How to Use Technology for Work Skills Development

Sarah Smith

May 23, 2016

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Today, a growing number of upwardly mobile professionals rely on technology to upgrade key career skills. The Internet has facilitated an explosion of online learning opportunities. Just consider a few of the options available for excelling in this area:

1. Enroll in accredited distance courses.

The widespread availability of fully accredited distance courses delivered over the Internet won't make obtaining your degree any easier, but it might make the process more affordable and convenient. Students enrolled in these types of classes attend lectures, access study materials and submit homework assignments and other class projects using the Internet. Examinations for accredited courses typically occur at proctored study centers.

Many working people prefer online classes, in fact, since they can usually participate on a more flexible schedule. If you want to watch a professor's lecture video at 4 a.m., you enjoy that option. One of the distinct advantages of distance learning compared to face-to-face learning involves greater student autonomy. You'll study at your pace, and you can review confusing or difficult sections of the material easily. Individual academic institutions determine whether or not they will give credit for online courses towards a degree program, and not all institutions accept every course, so research academic credit issues thoroughly before paying to enroll in any distance course!

2. Pursue online continuing education classes.

Work skills development increasingly occurs through a variety of online venues. Most licensed occupations today, in fact, require a certain minimal level of continuing educational coursework every year for professionals to maintain their skills. From nursing to insurance sales to cosmetology, workers in most jurisdictions must adhere to ongoing continuing education mandates. For instance, if you've ever considered pursuing a successful real estate career, you'll appreciate the ability to study specialized topics over the Internet from accredited providers. A licensed sales agent in a busy real estate office might upgrade daily job skills by studying a property management course online, for instance. In the process, the agent will typically satisfy mandatory continuing real estate education requirements issued by state licensing boards.

The Internet furnishes a great way to meet CE requirements because it enables busy people to complete courses at flexible times. Additionally, most online continuing education classes cost considerably less than attending in-person conferences and continuing education workshops. Accredited distance courses offer essentially the same material, but the delivery method reduces inefficiencies. Just as with remote academic courses, check first before enrolling to ensure that a CE class has obtained accreditation from a sponsoring occupational board or organization. Even if taking the class improves student work skills, courses typically won't satisfy regulatory board continuing education requirements unless the sponsors specifically apply (and pay) to become authorized continuing education providers in advance.

3. Take MOOCs to develop new skills sets.

If you've wondered how to improve your skills in many new technical fields, then undertaking a free MOOC provides a way to learn about new subjects without a lot of pressure. Today, a growing number of educational consortium providers conduct "massive open online courses" using platforms such as Coursera, EdX, and FutureLearn.

MOOCs primarily furnish college-level instruction to the world at large about an array of topics. Students don't receive credit, although some providers will issue certificates of participation when learners meet specific requirements and pay a fee. These classes enable workers to explore topics that may enhance career options or open doors to entirely new occupational paths.

4. Acquire another language using Skype.

Whether you want to study real estate online or learn a foreign language, programs such as Skype offer an excellent opportunity to interact with other people at a distance. People utilize the process of face-to-face Internet communications to practice everything from sales skills to conversing in unfamiliar languages.

This technology offers an excellent way to hone and refines critical career skills. Although security concerns exist which may render the process unsuitable for communicating extensive proprietary information, Skype still offers a wonderful way to exchange information in person without incurring a lot of travel expenses.

5. Attend company webinars.

To learn how to develop skills and knowledge in some highly specialized positions, you may want to attend group webinars. A growing number of firms today maintain regular continuing educational programs for employees and contractors, offering this information to remote locations via company webinars.

Just like a seminar, a webinar enables speakers to address a potentially broad audience and respond in real time to questions. Unlike a workshop, you won't need to expend a lot of financial resources providing a physical location for the discussion.

6. Benefit from automated online testing services.

Self-employed workers offering services on a contract basis via the Internet often help by using online testing services to demonstrate the possession of specific skill sets. For instance, if you want someone to hire you to transcribe interviews, it helps to show that you can type 80 words per minute. Today, online testing services exist to verify specific employment skills.

Writers demonstrate the ability to craft grammatical sentences in English, Russian or Mandarin using these types of testing services; proofreaders establish the potential to edit manuscripts correctly; software programmers document skills in C, Java or Python. Consider visiting an automated testing service to verify your skills before launching an online self-employment effort!

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