According to the Office for National Statistics, 99% of those aged between 16 and 34 were recent internet users while only 41% of those over 75 were.
With a good number of people lacking the basic skills or fundamental computer literacy necessary to even use word processing software or make presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint, it’s hardly surprising that it’s more likely that seniors and those approaching retirement age taking private IT tutorials or IT courses.
In the future, it’s going to be nearly impossible to find a job that doesn’t require some basic IT literacy or basic computer skills at the very least. With that in mind, where can you find free IT lessons online?
Superprof has tried out a few and here are some of the best ways to learn some computer basics for free. This introduction to computers might just change your life...
Can You Learn Computer Skills on the Internet?
The only real answer to this question is “yes and no”. I know, it’s not the most satisfying answer. Let me explain why...
The answer will completely depend on a number of factors:
How good are you with computers at the moment? Are you an absolute beginner new to computers, an intermediate user, or an expert user? Do you know which operating system you're using?
What’s your budget for computer classes learning about computing online? There are videos that you have to pay for and they’re far more professional, better-produced, and informative. Most free videos aren’t of the same quality.
Do you have a strong affinity with technology? If you do, you’ll probably learn much more quickly than someone who drags their feet when it comes to new technologies.
You could learn a few basic operations with online lessons:
Launching desktop programmes (word processors, spreadsheets, etc.)
Creating and saving documents
Saving photos from a digital camera
Transferring documents from a USB key
Creating an email account and reading your emails from a web-based email (electronic mail) client or a programme like Outlook.
Navigating the world wide web
Making a video
There's no magic solution to typing more quickly. You just have to practise so get your mouse and keyboard ready! The more you use Microsoft Word (part of Microsoft Office) and the more emails you write on your personal computer or laptop, the more familiar you’ll be with the keyboard and you’ll type more quickly. However, there are a few tips and tricks that will help you type more quickly...
If you go to YouTube and type in something like “learn about computer technology”, “IT classes for beginners”, “improve digital literacy”, or even “learn to programme”, you’ll find so many different videos. You’ll quickly see that there both good and bad ones.
One thing’s for sure, these videos will probably make you want to learn more about computers and IT from a private tutor if you’ve had difficulty understanding them.
BBC.co.uk: Free computer courses and resources.
Everyone knows Auntie Bee. The corporation has their own page for those wanting to learn more about computers and IT. There are beginners’ guides for those with absolutely no experience, help for those studying GCSE IT, as well as links to other sites teaching you more about coding.
Of course, some of the sites they link to have elements you’ll need to pay for! However, their list is pretty comprehensive and includes some of the very best online computer tutorials, lessons, and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).
Here are a few of the things you could learn about from the computer class on MOOCs: Designing with Adobe Illustrator CC, how to use Excel more effectively, or even how to create a website without using code with Adobe Muse.
There are also links to computer courses on:
Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
You can do it yourself! It’s quite satisfying learning how to do something new with your computer on your own in your own virtual classroom. Your hard work will pay off!
Can You Learn How to Use Computers from Friends and Families?
Can you learn more about computer hardware, programming languages, or digital culture just by asking the people you know?
Ask around! Tell your friends and family that you’re looking to learn Visual Basic, for example, and that you need some help getting to grips with it.
There’s bound to be somebody you know that will be able to help you. Ask the “expert” if you can have a quick IT lesson at a time that works for them.
You could even use the power of social media to get your message out (like Facebook, for example) and ensure that everyone that you know is aware you’re looking for some help.
You should also check out our article on how to learn about computers at any age.
How Can You Learn to Programme for Free?
If you can’t find a friend or family member who’s a talented programmer, you needn’t worry since you can always learn how to code with Codeacademy!
Codeacademy is an American interactive platform that was launched in 2011 and offers lessons on how to learn to programme in six different programming languages (check out more about programming courses):
HTML and CSS (markup languages)
Responsive Design (for smartphone app developers)
Ruby (a website creation tool)
There are also video tutorials on how to create websites! The site already has 24 million users from around the world (around 70% of them are American). Coding is becoming increasingly important as part of the national curriculum, too. While you won’t need to code for every job in the future, it’s important for teaching students how to think differently about problems.
Like Zach Sims, the co-creator of the site explains:
"In addition to schools, there are also adults who are looking to learn or change careers. Learning to code can improve their employability. We have plenty of users who’ve been able to find or change jobs thanks to the lessons on Codeacademy. One doubled their salary by going from a statistician to a data analyst."
Why not get started by creating an account on the site?
Find out more about how you can learn about computers and IT from a private tutor, too! You can search for tutors near you or take online computer courses if you live too far away from the big centres.
Learn About Computers for Free with Programmes
Being completely cut-off from the digital world can make people feel more lonely which is even worse if they are alone, unemployed, or in financial difficulty.
There are a number of organisations and programmes helping those who have little or no IT skills get connected to the modern world. They create workshops and beginners classes as well as lessons to learn about computers for free online. There are also associations up and down the country offering IT classes to the elderly.
Age UK, for example, has computer training courses for senior citizens. As they say:
“Concerned that many of us are missing out, the majority of our local Age UKs provide computer training for older people. These courses offer easy-to-follow training with the aim that as many of us as possible ultimately enjoy the advantages of computers and the internet.”
You should try searching your postcode on their website in order to find the centre closest to you. Additionally, if they don’t offer a course, they can point you in the right direction to another organisation offering IT lessons. It’s a great idea and we love it! If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with Age UK, you can do so on their website here.
You can also visit Online Centres Network, an organisation dedicated to alleviating digital exclusion in the UK. The network is made up of over 5,000 different organisations working together.
Get Private IT Tutorials with Superprof!
Learning more about object-oriented programming or becoming an algorithms specialist or top web develop isn’t something you can do entirely for free. This is when you should consider paying Superprof a visit.
If you have other skills, why not sign up as an English, maths, Chinese, singing, or personal fitness tutor? You can use the money earned as a private tutor to pay for your IT tutorials.
You can get in touch with another private tutor and offer a like-for-like trade. A drawing or pottery class in exchange for computer knowledge, for example! There’s no harm in asking around, after all.
Save money by opting for webcam classes so that the tutor doesn’t have to travel to teach you. That way you should be able to get your tutorials for cheaper. It’s a cinch!
If you're retired and wanting to learn more about computers, find out more about IT tutorials for senior citizens.