Lifelong learning has never been easier
By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-06-15
With the explosion in online learning we look at 7 platforms that can be used to facilitate lifelong learning across a variety of subjects.
Any subject, any time, any where, any level
Are you interested in learning French? What about knitting? What about the piano? Computer programming? Psychology? Political Science? Statistics?
Ok, so I won't continue to list subjects as we could literally go on forever. I always find it amazing to see the volume of information that's available online and on our phones. Some of it free, some of it paying.
Did you ever want to go to Harvard University to study? Well nowadays you don't have to. You will no doubt have seen the move towards online education especially as we approached and lived through the "lockdown". These platforms have been around for a while however and have been known under the acronym MOOC (massive open online courses).
We're going to look at just a selection of the platforms that are available for you to try. Please note that we have not be been paid by any of the below platforms to advertise their services and the ordering of the platforms does not represent preference.
The Coursera platform is available online as well as on Apple and Android devices. They offer predominanly higher education courses from universities and companies. Did you want to see what Stanford University teach about Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity or what about Imperical College London's course on Infectious Disease Modelling Specialisation covers? If so, then Coursera is your platform.
There is a distinction between a module and a specialisation in Coursera. Not everything is free and if you want a certificate then that's typically an additional cost, however you can participate in quite a lot of the modules without getting a certificate.
A massive platform with lots of variety in the institutions and subjects that they teach.
EdX is similar to Coursera with multiple institutions and courses being offered. Typically higher education subjects. This is where if you wanted to particiate with over 350k other students in the Harvard University Justice course then you could do it without spending a penny. If you want to get a verified certificate that you've completed the course this will come in at an additional $99, however this is not mandatory.
The variety of subjects is impressive with EdX going from Architecture through to Food Nutrition through to the Social Sciences. You will definitely find something of interest.
Khan Academy is aimed at pre higher education levels. This is the ideal place to go to brush up on calculus, biology, grammar etc. or if you want to get a good grounding in a subject like computer science or programming before going onto one of the higher level courses.
The courses on Khan Academy are free and are also available on Apple and Android devices.
Lynda / LinkedInLearning is aimed at professionals. If you haven't heard of LinkedIn then it's the professional networking platform to develop and nurture business relationships.
Their learning platform covers multiple areas and are typically shorter in length than the other platforms we've looked at so far. Some of the offerings are by qualified professionals and some are from recognised institutions. Their most popular courses are sutied towards the computer science and technology areas.
You've no doubt seen Ted talks being shared on social media. Their site is really easy to navigate and their recommendations are usually worth following through on. While not education in the sense of the other platforms there is still so much to be learnt from the talks that are hosted.
Have a look through their 25 Most Popular playlist which has covered topics from "10 things you didn't know about orgasm" through to "what happens when you reply to spam email".
Put a timer on your phone to remind you to stop though, as before you know it you'll have spent the day going from TedTalk to TedTalk!
Udemy is a subscription based learning platform with courses uploaded and offered by individuals. The topics are numerous as is the quality of the content. Most, if not all, of the courses are paying and there's an system similar to Uber which results in prices being reduced at certain points. If you wait you can typically find a course being reduced down to about £11-£15.
Make sure to read the reviews before you sign up for a course and watch a few of the preview videos to make sure you're comfortable with the speed of the presentation.
Last but not least is YouTube. Lots of people will think of YouTube as being an entertainment platform, and while that is true it is also a place of great learning. Do you want to learn about music from the London Symphony Orchestra? then go along to their YouTube channel and watch some of their videos on music theory or the history of music.
One of my favourite channels on YouTube is the Timeline - World History Documentaries channel which hosts a massive number of documentaries across all topics.
A great trick with YouTube is to use the "save for later" feature and creating your own playlists that you can save videos to. The danger is that your "watch later" playlist becomes so large you'll have to spend weeks getting through them all.
"I'm still learning" -Michelangelo