Elearning always amazes me and this time, I am bowled over by the plethora of skills that we can learn online.
One week back, my daughter joined Bharatanyam(an Indian Classical Dance) class. The class is for one hour once a week and her teacher suggested the students to practice what she taught . I know nothing about that dance. I had just enrolled my daughter in the class because the class was offered next door and my daughter needed some physical exercise after staying at school for several hours. When I asked my daughter to practice her steps at home, she stared blankly at my face. I was worried how will I guide my daughter when I don’t even know about that dance.
As always, I searched google hoping that I may get some information about this dance. Much to my amazement I came across a website which teaches bharathanatyam online(http://onlinebharatanatyam.com/). Wow!!!! I was excited. The website has videos starting with the basic terminology, basic steps and detailed instructions for anyone who wants to learn dance. Isn’t it amazing? You can learn literally anything online.
Till now, I was aware of websites which taught technical courses online. I enrolled for certain courses in coursera.org and successfully completed some of them. There are several universities which offer MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and there are several websites which offer free technical courses and writing courses. I learnt cooking using online videos and I even passed my driving test based on the tips provided by a driving instructor in a Youtube video. Whenever I need some inspiration, I watch TED talks and there is a wealth of information in every video. It didn’t occur to me that I can search for videos about other skills such as swimming or karate or even dance.
It is so amazing that we live in a world where you can learn anything for free just by sitting in front of our computer.
Whenever I think of self study I am reminded of a story in Indian Mythology (Mahabharatha) . There is a character of a sincere disciple by name ‘Ekalavya’ who desires to study archery from the famous guru Drona. But, Drona turns Ekalavya away because of Ekalavya’s caste . Ekalavya , who is deeply hurt by this rejection, once watches Drona giving training to other princes in a forest. Once the group leaves the forest, Ekalavya builds a statue of Drona in that place and learns archery by self study for several years. Even though he masters archery by self learning , he still treats ‘Drona’ as his real Guru. Later, in a plot of treachery when Drona asks Ekalavya to sacrifice his right thumb as a fee(Guru dakshina), Ekalavya readily cut off his right thumb.
Luckily in the present world, no one asks for right thumb or any such thing but we need to a pay a fortune as a tuition fee to learn any course. In such a situation, if we are self disciplined, we can learn several skills by accessing free online resources. All we need is a passion to learn and a reliable internet connection 🙂