As long as you’ve got an internet connection, you’ve got access to some of the best universities and educational institutions in the world – for free. MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses are taking up all the space between cat videos and Kardashians on the internet. Sites like Coursera, FutureLearn, edX, Udemy, offer courses in almost anything you can think of, from computer programming to neuroscience to underwater basket weaving (okay, that one was just for April Fool’s). Even top tier universities like Harvard, MIT and Yale are offering their own courses online. As Carnegie Mellon claims, their MOOCs have “no instructors, no credits, no charge”, so all it costs you is a few hours a week and your own motivation.
There’s a whole host of reasons why you should never stop learning. Whether from reading or taking courses, there are a tonne of things you can do to stay educated and keep your knowledge up to date, and many reasons why it’s in your best interest. Here are five of the best:
MASTERY IS SELF-IMPROVEMENT
There’s no way to truly master any craft without always looking for ways to improve; learning and applying new skills is the ultimate self-improvement. When we stop trying to better ourselves and learn new things, we essentially stop striving for our goals.
IF YOU DON’T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT
Keeping your brain engaged by learning new tasks and skills is one of the best ways to keep your memory sharp and your mind agile. Just as you exercise your body, your brain also needs to be exercised and challenged to keep it fit and healthy. The University of California at Irvine found that learning keeps your brain functioning at a higher level – so learning makes learning easier (too meta?). When you’re accustomed to learning new things you’re also becoming more adaptable to change, meaning you can easily take any changes in the organisation or your function in your stride.
GIVE YOUR CONFIDENCE A BOOST
Not only will you be able to discuss thoughts and ideas more confidently because you can back them up with new information you have learned, but adding “smarty-pants” to your list of qualities is sure to make you shine – you won’t even be able to stop yourself being more interesting. You may also surprise yourself at what you can do and how much you can achieve when you put your mind to a new challenge.
IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS
Research shows that people who focus on their personal growth have lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), an improved immune system, and better sleep. There’s evidence that keeping your mind active also helps fight dementia and brain ageing. If that’s not enough to make you smile, studies also show that learning new skills produces a rush of dopamine (the feel-good hormone).
BROADEN YOUR VIEW
Many scientists believe that much of what we call creativity is simply the ability to translate skills and learned information into another setting. When you’re always learning you have a stronger knowledge base to approach problems from a different angle. You’ll also be able to make better decisions more quickly and confidently as you’ll have access to all your newly gained knowledge.
So there you have it – five pretty air-tight reasons to get your learn on and continue building your skills in your quest towards mastery. You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be, so why not help yourself get ahead and find a course online that suits you.
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