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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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            Daniel Matthews, CPRP

            Daniel Matthews is a Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner and freelance writer with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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            Last Updated on August 21, 2018

            8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

            8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

            You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

            Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

            When you train your brain, you will:

            • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
            • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
            • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

            So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

            1. Work your memory

            Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

            When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

            If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

            The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

            Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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            Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

            What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

            For example, say you just met someone new.

            “Hi, my name is George”

            Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

            2. Do something different repeatedly

            By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

            Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

            It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

            And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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            But how does this apply to your life right now?

            Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

            Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

            Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

            So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

            You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

            That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

            3. Learn something new

            It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

            For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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            Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

            You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

            4. Follow a brain training program

            The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

            5. Work your body

            You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

            Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

            Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

            Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

            6. Spend time with your loved ones

            If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

            If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

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            I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

            7. Avoid crossword puzzles

            Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

            Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

            Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

            8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

            Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

            When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

            So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

            Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

            Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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