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Learn Anything Is a Graphical Search Engine to Tame the Online Learning Jungle

There have never been so many online learning resources, but that has a downside.

by Michael Byrne
Aug 25 2017, 12:00pm

It's hard to overstate the vastness and confusion of the online learning ecosystem circa 2017.

It's a realm that extends from online mirrors of university classes and even whole degree programs to niche tutorial subscriptions like Angular University to pioneers like Coursera. As someone who's done it, just approaching the Google search bar with a topic of interest is unlikely to yield a tutorial or course or program that's really ideal for the learner. There are too many variables: time commitment, workload, cost, interactivity, length, skill-level, prestige, certification (if any). And this is on top of all of the usual confounding search engine noise.

Part of the problem when it comes to programming and development skills is that there are many skills subsets (or stacks) and to newcomers it's not always clear how to gain those skills in an optimal way. It's actually really easy to find an extremely suboptimal learning path, by, say, trying to muddle through a course out of your depth or by focusing on a skill that's heading for obsolescence.

Surely there are busloads of would-be programmers that have just been turned off by the messiness of the whole thing: programming languages, transpiled programming languages, transpilers, programming language frameworks, web frameworks, HTML, compiled HTML, CSS, SASS, APIs, Amazon Web Services, containers services, reactive programming, functional programming, imperative programming, object-oriented programming, WebStorm, Atom, Sublime Text, Vim, and on and on and on. I could try and tell you a right way of navigating all of the skill trees involved in web development (or other sorts of development), but even if I came up with an optimal learning path, this stuff is changing all the time.

Enter Learn Anything. It's kind of a search engine. The basic idea is that you punch in a skillset you'd like to learn and it will return not a Google-like list of results, but a skill tree offering a clear way of navigating an optimized learning path. Included with that tree are links to curated learning resources. The content is all open-source and open to contributors, whose participation seems pretty neccessary to keeping Learn Anything useful.