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Is Khan Academy a good source for self-learning?

  1. Feb 1, 2012 #1
    When professors are insufficient or don't teach very well, is Khan Academy a good alternative to learning topics such as calculus/differential equations, etc. as well as the sciences (bio, chem, physics)? I can't tell if the content is good resource material because I'm not an expert on any of the subjects, but would just plain textbooks be better than videos on the Khan Academy website or do would these videos suffice?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2
    Khan academy is a very good source for learning. I think it's really useful, and you should keep watching it if it helps you.

    That said: you shouldn't use Khan acedemy as your only source for learning. You should have an actual textbook closeby to see what they say. Being able to learn a textbook is a different skill then being spoonfed through khanacademy, and it's a skill you need to master.
    Furthermore, it is crucial to make exercises. Khan academy doesn't provide exercises.

    Basically, this is what I suggest for good learning:
    1) Read the topic in your textbook or hear it from a lecturer.
    2) Watch the topic on Khan Academy to see what they have to see.
    3) Read the textbook again to see if there are steps you don't understand.
    4) Ask your questions to your TA, professor or people on PF.
    5) Make exercises!!!!
  4. Feb 1, 2012 #3
    Khanacademy is fantastic.

    The only thing that I would recommend is (as micromass stated) to check another source. There are some topics in the scope of algebra to calc III that khanacademy does not cover, in which case the textbook would be more applicable. Either way, it's always best to read the book and familiarize yourself with the way math is worded.
  5. Feb 1, 2012 #4
    Why make exercises when they are already provided in the textbook?
  6. Feb 1, 2012 #5
    What do you propose otherwise? Just read the textbook without making exercises?? I guarantee you that this will not work. You need to get your hands dirty yourself to really understand everything.

    There's a large difference between seeing somebody calculate an integral and understanding every step, and being able to do it yourself.

    In fact, making exercises is the most important part of studying. There is no way around it.
  7. Feb 1, 2012 #6
    I think the OP interpreted you to mean literally make your own problems, whereas you meant to solve the problems in the textbook...unless I've misunderstood this.
  8. Feb 1, 2012 #7
    I make up my own problems all the time. Sometimes I come up with things that are not possible to solve, but I always learn from them. I do think that micromass meant that you need to practice solving actual problems though, be it from a problem set book, text, or what have you.
  9. Feb 2, 2012 #8
    Alright, thanks. All I wanted to do was make sure there was no inaccuracies in the videos which is why I was hesitant to use them; just in case they might teach the wrong things and I didn't want to be confused by discrepancies.
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