In a freakish but fortunate accident, I came across a podcast episode titled, "How To Take A Course (And Actually Get Your Money's Worth)" (listen to it here). I am currently taking an online course on writing, so I was mildly curious.
But it turned to be a damn good thing. I had an epiphany and a major takeaway from this episode. Let me try to summarise them:
- Set an intention. Set a curriculum.
- Give yourself permission to be on a curriculum at your own pace.
- Success is not watching every video or completing every worksheet.
- Define your own success and actively chase that in the course.
- There is a price and there is a value of a course. Do not confuse both.
If this really piques your interest, you should read the entire transcript, it is fascinating.
I do the same with non-fiction books. I don't fret over the partially read or abandoned books in my Kindle. Yes, $10, is a big price for a book. But if there is one-single idea that I can take away from it, it is really worth it. When I am in need of the topic, I can always jump in and learn more. Life is too precious to slog through some unenjoyable book. While reading, it is always better to chase than search for effective retention.
I can apply the same logic for a course. No one is going to write in my tombstone that I completed watching all the videos and completed all the worksheets of a course. With a lot more attention and active learning mode, I may be able to get my dollars worth of learning by watching only videos that are really important to me at this point in time. I don't need to be guilty of not waking up in the morning and attending the lecture (when I can do the same in a relaxed and active way by listening to the recorded one). The dollars spent on a course is high compared to a book. But my attention, pace of learning and value I get has no relationship with the money. The thought of disassociating money and sunk-cost fallacy with an online course is extremely liberating.
In that spirit, listen to this podcast episode after 28 mins, the last 15 mins of the episode is enough to get the gist and the value 😁