The magic of online learning

Technology has really changed the way that we see time. It used to be that five or ten years ago didn’t seem that long but when I tell you that this was before YouTube or before Facebook then it seems like a really long time ago. Things change so fast in technology and it’s often hard to keep up. Someone recently told me that 1 year is very long time in the tech world and that my being out of the workplace for a year,since I took a time off to be here in Thailand, it was a long time and I agree so much has changed in one year. Maybe not on the surface but being able to keep up with the technology to be a programmer, that’s true.

It occurred to me, however, that while I was in the workplace, that being there was holding me back as well. The last place that I worked, Gaiaonline.com, which I loved, is a good example.
It is a 13 year old company it was founded before YouTube, before Facebook, and many other technologies and websites that are out there today. The backend code was brilliant especially for the time that it was written, however it was a proprietary framework, and was not using any of the new technologies available today. Occasionally something would be tacked on and we could use new things, but we had to support a lot of older technologie. For example I was using a socket server from a company that went out of business in 2005. So working in the workplace actually held me back from learning new technologies. Since I’ve been out I’ve been able to use the magic of online learning through a series of tutorials online courses YouTube videos and other materials there now freely available. I have been able to Rocket ahead on my skills. the reason for this being his instead of fitting the skills to the project because I was working, I was able to fit the project to the language. In other words, I wanted to learn a new computer language example I then came up with a sample project that I wanted to do for a real project that I wanted to do that I thought would be a good fit for the technology.

A year ago when I was still at my last employer I was having to use Flash as the client meeting the program that actually runs on your computer to make Virtual Worlds and games and then I wanted to move into HTML5 there something wasn’t the time but with deadlines that we had the problem that holds back a lot of companies.

One of the first skills I picked up early on in my sabbatical was a HTML5 library called phaser., which I have written much about on this blog before. This allowed me to quickly make HTML5 games the same way that I did with Flash.

The next languages I Learned was called Laravel which is a PHP framework. It was quite interesting to me because I use PHP for a long time and I’ve used several different Frameworks but they’ve always been proprietary custom Frameworks but it introduced me to a new way of thinking And that always excites me.

One of the things I’ve seen for a long time but never had the time or opportunity to learn was called bootstrap made by Twitter. CSS framework that allows a grid system of lining up elements and very simple basic but clean and elegant buttons and other components.

I was able to match these Technologies together to create HappyPlaceGames.net. I use laravel for the back end phaser for the games end bootstrap for the front end mixed with a little JavaScript.

a year ago I didn’t know any of these Technologies I would have been totally lost and now I’m building in entire websites and feeling right at home with the code.

I’ve also been learning about Unity angularjs, reactJs, NodeJs, Java for Android, and WordPress Plugin development, but I didn’t stop with programming languages. I’ve learned a lot about Marketing with blogs, Facebook, and Youtube. Productivity courses, Time management, and a lot of other stuff. I’ve become an online learning junkie.

Why has this been so effective for me?

What tripped me up in school and also trips me up now when I am trying to speak a foreign language is the listening. if I don’t hear something clearly or I don’t understand there’s no rewind in real life.

Before the internet I always learned from books because books didn’t mind if you miss something because you can always scan back over the paragraph and reread what you missed or what you didn’t understand. Online tutorials and online videos allow you to learn it Whatever pace that you wish. sometimes however the videos are too slow or the teacher doesn’t get around to quite what I want so I go back to reading online tutorials because I can read very fast and sometimes that makes more sense sometimes I go back and forth between the two. As I mentioned in another blog post there was more knowledge available now than ever in the history of mankind, and so much freely given. You can now get a practical education on almost anything for little or no cost.

But all these online learning led to something unexpected I have resisted for a long time. Being a teacher. My wife is a teacher, my best friends are teachers ,my father was a teacher and my step mother and sister all were teachers and it’s just something I’ve always heard of resisted and shied away from but when I see so many people sharing their knowledge and sometimes professionally and sometimes just to share it I could resist anymore I wanted to start teaching the things that I have learned over the years to other people and that’s why I try to put as many YouTube videos, and ebooks as I can Iit has brought me a whole new lease on life about learning and sharing.

If you’ve read this far, or if you are browsing my site at all the chances are that you are interested in learning. You’ve got very little to lose in investing in online learning. There are plenty of free courses, and even great Youtube videos to get you started on any subject under the sun. It is the information age! Take advantage of it!

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