A plethora of ways to learn

Aqilah Rahman

While learning is often associated with reading books, there is more than one way to gain knowledge.

Be it reading articles, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, or even attending workshops, there are a plethora of learning media out there, each of which has its own benefits and features that appeal to certain demographics.

PODCASTS

Podcasts are a lot like radio shows, except we the listeners get to choose what topics to listen to. There’s a podcast for pretty much everything, and they’re packed with information while being entertaining.

Some podcasts have their hosts answer questions sent by listeners. For example, Planet Money has casual interviews with academic experts and business professionals to discuss the economy and current events, among other things.

Personally, I sometimes find it hard to focus when I’m reading, so podcasts are great for me, especially when it’s something I’m interested in. In general, podcasts are short and can be completed in one sitting like when you’re commuting to work.

ARTICLES

It’s simple to find an article on any subject we want. Technology, science, health, history, finance, nutrition – everything is on the Internet. We just need to type a few keywords and hit Enter, and there it is.

Most articles are intended to be a light read, so it’s probably why articles have become the main reading source for many of us. Credible articles also include links to their sources and references for optional further reading.

ONLINE COURSES

Online courses are a great way to dive into a new field, especially ones that we don’t have much knowledge of.

All of the learning materials have been sorted out, with some recommended further reading.

Depending on the online course, you may get a combination of videos, articles, short quizzes and assignments to deepen your understanding.

There are many online learning platforms with a huge collection of courses by top ranking universities or business professionals around the world. Websites like EdX and Coursera offer free online courses with optional paid certificates.

On another note, online courses can take weeks, months or even years to complete if you’re in it for the long term. However, online courses do cover a lot in reasonable depth, and in some cases, you can also interact with the community.

TED TALKS

I first stumbled upon TED Talks when I was browsing on YouTube, and I’m sure there are many others who shared the same experience.

TED Talks has a bunch of great collection of talks, compact and full of information across a variety of topics.

Aside from having a YouTube channel, TED Talks also has its own website where it keeps transcripts of their videos. If you’d like, you can skim through the transcript first, then watch the video if you’re interested.

BLOGS

When I hear the word “blog”, there are two main types that come to mind: a personal blog that details the blogger’s life; and a professional blog for a given topic like financial planning, usually written by an expert in their field.

Professional blogs can be a good learning source. As a rule of thumb, the most credible blogs are the ones written by those who have expertise in their field and back up their posts with references or case studies.

Some blogs, however, can be biased – especially on topics that tend to have a split opinion – so it’s important to consider different point of views before drawing our own conclusion.

YOUTUBE

As a visual and auditory learner, I usually find it easier to digest the information when I’m watching a video instead of just reading text. This makes YouTube one of my frequent go-tos when I want to learn something or need clarification on a subject.

There are some downsides to YouTube, though. The videos tend to just scratch the surface or give an overview instead of diving deep into a subject. Plus, there’s practically no barrier to entry, which means anyone can make a video on any subject.

Still, YouTube is a goldmine of knowledge, especially if you look at credible channels run by experts in their field.

CONCLUSION

There are many ways to learn aside from just reading books. This isn’t to say we should entirely replace books with articles, videos and whatnot – it just means we can get knowledge from different media. There’s no reason to limit ourselves to just one method of learning.