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5 Online Courses Knowledge Lovers Can’t Miss

5 Online Courses Knowledge Lovers Can’t Miss

As Peter Drucker put it, “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” Knowledge is more than memory. Memories can come back to us unbidden; knowledge can’t. We control knowledge; we use it as a tool to solve problems. Through knowledge, we come to understand problems are a good thing: they prompt solutions. A problem’s not a problem unless you make it one. Our quest for mind expansion, for using more of the brain than the 10 percent we have evolved to employ, is a quest to better the world. We’re not seeking knowledge as a vacuous, abstract exercise. Nor are we seeking to feed our narcissism. We don’t want power. We’re seeking knowledge because now, with the 21st Century screaming towards the quarter mark, and a means of communicating with the world at our fingertips, we’re more equipped than ever to improve the situation on a global scale. So here are 5 online courses you can take online to increase your knowledge quotient in a diverse array of subjects. And, who knows, with all that knowledge you may just land an excellent job.

Excel University  

excel university
     

    Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” No wonder the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) profession is certain to fetch you a reliable income. Excel University offers online courses available either online or in book form, and it’s anything if not thorough. Thoroughness earns Excel University accolades as an online resource: if you’re an accountant, you can use it to learn shortcuts and tricks, continuing your professional education. If you aren’t an accountant and just want to learn how to use the ubiquitous Excel program more efficiently, you can take the “lite” version. Also, the site provides a free evaluation course, so you can sample before you buy.

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    Adventures in Writing

    Adventures in Writing

      Anyone who values knowledge knows the value of being well-rounded. After you take Excel University, Adventures in Writing will provide a nice contrast. Stanford has an innovative approach with this one. The creative, graphic novel-style interface models what the writing instructors are trying to teach you. That is, you’ve got to know your readers and find the best way to present information to them. Adventures in Writing wins by recognizing the value of goal-oriented, empathetic writing.

      User Experience Design Training

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      UX design

        Learning website and app design will make you indispensable in today’s connected world. It’s extremely helpful to be able to ask your teacher a question in real-time and receive the answer as soon as they know it. This is one of the valuable features of AGI’s UX Design Training. Another value is the instructors. These are the articulate, knowledgeable authors of the Dummies and Digital Classroom books. AGI puts a premium on usability. You can request a headset to communicate with your instructor, or simply use your computer’s microphone. Just be aware this course is not self-paced.

        Big Data

        Big Data

          As the name implies, this one’s huge. Big data is not just a buzzword in the work-world—it’s the exponential increase and availability of data in our world. UC San Diego and Splunk hit the gigantic nail on the head by providing an inexpensive course to sort out what to do with all the raw data. Props to this course for not just explaining the subject. You’ll be reasonably challenged to apply what you learn with the Capstone Project.

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          Science and Cooking

          Science and cooking

            How innovative is this?

            You can either join the ongoing, live course, or access an archived version. You’ll not only learn recipes you can make in your own home, you’ll learn about the science behind why great meals taste how they taste. Kudos to Harvard for recognizing the online format affords mobility in learning. By this, I mean you learn from the chef in their kitchen and the scientist in the classroom. The final touch that deserves cheers: each week, you do an experiment in your own kitchen, a fine way of applying the material to your life.

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            Featured photo credit: University of Salford via flickr.com

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            Dan Matthews, CPRP

            A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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            Last Updated on February 21, 2019

            How to Stop Information Overload

            How to Stop Information Overload

            Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

            This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

            As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

            But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

            How Serious Is Information Overload?

            The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

            This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

            When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

            We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

            No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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            The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

            That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

            Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

            Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

            But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

            Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

            Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

            When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

            Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

            The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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            You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

            How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

            So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

            1. Set Your Goals

            If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

            Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

            Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

            Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

            2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

            Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

            First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

            If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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            • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
            • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
            • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

            If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

            (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

            And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

            You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

            Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

            3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

            There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

            Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

            Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

            Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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            4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

            Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

            This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

            Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

            The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

            Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

            Summing It Up

            As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

            I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

            I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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