When I hit 30, it was clear to me that I fully contracted the “Middle Age Syndrome” of poor aptitude to learn new things and inability to hold my concentration more than 3 minutes. I come from a family of teachers and Sanskrit scholars where learning, reasoning, and knowledge are highly valued. I felt I dropped the baton.
Though I had been tinkering with edX since 2012, I haven’t attempted it seriously until a few life-altering events happened at the end of 2016. In early 2017, I decided to try edX to regain my focus. I signed up for a couple of courses I was interested in and gave myself three weeks. I was very skeptical about my success but committed to spending at least an hour every day working on the courses. For the first few days, it was challenging to sit through, but by the end of 3rd week, not only I was enjoying the course work, I was logging 3-4 hours easily. I was still struggling to get the answers correct but liked the instant feedback. I decided to continue the course work and upgraded myself to “Verified” status to test myself.
I realized it was not about my lack of aptitude to learn; I just needed a different approach. I liked the gentle use of technology and format of the courses especially those 5-10 minute video snippets. Not only has edX removed all barriers, but also removed all distractions, a remarkable feat in itself.
After experimenting with a few courses, at the end of 2017 – I signed up for the MicroMasters® program in Supply Chain Management offered by MIT. I knew these courses use the same material from MIT course work and were very hard. Being a Supply Chain consultant, I was “confident.” The breadth and depth of these courses not only shook me to the core but also made very humble and confident.
I completed all five courses and the Capstone exam and earned the program certificate. What happened to me in the last 18 months was nothing short of extraordinary. I learned so much more than in the entire previous ten years.
The genuine interest of teachers in teaching and imparting knowledge to students is quite evident, and it’s impressive. The flexibility of edX allowed me to pace my learning to suit my lifestyle and abilities. Sometimes I play videos in a loop until I understand the concept or just to enjoy the witty humor of the teacher. I could complete the revision of weekly course material while passively watching an NBA game. Who said you couldn’t have it both ways!!
My journey with edX had some other positive side effects. Now, I am so confident about my abilities and no longer worried about my employability and job prospects. I have genuinely got my “Degree of Freedom” and am pursuing research on Supply Chain problems I am interested in. I have a better perspective of what I want to do in my career. At this stage in my career, I am not only learning faster than ever before but also more confident about competing with younger workers.
Both my wife and 11-year-old son are also edX students, and we are indeed an edX family.
My salute to edX for doing this! If “Knowledge is Power,” then “Sharing Knowledge is Divine”!