From smart phones that recognise our faces, to small oblong-shaped house robots that can take active instructions from us, to say technology has developed over the last few years is an understatement. Society itself is literally becoming digitalised before our very eyes.
Whether you feel completely overwhelmed by this new technology and want to teach yourself to navigate the basics, or you’re beyond fascinated and want to know even more, there are courses out there for you.
And learning all about this new technology could have a profound impact on your life. Just ask Carly Thompsett and Tricia Cusden…
Carly is an entrepreneur who has run her own business for the last three years, but she was finding the social media aspect of it particularly difficult.
She’d not used the internet until she was 16, and even then, that was purely because her college was encouraging her classmates to understand Facebook, she wasn’t actively interested in it. Carly told us, “When I started my business in 2015 I had no idea what I was doing. I had all the social media accounts but no idea what to do on them or how to make my website visible.”
Carly was initially extremely nervous and apprehensive about doing an adult learning course, especially as she has both dyslexia and dyspraxia. Feeling panicked and overwhelmed, Carly told us, “I thought I’d struggle with taking in information, especially when I found out there was a final exam.” In fact, she was so worried, she nearly didn’t take the course at all!
But she beat her nerves, took the leap and in October last year, Carly took a three-month digital marketing course to help her better understand social media for her business. The evening course took place once a week for 2 hours at a university and was taught by an expert lecturer who actually ran his own business.
“The course was amazing! I now know what times are better to post, how to use tags, hashtags, how to write a blog post. I am so glad I did it as I feel like a pro and always get told how much knowledge I have on the subject!”
Carly, the woman who was once baffled by advertising her business on social media, has now learnt so much that she helps other people who are struggling with social media!
She adds, “the thing that surprised me the most is that I took in so much that I can easily and fluently help people with their digital marketing. My interactions have gone up, I know how to jump on the back of certain hashtags and events happening to self-advertise myself.”
And Carly has firmly been bitten by the learning bug since dipping her toes into adult education last year. She’s since gone on to study an employment law course and is feeling much more confident as a result.
Tricia is fairly tech savvy, in fact she’d founded the website, Look Fabulous Forever when she was 65 years old, a site which aims to change beauty perceptions for mature women. But after starting her own YouTube channel, using makeup tutorials she’d initially created for her website, Tricia realised she still had things to learn if she wanted to progress.
But to ensure her videos actually sent viewers to her website, Tricia had to learn how to do things she’d never done before. She told us:
“It has been a steep learning curve but I just got on with it. I had to know how to operate Mail Chimp for my blog, understand Google Analytics for data about the website, how to post and boost engaging material on Facebook and Twitter and also find my way round YouTube.”
Although initially a daunting prospect, with a positive attitude pushing her along, Tricia has put her learning into practice and created successful social media marketing campaigns using a range of platforms including Facebook, weekly blogs and YouTube tutorials.
And just like Carly, it’s had a positive impact on her business. She told us, “It was an excellent way to spread the word about the brand. I love writing the blogs and reading all the hundreds of comments that these stimulate.”
So, what’s Tricia’s advice to anyone thinking of learning something new but worried they’ve missed their opportunity?
“We need to keep our minds open to possibilities at every age and to see later life as a time of renaissance not retirement or withdrawal. By starting a new business at 65 at I have proved that age is no barrier to phenomenal growth and success. My two mottoes are ‘It’s never too late’ and ‘Use it or lose it’ and this is true of both body and mind.”
Now It’s Your Turn!
We hope these stories of new learners achieving amazing things and changing their careers by learning some new things about technology has inspired you to take up your own course!
We know that re-entering the classroom can be just as daunting as the first time you ever did it as a child, which is why the Festival of Learning is holding a “Have a Go Month” throughout June.
Safeera Sarjoo is Editor and our partner Hotcourses Ltd.