E-LearningEducation is the foundation of our society. Free Online Education will accelerate the advancement of science, knowledge and critical thinking – globally.

Thinking Exponentially,  Internet, Mobile and tablet Computing have made it possible to provide free online classes worldwide. Content needs to be created just once and is then available wirelessly to hand-held computers. Offered at zero cost, millions of people are learning this way.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy

Khan Academy showed what could be done with free online education at scale. With 4000 videos of 15 minute classes, it is possible to learn everything from basic math to high school history to raising money. Almost 250 million lessons have been delivered. It’s no accident that Google’s 10^100 contest awarded the Khan Academy $2M in 2010 or that Bill Gates calls it his favorite school. If you had 15 minutes to spare and wanted to learn something, start here.

Moving it up a notch, imagine what would happen if Stanford University, the #1 school on the West Coast, took their most in demand classes in Computer Science and put them online for free. They did exactly that 2011 and 180,000 people signed up for Artificial Intelligence. Stanford trained more people on A.I. in 4 months online than they would have in a physical classroom in 500 years.



It was such an incredible success, two companies have spun off from Stanford. Andrew Ng who taught Machine Learning launched Coursera. Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun (the self driving car) taught Artificial Intelligence founded Udacity. At last count Coursera had over 300 courses. You can learn to build your own self driving car at Udacity. Both now offer classes from Universities from around the world for free. I highly recommend either.



There is a commercial side to this. offers paid training in many professional technologies. Using a Learn by Doing approach, CodeSchool and TreeHouse teaches web programming. Udemy allows anyone to create and sell a course online. Apple iTunes U offers courses on the go. Learn from entrepreneurs at Mixergy. You can even compare you skills against everyone else at Smarterer.

There is a critical social implication of Free Online Education.

Charles DarwinEvolutionarily speaking, people are genetically programmed to irrationally believe what they learn first. This makes sense from a Darwinian point of view. If you didn’t listen to your parents, you would tend to get eaten.

The bias to first taught knowledge is the source of many handed down beliefs. If you teach a child the world is flat at the age of 4, they will hold on to that for a very long time. Even in the face of contrarian evidence. This is why it so hard to uproot irrationally beliefs or superstitions. People are genetically biased to hold on to what they learn first.

By Thinking Exponentially you can imagine free online education offers more than just training. It offers us the opportunity at a global scale to truly break the cycle of learned discrimination, prejudices and bigotry. When any child worldwide can learn science, art, or music from international resources, it’s not so easy to lock young minds into a box.

This generation will not learn like that last generation. There are 1 billion smart phones in the world and its growing exponentially. Free Online Education is the catalyst to break the cycle, creating a more rational and secular generation.

You want to see the world change? Educate the planet.

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