Education Posts

How Online Education Became Fun: A History of E-Learning Platforms

The Internet, since its inception, has been the ultimate store for a great wealth of human knowledge — limitless, indexed, interlinked. It’s no surprise, then, that self-education has become one of the ultimate killer apps for global digital interconnection.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of technology, where self-taught professionals continue to dominate the industry. With technological advances outpacing the ability of traditional curriculum-building to deliver courses to self-motivated geeks thirsty for knowledge, it’s only fitting that sites for IT professionals remain a hotbed for cutting-edge e-learning solutions.

We’ve come a long way from the early days of a bunch of random text files nestled in an FTP or Gopher directory, though. The industry has learned a lot about the potential of the e-learning environment, and some trends and best-practices in online education are becoming clear.

 

Universities Join the Internet

Colleges and universities, sticking with what they know, have been getting behind the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) concept. MOOC essentially opens the lecture hall and syllabus structure of traditional college courses to online learners. Video lectures, e-textbooks, and computer-scored tests are a staple of the format, sometimes served with a side-dish of group collaboration via forums or mailing lists. The multimedia aspect of these courses fills a niche for learners who get more from hearing and watching material than simply reading a textbook.

MOOCs also characterize one of the first, and strongest trends in e-learning: flexibility. You can take part from across the country or around the world, and to a greater or lesser extent timeshift to study whenever is most convenient.

 

Enter the E-Learning Platform

But many e-learning providers are going behind the traditional class structures and truly exploring the potential to deliver education tuned to more optimally engage individual learners.

These sites embrace the reality that each individual will have different requirements, from the beginning level of knowledge they bring to the subject, to the learning style which suits them best, to the degree of reinforcement required along the way.

These e-learning sites take flexibility to another level by offering content via apps that will work on any cell phone or tablet, further freeing students from a desk or office. uCertify, for example, offers a free app (although the courses themselves are not free) that allows users to take any of its more than 400 courses on their phone.

 

Skillset.com and The Future of Training: An Interview With Darren Dalasta

We will be regularly interviewing leaders in career development, education, skills assessments, human resources and other relevant industries here on the Skillset blog. We like interviews because they start a literal conversation, and they allow everyone to step back for a minute to talk about the bigger picture.

For our inaugural interview, it’s only appropriate that we interview Darren Dalasta, a founding member of the team here at Skillset.com. In this interview, Dalasta explains the story behind Skillset, how it impacts the training and professional certification climate, and where he sees education and career development a year from now.

 

What was the inspiration behind Skillset.com? Why did the Skillset team decide to create it?

Skillset exists because we heard the cry from IT professionals for more and better practice questions for their certification exams. There aren’t many places where you can get access to thousands of practice questions to see if you’re ready for the test. We want to provide free, exponential access to practice questions and tests.

The most-used options prior to this were to use downloaded, stolen exam questions and feel guilty about it, buy very expensive (and short) practice tests if you could find them somewhere, or use the same questions over and over again.

We had the experience to create something people wanted, and hopefully build an intelligent service on top of it that will eventually help them understand and learn how to expand their skills and skillsets to something far beyond practicing for a certification exam.

 

Launching Skillset: A New Way to Develop Your Career

We launched Skillset.com in late 2014 with a fairly simple goal: Make it easier, faster, and more gainful to prepare for professional certifications that advance your career. Since then, we’ve added over 100,000 questions to our proprietary testing engine, and we’ve built out countless individualized skills that allow you to test yourself against them one by one—all for free.

Here at the beginning, we plan to keep adding questions, skills and resources by the truckload, of course. Providing free, up-to-date, intuitive test preparation for certifications is our guiding purpose. But we have to admit—we’re up to more than that.

We want to change the way people think about career advancement, and the way people achieve it. To do that, we need to change the way people think about education in general.

In large part, that’s what this blog is for. Not only to discuss Skillset and what you can use it for, but also to discuss the future of education. We see education as moving from a hurdle one crosses to an endeavor you never stop pursuing. We want it to move from a qualification for a job to being a part of the job. And we want the skills you acquire to stop being static claims on your resume and start being a proven, concrete framework that defines the best and most recent version of you.

Those are big claims, we know. But we aren’t just going to make claims. We’re going to prove them. That’s what we help our users do, and that’s what we believe in.