Intellectual Growth: Life-Long Learning

Some time ago I wrote a piece about life-long learning called Rust Never Sleeps. Here’s an excerpt:

“In the age of information and ready access to seemingly infinite knowledge, it amazes me how many people are unable to get out of their mental comfort zones to expand and strengthen their knowledge, abilities, talents, and creativity. With so many options available, perhaps it’s just too much to filter through and still remain focused. Understandable, given the over-saturation of memes, cat videos, and other myriad distractions. However, getting into a mental exercise regimen is no different than getting into a physical one. We all make excuses for why we aren’t following through. Myself included.”

No more excuses.  I’ve now completed 70+ courses on Lynda.com and other online resources in UX/UI, Front-End Development, Drupal, WordPress, Machine Learning, Data Science, AI, and Audio Engineering. There’s no end in sight to the learning available. And with recent increases in disruptive innovation, staying on top of the curve has never been more important.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
~Albert Einstein

Back in the late 90’s I spent a great deal of time absorbing everything I could about the internet. A lot of people thought it was just a flash in the pan, and that I was wasting my time. It didn’t take long for me to land a job though. 20 years later I’m still in the industry and learning more than ever before.

Perception, Perspective, and Paradigms

My background and experience in homeschooling, unschooling, alternative schooling, and online education may put me at an advantage. As a result, I’m steeped in the concepts of self-motivation, individual merit, and peerless achievement. This doesn’t mean I can’t work in teams or groups.

I’ve played guitar in bands for almost 40 years. So I know the value of collaboration and love the new styles that come from writing and performing music with others. I also know how to go it alone and can get things done without having to rely on others. Choice is freedom. So I don’t have to rely on others to deliver a final product. I took the time to learn how to do these things because I didn’t want to have to wait for someone else to finish their part.

We all have different learning styles and some of you may never get the hang of learning outside of a classroom. However, the online resources are getting better at accommodating a diverse audience by offering live video feeds, forums, chats, exercise files, interactive group sessions, and much more. Compared to what was available in the late 90’s, the offerings are myriad and can be overwhelming. I really like having that choice and competition ensuring that things will continue to improve.

So where to begin? There are a lot of options and my advice is to browse through them, try them all, and get a feel for what works for you. Here’s a repeat of links/resources from my previous blog about learning, plus a few more so you can get started learning today! Some of them are completely free, others have free classes and offer certificates for a fee, and others have monthly fees.

Learning Resources

Khan Academy
codecademy
Lynda.com
LinkedIn Learning
edX
MIT OpenCourseWare
Coursera
The Johns Hopkins University
UC Berkeley
Yale University
Aquent Gymnasium

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