Is learning limited by location anymore?

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Normally with tastefully written articles or blog posts you have a typical intro ready to entice, capture and maybe even up-sell or convert your reader. However, today we are doing exactly zero of that manipulative stuff, so strap in and get ready for some opinions and hot takes on the postcode lottery of life. I'm going to give you a succinct and prompt answer to the question, is learning limited by location? So let's get to it.

The answers is: No and also yes, but mostly no.

There we go, article and mystery solved. The world is now a better place and you can carry on with the rest of your morning, evening or whatever time it is in the corner of the world you inhabit. Honestly, isn't that the answer to this? It no longer matters what timezone, postcode, continent or location you live in. Of course, i should add that is true for the most part there are some caveats to that statement. However, for a randomly plucked guestimate of 90% of the world's population you can now get world class and low cost education for completely free. That means it does not matter if you live in Tbilisi, Tennessee or Greenland. You could live in the world's smallest town and with an internet connection join any number of online courses where you can learn skills, knowledge and trades to compete with the most wealthy and affluent postcodes in the world.

There is a time to learn, that time is now and almost everyone can do it.

Where do i get this world class education?

Not exclusive or limited to, but here are some of the the places you can get a free world class education:

  • Edx
  • Coursera
  • MIT
  • Harvard
  • Youtube

But it cannot be that simple right?

No, of course it's not that simple, nothing is. Firstly not everything is free and the free stuff is not typically going to net you a degree or official education standard at the end. Regardless, you can still learn the skills you need to jump-start a career in a multitude of industries.

Secondly, the current learning paths and courses our there are heavily skewed towards tech and STEM. If you want to learn a more diverse set of topics then yeh it's there, but not as abundantly available.

Additionally, there are tons of other factors that could hinder your learning if you don't live in a developed country or have the luxury of a support system and people looking out for you. If you have to work full time from a stupidly young age, have to care for a relative or family member or simply don't have an environment that is conducive to learning, then yeh you may well struggle to find time, space, or the guidance to learn. That is another problem in itself, and one that is bigger than the scope of this article. But if you have spare time, a laptop or computer access and an internet connection then theoretically you can learn just the same kind of things as the most privileged get access too.

Wait when did all this learning become available?

Honestly it's always been here, the internet has always been a trove of learning, but today, the platforms, resources and quality have just grown and improved to another level. What you can learn on Youtube alone is simply staggering and with professional platforms like Edx and the worlds biggest and best universities making tons of MOOC(Massively Open Online Courses) then as a student of any age the knowledge is there.

So... it can't all be good new right, there has to be something bad?

Do you want a doctor that learned surgery on Youtube?

Short answer, no. When i'm getting operated on i really do want someone who knows their stuff or is being guided by someone who knows their stuff. But if the teacher on Youtube was a world class surgeon, then i mean... maybe, oh hell, i don't have an answer for everything right, this is tough! There are still places where a long and formal eduction and accreditation is something i feel i would want from a professional. Those industries or skills are smaller than you might think and even then learning off your own back can make an official course or accreditation much easier, so yes certain things should still have more formal education processes in place i agree.

The reality is that today things are much more level than they ever have been.

The internet is many things but it has always been a leveller

The fact you can learn so much, at so high quality for free is a great leveller and i believe it makes the world a fairer place than it was before. It not perfect and the playing field is not level and that is upsetting and frustrating. I'm lucky to have grown up in a country where you can be what you want, but not every country or postcode has that opportunity. I don't know what else can be done right now, but i do know this:

  • Information
    • Almost everyone has access to it
  • Learning
    • World class learning for the most part totally free
    • You don't need to attend Harvard, Oxford or MIT in person anymore
    • Education does not have the gatekeepers it used to have anymore
  • Free speech
    • Twitter, social networks that did not exist before
  • Local news by the people for the people
    • Because everyone has an angle and more angles allows for a better triangulation of reality
  • Entry to industries that previously required contacts, nepotism or money
    • TV, music, news, media
    • Twitch, Youtube and more

All this is thanks to the great levelling power of the internet and it's why you see countries that are scared of knowledge trying to control it.

To summarize

Learning is no longer limited by location, learning is much more open and free. However, other things can affect your own ability to learn but as i mentioned earlier that is bigger than the scope of this article. Maybe i'll address more things when i'm smarter, better informed or have more ability to make more changes. For now we need to embrace what is already here.

The internet has once again disrupted and levelled a previously entrenched and heavily skewed sector of life. If you have the time and inclination then get learning, you have the opportunity that never existed before in history as freely as now. You can learn more than you know today and you don't need to live in a specific town, city, region or country to get a world class education.

So go out and learn, preach about learning, or practice what you preach and do both. There has never been a better time to learn and your learning is not limited by location, at least not as much as it once was.