So like I said in a previous post I’m setting some new goals particularly when it comes to personal and professional development of my brain organ thing. I find myself with a lot of little moments that I don’t use so I thought I’d cram every moment with a bit of learning.
If I’m not learning I feel like I’m stagnating and in my industry that’s bad and for the soul also if you don’t use it (your brain that is) its like any other muscle – you lose it.
With that in mind I got inspired to learn languages… two types. The Programming Variety and the Talking Variety… and here are the apps I’m using to do just that.
I’ve been a Capoeirista for many years but I’ve always struggled with the music and have never had the chance to immerse myself in Brazilian culture and language since a trip there ten years ago. Then along came the awesome Duolingo app from the same man who created those annoying Captchas that you have to fill in to prove your human.
I could wax lyrical about why the app is so cool, apart from the fact that its free and makes the learning of a language fun, but I’ll let Luis von Ahn do it in his TED talk.
I hope that one day I can make an educational app that is this useful to humanity and so well polished too!
You’ll find your better half calling the app Puolingo as you sit there on the toilet talking to yourself translating Portuguese (or some other language) while squeezing one out.
With the ability to train against a computer, compete with your friends and set daily goals you’ll be using this like a fitness app and then you’ll realise you can understand a whole new language. Though it fails in one area – giving you the confidence to go out there and use the words you learn – this is something that only comes with practice the language with native speakers.
Ryan Carson’s latest venture has been around for over a while now and is going strong training millions of people how to code and learning new design and business skills through a slick video based platform with game elements and incorporating a workspace text editor to encourage you to practice keep powering through the courses.
Wanna really learn to code but still do it for free? Code Academy has been slowly adding more and more programming tracks to it roster and as a non-profit designed to encourage code literacy its perfect for anyone who wants to learn the basic concepts behind many of the most popular web programming languages today.
The philosophy is learning by doing projects and in some ways its better than Treehouse because its structured to take you through a full project that produces a result whereas you need to seek out projects in the library at Treehouse to test your skills. It doesn’t have video lecture based learning but it more than makes up for it with an active forum and lots of practical usable lessons.
Perhaps you need to get back to basics and learn maths to help you get your head around certain concepts or maybe you just want a refresher because lets face it who remembers their advanced algebra unless you’re using it everyday.
Khan academy was designed to help youngsters learn maths but its has a wealth of other video based learning materials and a serious points and badging system designed and refined multiple times to encourage you to continue learning through rewards and acknowledgements of accomplishments.
It has been simplified to guide you through tracks and is tailored to your level from beginner to rocket science. Great if you’re learning with your kid or just by yourself.
You have to embrace your inner beginner when you’re learning so go and make some mistakes. Its the only way to get good. Most important though is to use the knowledge you’re gaining practically, otherwise you won’t retain it and it becomes a patent waste of time.
The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t isn’t knowledge or connections… is being able to apply knowledge in practical ways and using connections to enable more of that. Most of all though you should choose to learn something that you enjoy doing it otherwise you won’t want to keep learning, practicing and challenging yourself.
Stay sharp friends