One of the biggest reasons that people are denied the privilege of education is because they can’t afford it. Hooray for today! We live in a world where knowledge and information are at our finger tips like never before. Technology has leveled the playing field so that anybody with an interest and an internet connection can receive a world class education. Bloggers, podcasters, search engines and digital content creators of all types of have made it possible for us to learn virtually anything we want to even if we don’t have the money. If you want to learn anything chances are there is somebody creating content about the subject and sharing it with the world at no cost.
1. Free College Curriculums: There are a handful of traditional education institutions that have started to embrace this trend. Fortunately one of the very first to do so was MIT, a world class institution where tuition would run you a hefty chunk of change. However, through open courseware an MIT education is suddenly available to anybody who wants one. Courses are available in engineering, management, science, architecture and a number of other areas. If other institutions start to follow suit, people who have been denied the privilege of education for financial reasons will finally have an opportunity if they want it.
2. The Blogosphere: In a recent feature, the CBS Sunday morning show said that there were approximately 50 million active blogs online. There are blogs on nearly every subject you can possibly imagine. What’s interesting about the blogosphere is that it has created a trend of unconventional education and the opportunity to study any subject you have an interest in. You’re no longer limited to the confines of assigned reading, class lectures and your major.
- Want to learn how to get in shape? Steve Kamb’s Nerd Fitness will help you get there.
- Want to Learn a Foreign Language: Benny Lewis will get you Fluent in 3 Months
- Want to get an MBA without spending 100 Grand? Josh Kauffman’s Personal MBA will give you everything you need.
- Want a Harvard Business School Quality Education? The Harvard Business Review has a blog that’s updated daily with advice from absolutely stellar business professionals.
- Want to learn how to take amazing photos? Enroll yourself in Darren Rowse’s Digital Photography School?
3. Books: In the movie Good Will Hunting Matt Damon’s famous quote was “You just spent 150 grand on an education you could have gotten for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.” While it was a bit facetious, anybody who has received a college education probably had a bit of a chuckle because there was a kernel of truth to what was said. One of the biggest expenses for any college student is textbooks. But, the beauty of a public library is that it makes books accessible to everybody and it’s completely free. It might be tempting to dismiss the library as an obsolete resource, but today libraries have their whole book selection available online and even have audio books that can be downloaded directly from some of their web sites.
4. Podcasts: Do a quick search through the iTunes directory and you’ll find podcasts on a wide variety of subjects ranging from learning a language to online marketing. The other thing that makes a podcast a fantastic option for increasing your knowledge is the fact that you can listen to it while you’re working out, stuck in traffic or cleaning your house.
5. Online Videos:
- TED: One of the most inspirational educational resources at everybody’s disposal is the TED web site. World class authors, entrepreneurs and scientists share their very best ideas with the world. I’d recommend watching at least one TED talk every single day. Most TED talks are an average of about 15 minutes and will inspire, entertain, and inform you.
- Youtube can also be a great educational resource. These days just do a search for the words “How to”, fill in the blank and you’ll have numerous options at your finger tips.
- Instructables: If there’s ones site that really provides an opportunity to type in the words “how to” followed by whatever you want to learn how to do, it’s Instructables. This user generated community has over x videos specifically designed to teach you how to do something.
With nothing more than internet connection and a computer, you have the potential to develop a conglomerate of knowledge and skills. The great thing about seeking out your own interests is that there are no grades, no tests or requirements. It’s purely about the joy of learning.