiology. With colorful images and to-the-point text, it covers much information. Interaction comes in the form of quizzes on topics such as the systems of the body. The quizzes are short and provide immediate feedback and encouragement. A final score is given at the end, and the chance to review the correct solutions is offered.
European History Interactive provides access to maps of Europe. By clicking on different time periods, one is able to see how the boundaries changed throughout the years. In addition, there is a history section that allows one to learn of the significant events of each time.
Learning is thought of as something that is the province of children. However, learning is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With the advent of technology, academic subjects are now at the fingertips of everyone, regardless of their previous level of education. Learning is an exciting adventure, and this adventure is open to all.
Jordan King is a school administrator and guest author at Best Masters in Education, a site with guides and information about getting an online masters in education.