Learning

A while back I revealed here the Secret even more secret than The Secret: if you want something you’ve got to go out there and do something to make it happen.

I got it right, but wrong: in this future-shocked age between the old industrial way of doing things and a Brave new Virtual Digital World, what you think you know is increasingly wrong – made obsolete by the rush of new discoveries, information, occupations and societal change. Not convinced? Watch Did You Know and Did You Know 2.0 on YouTube.

Nowadays it’s not I want, I do, I get. It’s I want, I learn, I do, I get.

You need – now more than ever – knowledge to do new things to get new results. Be that changing jobs – and getting into an occupation that didn’t exist when you were in college or finding people you can relate to – in places online that did not exist a year or two ago.

But if you’re in your 30s (or in your 40s or tottering through your 50s), where do you go to learn what you need to so you can do what you need to do so you get what you want to get? The Good News is lots of places – and again, most of these places where few and far between until very recently. Here’s a quick roundup:

  • Wikipedia. You’ve heard of it, but do you really use it? “The English Wikipedia edition passed the 2,000,000 article mark on September 9, 2007 with a total of over 609 million words, roughly fifteen times as many as the largest edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.” The sheer depth of that sea of knowledge makes it the default place to get general information about bits of the human condition.
  • Classes Online. Today, not only can you get a degree in just about anything, you can take – often for free – a class at some university on just about anything. Head over to the Online Education Database and this post in particular for a long list of classes you can take online and for free.
  • Podcasts. You know, I always wanted to take a few classes at Yale. Or maybe Duke, or Stanford or MIT. Now I can, for free, from the comfort of my desk. You can load up on both free video and audio podcasts of lectures delivered by some of the brightest minds on the planet free, courtesy of iTunes U available via a free copy of iTunes. Can’t stand iTunes? hustle over to Libsyn and check out the Creative Commons-licensed podcasts there. Don’t forget to check your favorite blog for free podcasts, or Google find podcasts for more directories.
  • YouTube. Yes, you can find videos of people stupidly doing dumb things, but you can also find videos of people doing new and interesting things. The trick is searching for what you’re interested in, not just screensucking whatever is there. For example, I’m learning Ruby on Rails, a programming framework presently. There’s 267 videos on YouTube – that amounts to my own private dedicated television channel. Also, as non-network video becomes more ubiquitous, you’ll find more and more and still more available.

Bob Walsh sells MasterList Professional, a Windows task management and writes, codes, podcasts and blogs about different aspects of the digital lifestyle at 47hats and Clear Blogging. His second book, Clear Blogging, is now available at Amazon and elsewhere.

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