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Online learning resources for the small business – part 4

Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.


Khan Academy is yet another example of MOOC platform that is changing the world of online education. The roots of Khan Academy are an amazing story of innovation. In 2004 Salman Khan, a full-time hedge fund analyst, began tutoring his cousin Nadia in mathematics using Yahoo!’s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought similar help, he decided it would be more practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. The video tutorials grew increasingly popular and testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his day job in 2009 and focus on the tutorials full-time.

Khan Academy today offers thousands of educational resources, including over 100,000 exercise problems, and over 5,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube. The range of subject areas are broad, covering mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, general chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, organic chemistry, American civics, art history, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and computer science. All of these resources, including extensive library content and a personalized learning dashboard, can be offered for free to anyone with an internet connection.


The mission of Khan Academy reflects Mr. Khan’s vision to provide “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”

Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.

All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

Khan Academy reaches about 10,000,000 students per month and has delivered over 300,000,000 lessons.

Khan Academy has gotten rave reviews for its approach to tutoring traditional subjects in new ways. The videos are low-tech and conversational and rely heavily on step-by-step doodles and diagrams on an electronic blackboard without ever showing Khan’s face. In the words of Wikipedia, this approach “suggests an educational transformation that de-emphasizes lecture-based classroom interactions.”


If you’re rusty on your algebra or looking for a crash course in microeconomics and entrepreneurship or any number of topics in mathematics, science, humanities and more, then Khan Academy is your key. The short, easy to follow video tutorials can be the door that opens an awakening of interest in a new topic or skill. Khan Academy videos are less structured around the traditional idea of an instructor and homework and more focused on presenting topics in a seminar type format. This is an ideal option if you are a time challenged but motivated self-learner. A good learning strategy may be to test the waters with Khan Academy videos first, then if you become interested in a particular topic, say mathematics or computer programming, you can take a deeper dive by signing up at Coursera or Udacity for more comprehensive coverage of the subject matter.

Join us back here tomorrow as we wrap up this series by taking a look at the fourth major player in the MOOC space, edX. We’ll then share some brief, final takeaways on what this online learning revolution really means for the small business leader today.

About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.
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