Wasting Money on Learning?

Monday, September 17, 2012

No, I'm not talking about the Chicago teachers' strike. In fact, this post isn't about formal education at all, so I guess the picture is a little misleading.

When we moved to the condo, I had to change my exercise routine, and it was no longer convenient to time my exercise by the length of a 30-minute TV show. Yes, I've heard about the old-fashioned invention called a "watch," and I wear one constantly. But if I have to keep looking at it to see how many minutes have passed, time seems to drag and my exercising becomes extra boring. ("I still have 15 minutes left?" Groan.)

I do have an I-Pod so I can listen to music or books or lectures while exercising, and that helps. But I still need to be able to time it. Listening to the same music gets repetitive after a while, and audio books have a different problem. They vary in length so I still have to look at my watch, and what if I am in the middle of a chapter or a short story when my time is up? I would probably stop exercising but continue listening, which would mess up my schedule.

So I purchased some of the Great Courses from The Teaching Company. Each course is a series of lectures that are either 30 minutes or 45 minutes long. The 30 minute lectures are perfect for timing my climb up and down the condo stairwell, and the 45 minute lectures keep me entertained on my morning walk. Since I started, I have listened to lectures about C.S. Lewis, the origin and development of the English language, and classical mythology. I am in the middle of a series on understanding and appreciating great music.

Audio books would be cheaper because I could borrow a digital copy from the library, but they wouldn't satisfy my timing needs. Besides, I'm learning a lot from listening to the Great Courses.

As with anything else, some teaching tools are more cost-effective than others, and your choices may depend on your resources. If money is an issue, the library is a good solution.

But money spent on learning is never wasted.

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