Posted by David Hablewitz
Education has never been more accessible to the world as it is now, thanks to the Internet. In just the past 6 months I have encountered numerous FREE resources, even instructor-led classes from sources like Stanford University. Part of this is definitely a response of society to help people adapt and retool their job skills in an effort to get them back to productive work. I think part of it is also a result of changing attitudes. Parents are becoming more actively involved in their children’s education to help them thrive in the world. Whatever the case, I am one with an insatiable appetite for learning new things and I am lovin’ it. I also enjoy sharing knowledge. With that in mind, I want to share some of the resources I have found.
1. Coursera: Major universities collaborating to offer instructor-led credit classes online for free
At https://www.coursera.org you can find courses on topics ranging from Cryptography to Quantum Mechanics. This is a collaborative effort with 16 different Universities including such pedagogic giants as Stanford, Duke, Princeton, University of Toronto, Georgia Tech, and The University of Edinburgh. These classes are not for the faint of heart. This is not community college material. You will definitely be challenged. Great stuff to compliment your knowledge within your core area of expertise.
2. Venture Lab: More college-level content for free
Visit http://venture-lab.org/ for more college classes from Stanford University. You can also find previous lessons for these classes on youtube, just search for venture lab.
3. Khan Academy: Unique and excellent education programs for all levels whether you want to learn 1+1=2 or details on venture capitalism
At http://www.khanacademy.org/ you can find one of the best online learning resources for your children, paid or free. It uses novel interactive learning techniques to really learn the material well. This was created as a non-profit by one man disappointed in the education his child was getting. For millions of registered members, it is a great learning aid. Many public school teachers are adopting it as complimentary materials to their curriculum. Beware to use the correct spelling to get to this website. There is a copycat website with a spelling close to this one.
4. IBM developerWorks
Check out http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/training/knowledgepath/index.html?cmp=dw&cpb=dw&ct=dwnew&cr=dwnen&ccy=zz&csr=081712
to see IBM’s free education covering various topics for IT professionals including XML, Java, Linux, open source, cloud computing, and business analytics, It’s not just about IBM software.
5. w3schools.com for web development language tutorials
6. State of Washington WorkSource
If you are on unemployment and live in the state of Washington, visit http://www.wa.gov/esd/e-learning/default.htm
The state of Washington has a contract with Microsoft to provide free online tutorials for all of Microsoft’s software to anyone in the state of Washington that is collecting unemployment. A narrow audience, perhaps, but a great value if you qualify and are looking for work using Microsoft software. This program gives access to productivity tools in Office as well as a few hundred hours of training materials for IT professionals and it includes their entire e-learning library covering several versions of software. Of course the one caveat noted on the website is “Microsoft e-learning does not work well on Macintosh computers. If you wish to enroll in Microsoft e-learning, see if you can get access to a PC.” That excludes iPads and most other tablets as well.
This is just a sample of what is available. There are many other free learning resources out there of varying degrees of value. If you know of others that you like, please post them in the comments for all to benefit.
Remember: knowledge and information at rest have no value. Their value only comes when put in motion through sharing or use. If you hoard knowledge or information, it will not make you more powerful or protect your job. In fact, just the opposite. People will seek out a way to get by without you. But if you share knowledge, they will value your input and recognize your contributions. So spread the word!