How can a military spouse stay at home parent keep his or her skills up-to-date when unemployed?
As an active duty military spouse there may be times when you may find yourself unemployed but fret not; a great way to keep your skills up-to-date and marketable is through online distance learning (taking college courses or any kind of self development training via the Internet). Before you go jumping online to enroll in a course however, consider the following question:
Is distance learning right for you?
This following describes a good online distance learner and the required skills sets.
An online distance learning course is primarily an independent study course/workshop series and therefore may not be suitable for all students. The distance online learning student must take responsibility for her/his own learning. In any distance learning program, the capacity for self-directed learning is crucial.
- Are you comfortable learning outside a traditional classroom setting?
- Are you comfortable learning in your current environment?
- Are you disciplined enough to start a project and see it through to completion?
- Have you ever participated in an online seminar, course or workshop?
While the instructor and fellow students can provide some support, the distance learner is expected to provide the internal motivation to manage his/her own learning during the course of study and have a basic grasp of Internet navigation skills.
The distance learner is also expected to take responsibility for contacting the instructor with her/his questions.
- Are you comfortable communicating via email?
- If during an assignment you found yourself stuck, would you find it difficult contacting your instructor via email for assistance?
Distance online learning courses / workshops are very focused and usually don’t offer much direct help reviewing prerequisite material, help that you might get in an on-campus class. You will have to get extra help or dig out the information on your own, at least more than you would in a regular class. Distance learning courses also tend to be harder than or require more total time than traditional courses.
- Do you enjoy researching and gathering information on your own?
- Do you enjoy spending hours on the Internet?
Successful distance learning students are generally highly motivated, self-starting people who read a lot. Many are home bound because of children or disabilities or they just prefer to take classes at home.
Others are geographically bound. They might be working in a remote location, living in a rural part of a state or country, far from a local college or university. Some are job bound. They may have rotating and unusual shifts, like some nurses or military soldiers. Others are just trying to get more of that precious commodity–time!
The greatest advantage stated by people taking a distance learning course or workshop is that it allows them to manage their own time to meet their needs.
To be successful in and get the most out of the Virtual Business Owners Online Training Program, you will need to know how to:
Follow instructions, this includes completing and turning-in assignments, journals, etc.,on-time.
- Use the Internet
- Use a search engine(s)
- Send and receive e-mail
- Send an e-mail with an attachment
- Use a word processor
- Copy and Paste from one document to another
- Use a bulletin board or message board
- Use a chat room
- Download and install software onto your personal computer
Sometimes students feel they can learn these skills while taking an online distance learning course. The tasks of learning these basic skills along with trying to learn the online course can be quite cumbersome, turning what is supposed to be a fun online learning experience into something dreadful.
If you do not already possess basic computer skills you probably should not enroll in an online distance learning course / workshop. On the other hand, if you are equipped with the basics and you’re passionate about learning and launching a business in a virtual environment, join us as we explore the ins and outs of starting, growing, and managing an online virtual portable business in cyberspace!
About the Author:
Victoria M. Parham is a retired military spouse, Army veteran, Podcaster, the president and chief technology officer for VSSCyberOffice.com, a virtual business startup consultancy and entrepreneurial training firm specializing in portable careers training for trailing spouses.
To learn more about the VIrtual Business Owners Training Program, visit www.victoriaparham.com.