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Online Learning: Why You Should Be Doing It

Updated on January 7, 2014

Examples of Online Learning

It would be almost impossible for somebody to go online and not learn something, but for those who are still unsure about whether they have done so or not here are just a handful of examples:

  • Reading a recipe for something
  • Instructions on how to do something (a how-to guide)
  • An informative video (usually from YouTube)
  • A Wikipedia article
  • A tutorial on something

What is Online Learning?

Online learning (sometimes referred to as E-learning) is simply just the process of learning something online. It could be something as complex as studying for a degree in history to something as simple as finding a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. If you have ever learned something online, no matter how small or insignificant, you have tried online learning before.

But we are not talking here about the odd bit of information you pick up from the internet, we are talking about concentrated, dedicated learning. When you make the conscious decision to learn something and you put your mind to it. In this article I aim to explain to you why it is worth your while to start learning online. I'll offer some tips on finding credible sources and even some websites to kick start or learning adventure.

Anybody can Start Teaching

This is one of best things about learning online. Anybody who has knowledge on a certain subject can grab their computer and start educating others. This is what makes online learning are more powerful and infinitely more useful than learning in the conventional sense (e.g. learning in a classroom or reading textbooks). Many people know the same things as a teacher or tutor might but don't have the time to become a qualified professional, the internet allows them to broadcast their knowledge to millions regardless. This is good for you because it means you can easily find whatever information you need from the simple click of a few buttons. The fact that you don't need any qualifications to start teaching means that there is a lot more information on the topics you are interested in.

Newspapers, usually a good source of OFFLINE data
Newspapers, usually a good source of OFFLINE data

Finding Credible Sources

But the fact that anybody can start teaching without qualifications is a double-edged sword. On one hand it is great that anybody can start spreading their knowledge, but on the other hand you could be getting given false information. There is not definitive solution to this problem but there are some way to prevent yourself from falling victim to the fakers. The first thing you need to do is check what you've learned with another source. Doing this prevents you from getting told blatant lies. It's kind of like getting a doctor to give you a second opinion. Even though its mostly common knowledge, I will still mention it here, do not trust Wikipedia. Why? Because practically anybody can edit Wikipedia pages, regardless of whether they know what they are writing about or not. The last small tip I will give on finding credible sources is to read the comments. Many articles and videos have comments left below them. If the comments seem to be negative, there is a chance you are not on a credible source.

Have you ever read an article on your phone before?

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You Can Do it Anywhere

This is another huge perk of online learning, you can start learning on your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or even your phone. All you need is an internet connection. Many people just like to learn something online in their free time rather than letting it consume their whole lives. If you're feeling bored and you have nothing to do, quickly learning something can be a great way to take up the time.

Best Online Learning Sites

Below is a short list of websites where I get most of my online learning done. Some of these websites are article based and some are video based. I suggest rather than using all of them, you choose the ones that work best for you. This is not a complete list, there are many other sites not mentioned here.

Quora

Quora is a simple Q and A website. It allows you to ask and answer questions about anything you can think of. Although anybody can answer questions on Quora, the way it tackles credibility and accuracy is by allowing people to vote up the best answers they see. The least popular answers are usually the least credible.

Tuts+

Tuts+ is my go-to place for programming. It is a tutorial and video site which revolves mostly around web design, programming and graphic design. You do not have to worry about credibility with this site because they only employ trusted professionals. To view some of their articles and videos you will need to pay a subscription fee, but luckily a lot of their material is free, especially from their sister site Tuts+hub.

Hubpages

Last but definitely not least, Hubpages is a wonderful place to find and uncover information about your favorite topics. Due to the fact that there are so many people writing articles here, it is very likely that you will find a hub or two (probably more than two) on any subject imaginable.

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