This bit of news about someone who learnt dentistry skills on YouTube has been making the rounds:
Provenance aside, the article raises an extremely timely question. That is, where do we learn best these days? For me, it’s been the internet. For the social sciences, Sci-hub is indispensable. There are also a lot of lectures and other material on YouTube from Stanford, Cornell, the National University of Singapore, etc.
For programming, a combination of MOOC’s, Stack Overflow, and an assortment of other sites googled up as and when specific problems pop up has been the perfect cocktail.
I’d love nothing more than to go to school to learn programming, and anthropology, and all the rest, but I don’t have the money to. And it’s unwise to do so anyway because job and other issues from daily life mean few of us can keep to schedules properly. Online resources bear flexibility that fits our needs.
But that raises another question: what about accreditation?
I don’t know. A lot has been written, but I don’t think anyone knows yet. I don’t think companies, institutions, and the state are willing to accept what has become true, that is, many of us don’t learn as effectively in school as we do online. School is imprisonment, and the subjects we take there are forced on us. We have to wait till school ends so that we can learn what suits our passions best. And then we have work and family and other things that stand in the way. Sometimes, we need the experience of life to figure things out on our own, before we can start learning what we need and want. Late-bloomers aren’t rewarded by conventional society, but they should be.
The internet helps a lot. Along with all the people making resources online and free, it’s potentially life-changing. I wish formalised entities would catch up with the times and create structures that would make acceptance of autodidacts easier.