Because of the Internet, there is almost an unlimited source of educational resources available for you to access right from your mobile device, PC, or anything connected to the Internet. Online courses (free/paid), MOOC (Massively Online Open Courses), tutorials, books, interactive learning experiences, etc., are available and being created every day, in many languages and using different approaches. The variety is truly impressive.
Personally, although these courses and resources have been available for some time, my first "full" online remote course taking experience has been taking a distributed systems online course (master level) from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign some time in 2009, where I excelled and was, as far as I remember, the second or third best of the class. Even the professor send me a congratulatory email, mentioning how in depth I understood and dominated the subject. I have watched some YouTube tutorials around here and there, but I have never taken an entire online course until then.
"What a showoff!!! Why is this guy telling me this?" - something that you might be thinking for sure (I know I would). Well, I want to make a point from all this experience (that the underlying reason of the success is different than aptitude or skill), so bear with me a little longer. This lies the foundation of what OnlineEduReview is, means to me and what it tries to accomplish for the community.
The class was great, the material and the support also, but the real reason of the success was that I could go back to review the material, and I had it available for me to reference at any time. Can't complain about the professor, he was great overall. Additionally, at that time, taking the course was the only thing I had to do, as I was waiting for the start of my master's degree.
Conditions were never so perfect for me to learn, as learning was entirely in my power: could do it under my own schedule. As it can be inferred, it is not having aptitude (at that point I wasn't an A student), but being provided with great amount of facilities and liberties (and really liking the material), which resulted in me succeeding in the class. I believe that under those conditions, anybody can excel, so as you can see, the point I was trying to make is that you will perform better if you are given the facilities and you are in control of your learning experience. The more in control you are, the more chances to succeed.
There are arguments to make whether or not we all have the same capabilities of learning, but something that I don't think anybody can argue with is that we are never under the same circumstances to learn (perhaps we didn't sleep well before, we have problems at home, etc.), and that greatly affects our learning experience.
Learning comfortably and with so many facilities had some additional positive side effects. Because you decide when and how you learn, it is not difficult to make it part of your "routine" and make it an enjoyable of a experience.
My studies of distributed systems continued outside the classroom, because there was no "transition" for me. Finishing the course felt the same as any other day (with exception of the exams and the projects. of course). I had the additional material to go through, so I continued learning in my personal time, since I really found myself fascinated by the subject. So integrating education in your own environment transforms you in a student anywhere and anytime in your life... and that is s powerful thing as you always need to learn new skills to accomplish more in life.
Additionally, as you seek comfort when you learn, your association to how learning should look like shifts entirely. You no longer associate learning to a cold classroom, where you have to keep quiet, where you are uncomfortable or when you feel pressured. You associate it to your best couch, a great burger with a beer (if that is your thing), and to being relaxed. By associating learning with great incentives and commodities in your life, you make it an enjoyable activity in general.
That was my first full experience with online/remote education. Nevertheless, my experience with teaching and learning, and the reason that I love education, and everything related to skill improvement and personal development is considerably more personal, accompanied with a lot of personal obstacles which have made me look at education with different glasses than anybody else. That is a topic for another day, but I will make sure I link it here when that is available when I share it with the community.
Education shouldn't be something that challenges us, but something that encourage us to take harder and more complex challenges that have not yet been tackled. Education should inspire us above it all. Discovering new things and combining what we learned into actionable undertakings that have never been done is what should challenge us, not understanding what already exists and has been defined.
Additionally, I consider that if you are music lover (who isn't?), perhaps you can appreciate the fact that your favorite songs are recorded (we take it for granted at this point). That way, the artists can pour their essence and deliver the product exactly as they want and intended you to experience it. Yes, there are some live versions that are incredible and memorable, but these are rare (in average), and really depend on the band/group/performer.
Education benefits in the best way of recording as music does. Teachers can focus on deliver the best enhanced experience to students each second and deliver unforgettable performances that will help millions achieve their goals. Additionally, because video editing and animations have become really accessible to all of us, a teacher can show students, instead of having to select the words which will make them understand. A pictures is worth a 1,000 words, but video is worth more than 1,000 pictures.
So having the control, flexibility to learn at your own pace and always get the best quality (i.e. having the best seat in the theater), gives you a better experience overall, but it also gives you more: passion makes you the best on what you do, but the right education can ignites the flames, magnify your drive and keep alive the curiosity that can take you to a new higher level each day.
There are a lot of other factors that makes me believe that online / remote education is far superior to any traditional education you might get (of course there are exceptions, corner cases, etc.), but for the remainder of the post, I will focus on introducing the blog.
I consider online / remote education is an absolute wonderful thing, and observing how educational resources and the business itself has been growing exponentially, I am certain that I am not the only one who feels the same. This industry has become the basis of professional / continuing education that everyday empowers regular individuals, to become skilled on things that wouldn't have been possible. And all this at their own pace, and under their own terms.
At this point, the problem of online / remote education is not the access, the number of resources available, nor the availability. The problem is selecting the right material and resources that will get you where and what you want effectively, cheaply and effectively.
For example, there are free resources that can provide you information, resources and everything you need to achieve your goals, as there are paid resources which can get you into a never-ending spiral of having to purchase additional material to slowly get what you want, or just using that as an excuse to maximize their profit, while providing you just enough material to get you keep purchasing more.
Other cases are considerably more subtle. There can be a free resource that can take ten hour to teach you a particular skill, while a paid resource can just take one. Here comes a question of preference and price. About how much do we value our time.
Additionally, there is a lot of redundancy out there. Since there is no standardization (many can call their classes what they want), there are many courses with different titles that will teach you the same thing, therefore wasting both your time and your money.
How do you choose which one is which? How do you choose a path that maximizes your learning experience without having to ask for a bank loan or waste your time? ... yes, that is what OnlineEduReview tries to help you answer and provide you the optimal response to.
Additionally, as much as I love education and learning, there is something that is completely true:
"Learning is the new procrastination" ~ Max Lukominsky
So our objective with OnlineEduReview is to make sure you can acquire skills as fast as possible so you can turn them into action, and that the education that you acquire can be directly applied to real-life situations. Many online resources offer you efficient and cheap education (education that leads to action and is immediately translated into results), but other resources just offer you this "overall" view of the subject, which will give you an idea about a topic, nothing that can help you translate an education into skill mastery. Perhaps that is just what you want, but many times things are marketed differently, so here at OnlineEduReview, will let you know what a resource really is, what does it really offer and what will you get out of it.
When teaching, there is a balance to be kept between background/theory, data, inspiration, examples, case studies, illustrations, assignment, training and even entertainment to be accomplished ... and when that happens, masterpieces in education are created. These are really hard to come by, as not all topics are created equal ... but when that happens, we believe that is something worth experiencing by anyone and it is worth spreading the word about.
OnlineEduReview aims to be the definite and ultimate guide to online education resources (remote education) on the web: paid/free, alternative online degrees and MOOC (Massively Online Open Courses). It provides reviews, articles, custom-made education programs and other means of acquiring skills, self-development and improving what you already know and/or do in the most efficient, effective and economical way, taking advantage of the flexibility that the Internet offers.
These are some of the things that we will cover and do in this blog:
Course / Class Reviews
We will provide you with a comprehensive analysis and scoring system that will help you assess any educational material available on the web (or at least the ones we can get our hands into). We will discuss the great, the positive, the negative, the bad, the things to watch out, the things that are unique, so you can have a clear picture of what a course offers before you get into it. All this in order to save you time an money and you can just focus on your goals.
We will discuss supplementary and alternative material that will help you enhance your experience, or perhaps a better alternative (i.e. another course) that can help you get the skill that you are looking for more efficiently.
Learning / Education Platform Reviews
The platforms in which the course is given can enhance or damage your learning experience.
There are a lot of subtleties when using services (because you might not own the material, because it is difficult to access, because it is not always available). Some learning platforms offer wonderful integrated experiences, but others actually cripple the educational material and make it a hassle . We will let you know which platforms are convenient for you, and give you the necessary information to assess them, before you decide if it is worth it to make the investment.
Suplementary Learning Material Reviews (Podcasts, Tutorials, Shows, etc.)
Learning material is considerably more than just a online courses. There are several ways in which you can learn and get what you want from an education that are not formatted in a teacher - student format, as a regular course is.
Therefore, we will also review blogs, podcasts, shows, documentaries, seminaries, tutorials, references, books and others, so you can find the best alternative and supplementary resources to improving, keeping up to date or just enhancing your profession, craft or passion.
Custom-Made and Optimized Education Programs for Real-Life Skills
Based on the reviews, we aim to provide you with the perfect combination of courses that can get you to learn and dominate a skill efficiently, effectively and as economically as possible. Because we are not associated with any of the instructors and platforms that we are going to review (and if we are we will let you know and make a clear note about it), we can offer you the unbiased best options: what you will find truly entertaining, inspiring, more informative, more experience-based, more practical, that has more repeat-value. etc. and we can put all the options on the table so you can choose which one would you like to follow the most.
Comparisons (versus), Associations and Rankings
Well, there are times when it is actually beneficial comparing two or more educational resources directly, instead of just relying in qualifications. That way you will gain a lot of insights of what a course might offer, that the other might not, instead of comparing the resources separately. Also, a lot of benefit is gained by associating some material by some kind ( classes with a lot of examples, classes with most resources, etc). Therefore
Education/Lessons Real-Life Implementation Research (We Tell You If What is Taught Works)
The online world offers some pretty peculiar classes. I believe that there must be a class of "How to Become a Frog In 3 Simple Steps And Increase Your Quality Of Life" our there (although I have to admit I haven't found it yet). Other make some really bold claims like "How to Become The Owner Of Your Own Country In 5 Days", or alike.
As we will review educational resources also by actionability/practicality, what a better way to ensure that our classifications are accurate ... by applying the educational materials ourselves, as the instructor recommends it.
Perhaps there are some that we might not be able to experience completely, but there are some whose effectivity and practicality are considerably easier to test than others. Therefore, we follow the advice, put in practice what we learn and let you know it it works, so you can safely follow the advice.
Interviews with Educators and Students
We will interview online educators and coaches, so they can tell us their experience with online education themselves, how they achieved their success, what courses would they recommend, their favorite ones, and their future educational-based projects.
Also I would like what many of you think, what classes have you taken and what were the results for you, as I am one of you, I am sure that you have a lot of tips and tricks, classes and other resources that we can all benefit from.
Tricks and Tips
As an online student myself (for several years now as you were able to read), I have learned some tricks to maximize my learning experience, so I want to share thos with you, and of course, learn and share others you might have for me.
As mentioned before in the post about the new and improved jprdv.com, OnlineEduReview is the foundation/base for magnifying the experience and practical advice that you will get by reading Freelanstyle and Magnopreneur. As we share information and become your preferred source of information (being that for choosing the best online education/resources, doing business and/or working online), we would like to provide you with the options to acquire information and/or improved based on the topics discussed in Freelanstyle and Magnopreneur.
Stick with us, we will make it worth it for you.
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In upcoming posts (and before we get right into the reviews), we will let you know about the review marks, badges and honors that we will use to help you easily assess the educational resources that are convenient for you. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think, what would you recommend us, and how you consider we can maximize your experience with us.
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My best wishes, always.