Last updated: 20.06.12

E-learning has 'numerous benefits' for adult students

Using a virtual learning environment can benefit adults as well as children, according to an expert.Finance, technical and administration director at the Distance Learning Centre Andrew Whitehead pointed out e-learning in adulthood enables people to "change their careers".He argued individuals can study GCSEs or pass equivalent courses, enabling them to secure positions as midwives, lawyers, nurses, teachers, social workers or in other roles.This could be useful for adults who have "just left school without any qualifications", the expert argued.Vocational skills are especially important in the modern jobs market, Quest Professional director Jo Bernard recently said.Furthermore, e-learning or other forms of academia can keep an individual "stimulated and interested", Mr Whitehead declared, stating this is good for a person's health."The brain is a muscle and if you don't exercise it then it ceases to function properly," he said, claiming this makes it important that people continually learn new information and become more knowledgeable.Education in adulthood through distance learning online could help individuals to study subjects they are personally interested in, with the specialist noting attaining knowledge when fully grown often means people are "more focussed on what they'd like to do and how they'd like to learn".While many men and women are more apprehensive than they would have been in the classroom and can worry about the "learning curve", generally they realise the people assisting them in adult education are "there to help them", he added.The approach in these settings is considerably different to that seen in traditional classroom settings, Mr Whitehead asserted, noting the ethos of educational environments for grown-up people is about empowering, enabling and supporting them.It is "much more of an interactive experience" than that seen in education for young people, he declared, arguing it does not involve sitting students down and telling them what they can and cannot do.