Globally, there are increasing moves towards online learning, by all sorts of people. Here are four reasons you, as a media professional, should opt to learn online:
Continuous developments in journalism
Increasingly e-learning is becoming the choice of professionals who need to keep up with changes in their work environment. There are basic journalism skills that are always important, but with the changes in the sector, many skills and knowledge are quickly outdated. Media law and ethics is one such field. New laws impact how journalists can investigate their stories and what information they can publish without censure. Simultaneously, shifts are happening in media ethics in response to regulatory bodies findings and new technologies. Journalists need to stay up-to-date, or risk falling afoul of the law.
E-learning also allows journalists to learn new skills in areas they have had little exposure to. For instance, courts can be very intimidating for reporters who have never ventured into the labyrinthine legal system before. Online learning, in a new area, can prepare you to branch out into a new specialisation or just make you a better all-round reporter.
Ensure you understand (and have fun)
Good e-learning has the advantage of providing ‘touchpoints’ in the course to ensure you are understanding the content as you go. Typically, video lecturers are shorter than in-person training sessions. Quizzes and other elements that require you to interact with the e-learning system prevent learners’ attention from wandering. Good interface and e-learning course design also make learning fun.
Learn around your schedule
You may learn best in the morning, or you may only get the chance once the children are asleep. Weekends may be the best time for you to learn. E-learning allows you to schedule time when you have it, without having to be away from the office. For journalists, e-learning is a particularly good option, as they will not miss important course content because of a breaking story.
Learn at your own speed and ensure you understand
One reason many people prefer learning online is that they have had bad experiences in lectures. Sometimes, by the time you have realised that there is something you didn’t understand, it would disrupt the whole class to go back to the point you missed. People have different learning styles, traditional classroom-style learning suits very few people. E-learning quizzes and tests allow you to check that you understand the content and can practically do what you are learning to do. You can immediately go through lessons again if you did not understand something. Good e-learning courses are designed to help you learn in order to be able to understand and practice the learning and never ever make you feel stupid for not understanding. E-learning is adaptable to your needs.
As e-learning is so particularly suited for media professionals, frayintermedia has made use of best practices, refined through testing what works in African environments, combined with over a decade of experience in training African journalists to develop online courses. See our courses here.
Sandra Roberts is research manager at frayintermedia.