Learn for free, online and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – that’s the ideal formula, which has been around in Ireland for two years. These courses are offered in multiple disciplines and are open to anyone over the age of 18. Only constraint? You must be Irish Resident or at least be able to provide a PPS number at the time of registration.
Since March 2020 and the first lockdown, the Irish Education Authority has been offering everyone free access to the eCollege platform, an on-demand learning service site. It allows those looking to add to their resume or others to consider, for example, professional retraining. Courses are more or less dense, but none require you to be present behind your computer at specific times and for entire days. They can be incorporated into daily personal or work commitments.
Nothing could be easier, to enroll in these modules, just go to eCollege.ie. Then the rest of the steps in the Apply section are performed.
Which courses are offered?
Once you have registered, you have to decide which course to study, and the list is quite long. You can only take one course at a time. The topics are diverse. The platform offers courses in business, project management, graphic and web design, basic computer skills development, and courses in computer programming. Learning cartography, discovering an introduction to various computer languages such as Java Script or Python, or discovering the basics of using Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word or Office, eCollege also offers Irish courses. And to optimize the lessons, all the necessary material is included in each course. For example, by relying on the introduction to using Photoshop (as I am currently doing), you will be offered the Adobe license during the training. It is therefore enough to install it and have sufficient activity on the software, proving that the free license allows learning.
In addition to this access to the software, the platform offers many explanatory videos animated or shot by tutors. Registration also includes access to a downloadable manual that summarizes all the information that will be provided during the courses, the learning follow-up quizzes, as well as the exams to be taken according to the different levels and the evolution of one’s training. The platform is always accessible and the teachers are even available live at certain times and via email the rest of the time to help you with your progress. Discussion forums are freely accessible to discuss with other students and to help each other. At the end, an exam must be taken online or at a training center in Ireland. In the second case, travel expenses can be reimbursed in full. The key to this rating? A recognized proof of achievement. For courses on Photoshop software, for example, the certificate is issued in cooperation with Adobe. The only condition for passing the final exam is that you must meet the specified deadline. In my case, access is free for 16 weeks.