Sunday, 18 October 2009

Learning that is free....and there's no catch!

I read a great article in the Sunday Times last week that described a variety of learning resources that are available via the internet.....for free. I thought it must be too good to be true so I did some browsing of the sites and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

If you want access to completely free material of a high quality then read on.

This is an offshoot of the Open University that offers a large variety of courses covering a wide variety of subjects ranging from Arts and History to Business and Management to Mathematics and Statistics.....a truly broad curriculum.

The courses are available to download in a variety of formats (although I couldn't find audio of video) and each course has its own discussion forum. A facility to post a video log (vlog) is interesting and you can also create Learning Groups to learn with others wherever they may be. A browse through the Business Management sections found some courses that interested me:

Each course is about 6 hours and divided into various modules and you will find a student rating for each course (most of which have 4 or 5 stars).

You Tube EDU

This is a specific channel on YouTube devoted to educational material. Again you will find a variety of subject areas to choose from including Business, Literature, Law, Science and much more.

The format is the usual YouTube style video clip but there is some interesting material in there. A quick browse revealed some interesting clips:

Again some great material to use as part of a wider learning intervention or simply to learn in an interesting way!

This site, containing actual course material from MIT's course offerings is attracting 1.2m visitors per month. I think it is a really clever move by MIT that promotes their position as a thought leader and reinforces their brand.

There is an absolute plethora of material on the site with a large variety of formats ranging from actual course notes to multi media clips and material. The quality is second to none. The material includes course from the world famous Sloane School of Management including titles such as:

Many of these not only include the actual course material but also video lectures and notes - fantastic!

As part of the iTunes store there is a special section called iTunes U. This contains a massive bank of free material provided by a variety of top educational sources such as Cambridge University, Stanford Business Management School and Oxford University. The format is the usual iTunes format (audio and video) so you can simply download to your iPod to listen to at your convenience. Here are a couple of examples:

- Leading Change: a conversation with Ron Williams

- Managing the Leaders by Dr Mark De Rond

- Let's have less pride and more shame in the work place

Again an incredible library of free resource.

The Sunday Times article had an interesting observation:

A small study by the University of New York in Fredonia claims that downloading a lecture can be more effective than actually attending one in person. Researchers compared 64 students, half of whom attended a lecture and half of whom received it via a podcast. In a subsequent test, those who downloaded the podcast performed better - possibly because a podcast allows you to replay difficult parts as and when you want.

So I really do recommend having a look around these sites - there is some great material out there that is definitely worth exploring.


Candida said...

Cool stuff... thanks I vsited some of these and they are useful.

jason said...
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