Always Learning – #LearnAbout

It has been over a week since my last post. My Bad! But, let me explain why.

Now and then I get to feeling like my life has grown stagnant. For me that feeling is like being covered in a damp, heavy blanket. My creativity drops to near zero, my mood follows close behind, and solitude becomes my best friend.

After a few days of this self-imposed misery, I reach my tolerance level and fight back. No, I don’t mask the misery with substance/alcohol abuse. Honestly, I resorted to those dead-end activities in my youth. They improve nothing.

What do I turn to now? I go on a #LearnAbout. Cool word, huh? I created it. Or, I think I did. Anyway, I’m claiming it now, so you heard it here first.(Use it, just tell the world where you heard it first. I need the appreciation.

Remember that Australian term, “walk-about”? It’s when someone takes off across country with nothing guiding them except a desire to see something new.

Well, a #LearnAbout is like that, except you don’t have to go anywhere. You turn to your trusty computer/tablet/smart-phone and go exploring for something new to learn. First, let me impart two suggestions.

  • If I could impart only one piece of wisdom to the world, (in the rare case that somebody was listening to this old man) it would be this, never stop learning.
  • If I could impart two pieces of wisdom to the world, it would be—don’t be in a hurry to pay a high price for that learning.

Everywhere I look there are websites trying to get me to stop and open my wallet. The similarities to a carnival with the rigged booths are obvious. Far too many people ignore the reality that shrewd marketing will transfer their money into the pocket of the seller. Often with little to show for it but a costly lesson learned.

How much better to spend a little time exploring your topic of interest to learn about that don’t cost you money and grief. Or, cost little money in return for lifetime access to learning.

Here is what my typical “learn-about” looks like;

  • Explore the topic using my favorite search engine. (free)
  • Follow one of those search engine links to Wikipedia and other topic exploring sites. (free)
  • Swing on over to You-tube and add to your knowledge base (free)

By now you will either want to learn more or realize that the topic doesn’t grab you anymore. Either way, nothing lost, and some knowledge gained.

If you find that your interest has increased and you want to dig in deeper, it may be time to spend a small amount of money on a class or two.

Remember that second piece of wisdom I mentioned? The one about not being in a hurry to pay a lot of money for learning? Here is where you need to apply that.

My go-to place for affordable learning without the high-priced arm-twisters trying to take boat-loads of my money?

I have taken more than a dozen classes at Udemy on a wide range of topics. Almost all the classes are less than $20. They comprise lecture/videos that you can watch as many times as you wish, for life. Most have instructor/student interaction, and student/classmate interaction.

And, here is a big plus. If you decide that the class isn’t for you, you can cancel and get a speedy refund. Usually, there is a time limit of a few days here.

Before I close, I want to leave you with one final word of caution about costly, accelerated learning programs. Please, do your research.

Use your search engine to explore reviews of the school and program. Don’t just read reviews from students enrolled. They still have, “stars-in-their-eyes.” Find out what students who have completed the course think. Find out how many students benefited from the course.

Trust me on this one. I used to be employed by one of these “for-profit” vocational education carnivals. I didn’t last long after seeing the truth behind the smiles. Turns out the very expensive vocational program I was teaching MIGHT get the student an interview after successful completion of the program. My protests shortened my employment considerably.

So, next time you are feeling a little stagnant, go on a “Learn-About.” Your brain will thank you for it.

P.S. At the time of posting this article I have no monetary incentive for promoting Udemy or its classes. I do it to pass on what I believe is a value-added resource.

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