Accessibility of Learning
We live in a golden age of information. The conduit for learning has never been more easily accessible today. Whereas in the past, learning was only provided inside the four corners of a classroom; now, you have the power to learn anything you desire. As long as you have a gadget that can connect online, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more, you can learn anything you want.
Modes of learning online are plenty: e-books, e-journals, encyclopedias, academic research, and even YouTube videos. The most notable of these modes, however, are online courses and mobile applications. There are hundreds of apps and online courses so comprehensive that a well-motivated person who is passionate about their self-learning can achieve the career they want.
This essay does not attempt to undermine formal education, but rather, emphasizes the growth and expansion of learning that we remain somehow ignorant about; and also underlines the importance of learning in general. All it takes is a little research and effort from us and we can know what we want to learn and how we can learn it.
Pause the series you are watching, the game you are playing, and ponder. What do you want to learn? While watching, have you ever wondered how a TV series or a movie is made? Look it up. If it piqued your interest, then be more specific. Search online courses about screenwriting, movie editing, acting, and other things that you want to learn. Or, if you’re more inclined to gaming, then search online courses for game design and graphic design. Basically, if there is anything that interests you, look it up. Enjoy learning about anything under the sun.
On the onset, you might think that learning online is expensive. It isn’t. In fact, the online learning industry is so pervasive that plenty of companies with their own unique websites and applications are competing in a level field. There is no single go-to website/app that can provide you with courses about everything. Each has their own specializations. With that being said, some websites are more famous and alluring than others due to their courses being provided by top universities worldwide. This is where expenses come into play. Even though many top learning websites/apps have prices that are nowhere near the tuition fee of a formal education, they still cost; and to the average person who wants to learn but cannot afford to pay because his/her earnings can only afford so much, that person would probably be turned off and give up on learning a new skill altogether. Fortunately, there are some credible websites that offer free courses, with certification! Again, all it takes is for us to research what we want to learn and find the best possible way to learn it. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Now that we’ve covered the accessibility of learning, allow me to passionately expound on the importance of learning.
Importance of Learning
Learning is a lifelong pursuit. It does not begin and end with school. It starts the moment we are born until our inevitable demise. We learned to crawl and walk, then read and write, then learned to make friends, play with them, and basically connect with other people, and so on. Learning never stops. We might not notice it because most of us think that we only learn in school, through books, lectures, homework, etc. But we hardly notice that we learn other things almost every day. It can be learning a new word through conversation with others or learning a new sport, food, or name of a country on the news. Even as you are mindlessly scrolling on your phone right now, you still learn something new! If you don’t believe me, then pause for a moment and try to be aware of what you are doing right now. Recall the events of the day and think about the things you know now. Did you know about them yesterday, or last week, or even the last month? If not, then you probably learned something recently.
Now, imagine if we put our energy on inadvertently learning something to actual, deliberate learning. We would certainly be happier and more fulfilled in our lives. Remember the joy of learning a lesson about a subject you were interested in in school? Or learning to play an instrument you really liked? Or simply learning something that interests you, like writing, painting, coding, etc.? That intellectual happiness you feel that stimulates your brain and makes you feel like you literally ate a food for thought, that is one of the most profound joys in life.
Plenty of scholarly materials have covered the concept of “Lifelong Learning,” and the benefits that they concluded are all identical: Physical and mental well-being. Continuous learning helps us become a better version of ourselves. It provides us with a healthy mindset and a positive outlook in life. It removes stagnation from our system and reveals a path to what we want to be.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a scholastic way of learning. It can simply be reading articles or watching YouTube videos on things that interest you. If you make those things a habit, it will go a long way towards developing your character, rather than absorbing entertaining content anytime you can. There is nothing wrong with reading or watching things that entertain you, mind you, because you can also learn a lot. Everybody does it. However, if you consistently do those things, just letting your mind float and your eyes burned, then those bad habits can accumulate into something terribly damaging to your mental wellness. The best compromise is to strike a balance between your time for learning and entertaining. But I want to make the argument that if you love what you’re learning, then you’re also entertained, right?
Learning shapes our character, the things we learn since we were young up to the present are like a magnificent sculptor, chiseling the grandeur model that is us. It molds our way of thinking, our way of socializing with others, the very core of our being, what we learn shapes it all.
There is no single, definite purpose in life. We each decide for ourselves. However, one of the most practical purposes to have in this life is to learn more about the world we live in. How can you appreciate living in this world if you know very little about it?