When one thinks of online learning, Khan Academy would be one of the first names to pop up. If you didn’t know what Khan Academy is, it is basically a not for profit online organisation founded by the brilliant Salman Khan. Whose video lessons on a variety of subjects (history, physics, maths etc) have gained a reputation worldwide for being really easy to understand. For now it is heavily focused on mathematics, with topics from the most basic addition and subtraction to the difficult college level stuff.
I first got to know about it some years back in my search for learning maths (I’m really bad at it). My first reaction was “I should have been born later!” However, the aesthetics of the website as well as the sheer amount of videos and content also kept me away. Being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start, I simply bookmarked it thinking that I should come back another time but I never did.
It is not until recently that I hear people talking about a recent upgrade of Khan Academy. I went to check the site out and lo and behold, an amazing site unfolds before me. A new Khan Academy Profiles layer is added to its exercise software as well as several key design improvements and custom application development. The introduction of many new user-friendly features (e.g keeping track of my progress, a really helpful knowledge map etc) bundled together with the profiles and stuff were, in my opinion, the missing puzzle pieces that prevented Khan Academy from being a complete piece.
Rather than to bombard you with screen shots and my comments, I think it is best to show you a video by the creator of Khan Academy himself (Salman Khan) on the exercise software:
In my opinion, being able to keep track of your progress, as well as getting badges for finishing a task is what motivates me. Deep down, we are all just toddlers wanting an ice cream for a job done well. However, I do find myself spending time doing unnecessary tasks just for the sake of badges, such as playing videos without looking at them, or doing the “absolute values” exercises 100 times to get a moon badge. This is more of a discipline problem on my side however, and a problem badges could find it hard to solve completely.
Online learning is certainly different from the past, with P2PU, KhanAcademy and many others coming up, the future is certainly bright for the new generation :).