Leverage communities to accelerate your rate of learning

Online learning makes sourcing group-generated and shared knowledge easier to create, distribute and access than ever. Photo: Koala Fight Media

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 – There’s a saying that “two heads are better than one.” The concept is that multiple people thinking and collaborating on an idea will produce a better result than merely one person working alone. To borrow an example from statistics, a larger pool of ideas brings more variance and a better chance at producing one or two truly exceptional ideas; thus the case for collaborating group thinking.

This group approach applies to many things in life from detective work to reality show voting. However, another great way to leverage the power of a group is for the purpose of expedited learning.

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The era of online learning has made the sourcing of group-generated and shared knowledge easier to create, distribute and access than ever before. Sites such as Khanacademy.com, Codeacademy.com and Coursera.com are some of the better known names in this space.

Khan Academy, a venture backed by Microsoft’s celebrity billionaire Bill Gates, is a platform through which any student with an Internet connection can gain access to educational lessons covering a breadth of material along with a depth and context of detailed information that rivals the best in private school education.

With Code Academy, anyone can log on and begin advancing through live modules that teach them the basics of a number of the most popular programming languages including HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery and javascript. These languages control most of the static and dynamic websites that billions of people around the world access via the Internet each day.

Coursera offers an opportunity to take online courses from professors at top Universities. Have you always wanted to get an education from Stanford or MIT? Coursera gives you the chance to do so.

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Then there are other online site tools such as Moodle, which allows you to become the professor yourself and create your own courses that other people can learn from. You can also recruit a community or slate of teachers who can either teach courses on varying topics or explore different aspects of the same or similar topics.

One extremely valuable but often underrated mode of online learning is simply tapping into community forums. Forums were the original social media sites, long before the Facebooks and Twitters of the world emerged. Many of them contain literally millions of informative posts and conversation comments usually focusing on a very specific niche topic, which is what makes them so valuable.

There are hundreds of thousands of discussion forums in existence. Their topics range from politics to technology to business to how to play poker. If you are looking to develop your knowledge in a particular area, look no further than the Internet. You’ll find a wealth of reservoirs containing deep and detailed knowledge, sourced from groups of experts that will get you up to speed on your chosen topic in no time.

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