Little Things 170 : Free Education


I love to learn things. For years, I've been in dilemma between working and continue my studies. Considering I love to be financially independent and want to pay off all my loans as soon as possible, I chose to work. But it never stopped me from gaining knowledge from every possible sources that provide free education. 

I took online courses. One of the great thing about being a graphic designer is we have our personal time one-on-one with the computer at work instead of having to be engaged in social interaction. So while I design or illustrate things, I can listen to online lectures. Some people might have problem concentrating with multiple things at once, but for me, I've been using this technique since I was in school. I used to doodle stuffs while listening to lectures in class, so it isn't hard for me. 

If you agree on free education and manage to do multiple things at once, maybe you can try listening to online classes or podcasts. There are so many free online courses available out there :

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I've been using Coursera since 2013 and it works for me. I took some classes on Psychology, Philosophy and Marketing. My participation for the classes consist of listening to lectures and answering quizzes, I don't really do recommended extra reading and assignments because I don't really have time to do so. So I never applied for any formal certificate from Coursera at the end of the course. Classes I'm taking are conducted by experienced professors from all over the world - it is fascinating to listen to passionate people talking about their specialties.

I've also tried Livemocha, iTunes U, and KhanAcademy. 
Livemocha : I noticed that it is quite challenging to learn languages while doing other stuffs, usually learning new languages need full focus and commitment. So using Livemocha while working didn't work for me. 
iTunes U : Usually each podcasts shared in iTunes U are quite long *like recorded lectures in 1 hour class and we as a listener doesn't really need to respond, so it is super-easy to get distracted. I didn't enjoy long classes much.
KhanAcademy : When I tried KhanAcademy several years ago, most classes provided were mainly for subjects like mathematic, science, chemistry, physics, coding, etc. It is great to learn things that requires calculation or additional skills at KhanAcademy but not so much for listening to lectures. 

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If you spend your time in front of the computer a lot, please try free online courses. There are so much interesting stuffs shared by everyone for free. Make use of it. And if you are more interested in less formal things, you can always check out Ted talksBrainPickingsHow Stuff WorksLearnist or 99U.

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