Virtual classroom for adults

The Kennaway Centre in Exmouth

The Kennaway Centre in Exmouth - Credit: Learn Devon

Virtual classroom for adults

Digital skills training at Learn Devon

Digital skills training at Learn Devon - Credit: Learn Devon

Virtual classroom for adults

The start of September usually heralds the beginning of term for many adults who want to polish up their creative abilities or acquire a new skill to enable a change in career.

And there are many inspiring stories about individuals following a learning journey, where a return to study has brought about a significant life change such as starting a business, going to university or landing a dream job.

The last few months of lockdown have put normal life on a temporary hold, and at times many people have felt a lack of progression - of moving forward.

Classes are now available free online from Learn Devon

Classes are now available free online from Learn Devon - Credit: Learn Devon

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To change that, there are many free online courses starting this September, that could well lead to a positive step forward.

This year, many of the usual classroom-based courses have been replaced with online versions due to the pandemic.

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Learn Devon has just launched its autumn schedule of adult and community learning courses. Since the pandemic hit, the company moved all its learning online and developed a programme that offers local residents support with digital skills, employability skills and wellbeing. A programme of languages, and art and crafts were also delivered free, for which there was an amazing uptake.

Class sizes for all of the online courses are small so, although they are free, it essential to sign up in advance. Tutors are on hand to support learners access the digital courses and will guide those who have never joined a zoom group through the process.

Learn Devon’s Kennaway Centre in Exmouth has organised several virtual classes including an online ‘Pilates for Beginners’ starting at the end of September. The free four-week course is designed to help improve posture, mobility and balance.

Another free four-week class arranged by the Exmouth centre is ‘Life after lockdown: dealing with social anxiety’. This practical Monday evening session looks at how people can get back on track after lockdown, and to acknowledge concerns about everyday life.

A practical two-hour coaching session in ‘Employability and IT Skills’ is scheduled for Thursday, September 24. This free online course is designed to help people negotiate an individualised plan that focuses on career planning, building confidence and CV writing.

A popular course, ‘Using a PC with Word, Internet and Email’ is scheduled for a November start date. This is to help users create and save basic Word documents and send emails with attachments.

Adults with less than five GCSE’s at grade C, can register for free GCSE English and maths classes, if they are unqualified in these two subjects. Learn Devon’s success rate in GCSE’s for East Devon candidates this year was 95 per cent.

Functional skills continue with the new term in September, as the county council-run learning provider continues to offer initial assessments for maths and English courses online; including GCSE classes that start in September.

These assessments will take place online along with a telephone interview. Learners who are not able to access the assessment online will be prioritised for face-to-face appointments when the centres re-open.

In support of the online learning programme, councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “Learn Devon should be applauded for this response to the coronavirus pandemic, diverting all of its resources into supporting people through these unprecedented times.

“It sends a clear message that everything possible is being done to support people by providing the necessary training and skills needed to help people back into work.”

Other ways to access free online courses is via the Open University’s website – Open Learn. There are more than 900 hundred free courses to choose from that cover the classic academic areas such as History and the arts; maths and Science; education and development; health and psychology, for example.

The courses are delivered in bite-sized learning experiences that are designed to fit easily into daily life. The content is varied and can include a mix of articles, videos and audios, and even interactive games.

To find out more about Open Learn visit:

For more about Learn Devon’s free online courses, see

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