Education and the inspiration to learn new things every day is the key to innovation and new solutions. Our societies are rapidly changing as a result of economic, environmental and social problems that are threatening the functioning of our daily lives. The current economic system is becoming outdated and new models for providing even the most basic services are threatened as the needs of the populations have changed so radically in the last 20 years. Not only do we therefore need change in values and the political motivation to change our societies, but we also need people with relevant skills and competencies to make these changes a reality.
Majority of the world’s population does not have access to free or affordable elementary education, not to mention higher education. Education however is fundamental to enabling people to transform their own lives and to changing the societies at large. It is also an efficient tool to enhancing your opportunities in the labour market, or about learning those vital business skills to start your own venture. Basically all educational efforts are beneficial and Life Long Learning should be made a goal for every individual on the planet.
We recently took a look at some online education tools that could be used by budding entrepreneurs and people already running social ventures to expand their skills level and the scope of their business. We came across an inspirational talk on TED related to free higher education online and would like to share the resource with you. See below the talk from Daphe Koller, a professor of computer science at Stanford University and the co-founder of Coursera, a social e-learning venture aiming at offering free online education to anyone around the world.
What Daphne Koller and her colleagues have created is an online platform and course content that resembles an online university with the courses having actual start and end dates, exams, interactive components and a certificate of completion from the top universities around the world. In the talk above she explains some of the outcomes of the programme and that as the programme is based on individual learning with the use of technology, the learners are able to get the flexibility they may need (that would otherwise prevent them from attending live lectures at the university) with the added component of interaction and active learning.
Coursera is naturally not the only online platform providing e-learning that should not be limited to higher education courses with exams and certificates. Learning takes place everyday online, whether it is reading the latest news or watching a tutorial on how to install a software on your computer to putting together financial tables for your business. To acquiring relevant business skills you can also contact your local communities, chambers of commerce and employment offices for help on how to locate courses and help to set up your business.
Learning has, and will be revolutionised further in the future and education will become more and more accessible to everyone. This touches women in particular who often have fewer opportunities attending courses and gaining access to education, particularly after having children, and e-learning will offer a wider range of opportunities for a lot of people.
Even if you have a high level of skills in technology, science, engineering, or whatever your field may be, to get that brilliant idea for your business, why not give some interdisciplinary courses a go. Why not study some languages, History, Business, social sciences? They may well give you the inspiration for putting your formal education and skills to use in a completely new setting…this is after all the greatest form of innovation and a chance to create something no one else has thought about.