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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

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.

                                    More About Learning

                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                                    More by this author

                                    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 December 11, 2019

                                    The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read

                                    The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read

                                    Our brains aren’t made to remember everything that we encounter. Unless you’re one of the rare individuals who has a photographic memory, it’s likely that details about the content you consume fade quickly.

                                    How often do you recall reading an article, but forgetting what it’s about? Have you ever recognized a movie title but failed to remember the plot? If you frequently forget the things you’ve read and the movies you’ve watched, you aren’t alone.

                                    Think about what you had for lunch yesterday or what you did last weekend. Those memories are probably blurry because they aren’t critical for your survival. Our brains have about 8 GB of capacity for immediate recall, and only the most essential information will make the cut. This can leave us with a blurred picture of nonessential information. Learn more about this in my other article: You’ve Been Using Your Brain Wrong: Human Brains Aren’t Designed to Remember Things

                                    The human brain is not designed to help you handle with massive amounts of data. We’re bombarded with stimuli every day. If we processed and remembered everything, then it would probably make it difficult for us to function. Your brain sorts through all your experiences to weed out the significant and insignifcant things that we encounter.[1]

                                    The first time you read something, finishing it is the only aim.

                                    It doesn’t matter how much you’ve been looking forward to seeing a movie or reading a book. Unless the content is linked to your survival, chances are that you’ll forget what you’ve seen or read soon after viewing it.

                                    Part of this is because your primary objective was to watch the film or read the book. When you’ve never seen something, your urge to finish the story is your main concern. After you’ve satisfied your desire, you probably won’t remember what you’ve seen. Finishing the movie or book is not the same as remembering all the details.

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                                    Human beings store memories through a process called encoding. Our brain is better at encoding information when it can associate new information with pre-existing experiences.[2]

                                    The first time we encounter information is akin to us passing strangers on the street. Your neurons process that you’ve encountered someone, and that’s the end of it. There’s no recognition, and after you leave the situation, you probably won’t remember who you saw.

                                      Some people do remember what they see, though. Why?

                                      You might feel frustrated when you can’t recall what you’ve just seen, but it can be even more maddening when you run into someone who seems to have absorbed everything. This is the friend that recites details from the movies that you watched months ago. Long after the finer points of a text have slipped your mind, they’re still talking about it. How do they do it?

                                      These people don’t have extraordinary memories. They simply take in the information actively. Since they’re actively processing information, they are able to experience the book details or the movie scenes repeatedly in a short time. They revise and synthesize the information so that it becomes their own.

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                                        It’s like taking the same route every day and running into the same people. You begin to recognize people and observe more about them because they are already familiar to you. Likewise, your neurons can easily make new connections when they have been asked to revisit and analyze new information instead of passively observing it.

                                        The key is to see, connect, and then repeat.

                                        The more you actively engage with the content that you are consuming, the more readily you’ll remember it. As your neurons revisit the same subject over and over, it’s easier for them to make new connections.

                                        Think of it like taking a walk through the woods. At first there is no path, but if you take the same route every day, eventually, you’ll create a trail. You’ll be able to move quickly and easily in a place where you used to have to move slowly. Your brain handles memory like this too. You want to build a well-worn path for your neurons.

                                        Don’t rely on your initial memory

                                        The first time you go through something, you’ll probably forget many details. You may find it difficult to absorb specifics because there’s too much new information. When you watch movies or read books, you may find yourself obsessed with what will happen next. Your goal is just to get to the end.

                                        It’s helpful to revisit the content several times. You may find that since you already know what happens, you’ll be able to appreciate the details.

                                        Replaying or rereading isn’t enough

                                        You can look at the same piece of information over and over, but it doesn’t mean that it will stay in your head. Rote memorization (memorizing by repetition) doesn’t allow you to make meaningful connections with what you’re seeing.[3]

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                                        To remember something, you need to apply it. Instead of passively taking in information or actively trying to memorize it by rote, it’s important to make connections. If you can apply what you’ve learned, get feedback, and re-apply a concept with feedback, it’s much more likely to stick.

                                        For example, reading a recipe alone won’t help you learn to cook. Cooking a meal and having the combined feedback of your taste-buds and the comments of others will stand out in your mind. Watching someone do an exercise never has the same impact as doing it yourself. A framework is all but useless unless you apply it.

                                        When you apply a concept or practice to your life, it becomes easier to internalize the information. Think about the first time you had to travel to work versus now. At first, you had to think about each step on the route, but now, you don’t even have to think about it. It is the combination of repetition and application that solidifies neuron connections.

                                        Have a question at the back of your mind before you read/watch it

                                        When you pick up a book or sit down to watch a movie, have a purpose in mind. If you don’t, your default mode will simply be to get to the end of the book or film. Have a question that you’d like to answer before you begin.

                                        For example, reading The Power of Habit without a purpose will not be very helpful. It will seem useless to anyone who isn’t ready to build a habit no matter how good the book is. On the other hand, if you think of a bad habit that you’d like to quit before you start reading, you can instantly connect what you’re reading with your own life.

                                        When you spot related chapters or ideas in books, find ways to connect them. Highlight them, write notes, or clip the sections that are related. Taking notes by hand is an especially valuable way to help you remember important concepts.[4]

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                                        People who watch lots of movies or read lots of books, but can’t remember them, waste a lot of time. They haven’t taken in any information that will actually help them. To avoid forgetting everything you see, apply it immediately after you see it, and revisit the concepts often.

                                        Have a mind like a steel trap

                                        Chances are that by tomorrow you will forget what you’ve read in this article unless you save it, highlight it, and make a point of relating it to your life. Bookmark this and come back to it so that you can remember what you need to do to have better recall on the media you consume.

                                        Watching movies and reading mindlessly is a a waste of time. Make the most of everything that you see and read by finding ways to engage with the content. Think of what you’ll be missing if you allow these learning opportunities to pass you by.

                                        Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

                                        Reference

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