Here's How to Learn Anything For Free
Back in 2004, Salman Khan just wanted to help his 13 year-old cousin learn math. Today, he and a team of over 150 others have their sights set on helping anyone learn anything, for free. The Khan Academy has video tutorials covering math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and many other subjects. You can even find test prep for college entrance exams such as the SAT, GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT. Read on to learn more about this excellent online learning resource...
Free Online Learning at Khan Academy
Khan, a hedge fund analyst at the time, agreed to remotely tutor his cousin using the phone and Yahoo's Doodle online whiteboard app. He made video copies of the sessions for her to review later; soon she said she'd rather just have the videos and skip the live lectures. Other friends and relatives soon asked for similar tutoring, and Khan built a collection of videos on YouTube.
Soon, strangers were writing to Khan with thanks for his help and requests for tutorials on other subjects. Khan realized that he enjoyed helping people learn more than he enjoyed making money for investors. So in 2009 he quit his hedge fund job to develop video tutorials full time. He also created the KhanAcademy.org website, which now hosts thousands of video tutorials.
There aren't typical pedagogical videos. Most are short - 7 to 15 minutes long. Khan and other subject experts do not appear in any of the Khan Academy videos; only a voice explains what is being written on the virtual blackboard. The videos cover topics from Mathematics, History, Healthcare & Medicine, Finance, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Economics, Cosmology and Computer Science. You can find videos appropriate for preschool through college level learning.
If you want to learn about a specific topic such as Algebra or Calculus, there are "playlists" to help you cover all the important elements. You can find tutorials ranging from "Simple Equations" to "Polynomial Approximation of Functions" to "Partial Derivatives of Vector-Valued Functions". If you don't find what you want to learn at Khan, there are dozens of highly respected universities that offer free online college courses. See these related articles:
- Free Online College Courses
- Free Online College Courses - Part Deux
- Free Online College Courses - Part Three
A Different Learning Model
Khan Academy offers automated exercises to help students test their mastery and track their progress. Khan Academy "flips" the traditional educational paradigm on its head, says Salman Khan. Instead of receiving a lecture in school and working alone on exercises at home, students review the video tutorials at home and use classroom time to actually interact with teachers. Teachers or coaches who use the Khan materials are free to work one on one with students instead of "teaching to the middle" with one lecture for all.
Bill Gates was so impressed with Khan's videos that he donated $1.5 million to Khan Academy. Google kicked in $2 million to develop new videos and translate existing works into other languages. A grant of $5 million from The O'Sullivan Foundation of Ireland was made to support hiring of additional teachers; creation of a Wikipedia-style content creation system; and development of ways to blend the Khan materials into traditional classrooms. Over the years, other supporters such as Bank of America, Comcast, AT&T, the Walt Disney Company, and private individuals have donated tens of millions of dollars to support the Academy.
Khan Academy is not without its critics in traditional pedagogy. Khan had no formal training as an educator, and his method is nothing more than old-fashioned rote memorization, some say. Others claim that some of the recorded lectures are inaccurate or superficial. But in response, the academy has made efforts to correct errors, and has expanded its faculty to over 200 content experts. They've also partnered with NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.
With thousands of videos covering hundreds of topics, those who dismiss the Khan Academy as having little value come off looking a bit shrill. Various studies have been done which prove the positive impact of Khan Academy lessons on student performance. One study by the College Board, the maker of the SAT, indicated that studying 6-8 hours with Khan's SAT practice module resulted in an average gain of 30 points on the SAT exam.
The best thing about Khan Academy is that it's free and requires no commitment. You can try some of the lessons and learn at your own pace. Have you tried the Khan Academy or other online learning sites? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 Jan 2020
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Here's How to Learn Anything For Free (Posted: 30 Jan 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved