The mission of Alison

WEBWATCH

The ALISON mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to educate themselves, via interactive multimedia, on the web. Alison at http://alison.com/#  provides free online interactive courses for basic education and workplace skills.

Launched in April 2007, ALISON now has over half-a-million registered learners in 200 countries worldwide providing over 150 courses at certificate and diploma levels.

Although primarily focused on digital literacy and IT skills, ALISON also facilitates courseware in a couple of other categories, including English language, Health and Safety, Business and Entrepreneurship, Math, Law, Accounting and Basic Science. Among the providers of these courses are Microsoft, British Council, Thare Machi Education, Health and Safety Authority, and Sun Microsytems. Now, let's take a look at the ALISON endeavour in a little more detail.

Under the Business and Enterprise Skills ALISON, presently, offers

a) Social Networking and Viral Marketing Using Facebook, a course ideal for those who wish to use Facebook for online viral marketing, but lack the skills or knowledge to do it;

b) 21 Steps to Building a Web Business, a course which covers the skills and techniques needed to create a successful online web business; and

c) Starting a Business or Social Enterprise — The Stone Soup Way, a business course which covers entrepreneurship through the 26 ingredients needed. This course takes its inspiration from the book: ‘Stone Soup - The Secret Recipe for Making Something from Nothing’.

The courses under Digital Literacy & IT Skills are aplenty. Among them are a) Google Webmaster which would be found very useful by those who have created a website and wish to optimise it for Google search engine; b) Adobe Flash CS3 to help produce multimedia applications; and c) Adobe Photoshop which introduces the skills and techniques needed to excel in graphic design.

The Financial & Economic Literacy courseware includes a) Fundamentals of Economics, introduces the learner to the study of economics; and  b) Fundamentals of Accounting which delves into the terminology employed in financial circles, the principles used in basic accounting and the systems put in place to ensure financial control is maintained.

Under The Personal Development & Soft Skills the ALISON courseware includes:
*Psychometric Tests which can help understand personal strengths for employment with respect to personality and competency;

*The Basic Study Skills courseware helps to identify personal learning style and also learn about key study skills such as: mind mapping, time management, keeping a study diary, reading and writing techniques, as well as listening, speaking and telephone techniques; c) Design— Applying Design Principles is a Graphic Design course which investigates the application of graphic design principals in the production process such as composition, balance, contrast and hierarchy. It is eminently suitable for students studying graphic design, and designers and artists working in the graphic design industry

The ALISON Diploma Courses include:
*Diploma in Project Management, a comprehensive review of project management;

*Diploma in Health Studies, provides a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of important health-related subjects.

This course covers diet and nutrition, health and human development, global health issues such as women’s health and family health, and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention;

*The Diploma in Business Management & Entrepreneurship provides an opportunity to gain extensive knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices behind key business management subjects such as corporate management, operations management, accounting, human resources management, financial accounting, and project management. You also learn about key entrepreneural skills from serial entrepreneur Bill Liao, co-founder of the social networking site XING.com. This diploma course is ideal for those who want to further their knowledge and understanding of business management and entrepreneurship;

*The English Language Skills courseware contains over 600 hours of interactive English language courses to prepare for the First Certificate Exam (FCE) in English. There are two ways to study these courses — study a complete course at any of the levels that contains all of the units, or study a course at any of the levels by completing the individual units for that course (each course is divided into six units).

This course containing various topics relating to the English language and English literature would be found useful if you are learning or teaching English as a second language. These English language resources are largely brought to you in partnership with the British Council, the global leader in English language education.

There are about 17,241 ALISON learners in India, and 206 among them have received their certificates. Among the popular courses in India include

*British Council Online English Suite - Pre-intermediate 1;
* Microsoft Digital Literacy — Computer Basics;
*Human Health 2 - Health and Human Development;
*ALISON ABC IT; and
*Basic Study Skills – a Short Guide

ALISON aims to become a comprehensive learning platform for all basic and essential skills for the workplace. The courseware and training provided, as you can see, are within a variety of subject areas. All ALISON graduates are entitled to receive a ALISON certificate with the student’s name, the name of the course studied, and the score. The certificate emphatically states the fact that the student has successfully completed the training course.

Bhimasena, an ALISON learner from Bangalore, has this to say about the courseware — “I congratulate ALISON for providing such valuable courses, free. It is a great service”, and another Alison learner Valliammai Krishnan Parandhaman, a Safety Supervisor, says ALISON is the best site in the world in free digital distance learning!

ALISON invites learners of all ages to become members of its community and begin developing their skills with the help of this exceptional online resource. As Mike Feerick, CEO and Founder of ALISON explains, “With ALISON, the barrier of cost in accessing quality education and training is overcome once a willing learner can access the internet. Through ALISON anyone who wishes to enhance his or her skills at his or her own pace can prepare themselves to work or to continue to work in a modern competitive workplace.” He further says “With ALISON, no one need be low-paid or under-skilled in the competitive job marketplace.”

ALISON continues to earn kudos from all over the world. Last year it earned the recognition awarded by the Ashoka Foundation for pioneering of social entrepreneurship in education and the UNESCO ICT in Education Diploma Award, both international endorsements of the highest level.

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