I believe in never-ending learning, not only while trying to accomplish certain tasks at work and advancing our skills for chosen professions, but also in exploring new domains and expanding my knowledge beyond the topics that are most relevant for reaching the short-term goals. So I attend MOOC (massive online open courses) and evening courses.
Formally structured courses are certainly not the only mean for learning. Some may even argue that it is neither the most natural nor most effective way of learning. With an open and curious mind, there are learning opportunities everywhere we go and from everyone we meet. There are always so much to learn from people we work with, people we meet at social gatherings and professional events. We also learn through reading and experimenting. Being able to read in a second language other than my mother language is the most beneficial skill to me so far. It broadens one’s horizon that no formal education could compete with. Over the years and across many countries I visited, I also found myself learning many lessons through the conversations and interactions with cleaners, security staff, receptionists, cashiers, taxi Drivers, and others who did not have the privilege like many of us do of having BSc/BA/MSc/MA/PhD education, and even homeless people.
Here are the professional development courses I completed at Stanford University, focusing on leadership and business development, during 2016-2019:
- Women leaders: mastering organisational strategy
- The Creative Entrepreneur: Innovation Through Design Thinking
- Leadership and Decision-Making
- Improv to Improve: Artful Skills to Build or Lead Your Business
- Reading as A Writer
- Public Speaking
- Leadership and Conflict Management
- Funding a New Enterprise
- Building Interpersonal Skills
- Executive Presence for women
- The Right to Speak: Finding and Freeing Your Natural Voice
- Negotiation Mastery: Achieving Outstanding Results and Relationships
- Effective Nonverbal Communication
Here are a few selected online courses that I completed in 2015. The data science series from John Hopkins University, offered via Coursera platform, include: R Programming, Statistical Inference, Exploratory Data Analysis, Getting and Cleaning Data, Reproducible Research, Regression Models, Practical Machine Learning, Developing Data Products, The Data Scientist’s Toolbox.
The profound pleasure of learning something new, revising the prior understanding I established earlier, and applying that newly acquired knowledge is rarely second to the joy of any other activities. The only counter example I can think of is having a cup of tea in a conservatory and watching the rain during a thunder storm. Even in this particular case, one could augment the pleasure by reading a good book.