Are You Lurking or Learning?

My freshman year in college I decided to change my course of study from engineering to French. Why? Because the teacher was incredibly beautiful and there were no hot teachers in the engineering program.
Digging into books

Despite the clarity of my decision, there was an underlying problem though, which was that I didn’t really enjoy studying, I was much happier just socializing. So when it came to doing my assignments for my French classes, I was pretty blocked.

So I put together this strategy. I told myself, just open the book and hang out with it, you don’t even have to study! Just invite your books open for drinks and hang out!

Hanging out in the groove.

The outcome? Well, my assignments yielded no results. Mine was a good strategy for opening books – but a horrible one for my grades. To be genuine with myself, thinking back I realize I was just lurking around school, and my system for studying sucked.

Last year I noticed myself lurking around books and online courses, and I connected the two experiences as the same behavior. I’d read a non-fiction personal development book, but would not do the exercises at the end of the chapters. I was just entertaining myself with good ideas.

I’d register for an online course, watch the intro, look through the syllabus, maybe pop into a couple of modules, and then forget about it. You could say my system for studying still sucked after all these years.

But maybe the problem isn’t just my system. It’s also the system that’s available. It’s the one being offered to me, and what’s missing for me is the educational adventure.

For example, in college I managed to pull my grades together enough and joined the study abroad program in France. I loved learning the language in the native land so much I stayed an extra year.

When I came back to finish my degree, I loved speaking the language with my classmates! That was my system, the one that really worked for me. Adventure and conversation. That’s what works.
Adventurous Learning Community

So now, with all these great personal development books that inspire my creativity and leadership, what do I do with these things? How can I turn these books and courses into an adventure?

I’ve suffered from lurking for long enough. I know what works for me. Now I get to creatively implement the solution. Make it an adventure, and carry on a conversation about the adventure.

But maybe I’m not the only one. With low engagement rates of most online courses, I’m pretty sure we can build better software that connects engaged communities on an educational adventure.

So I’m taking that on. I’m creating software to connect real community, who can take an adventure together through important work.

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