Saturday, 19th March 2011
A few months ago, I wrote about various places to learn online, including the Khan Academy. Then a couple of weeks ago I saw a TED talk by Salman Khan where he talked about the Khan Academy (what else?) and its recent improvements. So I went back to the website and signed up.
Signing up means you can keep track of the videos you've watched more easily. Another new feature are exercises for the early maths lessons, which I'm slowly working through. They start off very easy, but actually get quite difficult. I'd forgotten how difficult long divison and multiplication can be. It's quite addictive though. I can imagine, I would have really enjoyed the exercises as a child and learnt a lot. I hope that by the time I complete all the current exercises, more will have been added.
Another new feature is a points system that makes doing the exercises even more addictive. I'm not completely convinced that the points system is a good idea, because it can cause you to focus too much on the points and not the actual lessons (and you can get points for watching videos of Salman being interviewed). However, it definitely makes you do more work than you might do otherwise. I've spent way too much time on the exercises this week, trying to get points and badges.
So far, I have been mainly watching videos about biology, just to see how good they are (not too bad, but I will have to write about why the phosophate bond of ATP has nothing to do with why ATP hydrolysis is used to power cellular reactions), and linear algebra, which I've wanted to learn for ages. It's really an ideal resource for adult learning. I'm looking forward to seeing what they add over the coming months.