On learning how to learn
Books have been the nerd's weapon of choice for centuries; a shield against ignorance and a portal to other worlds, higher consciousness, growth and all those good things, but what other ways are there to learn things that don’t cost a bomb and all your life’s savings in tuition fees? In this blog post, I’ll take you through my favourite ways to learn, so bear with me - I’m going to stay with books for the minute.
In defense of fiction, my favourite author, Terry Pratchett, said “Fantasy is like an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can”. Reading fiction has also been associated with higher levels of empathy, especially in children.
Of course, the heavyweight champion of this category is non-fiction. Anything you could possibly want to know about is probably hiding in a book. But who has time to read?? You. That’s who. Allow me to introduce you to Blinkist - a truly revolutionary app that condenses the crux of a book into 15 minutes. Literally - a whole book into 15 minutes (we know this because there’s an audio version as well). You won’t get the full in-depth experience but you will get the gist, which is far more than you would have otherwise had in this fast paced world where you think you don’t have time to read. Do it.
Any answer you could possibly want is probably in a book. Probably. But if not, it’s definitely on the internet. Have you ever wondered why you can’t own a Canadian? Somebody else has, and they had the wherewithal to Google it.
Seriously though, there are a myriad of ways to learn things for free on the internet. From podcasts of interesting stories to the ever practical Wiki-How, you could tumble down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia link to Wikipedia link, learn a language via Duolingo, have your perspective challenged by a TED speaker, or unravel the internet by learning how to code. The big one however, and my personal favourite, is Youtube.
You can learn how to cook, pick locks, dance, use InDesign, how to think about the fundamentals of reality and the other big one, how to pick up guys. Marvellous channels are where it's at though. Kurzgesagt can teach you about big concepts like the Fermi Paradox in under 10 minutes, and Crash Course has comprehensive playlists of 10 - 40 videos that take you through topics like Economics, Psychology, or Philosophy better than most university courses, (according to the comments section.) But ASAPScience, VSauce, Ted-Ed and more offer you short, punchy lessons that could blow your mind.
And then, of course, there is the wonderful world of EdTech. (*ahem* That’s us). If you want a comprehensive, but bite-sized and fun look at some modern and relevant topics like Behavioural Economics, Fintech, Social Media and more, look no futher than 42courses. (Except do, actually, look further - other elearning sites like Khan Academy, Skillshare, and GetSmarter have fantastic content).
If you have a curious mind, the internet can be a fantastic playground, and I hope you have some fun exploring these wondrous avenues of cyberspace.