It's been quite a while now that I'm relying on self-learning for my education. As I became a better learner, I tackled broader and more complex topics on my own.
At first, it was just specific books or guides that people referred me to. Usually, it was a part of following a path designed by either my teachers, lecturers, parents, or professional acquaintances. I would then use that resource and continue with the original learning path.
When I started approaching entire subjects on my own, I needed to design the learning paths myself. I discovered that it's a hard and tedious job mapping topics.
It included understanding what the broader topic is about, laying out the different subtopics, and getting an idea of which one to learn first, which next, and on. Next, I needed to find the best resources to learn from.
With the rise of online learning, I was able to deepen my understanding in many new areas. I gained access to many new courses, books, teachers, podcasts, YouTube videos, guides, and more. It was a blessing and a curse.
I enjoyed the abundance of available books, courses, podcasts, YouTube series, large and small learning platforms, and many more websites wanting to educate us. However, it was a blessing and a curse, since eventually, I needed to choose something from the variety.
3.2 Billion results. Half of the first page is occupied by ads, and then start the massive list of learning resources. Videos, articles, courses, and so much more. It's easy to get lost or overwhelmed by the amount of information.
Two important things I learned, searching for excellent resources, are:
- Staying on the first google page is not enough.
- The best resources hide in forum posts and blog articles.
Scanning blogs and forums takes time, but I did it anyway because I didn't want to waste time on outdated or inferior learning resources. Too often, I felt I missed something, that I didn't do a proper outlining of the field. That I was supposed to learn something before, and that's why the difficulties right now. I call it the "I don't know what I don't know" syndrome.
Trying to take on a whole field, such a Mathematics, or CS (my main fields), became a much harder task. It became a job on its own. It introduces so much overhead with syllabus and curriculum design, ordering of topics and their subtopics, and then finding learning resources for them all.
To summarize, my pains learning online are:
- Mapping topics
- Creating a syllabus
- Finding good learning paths
- Ordering and organizing the learning paths
As stated above, the best solutions often come from blogs and forums, or in other words, from the community. So social learning already happens, but it's unorganized and unmaintained.
A new forum or blog post must be created to reflect any changes:
- A learning resource becomes outdated
- Better ones are created
- More effective learning methods are introduced
It's hard to scale this system up. More people now rely on e-learning, and for more complex topics as well. Its importance and demand rise, and there's a need for a structured system.
The pains and the reasons above are why I started Jiruto: to facilitate social learning and help e-learning scale up. To design a space for all our learning needs: find resources, talk about the process, get updates on our fields of interest, and more.
The "social" in "social learning" indicates we rely on the community: The people who've already been through this path. Other learners who take it with us. Professionals on the bleeding-edge frontline, forming and adding to the field itself.
As a learner, you can browse the created paths, look for one that fits your needs. The follow it. If it's