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Top 17 Websites You Can Use to Learn a New Language (and the Pros and Cons)

Top 17 Websites You Can Use to Learn a New Language (and the Pros and Cons)
  1.  Duolingo

Duolingo should sound familiar to almost everyone reading this. Known as the most popular app for language hobbyists, Duolingo provides a fun, gamified approach to learn over a dozen languages on your mobile — for free.

Pros: Free.

Cons: Not great if you’re serious about getting results. Recommended for hobbyists.

Main Benefit: The main benefit of using Duolingo is that it’s great if you’re just getting started and want to play around with the basics of the language.

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    1. FluentU

    FluentU helps you learn languages through video content, categorizing them into different levels. Topics can range from ordering at a restaurant, listening to music, movie quotes, etc.

    Pros: Intriguing videos to learn in an engaging manner.

    Cons: No ability to practice with a native speaker nor get immediate feedback.

    Main Benefit: Curated video content in one place.

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      1. Rype

      Rype has re-defined the traditional language learning model, by applying a Netflix/Spotify model for private language lessons. For less than the price of a coffee per day, you can have unlimited number of one-on-one lessons with a professional coach, including live classes and premium video lessons to accelerate your skills.

      Pros: Unlimited one-on-one lessons with a professional coach, live classes, and premium video recordings that you can take at the comforts of your home — anywhere, anytime.

      Cons: Currently limited to only Spanish lessons.

      Main Benefit: The benefit of receiving unlimited one-on-one lessons with a professional coach. It’s like signing up for a gym membership and having full-time access to a professional personal trainer for the same price.

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        1. Conversation Exchange

        If you have the time and lack the budget to work with a professional teacher, conversation exchanges are worth checking out. They allow you to connect with fellow language lovers, looking to practice their skills online.

        Pros: Free to connect.

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        Cons: Takes a lot of time, patience, and dealing with scheduling problems.

        Main Benefit: Great place to meet like-minded language lovers and either practice your speaking skills or simply connect and chat about travel, culture, and languages.

         
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          1. Memrise

          When you’re learning a language, memorization is key. Memrise makes the process easier. Using a gamified approach, Memrise has a set of steps you go through in order to memorize your desired words or concepts.

          Pros: Great for memorization, and can be used as a complementary when you’re working with a professional teacher.

          Cons: Only good as a complementary tool, not as a complete language learning solution.

          Main Benefit: The biggest benefit is that it’s a free way to help you memorize more concepts faster, not just languages.

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            1. Rosetta Stone

            Rosetta Stone has been around for decades. It has faced controversial reviews about its promise and effectiveness by several language experts and journalists. Nevertheless, it’s a popular method that is still being used by many language learners.

            Pros: Easy to use. You can learn in the comfort of your home.

            Cons: Expensive. Effectiveness of its solution has been reviewed negatively amongst many language experts and bloggers.

            Main Benefit: The main benefit is the ability to learn at home.

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              1. BBC Languages

              BBC Languages came up with a new section of their website to provide language learning content focused on 8-10 main languages, and more. It contains video tutorials and written content to guide you through the basics of your target language.

              Pros: Free.

              Cons: Great as a starter, but it can only take you so far without practicing what you’ve learned with a native speaker.

              Main Benefit: The main benefit is that it’s free and a great place to start for someone looking to learn a new language.

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                1. Busuu

                Busuu sits in a similar category as Duolingo and the other free mobile apps out there. It provides a simple, yet interactive method of learning, and can be a useful way to learn basic words and vocabulary for language hobbyists.

                Pros: Free, interactive.

                Cons: Not great if you’re serious about getting results. Recommended for hobbyists.

                Main Benefit: Great for getting familiar with the basics of the language.

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                  1. Babbel

                  Babbel provides a slightly more personalized approach, compared to Duolingo and Busuu, as they have different levels for beginners and intermediates, while understanding what demographic you fit in. At the end of the day, it is a do-it-yourself approach, and unless you’re 100% motivated to using the service on a daily basis, it may be difficult to keep yourself accountable.

                  Pros: Easy to use. You can learn from the comfort of your own home.

                  Cons: Do it yourself mode. Lack of accountability.

                  Main Benefit: The main benefit is the ability to learn and review your target language easily on-the-go, or in the comfort of your home.

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                    1. Fluentin3months

                    Fluentin3months is not necessarily a language solution, but rather a destination created by Benny Lewis. It contains forums, articles, reviews, courses, and a book that you can learn from. What this really comes down to is counting on the expertise of the author, Benny, who is a polyglot fluent in seven languages.

                    Pros: Benny has a great track record of providing unbiased, research-backed information.

                    Cons: You can’t necessarily work with Benny, but rather have to learn from his strategy on your own.

                    Main Benefit: Learn from an expert who has achieved significant results in acquiring languages fluently.

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                      1. Livemocha

                      Livemocha, which was acquired by Rosetta Stone, provides online language courses and has an avid language learning community. The company claims to have a methodology for learning a language, but it’s hard to know if it really works.

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                      Pros: Free and an avid community of language learners.

                      Cons: No ability to speak with a native speaker and seems to focus on upselling to Rosetta Stone.

                      Main Benefit: Great for dipping your feet into the pool and enrolling into some free content.

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                        1. Foreign Services Institute

                        The Foreign Services Institute features extensive text and audio resources for more than 45 languages. Designed by professional linguists for the U.S. government, these free materials are of premium quality. It’s also created with the aim of aiding users gain fluency, as it’s organized into several different lessons.

                        Pros: Free and created by professional linguists.
                        Cons: Traditional method and not interactive.
                        Main Benefit: Focuses on many languages (up to 45), and even targets languages that are not as popular, such as Romanian, Igbo, Serbo-Croatian, and many more.

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                          1. The Polyglot Club

                          The Polyglot Club is essentially Meetup for language learners. It allows you to meet people (online and offline) around the world to practice speaking your target language or simply chat online.

                          Pros: Free, simple to use.

                          Cons: Finding the time, patience, and scheduling coordination to actually meet up or commit to practicing with someone else.

                          Main Benefit: Surrounding yourself with a community of fellow language learners is key, so this website is a great place to start.

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                            1. LingQ

                            LingQ is focused on the text-based approach for learning a language. In summary, it’s a digital flashcard for learning languages. While this can provide some value, it may not be a good fit for visual learners (use Memrise instead).

                            Pros: Many languages available. Good if you’re a text-based learner.

                            Cons: $120/year and similar open-sourced solutions are available here for free.

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                            Main Benefit: Targeted at people who like learning solely through text, rather than visual or audio.

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                              1. Reddit (subreddit: languagelearning)

                              Pros: Free.

                              Cons: Unfiltered advice from individuals who have no proven track record of educating others in language learning.

                              Main Benefit: The main benefit is to get an overall scope of how others are learning languages, what resources they’ve tried, as well as what worked and what didn’t.

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                                1. MosaLingua

                                MosaLingua focuses on helping you memorize words and vocabulary. Here’s the approach explained by a language blogger:

                                1. You listen to the word or sentence and record yourself pronouncing it. You then compare your pronunciation to the native pronunciation.
                                2. Once you know how to pronounce the word, the app shows you a word or sentence and asks you to guess its translation. If you guessed right, you click “correct”, if not you click “incorrect”.
                                3. The app then shows you an English word or sentence and asks you to write the translation.
                                4. Finally, you see the English translation and evaluate how well you know the associated word or sentence.

                                Pros: Good for learning words in sentences.

                                Cons: Limited in scope, and doesn’t help in improving your speaking skills or other facets required to learn a language.

                                Main Benefit: Memorizing words in your target language.

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                                  1. Pimsleur

                                  Pimsleur is an audio-based language program that is taught by native speakers, which means you can hear native accents and pronunciations. It’s a story-based learning system (although it sounds fake), which can be a good way to understand how native speakers talk.

                                  Pros: Good for repetition, taught by native speakers.

                                  Cons: Irrelevant context. It seems far too professional, and many of the materials taught cannot be used in everyday conversations, making it seem too formal.

                                  Main Benefit: The main benefit is the emphasis on audio and pronunciation.

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                                    Conclusion

                                    There’s no best solution that will fit everything you’re looking for. What you’ll need to do from here is to evaluate your goals, and understand what your desires are.

                                    Do you lack the basics of memorizing the most common words? Try Memrise or LingQ.
                                    Are you just looking to play around with the language for fun? Try Duolingo or Busuu.
                                    Do you want to be able to become a fluent speaker and work with a private coach? Try Rype.

                                    Whichever methods you try, just make sure it aligns with your goals, and that alone will help you find the right solution for you.

                                    Good luck!

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                                    Published on November 9, 2018

                                    How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                    How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                    Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                                    Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                                    So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                                    6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                                    When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                                    1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                                    Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                                    To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                                    In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                                    • Microsoft Excel
                                    • Microsoft Access
                                    • Statistics
                                    • Data Analytics
                                    • Adobe Campaign
                                    • Quickbooks
                                    • XML Database management system
                                    • Filemaker Pro
                                    • MATLAB
                                    • Hive
                                    • FORTRAN
                                    • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                                    • SAS

                                    2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                                    Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                                    Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                                    • Content Management System (CMS)
                                    • Google Analytics
                                    • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                                    • Email Marketing
                                    • Web Page Design
                                    • WordPress
                                    • Digital Media
                                    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                                    • Campaign Management Software

                                    3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                                    A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                                    • Adobe Photoshop
                                    • Adobe InDesign
                                    • Adobe Illustrator
                                    • AutoCAD
                                    • CorelDRAW
                                    • Microsoft Visual Studio
                                    • Maya
                                    • Microsoft Word
                                    • Microsoft Publisher
                                    • Operating Digital Cameras

                                    4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                                    The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                                    To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                                    • HTML
                                    • C/C++
                                    • Java
                                    • Python
                                    • XML
                                    • UI/UX
                                    • LINUX
                                    • CISC and RISC architecture
                                    • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                                    • Memory Management
                                    • PCB Layout
                                    • SQL

                                    5. IT Troubleshooting

                                    Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                                    So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                                    • Backup management
                                    • Diagnostics
                                    • End User support
                                    • Client-Server management
                                    • Installation and configuration
                                    • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                                    • System administration
                                    • Tech support

                                    6. Enterprise Systems

                                    Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                                    Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                                    The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                                    Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                                    Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                                    Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                                    1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                                    a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                                    Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                                    Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                                    b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                                    This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                                    c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                                    Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                                    Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                                    2. Rule the Social Media World

                                    a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                                    Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                                    From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                                    b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                                    This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                                    c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                                    Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                                    Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                                    3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                                    a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                                    From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                                    b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                                    Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                                    The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                                    c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                                    The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                                    4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                                    a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                                    It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                                    From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                                    b. Canva Design School

                                    From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                                    c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                                    62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                                    d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                                    The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                                    Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                                    5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                                    a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                                    IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                                    It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                                    b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                                    The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                                    Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                                    The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                                    • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                                    • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                                    • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                                    • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                                    • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                                    • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                                    • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                                    Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                                    Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                                    1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                                    It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                                    Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                                    2. Work on Your Efficiency

                                    Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                                    For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                                    3. Look for Shortcuts

                                    Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                                    4. Apply for an Internship

                                    Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                                    By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                                    How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                                    So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                                    Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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