Using the internet to learn about anything.
Let's face it - college tuition isn't cheap. In fact, the cost of education has been rising at an astronomical rate. For many people who are changing careers, unemployed or just looking for a job, brushing up on skills and learning new ones can be cost-prohibitive.
The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. The first thing that we all need to do is to open our eyes and realize that we have knowledge and information right at our fingertips, and it doesn't cost a thing. Between the internet and public libraries, anyone can learn about whatever they want. The only problem is that you won't get a certificate for it - which is important sometimes, but not nearly as important as you might think.
If you've been wanting to go back to school, but don't have the money, here are 5 ways to get an education for the low, low price of free:
Open Source College Courses - The Open courseware movement has been growing and catching on with many prestigious universities. MIT was one of the first, and now there are many universities who offer courses for free. Basically, you find a course you are interested in, and download a pdf of the text book, the professor lectures and course notes. With these free classes, you can learn whatever you want, no matter how much money you have.
Don't ignore the Blogosphere - These days, there is a blog for almost everything. From fitness to foreign language, if there is a subject you want to know more about or just refresh your skills, you can probably find a blog for that. In fact, if you are looking for a job, it's a good idea to read job blogs like these along with a few industry specific blogs to keep you motivated.
Read more books - This should be a no-brainer, but books are a great way to learn more. The public library has almost any type of book and it's all there for you, for free. They have textbooks, instruction books for programs like Adobe Photoshop and even car repair manuals. Also, if you have an e-reader and want to avoid stopping by the library, many libraries offer e-books for checkout from your computer or device.
Podcasts - Podcasts are easy to access and are an amazing resource. Do a quick websearch for podcasts about your area of interest. Then, use a program like iTunes to download new podcasts automatically. You can even put them on your iPod or smartphone to listen to on the go.
TED- Online video is a great way to learn something new, improve your current skills or just get motivated. At the TED site, they have an amazing amount of educational resources. The site has videos from well known artists, authors, scientists and entrepreneurs, all of them sharing their very best ideas. Each TED video takes about 15 minutes and if you watch just one everyday, you're bound to learn more in a month than you would if you spent those same 15 minutes watching funny cat videos on YouTube.
Getting an education on your own is easy, but the key to success is self motivation. You won't have a professor grading your essay or have projects due at a certain time, but, since these course aren't being graded, you can work through them at your own pace. Be kind to yourself, but don't fall into the trap of putting it off indefinitely.
Have you used any of these free resources? Why or why not. Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for LogisticsJobsiteBlog and Nexxt, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.