9 Ways E-Learning Can Empower Your Nonprofit
The nonprofits that we work with take on so much. Really, it amazes me that after we leave a fundraising and gala planning meeting, the Director we just talked 'development' with is going switch gears and help the life of a child.
Sometimes, with so many hats to wear and responsibilities to take on, it can be difficult for a manager to specialize in everything they’re managing. Of course, that’s where hiring a consultant comes in.
But how can you self-empower by learning the essentials about everything from social media marketing to planning an event?
Online courses are a great way to go. And many are low-cost or even free.
IN FACT, SOME ONLINE COURSES ARE EVEN BETTER THAN IN-PERSON
1. USER EXPERIENCE: Videos, presentations, and the information online courses give are often packaged, polished and edited down to deliver a better student experience.
2. NAVIGATION: You can take online courses at your own pace. Pause a lecture when you’d like to take notes or expand on a thought, then restart. If you missed something, just go back 30 seconds.
3. ACCESS: You have access to and a choice of a wide variety of thought leaders. You’re not stuck with whomever the university has decided is best for every student.
4. INSIDE TRACK: Online instructors are often people from the field. Whether veterans or
new pioneers, they offer great POV’s from the front lines.
5. INSTRUCTORS: There aren’t the politics or ego of academia to deal with. Not happy with the instructor? Just switch with a quick online search and the push of a button.
6. VARIETY: You don’t need to commit completely to a track. You can sample different subjects.
7. EASY REGISTRATION: No waiting several months to see if you got into a program. You have a momentary interest? Just hop onto a relevant course in minutes.
8. FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE: No turning down industry opportunities to commute and be on campus every Tuesday at 1PM. Flexible schedule means you can take care of what you need to at your organization as it arises and still make time for learning.
9. TIME EFFICIENCY: If I could count how many hand-raisers have asked self-interest questions while 30 of us in the classroom patiently waited... Well you won’t need to deal with that online.
And now, the caveat
Information found in online courses can be biased to the provider running the course.
But don’t let misinformation deter you. You’ll find “motivated” information in Wikipedia, newspapers, and most sources of info, both online and off. Back in college, how many of my professors made their own books part of the curriculum, as we shelled out for premium prices at the university bookstore? Believe me, the education was not objective.
I’m not proposing that we skip a college education.
The best teachers can be the greatest inspiration in our lives, and some of these teachers you will find only on campus.
College is as much about academic life, building relationships, learning about social capital, and personal growth as the classes you take. We learn not just from instructors. We learn from the students and people around us, both environmentally and through discourse.
There are many hands-on skills that cannot be learned in front of your computer as effectively as being in a workshop. No formal education is a substitute for experience, whether online or classroom. Nothing will teach an event planner more about planning than being in the back office, in client meetings, and onsite during an event.
What I am saying is: There are online resources that are a great efficient way to empower your organization through education. And you won’t need a college loan to get access to them.
Looking to take a course on a particular subject? LEAVE A COMMENT. I’ll be happy to give recommendations.