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You Need To Visit These 20 Websites If You Want To Learn New Skills

You Need To Visit These 20 Websites If You Want To Learn New Skills

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!

Coursera

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).

Skillshare

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.

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Cody

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.

Udacity

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.

Lynda

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.

Udemy

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.

CreativeLive

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.

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Treehouse

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.

Curious

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.

Learnist

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 Fitness

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.

America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School

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.

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Guides.co

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.

Code.org

A non-profit organization and website, Code.org is on a mission to get adults and children alike interested in coding and computer science.The website includes free coding lessons for beginners. For those who want to dive more deeply into subjects such as javascript and iPad development, Code.org offers curated collections of the best learning resources from partners such as Grock Learning and Kahn Academy.

Duolingo

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.

Kahn Academy

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.

Drawspace

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.

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edX

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 Cooking School

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.

Highbrow

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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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

1. Canvas Network

Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

2. Google Classroom

This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

4. Absorb

This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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5. Watershed Collaborative

Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

Honorable Mentions

There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

  1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
  2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
  3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
  4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
  5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

Conclusion

There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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