Using an online learning program, an aspiring librarian improves her writing skills

A computer monitor on a table in a library with bookshelves in the background

“My husband and best friend are both super supportive of me, and so is my mom. My best friend has already gotten her master’s degree in history and special education. I have all these people around me who went back to school, and so I thought, ‘OK, I can do it too,’” commented Levena Lindahl, talking about her experiences as an adult learner.

“So it makes me work really hard,” she added, “which is why I graduated early with my associate’s degree. And I’m really pushing myself to graduate early with my bachelor’s degree because I want to prove to myself that I can do it.”

Headshot of Levena Lindahl wearing a graduation capLevena started an associate’s degree program after high school, but she left after a year because of personal issues. Eight years later, she returned to school, finishing her associate’s degree in English in a year and a half at Trident Technical College (TTC) in South Carolina. She then earned a certificate in professional writing and one in advanced beverage management to learn about promoting businesses, like hotels, since tourism is a big job market.

Now a junior at the College of Charleston, Levena is majoring in English with a creative writing focus. After she completes her bachelor’s degree, she plans to get two master’s degrees, one in English and the other in library science. “I want to be a librarian because I keep hearing people say that libraries are no longer relevant, and this just really isn’t true,” she explained. She wants to teach creative writing and mythology at the college level as well.

In English 102, a required class at TTC, Levena used Pearson’s MyWritingLab™, an online learning program designed to support students with varying skill levels. “I really enjoyed the program,” Levena said. “I found it really helpful. I knew most of the things that were covered, and I just kind of needed a refresher. I’d think, ‘Participle, well, I know that word, but what exactly was that again?’ It helped me brush up on basics a lot.”

“The way the program was set out, it never made me feel dumb,” she noted. “It was very encouraging. The program was like, ‘OK, you missed one, but that’s not a big deal. Here is a similar question to help you make sure you understand.’”

Levena also appreciated that the program used adaptive learning because it made learning more efficient. “I liked the pre-test because I really liked the fact that MyWritingLab was a ‘smart program.’ If I knew tenses or what the subject of a sentence was, the program didn’t make me go over stuff that I already knew,” she explained.

As a result of using the online learning program, Levena has become a better writer. “My writing has improved by leaps and bounds,” she commented. “I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I know that I am composing better pieces because I have a better grasp of basic grammar.”

MyWritingLab will help you write better papers because you are going to see what makes a better, more effective sentence.

 

In addition to helping Levena improve her writing skills, the program has made her a better reader by encouraging her to pay more attention as she reads. Levena had a tendency to skim when she read—a “bad habit,” she noted—but MyWritingLab helped her learn to slow down.

“I am definitely reading more carefully, and I’ve started taking better notes as a result for my chapter readings. For my history class, I had to do a lot of very dense report reading, and being able to think, ‘It’s OK to slow down and read this’ really helped me retain a lot more information than I would have doing the skimming that I used to do.”

Thanks to the online learning program, supportive family and friends, and hard work, Levena is accomplishing her goals. She encourages other adults thinking about returning to school to pursue their aspirations as well: “All the students around you might be a lot younger than you, but you have experience that they don’t have, and you’re going to stick with it harder than they will.”