What a silly-looking word. It basically means ‘self-teaching’ which is something that happens everywhere now. Thanks internet. You win again.
One thing that traditional schools get right is bringing a group of people together. Unfortunately, they bring everyone together in the same class instead of grouping together people with similar interests, but you could argue there is value in that as well.
As a hobby programmer, I write code in my off time, read bucket loads of documentation, and I don’t get the real-time peer interaction that a classroom setting might afford. The internet has spawned plenty of people like me, and we’re all learning to program (poorly?) all by ourselves in our basements… right?
Well, I’ve noticed that we’re rarely alone anymore. Unless you’re doing deep work, focused on getting things done, you likely have some sort of forum, chat client, or social media site open on your second monitor. Many of us are getting that real-time interaction. Some of us even get to connect with mentors online. Even more of us can digitally observe our heroes, using them as mentors without them ever realizing we exist.
It’s been said plenty already: education sucks, and the internet does it better. I’ve heard people say it, but I didn’t internalize it until recently.
The one thing that all schools fail to do is force us to want to learn. That’s up to us, and when you’re online, toiling away in your basement, you’re probably already engaged, maybe even obsessed, with whatever it is you chose to learn.