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The Future of Self-Education

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In an era of technological breakthroughs and illuminative scientific discovery, the nature of our curiosity challenges us to seek alternative ways of learning and understanding the world at large. We’ve entered a revolutionary age with the opportunity to build and innovate like never before. With the power of networked technology, educational potential is unlimited. We have a choice to make as we move forward. Do we continue to reinforce the old model to replay and reapply the same concepts of the 60s and 70s or do we gather the courage to reinvent and create results of our own? Education is supposed to be a learning experience to help promote our unique individual gifts and talents, not shape us to system requirements. Fortunately, new forms of education have emerged, mapping a different route for us to explore.

My two personal favorites:

Skillshare:

    At Skillshare, “the future belongs to the curious, because curiosity is the compass that leads us to our individual passions”. Headquartered in NYC, where most classes can be attended in person, you can acquire practical, real-world skills about anything and from anyone. Instructors are rated on performance and the best naturally move up in demand. There is no limit on how much you learn, as the essence of education is learning, beyond graduation. Here you learn by taking initiative and develop your projects beyond the classroom.

 

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education” ~Albert Einstein

 

Eighteen year old student Kyle Ryan explains it quite well:

   “My curiosity only needed some encouragement. Because school didn’t give it to me, I had to. Before this, I did not have any noticeable interests. I had a very linear education up until this point. I was in the same school with the same kids in the same place. Once I decided to explore interests on my own, I became a totally different person. Self-learning was my only option. By exploring my own interests and making my own observations, my learning became much more organic.”

Coursera:

     At Coursera, free courses are offered online for anyone to take part, with access to high-class education from some of the ivy-league schools and organizations previously available only to a select few. If determined enough, you can complete the course material and receive an official certificate to add to your list resume skills, which increases the chances of getting the job you want.

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More importantly, we have the opportunity to explore the vast database of resources our networked society can offer. While the costs of education keep rising, we have access to free, open-source platforms, such as Wikipedia, Connexions, OpenCourseWare, OpenLearn, UdacityISKME, Khan Academy and many others. It enables learning to be transformed through the collaborative process and brings about better and improved knowledge at our fingertips, like never before. 

     This new shift, challenges the standardized educational norms employing the “one size fits all” approach and further promotes differentiation and nonconformity. Here, individual autonomy drives intrinsic motivation, rather than us searching for external rewards or approval. At school, we are taught to expect what’s to come, that what we’re instructed to learn in class will be on the test tomorrow. Then life happens and its beauty lies in the element of surprise, of the unexpected. That being the case, if we don’t take matters into our own hands, we might lose the very ability to take initiative, achieve our true potential and succeed. Self-education is built on the premise of curiousity and personal discovery. We must never stop learning, continuously improving and uncovering new, unexplored parts of ourselves. It’s the foundation of pure self-reflection, allowing us to clarify what we love doing and what we’re passionate about. Every situation presents an opportunity for us to learn, we just need to be aware of it.




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