Millions of users are signing up for free courses taught by professors from Harvard and other top universities, according to David Robson
, science writer specialising in psychology, neuroscience and medicine.
Deep concentration of study is more rewarding than scrolling through social media.
Photo: Fizkes/Getty Images For many of us in self-isolation, it can feel like the coronavirus has put the world on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment. But increasing numbers of people are using the time to build their skillset, with an upsurge in enrolments on online learning platforms such as edX, FutureLearn and Coursera, which offer “massive open online courses” – or Moocs.
Coursera, for instance, has seen an eightfold increase in enrolments for social science, personal development, arts and humanities courses since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s unprecedented,” says the company’s chief product officer, Shravan Goli. (In late March, its Science of Well Being
course saw 500,000 new enrolments in a single weekend.)
Devoting some of our quarantine time to self-education makes sense. Besides helping to bolster your career during this economic uncertainty, learning a new skill can give you a sense of control that will help cope with anxiety engendered by the epidemic.
As James Wallman
says in his book Time and How to Spend It
, personal growth is central to many psychological theories of long-term happiness. So although an hour listening to a lecture may not be as enticing as the instant gratification of reality TV or social media, it will lead to greater life-satisfaction in the long term. “...What do I do after completing the course?
For some, this may be just the start of the journey – furnishing you with a greater confidence to learn and the motivation to take it further. If you find that you’re hooked, many of the platforms also provide accredited bachelors and master’s degrees from selected universities, though this will be more expensive.
For others, the completion of a single course will be enough. But whatever your goals, the quest to learn a new skill or discipline may be the perfect distraction from the frustrations of self-isolation – allowing you to connect with new people and transforming this period into a time of enlightenment and self-discovery. Read more...Additional resourcesTime and How to Spend It:
The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier DaysSource: The Guardian