Friday, January 16, 2009

Building Your Own Learning Path

I pulled a link from twitter for an O'Reilly article called Choose your own adventure... er... learning path. Basically the idea is that, there's at least as much information available on the web for any given topic as you'll find in any classroom or perhaps, any university program. The question is, assuming that university credits or a degree aren't part of your goal, can you tailor your personal educational program using just web resources? The fact that the Brett McLaughlin article mentions the O'Reilly School of Technology means that part of the purpose of the story is to promote O'Reilly's online, for profit, educational center. That said, the write up also discusses what people look for in free online resources, relative to their learning goals. The trick is organization and discipline. If I sign up for a course, whether online or classroom based, and pay my money, I'll be sure to show up and work hard. I don't want my hard earned greenbacks to go down the drain, especially in this economy. If it's true that you get what you pay for, part of the payoff is the boost in self-discipline that being frugal (tightwad?) results in. Both this article and the John W Lewis blog it links to, mentions sequencing of learning as being particularly important. The Internet may be the world's largest library, but Google isn't the world's best librarian. While you can probably find everything you need, you'll have to design the curriculum yourself. Your success or failure in this endeavour depends on your organizational skills as well as your self-drive to achieve a goal. The O'Reilly blog entry has been there for a couple of days now as I write this, so the comments section there has grown lengthy. I suppose I'm just reinventing the wheel at this point by writing about the topic here, but self-education is one of my interests and, when Tim O'Reilly pointed to the blog from twitter, my commentary took on a life of its own.

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