It’s been seventy-one days since we made New Year’s resolutions. For those of us who resolved to learn something new this year, “lifelong learning” has never been easier. There have been powerful shifts from encyclopedias to wikipedia and from on-campus courses to open courseware.
This market may be split according to whether someone wants a credential/badge or not. If you wanted to learn about the American Revolution and earning a credential was not your ultimate goal, what would your approach be?
To a certain extent, we can still go to higher ed institutions to fill this need - through alumni programming, personal enrichment courses, etc. That’s just the beginning. The options can be overwhelming: traditional books, e-books, audio books, on-the-job training, in-person classes, iTunesU, radio, podcasts, TEDTalks, open courses, apps, webinars, Youtube, white papers, magazines, millions of online articles/blogs, iMinds, Udemy, Floating University -- the list of free and paid sources is long and growing. The range of available content is astounding. You can learn everything from how to tie your shoes to how to improve your surgical skills. Yes, Dr. Gimbel records and uploads the eye surgeries he performs to Youtube for fellow surgeons, medical students - and anyone else who is interested - to learn from.
It boils down to a lifelong learner’s search for reliable content in the desired format. Ironically, the proliferation of the web and its massive amount of sharable content has led to the need to somehow cull the information to better find and organize what’s relevant.
It will be interesting to see if The Coursebook can help in this area. It promises to allow us to, “discover, track and share great learning experiences.” According to last week’s betakit article, founder Alex Scialom’s inspiration came from a familiar problem. “I realized that whatever you want to learn online you’ll have the same problem – all the content is available, but it’s really hard to find it, and find it in a way that makes sense to you.”
While lifelong learning is not a new phenomenon, the paths to learning are now so numerous and varied that people will be looking for ways to navigate the plethora of available resources.
“Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
What do you do to learn something new?