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50 Free Online Resources for Self-Motivated Learners

50 Free Online Resources for Self-Motivated Learners

I work full time and often feel that my skills and competencies are becoming redundant as time passes.

New technologies, degrees and more innovative methods of teaching at modern universities clearly give an edge to the younger lot of the workforce who have access to more modern and innovative teaching methods.

In such a scenario, a person like me would always dig out relatively less expensive and readily accessible online resources to upgrade my knowledge and skills so that I can keep up to date with the modern demands of the new work ethics.

Language Learning

Busuu: World’s largest social network for language learning

This is one of the best language websites[1] that allow you to learn new phrases and vocabulary. It has audio recording options, dialogues, writing exercises and native speakers’ interaction.

This is specially a good website to provide a large collection of languages to learn.

Duolingo: A free language learning platform

From the name itself, it is best for getting intensive yet detailed grammar lessons.

Rosetta Stone: Language and literacy education

This web gives you the opportunity to study a new language flexibly. You can learn it according to your own schedule with any device, from anywhere in the world. Since 1992, Rosetta Stone’s language division has been helping all types of learners to read, write, and speak more than 30 languages through cloud-based solutions.

Memrise: A source that makes learning languages and vocabulary full of joy and life

The website utilizes mnemonic flashcards to help you learn vocabulary better. This is great source if you are preparing for SAT or TOEFL.

Career Advancement

EdX: Free online courses for career advancement

The site allows you to explore any topic, subject, or even school in just seconds. It has a smart search bar and free online education from exclusive universities worldwide.

ALISON: Free high quality knowledge and workplace skills training

It has customized courses made to improve your skills in a certain field. Reputable materials are accessible to make you more effective in the office.

Alison is typically good to provide basic education and workplace related skills to improve the practical knowledge of the persons. Most of its courses are free.

Foreign Services Institute: Online resource providing career-long learning opportunities

This is another grammar-based resource that contains materials for listening and speaking.

If you want to improve your speaking skills, this resource is probably one of the finest resources to offer great help in learning basics of refined speaking and listening skills.

Technology Knowledge

GCF Learn Free: Platform to learn essential computer and life skills

Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries spearheaded the site’s development for modern skills learning.

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 9 Microsoft Virtual Academy: Free Microsoft training delivered by experts

Learn personal computing at your own convenience via this website. It provides an explanation to stuff on the internet, information technology, and cloud computing.

10 Tuts+: Opportunities for people to learn and earn online

Creative technology is considerably easier to learn on this site. It teaches web design, graphic design, coding, business, etc.

Udemy offers a great source on what can be learned easily and on your own pace with little investment.

11 Codecademy: A place to learn coding skills

As the name suggests, you can figure out how programming works via the smart site.

I use codeacdemy to learn coding on data analytics, artificial intelligence, making antivirus app[2] as well as learning how to code for iOS apps. It is a treasure trove for best quality information on coding and programming.

12 HTML Dog: Courses to learn the most common languages used in making web pages

You may learn JavaScript, CSS, and HTML skills from the site. This is a very comprehensive source on learning the basics of web programming and designing and covers a large variety of topics on these issues.

13 HOW Design University: A trusted source for graphic design knowledge

Learn graphic design and interactive creative works via the website.

14 Big Data University: Data science and cognitive computing learning platform

Free and paid courses for data science are accessible on the site, specifically prepared by professionals and professors.

15 Code: Expanding access to computer science

Coding and app development lectures are found on the websites. Kid-friendly courses are also available.

16 Hack Design: Easy-to-follow design courses

Designers supplied 50-unit lesson plan for the site, covering mobile apps, web design, and multimedia application.

17 Skillcrush: An interactive online digital skill learning community

The modules of the site are easy to understand and short, implying beginners will find it highly useful.

18 Udacity: An online university for digital skills

It gives motivated learners opportunity to study higher education and skills for future employment.

19 Stack Exchange: World’s largest programming community

The resource is more of a question and answer lecture source, particularly on programming and technology. Stack exchange is a collaborative site wherein programmers and developers share their code and get tips and advice from other programmers.

Business Success

20 HubSpot Academy: An inbound community which helps people achieve their business goals

Besides lessons, the website provides certifications, which are very helpful for job-seekers.

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21 Moz: A great resource for content marketing knowledge

If you are interested in content marketing and search engine optimization, this is the place to be.

This is also a great source for learning SEO and social media marketing. Though limited in its approach, but Moz[3] is a great place to get up to date knowledge on SEO and search engine domination.

22 Lynda: Online learning platform for business, software, technology and creative skills

This is an educational hub that is suitable for professionals. It covers business, marketing, design, and photography among others.

Money Management

23 LearnVest: Advice on money management

Entrepreneurs should access this site for financial management lectures.

With various resource links for self-learning, there is no reason for you to worry if you want to explore more. Enhancing your skills does not always have to come with a fee.

Leisure Learning for Home Schooling

Here’s a list of academic resources that you can access to.

24 OpenLearn: Free access to course materials and expert opinion on topical issues

The online university gives lessons for students to professionals in various formats. It is an award winning portal where all courses are free and are specially focused on politics, arts, humanities and social sciences.

25 Learning Space: Online learning resources with guidelines

The Open University. You can download free online courses from this site and search conveniently depending on user ratings.

26 UMass Boston Open Courseware: Free and open educational resource

This is a place to study political science, psychology, mathematics, early education, and history among others.

This resources is specially good if you are an arts student and do not require hands on training and practical education.

27 Coursera: Universal access to the world’s best education

The website partnered with institutions worldwide to give anyone free online education covering tons of courses.

28 MIT Open Courseware: Web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content

The place provides an independent study that will not disappoint. It even indicates the semester and year the lecture was taught.

MIT being one of the top universities of the world offers a great wealth of course material and course instructions to provide excellent free online education.

29 Academic Earth: A collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities

It covers various subjects and makes course searching easier by using school and subject as categories.

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30 Stanford Online: Free online courses taught by Stanford faculty

The courses offered in the site are based on sessions. High quality courses are available that may be completed either using a web browser or iTunes.

31 Tufts Open Courseware: Free access to academic resources

Professors’ lectures are available on the site, particularly presented in slides.

32 Harvard Extension: About 800 academic courses are provided to learn online

Harvard courses are available on the website with top notch materials.

33 Utah State Open Courseware: Course materials under university department available through an open content license

Quick searching and browsing are offered by the site. MP3 files are provided instead of document-based lectures.

34 Open Yale Courses: Lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses

Yale courses are available on the web portal. Videos of lectures are even uploaded for access.

35 FutureLearn:  High quality online education for different subjects at university

You can access lessons on the site using either your laptop or smartphone. One of its commitments is to propose social learning.

Leisure Learning for Fun And Interests 

36 Free-Ed: Free online courses and other learning resources for a global audience

Apart from its online classes, it allows you to join online groups taking the same course you chose. This site is good for self-learning and was launched in 1997. It offers complete range of courses for people want to engage themselves in lifelong learning and development.

37 Udemy: Global marketplace for learning and teaching online

You can find both free and paid content in the website. If you prefer, you can also build tailored courses from its lessons.

Udemy has become a giant in online learning and now offers courses on almost every topic. Though most of the courses are paid but they are offered at relatively low prices.

Right from teaching how to code to making bluetooth LED Smart Key[4]. you can find top class instructors providing instructions on how to make hardware, earn more money on amazon, be a social media guru or become a top class blogger.

38 Khan Academy: A personalized learning resource for all ages

You get free video lessons from this website, which are broken down for the benefit of someone looking for specific topics only.

Khan Academy is specially good for children as it offers easy to learn courses offering some great free tips on common subjects such as math, physics, chemistry, arts and other school related subjects.

39 iTunesU Free Courses: Instructors’ essentials to bring the classroom together

You can download numerous lessons using your iPhone, iPad, or any Apple device with this free education resource.

This is limited in the sense that you need Apple devices to login to

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40 Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative: Innovative online courses to anyone who wants to learn or teach

It offers courses for self-study. The difference is, you must create an account first.

41 Dave Conservatoire: Free online music school

If you want to study both music and art, this online music school is known for providing a world-class education to anyone.

42 Better Explained: Learning platform for mathematics

Mathematics is taught on the website with visual lectures.

43 University of London Podcasts: Free podcasts and video content

From the name itself, you can get free podcasts from the site covering different in-depth topics.

44 BBC Podcasts: Opportunities for exploration in podcasts

Podcasts of different topics are provided weekly on the site. Concentration is on current events, sports, and finance.

45 Ed2go: Hundreds of engaging online courses to learn a new hobby or skill

Affordable online learning courses led by instructors are accessible on this portal.

46 TED-Ed: TED’s youth and education initiative

The site is rich in video-based lectures on new topics and discoveries worldwide.

TED is famous for its talks on contemporary issues and are being delivered all over the world. Since the topics covered on TED are of great variety, this source is specially good if someone is looking to access a large variety of topics with independent opinions of the speakers.

47 LessonPaths: Best education tool by sharing and curating playlists

You can create playlists of lectures on the site, even if other modules are from other sites.

48 National Geographic Kids: Inspiration for young adventurers to explore the world

Younger users will find this site highly entertaining given the courses are posted with images, videos, puzzles, and games.

This is great learning sources through audio visuals and helps the children to learn through visual learning which is considered as more effective as compared to other methods of teaching.

49 SchoolTube: Moderated video sharing platform for students and educators

The platform promotes sharing of videos for K to 12 students and teachers.

To get the full benefits of this resources, parents have to take an active role in helping their kids to learn from schooltube.

50 Open Culture Online Courses: The best free cultural and educational media

It has 1,000 lectures, podcasts, and videos, which are partly found in private sites of universities only.

This site offers aggregation of some of the top quality courses taught at major universities of US and developed world.

Reference

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Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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