Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With most businesses and work switching online to contain the spread of COVID-19, many individuals and families are turning to the internet to finish work, keep themselves occupied or for leisure.
The Valley Adult Learning Association (VALA) is offering more than 30 free online courses. These courses include computer programming, culinary arts, slam poetry, digital photography, marketing, psychology and parenting and child development.
“The classes are nice because they have modules and they track your progress and they have report cards,” Kim Redford said, literacy instructor at VALA. “Your mentor makes sure you are progressing and that you don’t have any problems. They are designed to check your understanding. You get a sense of completion and progression. At the end, you get a certificate of completion.”
These courses are delivered either through live format run through Adobe Connect or independent learning modules. The learning modules are interactive and can be completed any time whereas the live classes are set on specific days. They will still be recorded if participants want to view them at a later time.
Redford said they have beginner to advanced level classes that range from courses in reading and writing to more special interest classes like music appreciation and web design.
Each course is approximately 90 hours’ worth of instruction with continual enrollment. It is independently driven with the chance to access the material at any time of your convenience. Live classes have multiple days and some are single live sessions.
Technical support is also available free of charge to those who need help with accessing the courses or if they do not have the technology to get in the class.
“Sometimes people are unfamiliar with browsers or they do not have the right technology,” Redford said. “If you are struggling and you don’t have the technology to do the course or it is not working on what you have, then there is a possibility that we could help out with that in some capacity. We will work with the individual to make sure they can access the course.”
Barb Duguay, VALA administrator, said they have a good success rate with their learners. Duguay added that a one-size-fits-all approach is not used because each individual receives a tailored method to best meet their needs. Many people are intimidated, but there are courses available for people at any level, Duguay added.
Redford said they would often run in person class and we will continue to do that after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. One of their most popular classes is cricket design and over the years, Excel has also remained popular, Redford added.
“If you register with us, we can facilitate and help through your course in whatever way that you need,” Redford said.
To be eligible, you have to be an Ontario resident and be over the age of 19. If you are interested in knowing more about the courses offered or if you want to register, you can call 807-274-3553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.