In the “old days,” we attended K-12 classes. Then maybe you went to college, got a degree, got a job and progressed by working hard or making lateral moves to other companies to get ahead. Throughout your career, you learned from experienced people you worked with, and maybe you got a grad degree, but even with that, you mostly had to figure things out for yourself.
In Thomas Friedman’s new book, Thank You for Being Late, he explains why this learning pattern doesn’t work in a time of super-accelerated technological change. Today, most schools don’t even teach the latest technology because things are happening faster than teachers are being educated. So how are we expected to keep up?
The speed of today’s technological changes can feel overwhelming and crazy and like we’re being pushed too far and too fast.
At the same time, technology is giving us an unlimited opportunity to learn.
Here are a few of the learning hubs Friedman mentions in this EXCELLENT book:
Kahn Academy is a completely free resource offering thousands of classes for schools to help kids learn, as well as individuals wanting to get ahead. Kahn classes cover a huge range of age appropriate classes and topics.
And here’s an incredible new feature: Kahn offers free SAT, GMAT and MCAT prep classes. Kids in high school can now link their PSAT results to Kahn, and Kahn will offer them classes to help in the areas they need most based on what they missed on the PSATs. And all for free. This takes down a huge barrier to learning and is especially cool for kids who can’t afford to pay for expensive prep classes, as well as for anyone wanting to do well on the tests that get you into grad school.
If you’re looking to get further education at the college level, Coursera offers over 2000 classes from some of the top universities in the world at a fraction of the cost you’d pay to attend one of these schools in person. Coursera classes are available anytime, from any computer, from anywhere in the world – whether you’re in Portland, ME, or Bangladesh!
Friedman also talks a good bit about Udacity, the on-line arm of Georgia Tech, where you can get an online Masters Degree in Computer Science for $6600. Amazing!
Other sites I like include Skillshare and Udemy with thousands of on-line classes taught by professionals on a mix of topics as diverse as writing, art, email marketing, real estate and more. And I recently stumbled on CreativeBug which offers classes in art and crafts. On CreativeBug you pay $5 a month as a subscription fee and can take any of their 100s of classes. You can’t find a good art class for $60, and here’s a whole website of classes for $60 for 12 months of unlimited learning.
The trick to these, of course, is that the initiative to learn comes from you. You don’t have a parent or teacher telling you to study or to get a paper finished. And many of these classes don’t have grades so you’re learning for the joy of learning. And because these classes don’t have a set schedule, the onus is on you to stay organized to start and to complete them.
Whether your job demands that you continue to learn or the urge comes from your gut, on-line classes give you unlimited opportunities to be the person you want to be. To learn enough to say, “I’m a writer.” Or “I’m a computer programmer.” Or “I’m an artist.”
You’ve already got that inside you. Now you just have to find the class, sign up, stick with it, and make change a reality in your life. Things are moving fast these days. Move with them!
Can I say again how great Friedman’s book is? 🙂
Happy Wednesday from the warming coast of Maine