"The half-life of a learned skill is five years. Much of what you learned ten years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned five years ago is irrelevant."
I saw that quote from a post on Linkedin. I searched online to check where this quote came from. This came from A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown. When I first read that quote, it struck me and asked myself if the quote applies to everyone.
Ten and Five Years Ago
I’ve been in the workforce for more than 25 years. There are some nursing and med. tech. skills that will never die after graduating from college. But I’m no longer a practicing medical technologist and nurse. And if ever I return to professional practice, I would need to take refresher courses to update myself with the current trends, best practices, and renew my licenses.
I’ve been a creative writer for 22 years now and my screenplay writing skills may have turned rusty as I haven’t written a full-length movie script for years. The recent scripts I’ve written were short company audio-visual presentations.
I’ve been a freelance writer for 9 years and the web design, SEO, and social media management practices I’ve learned before may now be dated as these trends keep on changing fast.
Yeah, I believe that quote applies to everyone in this ever-connected world. Welcome to the 21st century brand of learning.
The first time I heard of online learning was back in 1999 when I heard the University of the Philippines offers Open University. Enrolling in a degree course and taking it online at home, the student is only required to come on campus at a specified time or when necessary.
I experienced online learning first hand when I was employed in a BPO company. They call their own platform a "university" and require all employees to take these online courses as part of the onboarding and training. At the end of each course, you take a test and get a certificate of completion, if applicable.
When I started freelancing, I saw some sites that offer free online courses and enrolled in a few of them. It seems that e-learning has become the greatest revolution in today’s education.
In 2015, I enrolled in UP Open University's Professional Teaching Certification (PTC) program. It is a non-degree program designed for persons who have graduated college in any field and who wants to teach high school. However, due to my sudden minor operation, I had to drop out of the course.
Advantages of Online Learning
Being At Home
Most of us have attended a traditional learning setup --- school campus, classroom, library, Principal’s office, etc. We need to pay for tuition and other fees to be enrolled and attend classes. Attendance is checked, exams are given, and at the end of the term, you’ll know if you passed or failed.
Nowadays, aside from getting a formal education, people get online degree programs or take courses through an online platform. With the technology we have today, online learning is becoming interactive while studying at home.
Although online education has its limitations, people find it convenient to take it within the comfort of their home. All lectures and materials are provided online and students can learn at their own pace. But comfort goes both ways. Although e-learning can be done at home, one can always be distracted. Thus self-discipline is required of each learner. That’s one of the reasons why UP Open University requires all applicants to take their readiness test first to see if the student can withstand the demands of online learning.
This depends on who you are talking to. To some, there are online learning courses, especially those specialized ones, that have similar tuition fees as traditional schools. To others, most online courses are cheaper than school tuition fees and there are more than a million online courses that are free.
Speaking of free online courses, most of them are just webinars that tease their product which is, of course, the real online course they offer.
Good on your resume
Taking an online program will always look good on your resume. Potential employers or clients will think that you’re taking further education seriously.
There’s a course for almost everything
Nowadays, online courses are shorter because they focus on one specific topic. These mini-courses are skill or knowledge specific which if taken in a formal education set-up it may not be available or might have been mentioned lightly.
Everything is Teachable
There are people who still think that students don’t get real degrees online. Some may even think that online learners are lazy or are not smart enough to withstand formal education. That’s not how it is nowadays. Prestigious universities around the world do offer their degree courses online.
Because of the Internet, we’re constantly sharing our thoughts, our experiences, and our talents. There is so much stuff that we know that we don’t even know that we know. Sometimes, the greatest impact would come from sharing things we are passionate about.
That makes us creators. Everyone has a skill and knowledge that he could share no matter the location, the experience, or the personality. Anyone can teach the things he loves and be able to impact the lives of others. You can teach the things that seem simple to you and be able to grow a community around you. You can change the norm and follow your dreams because everything is teachable.
When I started my website in 2016, all I thought was sharing what I think about writing and working from home. I’m doing this because I believe sharing is doing good and something right. I’m using this platform to share my experiences and what I’ve learned from the things I love doing.
For the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about freelance writing, web design, and web content. I’m already thinking on how I should be sharing my knowledge, resources, and support through this platform more. In fact, I already set up a link to my online courses.
Since I'm just starting this platform, the courses are still in PDF. Soon, when everything goes well, I'll convert them to videos or webinars to make them more engaging.
Tell me what you think about online learning and let me know if I have missed anything in this article. I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you like to read more about freelance writing, productivity, or creative writing, please do subscribe and join the tribe.