What strikes me the most: Distance education programmes are often cheaper than their traditional counter parts
For me studying online is perfect: No overcrowded lecture halls but individual feedback to keep me focused in my studies
Starting an online programmes is literally just clicks away; no need to be physically present at all!
Many universities deliver now courses for free. This is called open courseware or open educational resources. You will find them at undergraduate and graduate level or for continuous professional development. Sometimes they are enriched with discussion forums and self-assessment tools to check your study progress. These courses take you 1 to 100 hours of study. Also on YouTube and iTunesU, universities publish free material (video-recordings). All this contributes to informal learning.
In Europe, also open access (Open Access-publishing en free online scholarship) is supported by most universities. In open access repositories, a wide variety of research articles is published and freely accessible on line.
Both sources can help you as an individual learner to update your knowledge. Many students subsequently decide to take a formal course or to engage in CPD.
It may be expected that universities will combine these initiatives of informal learning on subject area or profession related portals to share knowledge systematically and to connect students with formal learning opportunities.
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