Girl sitting with laptop and university writing on green background

How to learn online

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One of the most famous quotes:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

It is ironic that Nelson Mandela’s home country currently has one of the lowest education quality scores in the world.

The formal education system is in a crisis

Where I live, in South Africa we are facing serious challenges or should I rather say a crisis. According to Mduduzi Mbiza’s research article, South Africa spends more on education than the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) yet South Africa’s primary education system was rated 126th out of 138 countries in the World Economic Forum 2016–17 Global Competitiveness Report. While South Africa’s higher education and training was ranked 134th!

Maybe you read this article and think: “I feel so lucky I don’t have to raise a child there” or you live in South Africa and have a child in the primary education system, like me and are seriously concerned about you and your child’s future. 

I think we should thank the Zimbabweans who immigrated to South Africa following the Zimbabwean economic collapse after their failing autocratic farming and race based economic policies. These Zimbabweans boosted South Africa with educated knowledgeable people as the Zimbabwean Nation was generally known as the most educated nation on the African continent.

The South African education system is definitely in a crisis which is clearly pointed out as the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) found that 60% of South African Maths Teachers, educating learners from grade 1 to grade 6, failed to pass tests for maths at the grade level.

I do not think the above stats are only limited to South Africa, yes South Africa is probably one of the worst but the symptoms of a worldwide challenge are everywhere.  Just think of how many people you know whose passion is their work, who is making enough money, have the time to fully enjoy their wealth and will be able to retire one day comfortably. To be honest it is a small number. If you just look at some of the comments on YouTube it does not take a genius to realize that people are not happy in their jobs and are hot happy with their money situation. 

If we know how to learn online we can solve the education crises and we can re position our careers.  With the online programs available it is easy to obtain knowledge and to learn online. 

Reasons why traditional, formal education is failing

Boy at blackboard have questions

In my opinion the education system is failing a generation, because of the above statistics and the fact that the young generation are not being properly prepared for the adult life or the requirements of a career. It feels like if the world is rapidly moving forward and that education in schools and universities are lagging behind. I have been through both with my eldest daughter and currently my youngest daughter in primary school.

Currently the subjects my daughter who is in Grade 6 (she is 12) are being measured are:

English

Afrikaans (additional language?)

Mathematics

Natural Science (Biology etc.)

Social Science (Geography and history)

Physical well-being education

Computer skills

The above subjects will basically be her choices until she leaves school with added choice subjects such as Business Economics, Economics and Accountancy. She will have to pass 2 language subjects and 4 other subjects. The subjects that will be offered are extremely limited and not a reflection of where the world is now in terms of technology and what is required.

Gabbriélle Munro carry heavy schoolbag
My daughter carrying her daily schoolbag

At her school which is ranked under the top 5% public schools in the country she is not allowed to work on a laptop, tablet or cellphone. She has to carry a bag of books to school that can literally break her back or create other health issues.

I read all my books on my phone, because I can store thousands of books on my phone and carry it with me wherever I go. I also have no emotional attachment to the physical paper the book is written on but rather the information the book conveys to enrich my life.

90% of startups businesses fail. If that is not an indication that the current formal education is failing us then I wonder what is? In the 15 years in my Accountancy practice I have seen many business failures and I have seen a few successful businesses. None of the business failures happens without a large amount of pain and agony in worst cases even suicide. I blame these failures solely on the lack of basic business knowledge and general business skills.

South Africa has not made  any progress in terms of economic growth over the past 2 decades. This fact can solely be blamed on the education system driven by political agendas. It is not acceptable that poor business statistic are continuously being accepted as a norm or a natural law. Fortunately online education is advanced and ready to replace the failing formal education.  

The current learning paradigm

The following points is my general perception based on the education that my children and I received. There are exceptions to the rule.

1. Administration rules ranks higher than education

Teachers are drowning in administration tasks and the time that are designated to actual teaching are reduced to accommodate these unnecessary record-keeping activities.

2. The narrow-minded, limited curriculum

The curriculum is outdated and not appropriate for what is currently required in the world. With all the skills required by the digital economy, students are not trained according to its needs. Subjects are broad, written many years ago and outdated.

3. Kids are being taught by kids

Teachers are being taught to be teachers and are not masters of the skill that needs to be transferred. There is a general lack of expertise that needs to be transferred. A question I posed whilst studying business management is how can the lecturer teach me about business, yet he has not started a business and established it as a profitable concern?

4. The education institution is a building

I do not understand the concept that you have to relocate to a new city, pay exorbitant accommodation fees generated by the university’s location, pay for transport to get the campus and then be failed because you missed a class. With the current technology being used by businesses such as Wealthy Affiliate you can get state of the art training without leaving your house. Collaboration takes place via live chats and live calling. Why do we spend money on university buildings and keep on expanding it?

5. Time wasting on irrelevant subjects

We all know this is happening everywhere, take for example the necessity to pass 2 language subjects in South African schools in order to pass Grade 12, how much time is wasted on this? This is a political decision and not an economical one.

6. Weak or no career guidance

Most people I know have different passions than their actual work. Enough said.

7. Standardized testing

In the accounting career once you pass all your exams, you are relatively guaranteed of a high paid income. The accountant’s income is relatively based on his qualification and not on the actual value the delivers. Why? because the is applying a set of rules that are prescribed and the studied those rules.

An entrepreneur has no guarantee of income and his measure of success is his ability to make a profit, there is a big difference. All of this originates from the system of standardized testing whereby people are being measured whether they have the ability to memorize facts and other abilities for example to solve problems are being ignored.

8. Too little focus on the creative minds

I know it is a cliche but wasn’t it Einstein who said that with knowledge you can get from point A to point B, but with imagination you can go anywhere?

In my opinion the highest quality of being an Entrepreneur is to be resourceful, it is about carving a path that results in prosperity, not following a path.

9. Too little focus on life skills

I get the feeling that the people in power do not want to raise a generation of people that can think for themselves and that are willing to carve out their own unique lives. Most people that have come from the traditional education system has no idea about money matters.

Money as a concept is everywhere, you cannot go anywhere, provide basic human needs for yourself without money. Money is an essential part of our lives, we cannot ignore it. Money and its importance are not being talked about or taught. The internet provides much more thought-provoking information and knowledge about money than anywhere else. 

10. Inefficiency results in costs

I wondered where we are going to find the people to deliver the education that is required? Then I realized, it is already happening all around us. People are starting to follow their passions, they realize they can actually make a living of it by using the internet and the technology that are available to us all at a very low cost.

The internet are already being used to show how, review products and warn people against making purchase mistakes, discover new ways of doing business and it is the biggest training platform in human history. 

People have a hunger to learn. Especially concerning ways to make money online.  Knowledge can be transferred with the cost-cutting technologies that are available online. 

What is stopping people from learning online

The biggest obstacle standing in people’s way is “fear” especially fear of the unknown. I think we should fear the phrase “it cannot be done” because it has been proved throughout history that anything is possible.

Nelson Mandela’s favorite quote “It always seems impossible until it’s done” comes to my mind

Man standing with back facing and Tshirt written burn your problems
Photo by Sebastiaan Stam from Pexels.com

Learning opportunities on the internet

Let us turn the page over and move to the positive part of this article. The positive part is that the internet has brought us education solutions that are extremely efficient, available to everybody, at an affordable price. Online education is specific, provided by experts in their field with minimum time wastage on unnecessary administration.

Education as the transfer of knowledge, followed by application and then advancement in that subject field by further expansion and progress.

I have given examples of education possibilities in my previous article on Linda and Fiver that any person can now subscribe to. You can basically create your own curriculum and do unlimited training at a fixed rate per month. If you find the course that you are doing as not valuable, you can switch to a different course presented by a different lecturer and immediate apply the knowledge in your career or life.

A fantastic aspect of buying anything on the internet whether it is a physical item or a service is the reviews that people perform. These people maybe remunerated for their review or not, but it doesn’t matter, because it provides information and surety in the market place about what you are buying. If one person provides an opinion it may be false, but if 10 or more people give the same opinion, a person can probably make a well-informed decision. 

We are being taught at Wealthy Affiliate to give honest reviews about products and services. It is logic because and honest, true opinion is the only way of earning credibility in a niche that is sustainable over time.

Online learning starts with affiliate marketing

On my about us page I have shared the story about how I had the desire to market online accounting solutions but I had no idea how. I was attracted to the wealthy affiliate education platform because the education offered opens the path to many more opportunities than simple marketing. I would compare the education at Wealthy Affiliate to obtaining a world class degree in Internet Commerce.

Having an online business requires knowledge of many aspects. This provides the affiliate the possibilities to explore then advance and then specialize in other careers than in affiliate marketing if the so called bug has bitten the person and being drawn to a career that is a better fit.

Each person is unique, each person has a different background and interest. On the internet a person can pursue his own unique career path. This is something the school and college system does not offer and it is a BIG thing. People’s unique abilities are being ignored as they are molded to fit a specific career in the current education system. This right here is the biggest obstacle that are currently being overcome by the internet. You can really live your dream life if you are willing to make a start and not give up. Infinite opportunities can be unlocked if you have an open mind whilst doing your online education.

Comparing traditional education vs. an online education

Here is a direct comparison between a tradition education and an online education that you can get from a program such as Wealthy Affiliate.

Traditional education

Online education

You need to physical transport yourself to a classroom, sometimes you are not allowed to bring your laptop or communication device. 

If you miss something, you lose out, your problem. Lecturers many times get irritated to repeat themselves. 

Some students could not care less about the class or gaining the knowledge. They disrupt classes and affect the learning process of all the learners. 

Cost of buildings, electricity, furniture, parking, municipal rates and taxes, repairs and maintenance for the institution that provides education.

The classes are limited to the size of the classroom. Let’s say a lecturer and class costs $1000 per class and the classroom can accommodate 100 students, that mean that the cost per student is $10. Compare this to the 10 cent cost per student of the internet. 

Consider for a moment the transport costs to classes. The time that are wasted on getting to the lecture, parking costs, waiting for classes to start, class registers that are completed and so forth. 

Only a limited number of students can be accommodated with this inefficient, many times in-affordable system. 

Manual enrollment procedures, because seats are limited. 

This system encourage dependency as to how everything are being provided to the student. Strict behaviors are required naturally to prevent disruption.  

Campus life through face-to-face communication. 

Very difficult to get the top thinkers in a field. Those people have to be flown in, accommodated and then they can only reach a limited number of students. In many cases not affordable for institutions to get those experts to lecture.  

The same test written by everybody with little or no practical application. 

Live Training are tutored over the internet and you can watch it from a laptop, tablet, mobile, phone or desktop. Internet “classrooms” are created where students can discuss training and solve problems. 

You can re-watch a lesson recordings. This means you can pause, increase speed, take notes, screen shots any much more. The learner gets the knowledge at his speed. 

The training organiser can mute students. Typed conversations takes place in a desgnated area in the training dashboard. 

Very low investments required in infrastructure and other unnecessary costs makes the training cheap and affordable. 

The same lecture can be presented on the internet and it is safe to assume that the costs would be $100 per lecture as you do not need the massive hall and capital expenditure. There are no limitations on how many students can attend let’s assume 1000 students enroll. The cost amounts to 10 cents per student. Compare this to the $10 per student cost of the traditional education model!

You do not have to travel anywhere. You log in and the training starts on the designated time. An electronic register can keep track of which lectures you attended. 

You can literally provide the training to an unlimited number of students.  

Enrollment is automated, confirmed per e-mail and painless. 

The student has to arrange for his own needs, like internet connection and device. The student has to find his own unique solutions to completing tasks. This results in independent thinking. 

Millions of people can connect on the internet with chatbox, facebook groups etc. Many students become mentors for newbies. There are no clear defined rules. If you found a solution that worked for you, you share it with the community.

Due to the cost  efficiency factors named above, students can now be taught by real experts and specialists in a particular field. Why? because the costs of more expensive knowledgeable people are spread over the larger number of students. The lecturer can give a lecture from his lounge or his own office. 

The students are given tasks that they have to perform in real life. This prepares and exposes the student much better for the real life scenarios. 

Expanding career choices with online training

How to train and learn online is simple and it unlocks the door to unlimited career choices. In the process to establish my online business, I had to learn various skills. From content generating, website building, SEO optimization strategies, video editing to social media marketing. 

Below follow possible career choices that originates from learning online. These are just the tip of the iceberg, there are countless more career possibilities in the digital economy. 

As an affiliate you can start making money by writing about a product and have a link. Most large companies have affiliate programs where you can earn commission when people by through your special link. A list of companies that offer affiliate programs are:

  • Amazon
  • Shareasale
  • Flexoffers
  • Commission Junction
  • Clickbank
  • Rakuten
  • eBay
  • AffiBank
  • Shutterfly 
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Bloomingdales
  • TJMaxx

If you have a particular skill you can create a course and sell it online. For Example: 

  • Online art classes
  • Exercise classes
  • Online language classes
  • Dog training course
  • Time management course
  • Office program course such as exel, powerpoint
  • Jewelry making course
  • Photography course
  • Learning to play a music instrument
  • Self defense video course
  • Video editing course
  • Learning a sport or hobby online
  • Cooking or baking course
  • Dance courses
  • Business learning
  • Graphic Design
  • Motivational and self development courses

E-books are easy to create and can be sold online. Examples are: 

  • A children’s e-book
  •  Healthy cooking recipe book
  • Vegan recipe book
  • DIY books 
  • Home decor and interior design
  • Gardening learning
  • Potty training e-book
  • Speed reading 
  • Emotional intelligence e-book
  • How to draw / paint/ craft
  • How to become debt free e-book
  • Money saving tips 
  • Public speaking
  • Weight loss and dieting
  • Marketing/ leadership / business e-book

Creating content is still a popular method of giving information. Companies pay bloggers to write about their products and services. A blogging skill can naturally expand into other areas. Examples are: 

  • Freelance writing
  • Proofreading
  • Copy-writing
  • Investigative journalism
  • Sponsored posts

Online services are high in demand and you can generate a substantial income from it. Examples are:

  • Website building
  • Virtual assistant
  • Virtual coaching, mentoring and instruction
  • Voice make-overs
  • Online personal stylist
  • Fitness coaching
  • Public speaking 
  • Translation 
  • Graphic design
  • Sleep training 
  • Video editing
  • Transcribing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Completing tax returns 

Create strategies for social media platforms for product sales or awareness. Examples are: 

  • Facebook paid advertising 
  • Data analyses and market testing
  • Instagram strategies
  • Branding 
  • Influencers

Generating traffic to business websites and social media platforms

  • List building for e-mail marketing
  • Automate processes through auto responding 
  • Search engine automation strategies for local business
  • Keyword research

Created a steady stream of income by using advertising banners on your web pages. Examples are: 

  • Google ads
  •  Mediavine
  • Sovrn
  • Adthrive

Endless possibilities after you know how to learn online

It is clear that online training provide endless career options which also generates substantial online income. My No. 1 recommendation to know how to learn online is by the Wealthy Affiliate program. 

What is required from you is a decisive decision and then the will to follow it through. 

About Louis Munro

Louis is the founder of Infinite Affiliate Marketing. Louis is a qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and an entrepreneur for the past 16 years. Louis is passionate about helping people to become successful online entrepreneurs. 

7 thoughts on “How to learn online”

    1. Louis Munro

      Hi Dominique, thanks for your positive comment. Online learning is all about taking control of your own life, take some action and learn about a subject you love online. Those that are willing to take that first step into the unknown will reap the benefits. Peace.

  1. Hi Louis,
    I read your article with intrigue. I thought that South Africa had a high level of education. I’m from England and can somehow relate to declining education standards in the UK. Back in the 70s, we learnt everything from sewing to music, history and of course English and Maths.

    I also studied privately in Nigeria and it was very disciplined.

    Actually, when it comes to learning online, the first thing to learn is correct posture and typing! But that’s another subject I will leave for now.

    You are right about Zimbabweans though…I have a friend who is a journalist and works from home. Very hardworking and insightful. Maybe your website could help interest teachers you meet and they could start learning how easy it is to educate children online.

    A slight variation of your niche, perhaps?

    1. Louis Munro

      Hi Stella thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. Typing, grammar etc. are extremely important as you rightly pointed out. Online learning is a journey whereby you can improve on so many aspects. Yea I will definitely consider your suggestion about helping teachers to educate children or anybody as a matter of fact online. All the best.

    1. Hi Nandksihore
      Thank you for reading and visiting my website.
      Your video about Black Friday is really good and informative. The video editing is excellent.
      In my opinion, I would reduce the number of advertisements that you have included in your righthand sidebar on your blog page. It takes the attention away from your blog content. I would also give the visitor to your website more information about the person behind the website and some insight about you and what you are all about. I hope this helps.
      All the best and peace.
      Louis Munro

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