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What is “anyplace” learning?

Aaron is a youth minister in a vibrant church who wants to get a seminary degree, but he doesn’t want to uproot his family to move to a residential campus.  He lives and works many hours away from the nearest seminary.

Joanne is the president of a Christian ministry organization in the Philippines.  She, too, wants to further her education, but to attend classes through video conferencing she would have to get up at 3:00 A.M. She finds it is nearly impossible to synchronize her demanding ministry schedule with typical seminary programs.

Oladipo lives in Africa. Rather than attend a local seminary, he desires to be part of a global learning community.  However, he can’t afford to travel and live in another country.

Rockbridge Seminary was created to meet the desires and needs of Christian leaders like those mentioned above. Christian leaders want to develop their ministry skills, but they don’t want to leave their ministry field to get a seminary degree.  The educational term for “anyplace and anytime” learning is asynchronous education. Through the Internet, students can access high-quality ministry training on their own schedule. Today, students are no longer tethered to their computer, but they can study on their mobile phones and tablets.  They can study on a train, in a car, on a plane, on a bus, or on a ship, as these students reported:

 “I completed an entire semester of my D.Min. while deployed to “an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia,” and wrote much of my paper while sitting on a C-17.” John.

“I live in Japan, and during my Rockbridge studies, I traveled around the country several times a year doing training seminars with my mentor. This meant working from hotels at the seminar locations. I also did some of my studies while traveling in the US, signing in while staying with friends and family.”  Kathy.

“My first course I was on an Alaskan cruise with my wife and in-laws. I have signed on in China, Chile, Brazil, Germany and Japan over the years.”  Jim.

“I studied at an Internet cafe in the Philippines while on a mission trip. I also studied while working at a Valero Refinery in Aruba.”  Matt.

“I studied during those hours I had free between my full-time job at the school district and part-time job as a clerk in a convenience store.”  Eric

“I studied between calls while working as an EMT.” Cale.

Anyplace learning offers students flexibility and the opportunity to connect with a global community of ministry leaders.

Because students are across the globe, it is difficult if not impossible for them to gather at any specific hour. But in online seminaries the classroom is always open.  Through forums or chatrooms students read the thoughts of their colleagues and respond. Students and faculty share resources like video clips, sermons, projects, and other media. Students exchange best practices in ministry, share family photographs and their passions, while also discussing what they are learning in the course.

Learning today is all about “anytime, anyplace, anywhere” training. So if you think you couldn’t get a seminary degree where you are, think again.

About the Writer: Dr. Daryl Eldridge has served as Dean at one of the world’s largest residential theological seminaries, served on staff at several churches helping to develop the ministry skills of leaders, taught in blended programs, and is now the president of Rockbridge Seminary, a fully online accredited seminary.