Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Education For Everybody: Collective Knowledge.

Formación para todos.
People always say that "troubled waters, fishermen gain" and it has become even more apparent nowadays.

Today, I would like to talk with you about one little thing, and it’s about the array of training offerings we are receiving daily through different media outlets.

Regardless of our own feelings and criticism about these deals, some of which are more opportunistic than others, with nearly 5 million unemployed people in the country, the temptation must be too strong for some companies to miss out on the opportunity to make strong promises on their advertising, such as "you’ll get a job for sure", or "join the one professional sector with the lowest unemployment rate", and things like that.

"That’s simply advertising", some people would say.

What is crystal clear is that, day after day, more people start looking for - or need to start looking for- acquiring new skills and be trained on new professional areas, to increase their chances to land a new job or simply to keep themselves updated.

Some of these people have the money to pay for a master's degree or take online courses, but many others - the majority I would say- are not so lucky.

Going beyond paid training courses. 

The availability of training offer is wide and varied: They go from training sessions, to forums, seminars, and a whole lot of alternatives, all aimed at providing you with the knowledge you are looking for on a specific task.

However, I don’t want to talk to you about these courses today. Not this time.

Today I want us to talk about training to which you can have access to via the Internet. It’s not a secret the Internet has become, since a very long time, in a huge library through which you can put your hands on a vast universe of information which we call "collective knowledge": An infinitely large universe to which you can have access simply through a computer (laptop, mobile, tablet, smartphone or however you want to name it), an Internet connection and a bit of willpower.

An infinite universe that gathers millions of authors and collaborators.

Can you imagine having the opportunity to receive information on any imaginable topic? Give it a try! Search on Google (or your search engine of choice) the professional area in which you are interested. If I write, for instance, "training in marketing", I get back the insignificant amount of 6,890,000 results. Nearly 7 million listings!

Let’s be negative and think that only 0.001% (and note that we are being super negative) of all these results are worth it. What do we get? We're still talking about 689 opportunities!

And I'm not including here the information you can have access through paid ads neither video tutorials you can watch in YouTube, or Slideshare presentations, among other platforms. There are a lot of opportunities, if not infinite, which sounds like a lot. The one thing you need is the willingness to learn!

How can you apply this in real life?

Since the goal of this post isn’t only to tell you the story but to show you how you can apply it to your own life, I'll share with you the way I have done it, which will therefore be more useful to you and easy to put to work for you.

  • Choose the topic of your interest and about which you want to further your education, whether it's for personal or professional reasons. It can be anything, from self defense to marketing techniques for your business. 
  • In the search engine of your choice, enter the topic you chose and carefully review each of the results that come up. Maybe you’ll have to invest a couple of hours on this, but it will well worth it. Or not? Look in particular for the following: 
    • Books which can usually be downloaded as PDF or bought by small amounts of money. In particular, I do follow the "For Dummies" series of books which, even though are supposedly designed for dummies, are usually very well written and allow you to build very deep foundations in most subjects. 
    • Websites offering free online lessons. 
    • Blogs, forums and discussion groups. 
    • Tutorials. 
    • Webinars. 
  • Search on YouTube: and find videos and tutorials related to the subject of your choice, check what is available, mark as "Favorite" those you like the best and those which you feel will provide you with the most relevant information. 
  • You can also add to all the information above Slideshare presentations. Many authors, in exchange for visibility and increased authority, share their experience with others by publishing extremely interesting material.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, it's just a matter of willpower. Internet provides you with a huge wealth of information, some very good, some other not so much, as it happens with all things.

What you have to keep in mind at all times is that all that information is available to you "just by clicking your mouse button."

Are you ready to jump into the “collective knowledge” wagon? 

Related posts in this blog:
Why do we need continuous professional education? 
Popularity and Influence in Social Networks: You Choose What Works and What Doesn’t.

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