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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

More by this author

Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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