How and Why You Should Embrace Online Learning Resources

I’m sure many of us are familiar with the saying “Knowledge is power”. Ironically, I forget who said that.

Anyway, aside from being a great quote to whip out at the bespectacled, plaid jacket-wearing, gin-soaked soirees that you undoubtedly attend on a bi-weekly basis, it also holds a lot of truth.

Knowledge really is power, but unfortunately, you need to be in possession of a certain amount of knowledge to appreciate said power. Perhaps if there was more emphasis placed on the pursuit of knowledge itself, rather than simply learning for the sake of appeasing those telling us what we should know, we might already have those flying cars and hoverboards we’re so cruelly taunted with in movies…but I digress.

Soon.

What I’m getting at here is that you’re never too old to learn something, whether that be something new or even an extension of existing knowledge. It’s called ‘upskilling’, and not only is it valuable both personally and professionally, it’s now so easy and accessible that the very concept itself borders on being hysterical.

Seriously, go ask your parents; when they were your age, learning a myriad of skills was not a simple matter of leeching onto an available wifi source and restraining yourself from checking Facebook for more than a half hour.

But thanks to the labours of their generation and those preceding it, us millennials are able to reap the benefits. Yes, I’m talking about the advent of The Internet!

Surf it, dawg.

Despite being invented by Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN (and for the love of whatever deity you subscribe to, please look up both of those names if you’re unfamiliar with them), today we use it to distribute pictures of cats, generate Nicholas Cage memes and, sadly, as a vessel to enable the Kardashians *shudders*.

But let’s get real here for a second and appreciate that we live in an age when you can access an almost infinite vault of knowledge at any given time. Consider the implications of this.

From a professional standpoint, you can upskill and increase your value to your employer during the commercials between My Kitchen Rules. From a more personal vantage, we all have a natural curiosity which should be nurtured. So regardless of its practical application, why not fan the flame and learn something you’re interested in simply for your own benefit?

Good, we’ve established the bait, now let me reel you in. Did you know that there are corners of the internet where you can pursue such endeavors for free? Yes, I said free. No charge. Don’t stress, I’ll allow you the requisite time for this information to sink in.

Having once been victim to such shock myself, I can assure you the slight incontinence brought on by excitement is normal.

So next time you’re waiting for whatever elevator music David Guetta is making these days to finish downloading on LimeWire, why don’t you take a glance at websites like edX, Duolingo and Coursera.

These are just some examples of the resources available to you on the world wide web. While Duolingo is specific to learning different languages, edX and Coursera are hubs that catalogue a plethora of courses offered by universities and other learning institutions around the world, including Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins University.

Classic Johnny.

Don’t be fooled, this is a big deal. Knowledge is the death of ignorance, and in a world plagued with innumerable climate change deniers and Donald Trump, we should all be desperately seeking the chance to educate ourselves as much as possible!

I’ve heard it said that the cure for cancer could be trapped inside the mind of a child deprived of an education because they’re struggling to survive in a famine-riddled third world environment.

If you’re reading this, then you’re unlikely living in such destitution, but part of learning is coming to the realisation that the knowledge you acquire may have implications bigger than yourself. I assure you that Twitter can wait.

The benefits to furthering your education far outweigh any disadvantages, so rather than meandering through cyberspace, maybe it’s time you made your online escapades count for something more…