Galway, Ireland, August 06, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- The announcement was made by President Obama on his visit to Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan on July 14th and is part of a $10 billion education bill for community colleges and skills training.
Commenting on the announcement, ALISON CEO Mike Feerick stated that the opportunity and potential of free learning was now being accepted by the White House and this policy step is likely to have global and not just national US implications. The investment creates the possibility that all basic education and training will eventually by accessible for free worldwide by encouraging and supporting the model of education pioneered by ALISON. The Obama announcement he said was clearly "indicating a willingness in the US to innovate and return to leading the world in workforce training initiatives through the 21st Century".
$500 million will be awarded to create online instructional materials that will be available free to community colleges and their students. The Departments of Defense, Education and Labor will work with one or more community colleges and the Pentagon's learning network to find ways to award credit "based on achievement rather than class hours," and to "rigorously evaluate the results," according to the White House briefing materials on the program.
In his remarks, Obama talked about how this effort could both create courses where they aren't offered and create educational materials for courses that exist. "Even as we repair bricks and mortar, we have an opportunity to build a new virtual infrastructure to complement the education and training community colleges can offer," he said. "So we're going to support the creation of a new online, open-source clearinghouse of courses so that community colleges across the country can offer more classes without building more classrooms. And this will make a big difference especially for rural campuses that a lot of times have struggled to attract students and faculty.
"And this will make it possible for a professor to complement his lecture with an online exercise, or for a student who can't be away from her family to still keep up with her coursework. We don't know where this kind of experiment will lead, but that's exactly why we ought to try it because I think there's a possibility that online education can provide especially for people who are already in the workforce and want to retrain the chance to upgrade their skills without having to quit their job."
An early draft of the Obama plan, reported in www.insidehighered.com that the funds to create online courses would be open to institutions beyond community colleges, including for-profit colleges. Robert Shireman, deputy under secretary of education, said: "Online course development would be by any type of entity, and the courses would be in the public domain and therefore could be used by anyone. (We will work with a community college to make sure there is a place that offers credit for the courses, but it would not be exclusive)."
ALISON provides free online learning via interactive multimedia for basic workplace skills. With registered learners in every country and territory worldwide, ALISON free learning includes IT Skills, Health and Safety, Languages, Psychometric tests and Financial and Health Literacy. ALISON offers premium services such as content hosting, content development and bespoke Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training programs among other services, to corporations, academic institutions and government agencies. Headquartered in Galway, Ireland, ALISON is a privately-owned social-enterprise with international offices in Morristown, New Jersey, USA, and London, UK, with a Washington D.C. office opening in September 2009. To start your free learning on ALISON, register at www.alison.com.