Odds are, that at some point during your college education, you skipped class to avoid a “boring” lecture given by a stuffy, out of touch professor. Or maybe you couldn’t help but doze off while one of your instructors waxed poetic on a topic that was of great interest to him, but made you fall asleep in your chair, your mouth agape. They say “youth is wasted on the young,” and arguably, so is a college education. Hopefully we’ve grown into wiser adults (or at least most of us have!), and have developed an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to learn new things and improve ourselves. Lucky for us, the internet offers a virtual bounty of informal education opportunities, which we may tap into with our fingertips at any time. No costly tuition fees, no pricey, back-breaking text books, no biking our heart out to get to class on time.
Now, we have the true gift of re-visiting lecture halls via our laptops. By visiting the Academic Earth website, we may learn from people who are the best and most accomplished in their field, the most widely respected, creative and innovative... we can log on to learn from professors from universities such as MIT, Princeton, Yale and Stanford, on courses ranging from "Introduction to Astrophysics" and "Atomic Theory of Matter" to "Private Equity and the Financial Crises." Each course is graded by viewers, using the standard A-F rating system, so you may decide whether watching the lecture is worth your time. Academic Earth currently offers close to a thousand lectures under the topic of "Entrepreneurship," allowing viewers to gain invaluable insight from their successful predecessors. These clips could rival formal business school training if perhaps an idea bulb pops up or inspiration strikes the viewer during one of the talks. The very nature behind having the power to choose who you want to listen to, when and why, will open up the avenues for learning more so than being told you must do something because it’s a requirement... and you better listen up, because there will be a quiz at the end of this. This type of leisure learning is more conducive to sinking in.
Another amazing online, lecture oriented resource for learning is TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Inspired Talks by the World's Leading Thinkers and Doers. Here you’ll find master storytellers, artists, designers, poets, businesspeople, etc. discussing everything from God to climate change to what makes us happy and what inspires design and creativity. By visiting TED, you’ll have access to masterminds in every field, ranging from Bill Gates to J.J. Abrams, and you’ll discover geniuses and personal gurus you never knew existed, whose words resonate with your philosophies on life, and make you want to be a better version of yourself.
The most successful people view life as an ongoing education... some even refer to life as “school.” Sites such as TED and Academic Earth, which turn laptops into lecture halls, benefit us all on this never-ending journey of learning.