Learning in the age of Googling

Last year, my son started primary school. Within a few weeks, he wanted to know why one had to go to school to learn stuff when the answer to everything can be found in Google! Thankfully, the reply I gave convinced him to some extent. I asked him how Google got to know everything and he didn’t have an answer. That’s when I told him that he should go to school and study so that he can teach Google the things it doesn’t know and make Google do even more things.

Even as I told him these words, I started to ponder about how learning about anything and everything under the sun has become so easy now, all thanks to Google. But has it really become easy?

Gone are the days when one could confidently say that they didn’t know something. Be it cooking a new dish or finding the way to a small shop in a new city in an unfamiliar country or getting to know the plot of a movie or learning a complex Maths concept or clearing primary school grammar doubts or mastering a new yoga asana or, for that matter, even parenting, one ends up turning to Google for everything from education to entertainment.

For me, the year 2021 has been a year of learning. As I wrote in the opening paragraph, last year my son started going to full day primary school. Suddenly, I was left with a good chunk of uninterrupted 5 hours. In a bid to get back to refreshing my technical skills and updating myself on the latest technologies and programming languages, I started utilizing the time to study. After all, everything was only a Google Search away.

But I found myself feeling overwhelmed with a lot of stuff – Cloud, Java, Python, R, Statistics, Data Analytics, Geographic Information System, Probability, Regression, SQL, Javascript, Scratch Programming and what not. Each time I didn’t understand something, I found myself jumping from one website or a YouTube video to another before finding THAT correct resource which would make me understand the concept or the sequences clearly. While I was learning whatever I set out to learn about, some time was also getting wasted in the hunt for the correct learning resource. It took me a while to pause, come out of the enthusiasm and start focussing on one thing at a time.

That is when the realization that, how in this world of multitasking and information overload, it is easy to lose oneself and end up setting unreasonable expectations. But, with proper planning and focus, it is indeed easy to learn so much without any hassle whatsoever.

Be it Microsoft’s Learn Programme or Google’s ‘Digital Garage’ or Oracle Academy or any of the huge number of MOOCs and the YouTube videos, there is a whole lot of highly informative and well-structured free learning resources available out there.

Of course, it isn’t just in the field of software engineering and development alone that these resources are there. If you only you choose to focus, research, pause and concentrate, you too can embark on a beautiful learning journey on any field of your choice.

Happy Learning!

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