Did you know that 21,147,055 students enrolled in distance education courses in the fall 2012? … 18,236,340 undergraduate students and 2,910,715 at the graduate level. The percentage of undergraduate students taking distance education or online classes in degree programs rose from 15% in 2003-4 to 32% in 2011-12. Over 8% of all students in degree programs in 2011-12 were taking exclusively online courses.++ Clearly distance or online learning is meeting the needs of today’s students.
One Challenge’s Online Learning Center
What purpose would online courses serve in the world of One Challenge? Ian S, builder and manager of the One Challenge Learning Center (OCLC), answers that question. “We see the value of training our people continuously while they are actively involved in ministry. The internet is the perfect way to do that. We were looking for ways to shorten the periods of time we were training our workers here in person, but we wanted to extend the training itself.” The OCLC makes it possible for OC people to conceptualize, create and market courses for the benefit of the OC family and other global mission workers.
Aiding Ongoing Learning
The kinds of training One Challenge does spans from introducing potential candidates to our organization (WorldView), to pre-field training (CORE), to security for all workers, to research, financial development, and sports ministry training. While some training, like Lifeworkx, requires in-person participation, for other training the OCLC can fill in the gaps caused by geography, finances, time, energy, schedules, or even language. Additionally, some people’s learning styles are better served with online courses. Ian points out, “I think it reaches people who wouldn’t be in a physical classroom anyway.”
Ian names a second reason the OCLC was created, “It is a way to bring people together who are not co-located. The Learning Center is one part of realizing our desire to see people collaborate.” With technology facilitating virtual classrooms, people from all over the world can participate together in ongoing learning. Some courses are designed to include interaction with other participants (but not necessarily live) and others are more geared to interaction with the facilitator.
One Challenge’s Online Learning Center has been running for four years, having gone live in early 2012. Currently 13 courses are available, three strictly for internal use and 10 open to the public and designed generically. Ian has seven more courses under construction and an additional four further up the pipeline in the conception stage. Ian concludes, “Life-long learning in the midst of doing ministry and life overseas is critical. The Learning Center allows us, through formal learning, to make lasting contributions to each other’s ministry. It goes back to what OC is about, the core concept of how we replicate what we are learning in one context to another, tapping into each other’s resources.”
How to Get Involved
- If you are interested in serving with One Challenge, learn more about us by taking the WorldView online course. Contact Mobilization at mobilization @oci.org. Or go to their Mobilization website.
- Support our efforts to learn and collaborate by making a contribution to the OC Learning Center.
- Pray for Ian and those for whom he is helping create, organize and build courses.
++ Statistics from National Center for Education Statistics
One Challenge is an international mission sending agency empowering local church ministry in more than 100 countries around the world. One Challenge seeks to educate on all levels in order to equip the next generation of leaders … English as a second language, global workers’ children in international schools, university and seminary students.