The psychology definition for learning is “a systematic, relatively permanent change in behavior acquired through experience.” Any person who can read will see from that definition that genuine learning takes place through experience, not sitting in a classroom. Formal learning may take place inside a classroom, but most of that learning is not retained. Students tend to forget the majority of the information after taking exams. Informal learning takes place during casual life situations, and it tends to be retained better because it is typically driven by the individual’s own interest, which leads to more retention of that information.
Modern technology has revolutionized learning. People can learn about any topic of their interest from anywhere in the world and at any time. There are a plethora of online programs where people can sign up and learn free.
Four Programs for Learning beyond the Classroom
- Course Hero
Course Hero is a website that integrates YouTube and other interactive learning materials to convey information on a variety of subjects such as business and psychology to the public. The content of these courses comes from prestigious universities such as Cornell University, Harvard University, and the University of Florida.
For students who are currently enrolled in higher education, Course Hero is an excellent complement for their studies because it allows them to expand their knowledge on subjects they have learned or will learn. In addition, Course Hero is their one-stop shop for academic help. Students can access study resources, literature guides, scholarships, online tutors, notes from classes at their specific school, and reviews on classes at their specific school. The best part about Course Hero is that anyone can use Course Hero free.
Coursera is one of the most renowned sites where people can take free courses to explore topics of their interest. Their philosophy is to allow people to “take the world’s best courses, online.” These courses are taught by faculty at universities all across America such as the University of Michigan and John Hopkins University. The course topics are very diverse. Some of their popular courses are on algorithms, dinosaurs, and postwar abstract art. If people are willing to spend a bit of money on their Coursera learning, they can pay to receive a certificate that states they have mastered a course. The cost for a certificate is typically fifty dollars.
- Khan Academy
Khan Academy is most commonly used by students who are currently enrolled in formal education and need to brush up on their knowledge on a specific subject. However, anyone can learn anything on Khan Academy. The subjects are grouped up into four categories: K-8, High School, College, and Adult Learner. In the adult learner category, there are academic subjects, such as trigonometry, and non-academic subjects, such as personal finance. If the adult learner is thinking about going back to school for an advanced degree, there are courses in test prep for the MCAT, GMAT, and NCLEX-RN.
- Harvard University Online Learning
Even if people are not a part of the 5 percent that are accepted into Harvard University, they can still receive a Harvard education through Harvard University Online Learning. The courses that are available are very similar to the courses that are taught at the Harvard University campus. These courses are free or cost a small fee.
Any Person Can Be Educated
Technology had changed the definition of an educated person. In the past, the definition of an educated person was someone who possessed a degree from a university. In modern day, the definition of an educated person is someone who is enthusiastic to learn and is willing to seek out the knowledge. The only material that is required to learn is a computer. In just a click of a button, there are no limits to the amount of information a person can imbibe.