Online learning | The fight for accurate information is more important than ever these days. However, it’s also a battle that’s progressively becoming more taxing too, a hard-won struggle that constantly wages on.

This is the case for various women in South Africa, embroiled in what BBC News has referred to as an ‘infodemic’ in coronavirus misinformation. For matters both major and minor, there often seems to be a sense of fiction thrown in with fact, especially in online spheres. Still, the internet is an important research tool too, so it’s vital that objective truths win the day outright.

Unfortunately, researching for your studies can become somewhat dicey when you’re on the hunt for trusted information online. So, how can you make sure that you’re sourcing all your data from the correct figures? Read on to find out.

Working with Learning Institutions

Some of the best online learning resources will collaborate with learning institutions for their mutual benefit.

A direct working relationship with a school or university is a level of authentication in and of itself. For instance, schools work closely with Online Lessons, with 1:1 classes taking place over Zoom, helping them learn English with greater focus, attention, and personalised care. All their online English tutors have undergone rigorous background checks and have accumulated a minimum 4 years of experience teaching in the UK’s top-quality schools, so there’s nothing to worry about here.

Even kids who’re newcomers to the UK can quickly be integrated into these programmes and achieve fluency in English sooner rather than later. Through the combined efforts of the schools and the platforms, conversations around the globe can be facilitated, and it’s all thanks to their organic working relationship. This all a great sign that the resource you’re dealing with is credible, and that the proper channels and upstanding motives are in check.

Recommendations from Others

If you stumble upon an online resource that you’re curious about, it might be worth seeing what type of reputation they have before delving too deep.

What do your more studious friends think of the source you’ve found? Have students on online forums encountered the links before, and if so, what did they think? Once you have a few opinions, it’s a good idea to present them to your teacher and let them deliver the final verdict. After all, many of them are increasingly exceptional and go above and beyond their basic responsibilities daily, so it might be they’ll approve the source for you or recommend another in its stead.

You could also just ask those in your life for recommendations if you’re thin on the ground for search results as is. Resources that’ve worked for them should work well enough for you too, and it might be that their referrals open brand-new avenues of further reading too. The best online learning resources frequently double as community spaces too and foster a sense of unity, so be on the lookout for those qualities too.

Online Learning Finer Details

Lastly, there are many finer details you should look out for when trying to determine whether an online learning resource is truly credible.

After all, even supposedly sound sources can fall short of the mark on occasion. Many of these organisations are comprised of individuals who may either succeed or fail in their role to provide trustworthy, well-researched data. Therefore, a case-by-case review on your part could be a good idea.

For example, you may want to look out for the following tells when trying to determine whether the source you’re browsing is credible:

  • Content updates: Is the learning resource regularly updated with new information that has been carefully curated? This isn’t always a sure-fire sign of quality, of course, but it’s a good indicator of how much time, care, and devotion has gone into the outlet.
  • Spelling and grammar: It might seem petty when trolls are highlighting one another’s mistakes in learning forums, but educational content should always be well-written and error free without exception and regardless of subject matter.
  • Suitable reference material: Articles that quote vague entities, or reference sites such as Wikipedia, tend not to be among the crème of the crop in academia. If the source in question is referenced by other credible sources that you’re already familiar with, that’s a good sign too.
  • Peer reviews: All data will be fact-checked, and peer reviewed, by all the appropriate channels on a trustworthy source’s domain. Go to the home page of the journal you’re browsing, and look for an about section or a ‘notes for the authors’ tab. In either, it should tell you whether what you’re reading has been peer reviewed.

Sometimes, following your gut instinct and making your own mind up is wholly necessary when fielding information on the internet. It’s unlikely you’ll find any practices that’re truly sloppy from a trusted source, but all the same, adhering to these principles in your search for strong data should help you decide who is worth listening to, and frankly, who isn’t.