Loading my Learning Ledger

I love learning!

I didn’t particularly like school or school-ing while I was doing it, mostly because I didn’t really fit the standardized educational system. I usually did exceedingly well in class, but quickly got bored and restless. That meant I got to know every principal I ever had from 1st grade on from multiple trips to the office. I learned to look for my learning elsewhere for the most part, choosing to heed Mark Twain’s advice, “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”

online learningMy lifelong yearning for learning feeds nicely into the ongoing trend towards lifelong learning, a concept built on the idea that we should never stop learning. Add that the internet now offers almost unlimited learning opportunities online, and you’ve got me hooked.

At SXSWedu 2016, Jane McGonigal spoke about “learning as currency” and proposed a future scenario where people trade in “edublocks” (similar to BitCoin system), trading in expertise and knowledge. For example, if I want to learn to garden, I could find an expert gardener and pay him to teach — with the edublocks I earned training someone else in instructional design techniques. The gardener in turn might pay for cooking classes from a chef. Learners earn and track edublocks via a personal Learning Ledger. The “Learning is Earning 2026” website forecasts possibly using the Ledger by 2026, so I figure I’ll just try and get a head start on loading up my Ledger now.

Here’s a handful of some online learning opportunities I’ve explored and enjoyed:


Back in 2013, I took a free multi-week MOOC (Massive Open Online Class), the Future of Storytelling from this group. I really liked the practice of interval learning (weekly assignments of content and exercises) and the community the course-runners built up around each week’s work. Admittedly, I was more of a lurker than a deeply involved participant in those discussions. That’s okay, though, as I learned a lot just listening to others talk about the materials and assignments. Having that kind of “cohort community” available online significantly enhanced my learning experience. Did I mention this was fun?


I’m currently enrolled in The Science of Happiness, another free MOOC course, this one from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. I’m working on week 1 of 8 at this time. Since this field — positive psychology — interests me greatly, and I want to get more involved in it, so I opted to pay for an official Certificate of Completion. This is the freemium model of revenue where the course itself remains free but you have to pay if you want to receive a certificate.

Creative Live

Based around live streaming of small in-studio classes, Creative Live offers courses for free on a synchronous basis — that is, if you watch the class as it happens. Or you can buy the course for permanent asynchronous access, allowing you want to view it whenever you want, along with any associated downloadable materials — a variation of the freemium model. They constantly run four channels of classes simultaneously in the broad categories of Money & Life; Craft & Maker; Art & Design; Photos & Video; and Music & Audio. While I have viewed (and doodled!) many Creative Live classes and courses, so far I have only bought one, How to Write and Publish an eBook — guess what I want to do this year!


Udemy sells courses and they offer an amazing variety of topics and teachers. I previously took Gary Vaynerchuk’s Building a Personal Brand course, and took advantage of their year-end sale to buy a few classes at lower prices. I’ve just completed a short course in Design Thinking: Your Next Competitive Advantage and have 3 other courses lined up, including The Ultimate Drawing Course: Beginner to Advanced. Watch out my amateur doodles might start looking a little better.


This is a subscription service but offers so many excellent courses on so many topics that I carry a monthly subscription “just in case” I need some just-in-time learning Mostly, I see Lynda.com as my go-to resource for quick but thorough learning, especially regarding specific software, and techniques related to a certain project or interest. I’ve taken some content marketing and storytelling courses by C.C. Chapman, (Amazing Things Will Happen) and I have dabbled in other offerings as well.

There are tons of other online learning options, of course. YouTube alone offers countless talks, courses and tutorials on more topics that I could possibly list. Finally, here’s a list of 12 dozen free online learning opportunities — that oughta keep you busy while!


About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
This entry was posted in creativity, education, Learning, Training and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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