Chapter 114 – Live and Learn

I’m one of those people who can get excited over just about anything. That’s why I love learning about new things and participating in online courses. Here’s why you should join the club!

Picture by Moyan Brenn

For the purpose of this post, I’m talking about free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which usually run for 2-6 weeks. They’re mostly entry level stuff or simple glances into the subject, but I think they give just the perfect dosage of new information at a time. Currently I’m diving into crime scene investigation! And I don’t even write crime novels…

But I digress.

Five reasons to try a MOOC!

1. Live and learn
Learning is never wasted. Even if you take a course that has nothing to do with your actual studies or job, you’re still exercising your brain. And exercising the brain is always profitable, especially for writers!

2. Meet and greet
MOOCs usually don’t have a limit on how many people can participate at once. That means you’ll be learning with dozens or even thousands others who are interested in the same subject. Most MOOCs also encourage people to share their thoughts and talk with other learners, and what better way to find new angles in life?

3. Broaden your horizons
Especially if you’re a writer, you might sometimes find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure what to write about. I won’t get into the whole “write what you know” vs “write what you want” but whenever you learn something new, it’s a chance to get a whole new story idea.

4. Time well spent
This ties in with point 1 about how learning is never wasted, but taking an online course could actually help you organize your time. The MOOCs I’ve participated in operate in weeks, usually having 2-3 hours worth of work for each week. If you feel like you have a bit too much time in your hands, you can put aside just half an hour a day to complete a few steps. Also for some reason when I think I have no time to do anything, I suddenly have more time when I enroll for a course. I guess it forces me to really schedule my days?

5. Bragging rights
Know those day to day conversations where people start throwing in random trivia to show off what they know? Now you can do it too! I’m not sure who exactly I can dazzle with my limited knowledge of Hadrian’s Wall, but at least if someone starts talking about the Roman Empire, I might have something to add.

Have you participated in a MOOC (that wasn’t a compulsory part of your education)? If yes, what course was it? If no, why and would you like to?


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