Free Education

ABC's on blackboardThere may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free education. At least there is now. That’s the beauty of living in the world we live in today. You used to have to go to school or buy a bunch of books or videos in order to learn a skill. These days you can take free courses online through sites like Udacity, Codecademy, Khan Academy or even iTunes University.

So, there is really no excuse to say that you don’t have enough money to learn a new skill or that you can’t fit it into your schedule. There are so many classes online that you can take for free. The great thing about these free online courses is that not only are they free, but you can take them whenever you have time and at your own pace. That allows you to fit an education into almost any schedule.

I have taken a few online courses through the years. Right now I’m taking some programming courses to update my coding skills and learn a couple new languages. They’re really great. I’m actually learning much faster than I did when I was in college. Although, I’m not sure if that’s because of me and my situation or the classes. Regardless, I have to say that the online courses are light years ahead of where they were 6-7 years ago, which is the first time I took real online courses. In many ways, they are becoming better than traditional courses.

With the addition of new technologies, I can only imagine where online learning will be when my kids finish high school. I really question whether they will need to go to a physical location to attend a university or if the major universities will just allow students to attend courses online and in extensions around the world for when physical interactions are necessary. I’m excited to see where it is going. I’m also excited to see the cost of a real education stop ballooning. We’re at the tipping point where education expenses have to stop rising and maybe even drop slightly. Otherwise, entrepreneurs will stop going to college entirely. It just won’t make financial sense anymore to go to school for four years in order to saddle oneself with piles of debt and no guarantee of work.

Entrepreneurially minded high school graduates might just start opting to start their own businesses instead. Can you imagine how much easier a startup would be to run with $160,000 in initial funding? That’s the average cost of a four year degree at a private not for profit university, plus expenses. Not to mention that would include four years of time to work on the business. Doing the startup instead of going to college? Now that would be a true education. That initiative and depth of experience would be quite impressive to a lot of potential employers, as long as you went for it full bore. You would have so many more useful experiences and deeper skills than someone that just went to school for 4 years. The times they are a changin’! Free education, man. Free education!

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