This is the article linked from the front page, about my mission statement (“free education for all”) and resources that align with it.
These resources are completely free and open. (They do not cost money, nor do they display ads or harvest data.) I only recommend that which I’ve used myself. Usually, these have a large support base and quality checks.
- KhanAcademy => great for any topic that might be taught in elementary school, high school, and maybe even college
- DuoLingo => for learning any language
- CodeWars => has thousands of simple programming challenges for any language, by far the best and most fun way to learn coding and problem solving. (There are several similar websites as well.)
- RedBlobGames => amazing interactive tools about game development
- FreeCodeCamp => learn to code (and perhaps more), huge community, has the same “just do it and get practical experience” approach as my website
If you have a great resource, send me an email! I’ll check it out and add it to the list if it complies.
I also want to mention … YouTube. Yes, it’s ad-supported. Yes, quality of tutorials varies. But in whatever topic you’re looking for, there will be a handful of channels with very high-quality videos to help you. These will usually have the most subscribers and viewers, though that’s no hard rule.
For example, the famous writer Brandon Sanderson uploads his university lectures for free on his channel. Just search for his name and “lecture”, there are multiple. He might literally be the best-selling and most popular author of our time, and his knowledge about writing is just available for free, from the man himself.
The CrashCourse series on YouTube are great. They tackle history, biology, science, with short videos that are both fun and very informative. Once you start watching such videos, YouTube will start recommending similar high-quality channels.
You only need to watch out for “timewasters”. People who take 5 minutes to introduce each video, speak very slowly, and interrupt the video constantly for jokes, advertising their own product, or whatever.
There’s a reason this website is text only, with very short chapters and a minimal interface. I don’t like wasting time. I have nothing to promote, years of experience teaching, and no other motive than providing the best educational content I can. Text is easily searchable, editable, scannable. Video isn’t.
Can this really be true?
Yes, the answer is yes. Many people cling to educational systems, diplomas, and whatnot. There is simply no evidence, in the science or the practical statistics, that these provide any real value beyond the perceived value of a diploma.
People think that, just because something costs money or is expensive, it must be worth much more, right? Wrong. I speak from years of experience. I’ve put random (high) prices on projects in the past, and they always do much better than projects that are free or cheaper.
Everybody with business experience knows this: just ask way more money for something than you think it’s worth, and then people will take it seriously. If you give it for free, or only a few dollars, people assume it’s not “premium” or whatever.
The internet has an abundance of free, high-quality resources that will help you learn anything. This number, and their quality, is only rising.
In fact, online resources are better
It has the added benefit of being able to update and add interactivity. My website, for example, tries to add playful elements wherever possible. (Interactive toys, examples, quizzes, etcetera.) It has also been updated several times to reflect modern developments in programming languages.
A curriculum, or a textbook, cannot do this. These are often outdated and provide learning in the least effective way: by reading a wall of text. And only because you are forced to do so. And finally testing your skill by asking written questions that merely prickle your short-term memory.
If you want to actually learn something, you can do so for free on the internet, and it will probably be more fun and more effective. At least 95% of learning happens by doing it yourself, no textbook or lecture in sight.
What educational systems do provide, is networking (social connections) and more quality checks on the content. Their content can still be outdated or wrong, but at least a large group of people has worked on creating that curriculum, trying to raise its quality.
When you find an online website, chances are it’s maintained by a few people, who do not have the resources to do so. It’s the flip of a coin.
Bad tutorials, however, will reveal themselves as bad as you implement them. You try to follow along, but it’s confusing. You try to do something with the knowledge you just gained, but the advice is just too vague to apply in practice. Maybe the tips or definitions even logically contradict themselves!
Critical thinking will always be an important tool. It’s dangerous to think we should design (educational) environments to take that away, telling people to just “accept what you’re taught as truth” because you paid a lot for it. Always question whatever content or lessons you are being taught, no matter from whence it came.
If you’re going to pay …
Pay for feedback or coaching on the work you do. This will always involve a human with expertise, who cannot do so for free. An extra set of eyes on your work and your progress is always great.
For beginning writers, having somebody read your first novel—and absolutely tear it apart with their critique—is worth its weight in gold. They will point out hundreds of mistakes or potential improvements you would’ve never seen yourself.
Pay for equipment you might need. Depending on the skill, equipment might be absolutely necessary (and expensive), or it just makes your life much easier.
I have written books for years on an old broken laptop. Yes, it works, those books were finished and published successfully. Once I bought a new PC that actually worked, however, I realized just how much time I was wasting. Waiting for the darn thing to start and open a document. Waiting for it to “unfreeze” after typing too quickly.
Pay for the possibility to get work experience and build a network. Unfortunately, the world still mostly runs on “do you know the right people?”. I think this is both stupid (if you need somebody to do a skill, hire them based on their skill) and morally questionable (only making friends and being nice because you want something from everyone else).
But this is the reality at the moment. The majority of my income is from people I happened to meet over the years, who keep asking me back for certain jobs. I have told them that I’m not the right person for the job; they still ask me, because I’m the “only programmer they know” or something similar.
That’s another business secret. You know those conferences? Like a conference about movies or about coding. People only visit those for networking. For meeting new powerful people who can help advance their career. Most people don’t care the slightest bit about the presentations or the content of the conference.
Want to support me?
Buy one of my projects. You get something nice, I get something nice.