Product Index
Post-Secondary

Strengthen 21st century career, life skills for adult learners

Overview

Goals: GCFLearnFree aims to provide adult learners with opportunities to strengthen career and life skills that can help them succeed in the 21st century. The content spans reading, math, technology, workplace skills and more.

Approach: GCFLearnFree provides free, self-paced, online tutorials to learners all over the world. Learners can choose to view only one lesson or to complete an entire tutorial. A few online classes are also available and learners can obtain a Certification of Completion and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for them. The content spans 85 skills including reading, math, technology, career, and life skills. There are 125 tutorials including over 1,100 lessons, videos and interactive resources. Users do not need to create a login, but can choose to if they want their learning history to be tracked. All content can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere with an Internet connection. Additionally, content is available in an offline version that can be downloaded and printed for individuals or classrooms without Internet access. All content is available in Spanish at GCFLatino.org.

Implementation: Implementation of GCFLearnFree content depends heavily on the needs of the individual user or organization. Individual users either create a login so they can track the learning they engage in through tutorials and classes, or do not create a login and simply dive right into the skill they’re working on in that moment. There are curriculum guides that offer ideas about best practices that can help organizations and teachers make choices about how to use the content to best meet the needs of their learners.

Pricing: All GCFLearnFree content including tutorials, lessons and online classes are completely free for all users. The content is made free and available to all users by the proceeds from Goodwill stores in Eastern North Carolina.

Who is Using It: Over the past decade, GCFLearnFree content has been used by 18 million learners worldwide. Because the content covers so many topics, the learners come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are students, others are unemployed adults looking to gain skills that can help them find a job, and others are seniors looking to learn technology basics. GCFLearnFree can be used by individuals or organizations including K-12 schools, colleges, libraries, community centers, and more. 

Product Brief

Goals

GCFLearnFree aims to provide adult learners with opportunities to strengthen career and life skills that can help them succeed in the 21st Century. The content spans 85 skills including reading, math, technology, career, and life skills. A major goal is to provide learning opportunities to all learners, regardless of economic obstacles, by making the content free for all users. Another core mission is to provide learning that users can engage in anytime and at their own pace.

Approach (How it Works)

GCFLearnFree provides free, self-paced, online tutorials to adult learners all over the world. Learners can choose to view one lesson at a time, or to complete an entire tutorial which is comprised of multiple lessons on a topic. A few online classes are also available and learners can obtain a Certification of Completion and CEUs for them. The content spans 85 skills including reading, math, technology, career and life skills.

GCFLearnFree provides learning opportunities through video, audio, text, games and interactive activities to accommodate the different learning styles of their users. There are curriculum guides (designed by staff) available to support organizations and teachers in using the content with their learners. As of summer 2014, there are 125 tutorials including over 1,100 lessons, videos and interactive resources and new content is added daily. All content is available in Spanish at GCFLatino.org.

Learners do not need to create a login to use the content (unless they want to register for a class), but can do so in order to track their learning. Learners who create free logins can view their “Learning History,” can see where they left off and how many tutorials have been completed. They can also print a transcript.

The content is targeted at the foundational level for each skill. If the team gets feedback that many learners want to take a particular skill deeper, they will consider adding extra tutorials in that area. For example, there was an tutorial for foundational skills in Excel 2013. After receiving feedback from their learners about wanting to learn more about Excel Formulas, the team added a new tutorial with more advanced Excel lessons.

All content can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere with an Internet connection. GCFLearnFree has also created an offline version, accessible through a flash drive. For organizations that have Internet access but have blocked YouTube, GCFLearnFree has ensured that videos are still accessible (See FAQs page). GCFLearnFree has mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle.

GCFLearnFree has a content development team made up of 2 screencasters, 2 writers and 2 leads (a tech curriculum lead and an adult basic education lead) and additional support staff in design and development. The team decides what content to offer by looking at technology trends, researching desired workplace skills, and by collecting input from users. Users can also request that a particular topic be added. GCFLearnFree researches potential topics to ensure that there are not existing programs that are already available. Learners can also submit support tickets at any time. GCFLearnFree has a 2-person support team responsible for answering the support tickets daily.

Online Classes

GCFLearnFree offers online classes for Microsoft Office Windows (not Mac) including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access for Windows (2007, 2010, and 2013 versions). In order to register for a class, a learner must create a free login on GCFLearnFree. The classes can be accessed on a desktop or laptop (not iPad). Classes are free and include access to lessons, challenges, quizzes and instructors that are available to offer support through a message center.

Users can view the classes page to see what is offered and can register for one course at a time. Due to the high demand for these classes, the seats are limited and users may have to check the classes page multiple times until there is a seat available. All tutorials that are included in the classes are also available as self-paced tutorials in the Microsoft Office topic so that individuals can engage in learning even if they can’t register for a class right away.

Upon completion of a class, a learner obtains a Certificate of Completion and a Continuing Education Unit (CEU). To complete a class (and earn a certificate and CEU), a learner must submit three assignments, meet all class deadlines and submit an end-of-course survey. Classes can take between 4 days and 4 weeks, with a week to submit each of the three assignments. Instructors may give feedback and ask for learners to re-submit their work. If a learner does not resubmit his/her work they will not receive credit for the class.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are made available through International Association of Continuing Education and Technology (IACET). Learners can access their transcript and Certificate of Completion as proof of CEU. State and employer policies on CEUs vary, so learners are encouraged to inquire with the appropriate individuals to ensure that their CEUs will be accepted.

Implementation

Implementation of GCFLearnFree content depends heavily on the needs of the organization or the individual user. The curriculum guides offer ideas about best practices that can help organizations and teachers decide how to use the content to best meet the needs of their learners. Organizations have permission to link to GCFLearnFree.org or to embed video tutorials into an already existing CMS or LMS.

Individual users either create a login so they can track their learning through tutorials and classes, or do not create a login and simply dive right into the skill they’re working on in that moment.

A few common use cases for organizations and teachers:

  • The Textbook Method: Organizations have traditional instructor-led classes that use GCFLearnFree content as a supplementary support for teachers and students.
  • Self-Paced Group Study Method: Organizations have students engage in a tutorial or class at their own pace and have instructors act as facilitators during class meetings to provide assistance and engage in discussion around the content.
  • Independent Study with Assignments: Organizations use GCFLearnFree content to support independent study classes. In these cases, instructors or student can create their own assignments to match the content.

Business Model and Pricing

All GCFLearnFree content including tutorials, lessons and online classes are completely free for all users. This is made possible by funding from (GCF®) and (GIENC®).

Data Collection

GCFLearnFree collects data to measure the success of the program. Data collected includes tutorial popularity, content quality and learner satisfaction through surveys, social media, and Google Analytics.

GCFLearnFree does not collect and share data on individual learners. Learners with logins have access to their progress (transcript, CEUs, Certificates of Completion) and can choose to release those documents on their own.

Who is Using It

Over the past decade, GCFLearnFree content has been used by 18 million learners worldwide. Because the content covers so many topics, the learners come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are students, others are unemployed adults looking to gain skills that can help them find a job, and others are seniors looking to learn technology basics. GCFLearnFree can be used by individuals or organizations including K-12 schools, colleges, libraries, community centers, and more. Here is a list of organizations using GCFLearnFree as of summer 2014:

UNESCO

TAFE NSW

TechSoup Global

Volunteers with the Peace Corps

Correctional Service Canada

Hackers for Charity

Saudi Arabian Airlines

SOS Children's Villages International

Arizona State Legislature

Nativehire.org

Connecticut Department of Revenue

Whirlpool Corp.

Caterpillar Inc. (South Carolina)

State Libraries of Florida, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, Iowa, Wyoming, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Maine, Oregon, and Kansas

DigitalLearn.org

DigitalLiteracy.gov

Connect2Compete.org

Everyoneon.org

UN Women

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PRODUCT VIDEOS

GCFLearnFree Overview
GCFLearnFree Overview

PRODUCT ATTRIBUTES

Audience

Adult Learning Adult Learning
Lifelong Learning Lifelong Learning
Post-Secondary Post-Secondary

Subject Matter

21st Century Skills 21st Century Skills
Career Literacy Career Literacy
Math Math