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Online Learning Opportunities

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By Clay Hougland

A variety of online learning models are being marketed today. Traditional classes with set periods of time for course completion are still the norm. However, some online educational websites are turning to a different model aimed at those that desire to work at their own pace. These websites offer a set fee for access to all the materials on their site for a set period of time one month, three months, a year. Several sites also offer completely free tutorials.

Usually these classes or tutorials do not include accreditation or certification after completion. Academic credit can be obtained by taking CLEP tests or Advanced Placement tests. For work done on computer or technical materials, many companies offer exams to gain certification. For example Microsoft offers certifications from Microsoft Office User Specialist to Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

Fees for membership are often a very good value, especially if you choose a shorter time period and work through the material quickly. We've listed a number of examples in a variety of academic and technical training fields. As computer based training continues to expand, the number of websites offering membership based access to tutorials and online learning will also continue to expand.

CompUniversity
Online learning for PC applications including word processing, spread sheets, and database programs. One month access - $19.99, three months - $29.99, 6 months - $49.99, 1 year - $69.99. You may purchase online or at your local Comp USA computer store. A free demo and the complete course catalog are available online.
SmartPlanet.com
SmartPlanet is a division of the Ziff Davis computer publishing empire. Their online expertise is demonstrated in this well put together site. They offer many free tutorials as well as self directed and instructor led tutorials on many topics. Tutorials in the Science and Technology section include The Basics of Electricity and Circuits and Weather 101, both free tutorials. The Computing and Internet section includes courses covering most popular software packages, networking, internet design, and programming. You may access all free courses with a Free Membership. With a Standard Membership of $15.95 a month you get unlimited access to courses that cost $19.95 and under. You pay individually for courses that cost more than $19.95
Peregrine Publishers
Peregrine Publishers offers three websites: The Biology Place, The Chemistry Place and the Psychology Place. You must purchase access to each of these Places separately. Access is $10 for the first three months and $1.50 for every month thereafter. Content on these sites is aimed at high school students working on an advanced placement level or introductory college level. Each Place includes interactive tutorials, pre-lab activities to prepare students for conducting their own lab experiments, self-testing in biology and chemistry, and many other resources. Free trials are available.
World Wide Learn
This directory of online learning lists course after course in 28 different subject areas. Many of the listings are for free classes or tutorials.
Free Skills.Com
These courses focus on computer and technology skills.
Free-Ed Net
Tutorials are offered in 120 different vocational and academic subjects. All tutorials are free.
Free Online Classes at Barnes and Nobles
Oxford School of Learning Free resources and tuition in Business Studies. Primarily applicable to those in the UK.
Homeschool High School Resource List
An updated list of online virtual high schools and traditional correspondence schools that offer a variety of services from classes to complete diploma programs for high schoolers.
To learn more about CLEP testing visit Peterson's CLEP test preparation site

To learn more about the Advanced Placement Program visit their website.

To learn more about available certifications in the computer field visit Certification Magazine.

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