It’s never been so easy to learn

No matter what your reason is for wanting to learn something new, now more than ever, it is so much easier to be able to achieve. I remember watching the Matrix years ago and loving the scene where Keanu’s character inserted a chip and became a martial artist instantly. It makes me think that in the future we will have greater potential to learn new things, but for now, there are plenty of options available that don’t involve modifying the brain.

Working in technology, I am constantly having to ensure that my skills are up to date. There are several ways that I ensure my skills are relevant. Blogs and online books are my favorite way to get all the relevant information that I need. You don’t even have to be working in the technology field, whatever industry you work in, there are plenty of resources available should you start to look.

The following is a list of resources that I have used. Let me know if you have come across any others that you think are valuable too.

I use the following not just for technology updates, but also to learn new things. You can never learn too much.

Library 

By being a member of my local library, I not only have access to thousands of books, but I also have access to al of the electronic books and audios too.

Libraries within South Australia (SAPLN), all grant access to the online content. In addition to the online books, access to magazines is also granted. I personally love the magazines. The magazines that are available are the same ones that I previously used to subscribe to. I love that I can read them all for free.

In order to access the books or digital content, all you need is a valid library card.

Blogs 

I have been using blogs to keep my skills up to date for many years. In the technology space, there are plenty of blogs that you can read and subscribe to. By subscribing, you never need to miss a new post.

I work with Microsoft technologies mainly, the blogs that I follow are mainly from Microsoft, or some of the key developers.

To locate any blogs on a particular topic, all you have to do, is enter the blog topic and add blog in the search path, for example: neuroscience blogs. A list of blogs relating to the search topic will be displayed.

E-Books 

E-books makes it so much easier to be able to read, as you can carry a whole library of books with you, wherever you go.

My favorite technology books can all be accessed online from Safari Books Online. Safari Books Online is a subscription service that you pay for. The thing that I love about the subscription service is that, with technology books, most books become outdated rather quickly. Having access to the books online, means that you never have to worry about outdated books cluttering up your office space, and the books are always the most up to date and relevant at any time.

With Safari Books, you not only have access to electronic books, but also to videos.

Podcasts  

The easiest way to access podcasts is directly through your smartphone. Podcasts can be regular people having a chat on a particular topic, or it could be professionals covering a subject in greater detail.

Podcasts are free to download. Subscribing to a podcast means that you never need to miss out on an episode when one becomes available.

Courses 

Some universities around the world, now offer short courses that can be completed by anyone, at any age. The courses can be free, or for a small amount of money, can include a certificate on completion.

The courses can be accessed either by an app on your smartphone or from a website.

Examples of some of the sites that offer the short courses are:

Lynda.com has a subscription fee associated with it, but, if you have a library card within South Australia, you can have access to Lynda.com for free. For more details, just go to this site:

http://www.libraries.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=1602

Apps

Installing apps on your smartphone is an easy and extremely convenient way to learn new things. There really is no limits to the amount of information you can learn from new apps. Most apps have built in notifications, so if you want to learn something every day, you can be sent reminders.

In addition to all things technical, I love learning piano. There are apps that can teach you how to play. The app I use is called SimplyPiano. It tracks whatever I play on the piano with whatever I am supposed to be playing on the smartphone. I love it. Learning to play piano has always been something I have wanted to do, as is learning French, which I am able to do with the app Duolingo.

YouTube 

Finally, if you’re a visual person and prefer to watch videos when learning, then YouTube is a great place to start. Chances are, someone somewhere has already posted a video on exactly whatever it is you are wanting to learn. Best of all, it’s all free.

As you can see, from the list provided, there are ample opportunities for learning something new. It doesn’t matter if you are learning something for work, a hobby, or a special interest, anyone can learn something new, at any time. The positive impacts of learning are numerous, worthy of a blog post in its own right.

What are you learning? Is there anything you wanted to learn but haven’t? What is stopping you?