Hi, my name is David C. Brake/Founder of LRNGO.com, a startup company and website in development that I began with my co-founder, Mandy Liu Brake. Before I write anything else, I want to thank everyone who responded to our call to contribute original articles to the site. Many of them are very informative, and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your ideas and wisdom – especially when it can’t be found elsewhere on the web!
So let’s cut to the chase—I imagine you want to know what the heck this website is all about and why you would want to read this blog. :-) Perhaps they are both trick questions. To answer the first, right now LRNGO.com is simply an article library, but it is actually a website in development that we refer to as the “world’s first knowledge market,” and you would want to read this blog and keep up with the development of LRNGO.com if you are interested in learning anything from others locally or making money teaching what you know.
The story? Well, we began this project because I am completely crazy. You see, I own a company called Teachers 2 Go LLC whose mission is to provide busy people with any type of instruction by bringing teachers to their home through a convenient concierge service. Because of this and my own prior teaching and learning experiences, I became interested in all kinds of learning processes and methods—particularly those that could be called social or “alternative.” Why? Because I am a product of it and because there is an underlying economy that is driven by it, and because these facts have enabled me and others like me not only to survive, but to thrive in a system from which we might otherwise have been excluded.
When I say excluded, lucky for me, in my case I mean due to my own choices. I have had my share of both good and bad experiences with traditional learning institutions, and I believe the classroom learning experience can be as essential in certain applications as alternative methods are in others. However the fact remains, we don’t always have the time or money to go to school and get credentials in everything we want to know, or that we need to know in order to compete.
And yet we find a way to learn. First we research and study, then perhaps we learn by practicing ourselves, and then we take it as far as we can until we hit a roadblock—and that’s when it’s time to get social. Of course, the learning process takes on a whole different dynamic once you find someone to teach and guide you; whether it’s a friend who knows more than you, or a teacher or a mentor. Let’s face it, if this wasn’t the case, education wouldn’t be the 2nd largest industry in the world.
It’s no coincidence that in almost every story ever written, the main character or hero has a friend or a guide that teaches them. Learning from others is social, participatory, engaging, and the clearest path to actually successfully “doing it”—whatever “it” may be. In fact, it is basic human nature to learn from others. One could argue that every conversation we have with someone else is a learning experience. (Even if all we learn is that we don’t want to talk to them again. Speed daters may be especially suited to expertise on that topic!)
Anyway getting back to Teachers 2 Go LLC, so there I was with a regionally successful company of over 175 instructors for almost every academic and extra-curricular subject under the sun, and one day I was noticing the number of calls we had to turn away and it started to bother me. Because the schedules didn’t match, because they couldn’t afford it, because they were too far away—etc. These people all wanted to learn their subject of interest, but the same kinds of barriers that made traditional education impossible and brought them to Teachers 2 Go in the first place (time/cost/location) were still making it impossible to connect with instructors to help them achieve their goals. We were going in circles—and for many people, not solving the problem.
So I did what I should have done a lot sooner: I went back to the problem. Let’s see, we don’t always have the time or money to go to school and get credentials in everything we want to know, or that we need to know to compete. Wouldn’t it be great if you could instantly find someone near you to teach you anything? Wouldn’t it be great if you could teach whatever you know to anyone near you who is looking? Wouldn’t it help our economy if knowledge were an openly traded commodity?
Stay tuned. It’s about to happen.