I’m always looking at/for new ways to learn things or for a flexible way to learn things my way. One thing I am always looking out for is informal learning opportunities, be it in the form of a Youtube video, a Pin on Pinterest, talking to a friend on Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin (the big 3), finding a useful document on Scribd.com, the list goes on.
Also very interesting, however, is the rise of curated and organized “class” experiences on the Web that are open to anyone (it seems some of my not-so-crazy predictions for 2012 were correct after all). You may know from this post that I have a bit of a disappointed attitude (to put it politely) with universities claiming they have “open content” out there for anyone to take, when all they do is put up a lecture in formats like podcast, PowerPoint files or videos. Top-down approach at its best with no participation. It’s a step in the right direction but not the “best” way (disclaimer: what’s “best” for me might not be “best” for you, take this comment with a grain or two of salt).
That’s why I get really excited when I see opportunities to learn “with/from” others and share what I know as well in “class” experiences on the Web.
I recently took a Gamification course on Coursera, delivered by Prof. Werbach from the University of Pennsylvania. The class was setup as a series of short asynchronous video lectures, interactive quizzes, and peer-reviewed written assignments. A university-level course with a lot of interaction with peers and the professor, open, free of charge.
There are many opportunities for professional development out there these days, and not all of them mean “I’m sitting alone at home watching a boring lecture on Youtube” (no offense – those have their place too).
As forward thinking individuals and companies, let’s take advantage of these opportunities and learn, spread knowledge. Let’s DELIVER classes and share with the world what we know (a call for myself too). Let’s support employee professional development by encouraging our employees to take full advantage of learning opportunities online and offline.
Recently, Laura, a colleague put it in her professional development plan to take a course to improve specific skills. The company fully supported her in doing so. This is the type of forward thinking organizations need to have nowadays, in the 2020 Workplace!
Here are a few of the 1000s of places where you can learn something in a structured course, online, for a fee or for free… openly. Go learn something new today!
Coursera: Instructor-led and peer-reviewed University courses available for free, providing certificates of completion! Watch videos, participate in discussions, submit written assignments, respond to quizzes. According to the Coursera team: “We hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”
Udemy: Curated and instructor-led courses online. Some are free others are not (but well worth paying for)!
General Assembly : “A global network of campuses for individuals seeking opportunity and education in technology, business, and design.”
Class Central: A curated list of several free online courses offered by universities on various platforms.
Udacity: Video lectures for free accompanied by problems/questions and answers, and exams. Udacity also offers certificates of completion!
SkillShare: A catalog of hybrid and local classes offered by experienced instructors.
CodeCademy: A gamified and fun way to learn code and programming with friends online!
More similar sites here. Explore, learn, teach, have fun!