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Florida Conference expands e-Learning program

Florida Conference expands e-Learning program

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Florida Conference expands e-Learning program

April 6, 2008   News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0826}

An e-Review Feature
By Steven Skelley**

Internet World Usage Statistics reports 71 percent of the North American population uses the Internet.

Since the Florida Conference Connectional Ministries office began offering training courses in April 2006 for members serving in leadership positions at their churches, more than 1,400 people have taken the online classes. Photo by Caryl Kelley. File Photo #06-334. Originally accompanied e-Review Florida UMNS #0468/April 8, 2006. Web photo only.

With so many people accessing Web sites for information, the Florida Conference is increasing its Web presence and has added classes to its online e-Learning resources. The newest of the courses provide training for lay leaders and lay members of the annual conference.

The e-Learning program was created to offer consistent training to church leaders “where recipients would all receive the same training,” said the Rev. Carol Sue Hutchinson, a staff member in the conference Connectional Ministries office who coordinates development of the courses.

“The purpose of the … online learning ministry is to give opportunities for leaders in local congregations to gain information and knowledge in this convenient form,” adds Don Youngs, administrator of the site. “It is only one of many tools that are needed to be a knowledgeable leader in a local congregation.”

As conference Web site administrator Youngs said he wanted to provide something “outside our conference Web site that might seem more user-friendly to participants.”

“I have been extremely pleased with the number of people using our e-Learning site,” he said.

In the two years the e-Learning site has been active, more than 1,400 people have taken the online classes, which include training for staff-parish relations, finance (including stewardship) and trustees committees and membership secretaries, in addition to the newest laity modules. There is also a Bible study called “Where is the Fruit?,” and a teacher training will be added soon.

Youngs says people outside the conference have also been registering for the learning opportunities.

Hutchinson is pleased the information is reaching a wider audience. “We were pleasantly surprised at the widespread use,” she said. “I can determine that both lay and clergy, those from small and large congregations, and people from outside Florida are signing on to these classes.”

As church members learn more about the eLearning modules and begin using them, Hutchinson says, they are telling others on their committees about the resources. She says she has also been hearing that people appreciate the savings in travel time the online courses offer.

“This way, many more people get the information from the convenience of their home,” she said.
The online courses are available on the e-Learning Web site at


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Skelley is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.