It’s important that every day you wake up and learn something new.
I’ve always been excited by the idea of expanding my knowledge and skills through self-directed learning. I remember when I was 14, I left my house one Saturday morning and walked into Dublin city centre to the largest bookstore there at the time and bought myself a huge door step of a book simply called ‘Psychology’. I needed a shopping cart to push this thing home. It was a tome.
Maybe I was considering it as a career choice at the time. I don’t know but I do remember feeling so proud to be the owner of this book and excited by it . I knew the stuff was way over my head but everyday I opened it determined to read a little. Maybe I only learned from it that Psychology is a tough subject and not just about seeing old witches and pretty ladies on ink blots.
I guess my point is that I enjoyed the challenge. I still challenge myself today to learn new tasks and increase my knowledge, though sadly I don’t learn near as much stuff daily as I’d like to. When our skills reach a sufficient level to allow us to do what needs to be done, it’s easy to slack off and neglect polishing those skills or even replacing them with entirely news skillsets.
Until very recently, we could use excuses like I don’t have the time or the money to go off and learn new skills. Hey I’m too busy with what I’m doing right now! But as it has done with many other areas of our life, the Internet is making those excuses seem .. well .. lame.
In Janaury of this year, my husband became a student of Tech Entrepreneurship at Standford University. He didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to be taught by the world’s elite experts. He didn’t even have to leave the house. He signed up for one of the many open courses that are being delivered online by leading universities such as MIT, Princeton and Berkeley and made a whole bunch of useful contacts in the process.
Just as it revolutionized and democratized publishing, the Internet is fast leveling the playing field in education, making it accessible for anybody, anytime, anywhere. We really have no excuse.
And it’s not only the big establishments providing fantastic opportunities for free learning.
Sites like Udemy are making it their goal to democratize the learning process, providing 1000′s of courses in everything from American Literature to App Design, many by leading experts and lecturers.
Codecademy, a site that teaches coding through interactive exercises had 200,000 students sign up during it’s first 7 days (and went on to raise $10 million in investment).
Over 160,000 have taken Standford’s Artificial Intelligence course in one year.
The TutsPlus learning network also attracts hundreds of thousands of eager learners.
You can bet that if there’s something you want to learn you’ll find a free course for it somewhere.
Go now, start searching, start clicking, start learning something wild and wonderful today.