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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 November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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