Author Topic: High-quality self-education?  (Read 1097 times)

RedmondStash

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High-quality self-education?
« on: April 13, 2018, 10:30:43 AM »
Does anyone have favorite ways to learn new things, besides the library? I know there are lots of online schools and classes, some of which are free, but I don't know which are of good quality. I'm looking more for self-study than for a physical classroom situation.

Teaching myself stuff like languages, specialized areas of science, history, 3D textures and materials for video games, etc. is one of my eventual FIRE goals.

Thanks.

Cranky

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2018, 11:51:12 AM »
I think that you can learn the basics of a language from a program, but if you want to really get better you'll do well in an actual class. Community colleges might be a good inexpensive place to start, but there are also "conversation groups" that you can join via meet up.

I've got a couple of degrees in history, and I've really enjoyed some of the history classes available through iTunes University - they are video lectures, but they also give you the reading list. Otherwise, go to the library, and get a good recent book on the field you are interested in, and then work your way through its bibliography.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2018, 11:52:45 AM »
Tons of quality university classes are on YouTube. My old biochem prof put all his lectures on there and even published a free-access book. The resources are definitely out there! A big part depends on what level you are starting out, and your learning style.
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Hirondelle

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2018, 11:54:57 AM »
For languages I enjoy Duolingo to learn the basics/learn vocabulary.

I've also enjoyed some ree courses on EdX and Coursera, though I tend to struggle with finishing them.

jlcnuke

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 12:00:54 PM »
Lynda is really good, but it isn't free. For just self-education, MIT and many other universities offer free courses online though.
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FIRE Artist

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2018, 01:29:05 PM »
The Great Courses seem to be good quality.  I just found out that they are available to stream through my library but the license is only for 5 videos a month so would have to pace myself. 

katsiki

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2018, 02:14:52 PM »
Not sure if they will have what you are looking for, but check out Saylor (non profit).

List of courses:

https://learn.saylor.org/course/index.php?categoryid=2&utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=cta&utm_campaign=homepage&utm_content=header_button
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RedmondStash

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2018, 02:37:02 PM »
Thanks, everyone!

Syonyk

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2018, 03:09:52 PM »
Books.  Lots of them.

For some of the areas, such as 3D textures and such, hands on experimentation is the way to go.  Get yourself set up with a suitable computer, and simply start making textures.  Find interesting things to model, and model them (using real textures and laser scanned surface maps, if appropriate).  That sort of things moves so rapidly that it will be hard to learn from text, and you're better off learning it hands on and creating new techniques if you lean that way.
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L.A.S.

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2018, 03:16:35 PM »
I like to learn through doing. 

Pick something you are interested in and just start.  Use books as a guide.

Adam Zapple

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2018, 03:20:57 PM »
I have been looking into a few courses on udemy.  They are not free but are very reasonable.  The nice thing is that students rate the course when they are finished so you can weed out the duds.  Now I just need to find the free time to take one!

Noodle

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2018, 12:16:07 PM »
Before you get started on various projects, I strongly recommend the book "Learn Better" by Ulrich Boser. It's definitely an introductory book (very readable) but he explains a lot about why traditional methods of studying are not very effective and what to do instead. I thought the part of the book where he talked about the value of teachers was particularly interesting. He really explained very clearly what a teacher provides that a student cannot provide for him/herself through self-study, which would probably be helpful to figure out when a class vs. just reading some books would be appropriate.

AMandM

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2018, 01:21:04 PM »
The Great Courses seem to be good quality.  I just found out that they are available to stream through my library but the license is only for 5 videos a month so would have to pace myself.

My library has lots of the Great Courses on DVD, and I can borrow as many as I like.

dustinst22

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2018, 01:36:25 PM »
MIT has a web based version of just about every course it offers.

big_slacker

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2018, 03:12:52 PM »
I'm self taught in my profession, and work at a pretty high level so I know at least personally what high quality self education looks like. For me, structured courses are total crap. Lecture and powerpoint is shit. Did I say that firmly enough? :)

The way I've always tackled big subjects is to sit down and write out what a comprehensive body of knowledge for that subject looks like. It's probably incomplete at this point. Doesn't matter, that will be figured out later.

Step 2 is to break the subjects out into weighted sections, most important, most foundational first. Like the body, some of this weighting will be wrong. :)

Step 3 is to get each subject's concept down pat first.

Step 4, once the concept is clear, study details, practical application/lab it up! Reading only is no good. Has to be hands on and methodically proven, otherwise it won't take or the knowledge won't be deep enough.

Step 5, repeat for the rest of the subjects. Adjust the body of knowledge and subjects as needed.

Nice to have is access to an 'expert' to bounce things off when stuck or when needing to know how theory works in reality, how to avoid common mistakes, etc. Forums are a good substitute but it's important to vet who you're talking to. Everyone loves giving advice whether they're qualified to give it or not. The loudest and most opinionated are not always the most useful. Welcome to the internet. ;)

FWIW I used to be a trainer in my field as well and got many people past professional exams and more importantly had them leave classes better at their jobs, so I know this method doesn't just work for me, haha!

I'm also very jealous of folks that can learn well in traditional classroom/lecture environments. I tried in public school and college, I had to leave before I jumped out the window one day. :D

FIRE Artist

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2018, 08:01:28 AM »
There is this option as well.

https://www.edx.org/

The nice thing about these courses is that they are time bound, and if you so chose, you can purchase a verification certificate at the end which proves that you completed the curriculum.  There have seen some really interesting courses come up through this site, but have yet had the time to do one.  FIRE goals.

mizzourah2006

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2018, 08:38:28 AM »
I have been looking into a few courses on udemy.  They are not free but are very reasonable.  The nice thing is that students rate the course when they are finished so you can weed out the duds.  Now I just need to find the free time to take one!

Udemy has some great stuff on it. I really like most of the courses I have taken through there. You can usually find them for $9-$15 if you wait around long enough.

RedmondStash

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2018, 10:13:39 AM »
Thanks again!

HenryDavid

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 07:59:32 AM »
Richard Feynman did this. He learned lots of things, beside the physics which made him famous:

http://www.openculture.com/2017/04/richard-feynmans-notebook-technique-will-help-you-learn-any-subject.html
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mstache67

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2018, 09:47:06 AM »
I love Yale Open Courseware- oyc.yale.edu

They have a variety of subjects.

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mathlete

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2018, 10:04:50 AM »
I find that whenever you're learning how to produce a product (like making art or doing programming), it's helpful to have feedback. You get that in a classroom setting, but you can also get feedback by joining communities. Stack Exchange is great for this, but I'm sure there is an online community for whatever you want to learn. Your city might also have local clubs for this sort of thing.

For stuff like business, science, history, etc., I find books really useful. Books by people who know what they're talking about. Too often, the top books sold are a fluffy repackaging of "one simple trick" written by self-styled gurus. Three of the top ten books on Amazon right now are, "The Clean 20", "12 Rules for Life", and "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck". Great, zippy titles that sound like they have answers. These books are great at making us feel good and feel motivated. But I find that there's usually very little in the way of usable information. Give me the guy (or gal) with deep knowledge on one or a few topics who annotates all their references any day!

Lastly, the United States Government is a great repository for information. From time to time, I'll spend hours digging through census data or jobs and economic data from the treasury and the BLS. I'm not directly learning a marketable skill or anything, but it's engaging, and I'm a smarter person for it.

Allison

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2018, 11:16:58 AM »
I have been working on a MircoMasters through edx.org.  I pay for the certificates but all their classes are free to audit.  Super high quality and several different universities participate.

big_slacker

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Re: High-quality self-education?
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2018, 04:09:58 PM »
Richard Feynman did this. He learned lots of things, beside the physics which made him famous:

http://www.openculture.com/2017/04/richard-feynmans-notebook-technique-will-help-you-learn-any-subject.html

In addition to being a great scientist, explains study-skills vlogger Thomas Frank, Feynman "was also a great teacher and a great explainer," owing to his ability to "boil down incredibly complex concepts and put them in simple language that other people could understand." Only when Feynman could do that did he know he truly understood a concept himself

This is a HUGE boost to learning and something I should have mentioned in my post above. I taught some classes where I was learning the material a month out from the course. You better believe I wasn't lazy about really deeply understanding topics because I *KNEW* that I would be questioned on them. You only get so many 'don't know off the top of my head, I'll look it up and get back to you' moments before you lose credibility. And rightly so. My internal quote was always, "If I can't explain it simply enough, I don't know it well enough."