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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 17, 2021

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

1. Set a Timer

Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

2. Eliminate All Distractions

Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

9. Don’t Multitask

Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

10. Step Away from the Computer

The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

11. Use Focus Tools

Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

12. Just Start

Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

13. Find out Your Productive Hours

Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

“Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

20. Get Plenty of Sleep

When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

21. Exercise

Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

22. Outsource as Much as Possible

If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

23. Set Some Exciting Goals

Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

25. Listen to Podcasts

Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

27. Learn to Speed Read

When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

28. Learn to Skip When You Read

When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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30. Take a Break

You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

What is polyphasic sleep?

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

32. Learn to Say “No”.

We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

33. Go on an Information Diet

Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

34. Organize Your Office

The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

35. Find a Mentor

By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

43. Take Shorter Showers

This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

45. Auto Pay Your Bills

How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

46. Shop Online

Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

49. Turn off the TV

The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

50. Use a Tivo or DVR

This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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