The rapid spread of computers has increased the need for workers in
a variety of employment situations to be proficient in the use of
information technology. A lack of such skills can hinder a person's
employment search and ability to move up in an organization.
For the past eight years, adult learners have been able to turn to
GCFLearnFree.org for free, online computer, math, and life skills
training. GCF is supported by the Goodwill Community Foundation.
Courses are provided in English and Spanish and are available to
learners around the world. To date, GCF has served more than
300,000 people from more than 230 countries.
Learning at their own pace
Learners can study a wide range of topics, including computer
basics, Internet basics and safety, and office productivity
software, such as Microsoft Office and Open Office applications.
The tutorials are designed for people who prefer to use the
materials and learn independently. Learners can complete lessons at
their own pace, and the topics include activities, quizzes, and
relevant articles to extend learning.
An alternate form of training is offered in the form of three-week,
instructor-supported classes in select topics. Learners that
register for a free class complete lessons and an assignment
weekly, and can communicate with the online instructor and
classmates via a class discussion board. This model is designed for
learners who prefer more support and a more structured learning
environment. After successfully completing a class, a learner will
earn continuing education units (CEUs) accredited by the
International Association for Continuing Education and Training
(IACET), as well as a certificate of completion.
Improving everyday literacy
Computer skills are definitely necessary for many jobs, but
literacy skills are even more crucial. According to the National
Assessment of Adult Literacy, more than 40 million adults in the
United States struggle with literacy-related tasks. One in five
adults cannot read a newspaper, find an intersection on a map, or
perform basic math. To help address this need, GCF launched its
Everyday Life program in October 2007. The Everyday Life program
uses interactive, situation-based lessons to teach functional
literacy skills, such as reading a map, completing a job
application, and using an ATM. The lessons use principles of gaming
and interactivity to model real-life situations. Through these
lessons, learners apply their basic literacy skills to real-world
situations so they can build literacy, communication, and life
Taking advantage of technology
All new tutorials and classes include video lessons, as well as an
alternate text version, so users can choose the method by which
they best learn. Additionally, closed captioning is included in all
video lessons on the site. Learners can also track their progress
in tutorials and classes, monitor quiz scores, and view a listing
of all certificates and CEUs they have earned.
GCF is produced and maintained by a diverse in-house team of eight
individuals with backgrounds that include computer programming,
Flash development, education, art, design, and gaming. The team is
responsible for creating the learning management and delivery
system, as well as all site content.
GCFLearnFree.org aims to deliver content to meet the needs of users
regardless of education, bandwidth speed, and accessibility, and is
committed to providing quality, innovative education that will
equip people with the skills they need to improve the quality of
their lives. Visit our
site and let us know what you think!