It’s Labor Day (U.S. Holiday) A great day to write about work. If you work in a computer-related profession you can never stop learning if you wish to remain employed. And that trend is spreading across professions like wildfire as the benefits of technology influence almost every profession. But not everyone is cut out for a lifetime of success through learning. In a recent article published by Salman Khan, the creator of KhanAcademy.org, he wrote about Learning Mindsets:
“Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University has been studying people’s mindsets towards learning for decades. She has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not, that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure. Dweck found that those with a fixed mindset tended to focus their effort on tasks where they had a high likelihood of success and avoided tasks where they may have had to struggle, which limited their learning. People with a growth mindset, however, embraced challenges, and understood that tenacity and effort could change their learning outcomes. As you can imagine, this correlated with the latter group more actively pushing themselves and growing intellectually.”
In other words, as I often tell my daughter as I’m dropping her off at school “Have fun and make lots of mistakes!” Why? Because we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. This philosophy is a companion to “Turn your weaknesses into strengths.”
But back to my original point: lifetime learning. If you aren’t investing time in your professional development, then you are likely to become obsolete soon. Adopt a growth mindset and feed your mind. There are some fantastic education websites out there to cater to everyone from Kindergarteners to Post-graduates and every kind of special interest in between. Many of these are free, operating under the philosophy that knowledge should be free to everyone. Here is a selection of what I have found. If you know of others, please share them in the comments for all to benefit.
https://www.khanacademy.org Broad range of classes from math & science to business & entrepreneurship FOR FREE. Many public schools are integrating this free site into their lesson plans. (spell it right. There is an imitation out there that you don’t want.)
https://www.coursera.org A partnership of universities supplying a broad range of classes FOR FREE. Check out the wikipedia article.
https://class.stanford.edu/ Stanford University offers access to a variety of classes FOR FREE online. Not for the feint-of-heart. Check out the class on cryptography if you want a challenge.
http://www.lynda.com/ Drop the cable TV subscription and spend $25 a month being entertained and educated with unlimited access to thousands of courses. (Including classes on IBM Connections software taught by my friend Bruce Elgort)
http://www.w3schools.com/ Learn computer programming languages FOR FREE. Sponsored by a cool Norwegian web development company.
I know there are many others out there. Do you have any to share?