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Last Updated on March 17, 2020

17 Best Learning Apps to Help You Learn Faster

17 Best Learning Apps to Help You Learn Faster

Do you want to learn a new skill or make a shift in your career? Learning apps are the solution.

Lifelong learning is not a fad. With the emergence of search engines more than a decade ago, information has never been easier to accumulate.

Learning apps have quickly become a go-to method of enhancing or accruing skills for students and professionals alike. While college degrees are still seen as high-priority accomplishments in the workplace today, people are becoming increasingly warm to the idea of building skills on the side as an acceptable replacement for a diploma.

With so many credible resources available to jump start a new part of your career, what are you waiting for?

If you’re looking to gain a new skill or improve upon one in which you’re already invested, this exclusive list of the very best learning apps can help you learn more effectively and reach new heights in your career.

1. Lynda

    The current king (or queen) of learning apps is Lynda. Owned by technology super-power Microsoft, this platform boasts a wide array of courses not available anywhere else.

    Lynda was founded in 1995 by a digital arts master named, you guessed it, Lynda Weinman.

    The top skills you can begin accruing on the site include:

    • Software development
    • Web development
    • Photography
    • Business
    • Design

    Once you secure your subscription, you get unlimited access to all courses (for the compulsive types that like switching around). All courses are taught by expert instructors and industry experts.

    Available for iOS | Android | Web

    Pricing: A Lynda membership will cost $25 per month.

    2. LinkedIn Learning

      The professional network has made a massive push toward educating its dedicated users. LinkedIn Learning is their platform to promote positive growth and learning in your career.

      While LinkedIn is also owned by Microsoft, there are key difference between Lynda and LinkedIn Learning. The largest differentiator between these platforms is that LinkedIn Learning comes as a package deal with your LinkedIn Premium subscription.

      This is highly beneficial to those who are already serious enough about their online career development that they hold a monthly membership to Premium.

      The library here is incredibly vast, spanning from Business to Creative and Technology skills.

      Available for iOS | Android | Web

      Pricing: LinkedIn Learning is completely free with a LinkedIn premium subscription, starting at $30.

      3. Udemy

        Not the monthly membership type? This one may be just right for you.

        Udemy is a “learn on demand” website and app that starts their course pricing at $10.99. This allows you the flexibility to take your time on a course you purchase over the course of several months, without worrying about recurring payments before you finish.

        Many career-oriented individuals want to improve their skills and habits, but the reality is that workdays typically require most of their time.

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        This flexible learning app allows you to take things slow, fast, or anywhere in-between with complete control on your end.

        Available for iOS | Android | Web

        Pricing: As mentioned above, courses start at $10.99.

        4. Khan Academy

          For many of us out there, we simply can’t afford to splurge on extracurricular skill-building. We want to improve ourselves and advance our careers, but we would need to do so on a minimal budget.

          Enter Khan Academy, a completely free database of courses where you can learn anything.

          The skills you can anticipate to build here on less focused on business, technology, and design, and more so on mathematics, science, and finance.

          Khan is a great resource for students, young professionals, and seasoned career veterans.

          Averrable for iOS | Android | Web

          Pricing: Free

          5. Udacity

            If you’re looking to master in-demand skills, but want to tackle it all at your own pace, then Udacity is right up your alley.

            Udacity offers what they call Nanodegrees, and help you learn enough to actually consider changing careers altogether!

            The best part? You can learn on Udacity for free!

            Available for iOS | Android | Web

            Pricing: Free for skill videos. The Nanodegrees start at around $599, or payments of $50 per month.

            6. Coursera

              Much like similar platforms, Coursera offers courses and certifications to further your knowledge and boost your career.

              It also offers the opportunity to earn your degree online through prestigious institutions, such as: Yale, Michigan, Stanford, and leading companies like Google and IBM.

              This site is unique in that it provides free information, but the paid information is directly tied to actual accredited institutions.

              Available for iOS | Android | Web

              Pricing: Courses are free. Degrees vary in price.

              7. Mimo

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                One of the world’s most valuable and popular skills to build is coding. Whether you are looking to build websites, apps, or databases, there is a substantial need for this in the workplace.

                Mimo provides you with the opportunity to make a drastic switch in your career to computer science, or simply refine your current development skills.

                Available for iOS | Android | Web

                Pricing: Free

                8. TED-Ed

                  By now, you’ve watched dozens of TED talks and heard a plethora of messages from these events. TED is one of the largest events in the world, and its main ambition is to be a thought leader for anyone seeking knowledge.

                  TED-Ed is an extension of this great effort, taking the form of an online education system. The topics on TED-Ed are not always as tactical as other apps on this list.

                  The courses you find here range from “What is imposter syndrome and how can you combat it?” to “Did the Amazons really exist?”

                  Available for iOS | Android | Web

                  Pricing: Free

                  9. Duolingo

                    Speaking another language may have more of a positive impact on the world than acquiring any other skill.

                    Think about it:

                    How many people are there in the world that, if you sparked up a conversation, wouldn’t understand a word you say?

                    Duolingo is the premiere leader in language education. You can learn to speak 29 different languages, all at the touch of a button.

                    You’ll be invited to not only read new words, but to speak them. You’ll learn grammar, jargon, and conversational tactics.

                    Make your impact on the world by learning to communicate with a new portion of its inhabitants!

                    Available for iOS | Android | Web

                    Pricing: Free

                    10. Headspace

                      Going outside the box, one of the crucial skills you can acquire is mastering your mental health. This is no easy task, but with the help of Headspace, you will be able to make a vast impact on your mindset.

                      Headspace uses exercises in breathing, meditating, and being aware to strengthen your mind and build up resistance against stress and anxiety.

                      Learning to improve your mental health through concerted effort will have a massively positive effect on your ability to seize the day and achieve your goals.

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                      Available for iOS | Android | Web

                      Pricing: Free

                      11. Mind Tools

                        Since 1996, Mind Tools has been helping people boost their careers through lifelong education. It focuses specifically on providing the essential content you need to build an excellent career, striving to eliminate the fluff.

                        If you are looking to make a career change in the most efficient way possible, Mind Tools is a great option.

                        Available for iOS | Android | Web

                        Pricing: $1 for the first month, then $19 per month.

                        12. Blinkist

                          Are you an avid reader with little time to spare? Or maybe you’ve never enjoyed reading because the content is too long?

                          Either way, Blinkist aims to eliminate these issues.

                          Blinkist’s goal is to give you key ideas from nonfiction books in 15 mins. They also offer the ability to read this content offline.

                          Available for iOS | Android | Web

                          Pricing: $79.99 per year.

                          13. Elevate – Brain Training

                            The simple things in life are often the most important. Elevate is aiming to prove that to you with brain training personalized to your needs.

                            Inviting you to stay sharp, build your confidence and boost your productivity, Elevate is an app that organizes games and activities on your phone that will accomplish these goals.

                            By improving small habits, you will see an uptick in energy, efficiency, and effectiveness.

                            Available for iOS | Android

                            Pricing: Free trial, then $45 per year.

                            14. MasterClass

                              While the other platforms for learning on this list provide exceeding value, none allow you to sneak into the mind of an actual expert quite like MasterClass.

                              Do you want to learn to cook like Gordon Ramsey? It may be best to actually have him teach you personally.

                              Want to learn the ins and outs of directing a movie? Ron Howard can offer unparalleled expertise.

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                              On MasterClass, these are the teachers: industry experts, the best of the best.

                              Available for iOS |  Web

                              Pricing: $180 per year for access to all courses.

                              15. Skillshare

                                Boasting a library of over 22,000 free and premium courses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a larger provider of online education than Skillshare.

                                All classes are online, and strive to take you on a journey from no skill to trustworthy expert.

                                Ranging from topics such as creativity and lifestyle to business and technology, there is very little you won’t find here.

                                Available for iOS | Android | Web

                                Pricing: Free trial, then $45 per year.

                                16. edX

                                  Much like Coursera, edX aims to connect you with educators from highly prestigious universities. If you don’t want to risk learning from someone who barely has more experience than you, edX is for you.

                                  Here, you can learn about computer science, language, statistics, and even humanities from institutions like Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

                                  Available for iOS | Android | Web

                                  Pricing: Free

                                  17. CreativeLive

                                    Focusing more on the creative skills and jobs out there, Creative Live is a leader in helping you “answer your creative calling”.

                                    You’ll be able to learn from key influencers, such as Mel Robbins, Lisa Congdon, and John Greengo.

                                    The key difference here as that courses are not free. The app is free to download and explore, but it will take an investment on your part to get access to these expert-led lessons.

                                    Available for iOS |  Web

                                    Pricing: Starting at $99 per course.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    No matter what you are trying to learn and where you feel is best for you to do that, the most important thing is that you take action!

                                    Start learning something new today, and repeat the pattern daily for the rest of your life. Visit the apps in this list and find which one is best for you!

                                    Lifelong learning is easier than ever before, and it’s something you really should take advantage of.

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                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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                                    Blake Emal

                                    A young entrepreneur who took a leap of faith and moved away from his comfort zone to build his own business

                                    17 Best Learning Apps to Help You Learn Faster

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                                    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                                    How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier

                                    How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier

                                    Have you ever noticed that you tend to learn certain things simply by observing others? Learning in this way is called social learning, which is one of the 6 common types of learning. It helps you learn faster as knowledge and habits are acquired easily when they are practiced by people within a certain environment.

                                    Throughout the centuries, humans have incorporated social learning in their lives as a major learning approach. The fact that human behavior is learned has made this possible. From initially being the only way to learn, it is now the fastest and most comprehensive learning method.

                                    In this article, you’ll find out how you can make good use of social learning and observed behaviors to help you learn faster and easier.

                                    The social learning theory as presented by Albert Bandura is simple. It suggests social learning is based on attention, retention, motivation and reproduction[1].

                                    While these stages seem like common sense, there is a surprisingly large number of people who go through social interactions without learning anything because they aren’t actively practicing the different stages.

                                    Let’s get started with the first stage, attention.

                                    Attention

                                    Since our mind has a limited capacity for storing data, it’s the things that we pay attention to that stay with us. Giving 100% of your attention to a situation you learn from is guaranteed to help you maximize social learning.

                                    Stay in the Moment

                                    When you’re focused on learning from your surroundings, your mind will focus only on what it wants to learn, so distractions fade away. However, it’s very normal to be in a situation where the information you are getting becomes monotonous or you get distracted for some other reason.

                                    Make sure you are well-rested and energized so you can spend your energy learning things that matter to you[2].

                                    social learning theory

                                      Be Mindful

                                      Mindfulness in its simplest terms is tuning into we’re experiencing in the present rather than thinking about something that could or did happen.

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                                      For social learning, you should be mindful only of the conversation or activity you want to learn from, filtering out other things that don’t matter to you as much at that moment. This way, your brain can make memories of what you are experiencing at that time only, which is the thing you want to learn.

                                      If you find yourself getting distracted, focus on deep breathing until the distractions fade away and you can bring your attention back to the learning opportunity at hand.

                                      For more tips on being mindful, check out this article.

                                      Don’t Multitask

                                      In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s normal, even expected, to be a multitasker. Being amongst people and checking emails on smartphones is now normal social behavior.

                                      However, when you want to maximize your social learning, don’t multitask. You should focus only on the interaction you want to learn from and block out all the rest.

                                      Don’t reach for your device, and don’t engage in multiple conversations simultaneously. In short, don’t have your mind and other senses deal with anything apart from learning.

                                      Engage Actively

                                      Similar to the above points, learning through social learning is fast and easy if you listen, speak, and observe actively.

                                      When you’re actively engaged, you respond to the situation by making relevant observations, mimicking important actions, and focusing on listening so you understand.

                                      To maximize the benefits of learning through social learning, be attentive to those who are around and looking to learn as well. A good example of this would be medical students on clinical rotations who are actively observing and listening to the doctor they are assigned to, and responding to his / her queries.

                                      Retention

                                      Paying attention is great for learning, but what about retaining the new information?

                                      Our brain has limited space to store data, so how do we ensure we remember things that are important to us?

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                                      These tips should help increase your retention power.

                                      Repeat to Remember

                                      Our brain starts developing from the moment we are born, absorbing things from people and experiences around us. It is learning constantly, and repeated experiences help reinforce the learning.

                                      A new experience opens up new neural pathways in our brain, and repetition of these experiences[3] strengthens the pathways, helping us retain the information better and for longer.

                                      Increase Brain Power

                                      You can improve retention by increasing your brain power: exercise regularly, sleep well, and stretch memory muscles by playing brain games.

                                      Here are more ways to help: How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

                                      Make Connections

                                      Connect a social learning opportunity with mnemonics. Use mental images, music, and anything else you want to retain and recall information.

                                      Link new information with old to reach new conclusions. You can use writing and speech for this.

                                      Remember That Less Is More

                                      When you are looking to retain knowledge through social learning, try taking in information in small quantities.

                                      Full day conferences, lectures that last for hours, and similar learning schedules do not have the desired effect. The human mind shuts down when it is faced with information overload, and the learning from these situations becomes minimal.

                                      Research shows that if you are looking to retain information from social learning opportunities, it’s a far better idea to put yourself in the situation more frequently for a shorter amount of time[4].

                                      Motivation

                                      The idea of a tangible reward or the emotional high that comes with the sense of accomplishment is what motivates us to keep doing a good thing, while the fear of repercussions or unpleasant outcomes is what keeps from doing something bad.

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                                      When a child observes that good behavior of a sibling results in them getting a treat, while bad behavior courts punishment, the child wanting a treat will be motivated toward good behavior by this social learning lesson.

                                      Motivation to learn new information and habits is a critical part of social learning. To stay motivated for social learning, you can try the following.

                                      Find a Role Model

                                      Finding a role model and basing your learning on them means you are motivated to duplicate the role model’s behavior.

                                      The medical students example fits well here again. The students will be motivated to observe and imitate better clinical skills and patient handling techniques by observing others around them and aspiring to be as good as they are.

                                      Make a Note

                                      Write down things that inspired you, and keep going back to them to stay motivated.

                                      Talk About It

                                      Talk to your role model or peers about what is motivating you in a shared social learning environment.

                                      An example of this is a person in rehab who is motivated to attend meetings by the presence of others who have managed to kick the addiction and are on the road to recovery.

                                      This is based on reinforcement or punishment. Positive motivation is reward-based motivation (satisfied patients) and negative motivation is punishment-based motivation (absolute dependence on drugs).

                                      Remember, no matter which type works for you, without motivation, there is no reason for us to do anything.

                                      Reproduction

                                      In the context of social learning, “reproduction” is not propagation of the learning, but the implementation of it.

                                      Reproducing learned information is the last stage of social learning. Once you pay attention to your surroundings and retain what you learned in the setting, you are then motivated to reproduce your learning so you can get the reward.

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                                      Bandura suggests direct reinforcement, vicarious reinforcement and self-reinforcement as the different ways to reproduce knowledge gained through social learning[5].

                                      Direct Reinforcement

                                      This is when you act on knowledge, knowing the result will be positive, or avoid the act because the result would be unpleasant.

                                      To repeat the medical students’ example here, direct reinforcement would be one of them practicing patient handling techniques learned from their role model, with the expectation that the result would be a satisfied patient.

                                      Vicarious Reinforcement

                                      Vicarious reinforcement in social learning is the application of knowledge that has not been learned first-hand but is learned by observing the consequences of the actions of a third party.

                                      A good example of this type of reinforcement would be learning not to take drugs after seeing the condition of a drug addict.

                                      Self-Reinforcement

                                      Self-reinforcement is when a person decides to reward him / herself for good behavior, or bring about a negative consequence as a result of an undesired situation.

                                      Think of a student who has promised herself a scoop of ice cream if she gets an A on an exam she studied hard for, or decided to ask for extra coaching if she got anything below a C.

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      Albert Bandura presented the social learning theory in the 1970s, and it immediately gained popularity because of its simplicity, practicality, and immense potential for success. While the theory never went out of fashion, it is now experiencing a resurgence for all the right reasons.

                                      If you want to become a smarter learner, take advantage of learning experiences and the social learning theory to learn faster!

                                      More About Effective Learning

                                      Featured photo credit: Alexis Brown via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

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