Are you still trying to think of a clever goal to work toward this year? How about challenging yourself to learn a new skill? Or even better, several!
Just imagine, by the end of the year you could be coding your own website, conversing in Mandarin, networking with ease, publishing your first book, or properly using that DSLR camera. You don’t have to leave your couch, much less take a student loan, to learn these and thousands of other skills from some of the best teachers and educational institutions in the world.
Whatever you can dream of learning, these 20 websites can probably teach it to you — maybe even for free. So, what are you waiting for? Make this year one of personal development!
With more than 1,500 courses to choose from, Coursera can bring you new skills in practically any field a university offers — business, social sciences, math, life sciences, and humanities, to name a few. Coursera partners with 140 educational institutions across the globe to provide video lectures and interactive quizzes. You also get peer-graded assessments and social support from other learners. Some courses are free, while others cost up to $400 (this fee includes an official Certificate of Completion).
With an emphasis on “learn by doing,” Skillshare offers more than 2,500 self-paced classes spanning creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and technology. More than 200 classes are free, but if you want to unlock the rest, you can either pay per course or become a member for just $10 per month (after a two-week free trial). Skillshare encourages students to learn by uploading and collaborating on projects. While industry leaders like Seth Godin have taught many of Skillshare’s courses, the opportunity to become a teacher is now open to everyone.
Cody’s mission is to combine the power of physical movement, technology, and community to help you become your best self. While the emphasis is on yoga and weight training, Cody also offers high-quality video plans for weightlifting and meditation. Plans are available for all levels, including “Gymnastics Core Virtuosity,” “FitFlow,” and “Power of Ceremony”. You can purchase discounted bundles or single plans, most priced at $39.99.
Developed with industry giants such as Google, AT&T, Facebook, Salesforce, and Cloudera, Udacity offers hands-on “nanodegree” programs and credentials to help people become web developers, data analysts, and mobile developers. Each Udacity course includes several units with closed-caption video lectures and quizzes to help students understand concepts and reinforce ideas. Udacity programs cost $200 per month and vary in duration.
A 20-year veteran in online learning, Lynda has amassed a library of 4000+ video-based online learning courses. Created by a pool of curated authors, the courses teach technical skills for developers, designers, educators, photographers, and marketers, as well as soft skills for business professionals. Unlimited access to all course content will run you about $25 per month after a 10-day free trial.
With 35,000 courses and 19,000 instructors, Udemy is the 800-pound gorilla in the online learning space. Courses are offered across a breadth of categories, including business and entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, music, and technology. Udemy offers both paid and free courses, depending on the instructor, but most courses are priced between $29 and $299.
As the name suggests, CreativeLive broadcasts live workshops with creative experts from around the world on topics such as photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software development. The site offers more than 600 classes that you can purchase à la carte for about $100 to $200 each. Or, you can watch unlimited live broadcasts for free. Each class includes dozens of lessons and bonus reading materials.
Treehouse is where beginners and intermediate coders can learn or expand their web development and/or design skills. Treehouse has different tracks depending on your interests — you can start down the ruby web development track and detour into web design without missing a beat. With more than 1,000 high-quality videos, Treehouse is a great investment for beginners. Pricing starts at $25 per month.
The Curious model — bite-sized sections, attachments, and exercises — is based on the premise that people who “stretch their brain” for a few minutes a day are happier, more successful, and live longer. Curious offers more than 20,000 lessons: You can learn to tie camping knots, master card tricks, train a dog, bake a wedding cake, even develop an awesome memory. The lessons are accessible on any device, including Roku. After a lengthy “CQ Interview” to generate your personal “learning wheel,” you start a 30-day free trial and then pay $89.99 for a year of unlimited access. Curious says 70% of subscription fees are channeled back to the 1,700 teachers who provide the content.
Often referred to as the Pinterest of online learning, Learnist is a crowd-sourced learning platform that features “learnboards” — images, videos, and text on topics such as technology, arts, crafts, history, and cooking. Learn to make latte art, win at Yahtzee, nail a job interview, or pack a suitcase like a flight attendant! Though most of the content is user-generated and free, Learnist now offers 99-cent premium boards created by experts.
GMB’s mission is to make you better at whatever activities you enjoy. With a curriculum of training programs that build strength, flexibility, and body control, GMB focuses on “movement re-education” and “physical autonomy”. Plans start with foundational movement, move to flexibility and strength, and finally shift to specific skills like using gymnastic rings and parallettes. GMB also offers an extensive library of free science-based articles and tutorials. Pricing varies, but you can purchase training plans individually or in bundles. Unlimited access costs $995.
Sharpen your knife skills, discover what your slow cooker can really do. Become a master griller, or learn to roast vegetables with America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School. Based on the recipes featured in Cook’s illustrated magazine, this well-established online cooking school offers a catalog of more than 200 courses, including Cooking Basics, Recipe Lessons, Technique Lessons, and In-Depth Courses. Membership also comes with access to the instructors for personalized guidance and support. Membership costs $19.95 per month or $179.95 for a year of unlimited access.
A marketplace for how-to content on life, work, and small business, Guides.co features hundreds of “guides”. Examples include: ”How to Get Your First 1,000 Customers,” “The Ultimate Kitchen Organizer,” and so on. Structured like a book, the guides feature easy-to-navigate sections, interactive content, and discussion forums on each page. Guides can be updated by the author at any time, so unlike with a book, the content can stay current. Guides.co allows companies to create branded mini-sites to replace existing white papers, e-books, and how-to content. Guide pricing ranges from free (the majority) to $200.
Do you understand Spanish but stumble when you try to speak it? Want to learn Italian before your trip to Rome? With Duolingo, you can learn 15 different languages in fun, bite-sized lessons. All it takes is 5 to 20 minutes a day. If you’re not a complete beginner, you can take a placement test to determine your starting point. Duolingo has yet to add Asian languages, but it is ad-free and offers all courses free of charge. Taking a test for an official Duolingo certificate of English fluency costs $20. Other language certifications will be added in the future.
Providing free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, the nonprofit Kahn Academy offers practice exercises and instructional videos in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, and economics, including prep for tests like the SAT, GMAT and MCAT. Catering to learners of all ages, Kahn Academy features online tools for parents and teachers who wish to monitor their child’s or student’s progress to see where they may need offline coaching support. Every Kahn Academy class is free; donations are welcomed and encouraged from those who can afford to contribute.
Internationally respected as one of the largest and most comprehensive art education websites, Drawspace is where you can master shading techniques, learn to sketch people and animals, create cartoons, or try your hand at acrylic painting. About 15% of the 428 lessons on Drawspace are free. An annual, unlimited membership costs about $150.
A nonprofit, open-source learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX offers nearly 200 wildly diverse courses. Want to learn Mandarin, accounting basics, supply chain management, or how to write a novel? You can do it at no cost, though a small donation is suggested. If you want an official certificate of achievement to add to your LinkedIn profile, you’ll pay about $50 per course.
Rouxbe is a members-only culinary community for motivated home and professional cooks. Offering instructor-guided certification courses for all levels, Rouxbe believes the most effective way to learn to cook is to understand the techniques behind recipes. A one-time initiation fee of $299.95 provides students with full access to site. In addition, students are charged $4.95 monthly for as long as they want access to Rouxbe’s content and service. Rouxbe’s online professional certification courses cost about $1,500, have a limited number of seats, and are designed for serious cooks and aspiring culinary professionals.
Born from a desire to help people gain new knowledge in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee, Highbrow emails you 5-minute lessons each day for ten days. You can choose from 56 free courses, taking one at a time. Anyone can create a Highbrow email course, so the topics are eclectic, ranging from “Superfoods You Should Know About” to “The Science of Happiness” to “A Brief History of Architecture.”
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