Looking back at my university days, I realize that I could have done better! While I prioritized sports over quantum mechanics, my friends prepped for business school. An undergraduate degree seemed par for the course of life. The prospect of not having to continue my studies were even better. Fast forward a few years later, I realize that knowledge and the ability to apply it are keys to a person’s success. Fortunately, the world has evolved. Universities and colleges, the way we know them, are no longer the only sources for the acquisition of knowledge. If you feel that you are ready for some innovative learning methods, check these out.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) represent a thriving segment of the education industry.
The very essence of a MOOC is that it is free, and it is offered online. Unlike conventional colleges, there are no pre-requisites, SATs, or essays to be written for admission. There are no associated diplomas or degrees. The concept behind a MOOC is disbursement of knowledge. Enrollment in MOOCs does require registration and the courses have a beginning and an end date. Students are not penalized for dropping out. Courses cover a wide range of subjects that range from poetry to artificial intelligence. Online networks play a vital part in the delivery and popularity of MOOCs. If you are wondering about the quality of education, you may be surprised to find that MOOCs are offered by prestigious universities that include Stanford, Harvard and Yale. With the loose structure of this education system, it goes without saying that motivated students fare better than the ones who lack the motivation.
Explanation Videos are the visual version of idiot’s guide to a myriad of topics! Unlike how-to videos like Videojug and Howcast, explanation videos give you a quick graphical overview of a concept, trend or meme. Companies like Commoncraft specialize in creating explanation videos. Typically the videos are short and last less than five minutes. Explanation videos are perfect for promoting your products and services. Here is one on “Augmented Reality” that you may find appealing.
News Aggregators and RSS Readers are excellent sources for up-to-date information on topics of your choice. If you are a news junkie and are still using news papers and television as your primary source of news, you may want to do some rethinking. With many aggregation sites like Huffington Post and Flipboard offering content that you want to consume, moving around from one site to another becomes a problem. News readers like the recently discontinued Google Reader and Feedly are excellent sources for aggregated content. Popular web browsers like Chrome and Firefox offer extensions for feed readers that help you add blogs, news sites, and feeds into a single reading pane.
Podcasts as a medium to keep abreast of the goings on in an industry is gaining popularity. In my blog titled Four Podcasts and a blog, I had recently talked about how podcasts have yet to secure a mainstream audience. With the proliferation of smart phones and the easy integration of podcasts into car audio systems, the opportunity to make use of your commute time for a little education should not be missed. Websites dedicated to podcasts like Podcast Answer Man and The Best Podcasts list will help you explore options in this space.
So there you have it. We are living in a world of information overload; every piece of new information or knowledge that we are able to pick up and retain make us richer!
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