How to Continue Your Self-Education for Free
You likely spent the first 20-odd years of your life learning. Your first few years you were a self-learner — teaching yourself to stand, walk and talk. This is no easy feat — as anyone who has studied a new language as an adult can attest to.
Then you started a more formal education processes and followed that path for another 12 or so years before you started university, which was even more expensive. Many people believe that when they throw their hats in the air at graduation, they are done learning and it is time to start earning. Maybe they just feel they can’t afford to continue their education, but there are plenty of low-cost alternatives to a paid learning path.
Here are 6 ways you can get more from the glut of free educational opportunities that surround you:
1. Watch youtube — While it is true you can waste days watching funny cat videos, YouTube also a fabulous resource for anyone looking for education outside of school. Learn a foreign language, take math and science courses, study the humanities or train your memory. With just a few seconds of searching on a topic that interests you, you will have days worth of study material available to you. If you really enjoy watching them, you can even take the next step and start producing your own, allowing you to earn as you learn!
2. Khan Academy — One of the best tools for people looking for more in a more in-depth learning experience is Khan Academy. Sal Khan envisioned a tool that would be just as useful for graduated adults as children and covers just about any subject you can think of. Many will even include exercises to test your grasp of the material and help you internalize it all without deadlines.
3. IVY League Learning — Ivy League educational institutions hold a special place in American culture because they have such a long history of providing high-quality education. But you don’t have to study at one to take advantage of the education that they offer. MOOC’s or Massive Open Online Courses, allow you to learn from Ivy League professors from anyplace at any time. Each school offers courses from their web sites, but other resources like iTunes U and Coursera also offer MOOC’s. Because they are more established, you may even ask your employer to allow time during your work week to improve your skills, making your more valuable to the company and your clients.
4. Ask TED and TEDx conferences are held regularly around the world and invite industry leaders to share secrets and the latest news from their sphere. Most of these speeches make their way to the website. With speakers like Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Bono, you know you are going to get something worth listening to. While they may fall outside of being a full-blown educational course, they can inspire you to delve deeper into the topics discussed.
5. Go to the Source — One of the most overlooked ways of getting more information about a topic is to approach industry professionals and learn more about their fields. From a friend in supply-chain management to your uncle that specialized in building security being curious about the world around you can be a wonderful source of learning. If you don’t have a friend that can guide you, following AMA’s on redit can be a great way to learn about a topic from someone who is in a position to share a thing or two on the topic at hand. You can also check out Quora, QUestion OR Answer, which features industry professionals who ask and answer life’s simplest and most complex questions.
6. Read, read, read — The person who does not read is no different from the person who can’t read. There is more written material available than any other medium. You can cover 2–3 times more information through reading that by watching or listening to the same material. Whether you fancy fiction, non-fiction or technical, there is more to learn from reading, than from watching pretty much anything on TV — Sorry Discovery Channel! Ebooks can help you cut costs over hard copies and many websites like the Gutenberg Press and FreeBookSpot.es offer free ebooks — dropping the cost to $0.00 — a bargain in anyone’s budget.
Featured image credit: PEXELS