Published on September 3, 2020

10 Free Learning Tools Best for Self Learners

10 Free Learning Tools Best for Self Learners

Having both the curiosity and passion to explore the world in all of its aspects is rewarding in itself. Acquiring new skills without having to take expensive university or adult-learning courses and learning tools can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Most of all, self-learning is an invaluable and productive way to channel energy during difficult times. COVID-19 pandemic lockdown is one of those times, with countless people stuck at home and struggling with low learning and working productivity.

To help you on your journey of self-growth and discovery, here are 10 of the best free learning tools currently available for self-learners. Study on!

1. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is one of the most popular learning tools out there. From Macroeconomics to Shakespeare, Khan Academy offers over 4000 free courses from a huge variety of disciplines. A personalized learning dashboard lets learners track their progress.


One of the best things about the platform is that it is available in many other languages other than English, such as French and Spanish. It also has a mobile app to keep your learning on the go.

2. Duolingo

Speaking of learning on-the-go, Duolingo is also one of the most popular mobile learning apps out there and for good reason. The app offers you the opportunity to learn a language in bite-sized units.

Flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and translation exercises help you pick up vocabulary and grammar. If you want to get started learning a new language—from Spanish to Mandarin Chinese—Duolingo can give you an excellent foundation, if not complete fluency.

3. SoloLearn

Coding is among the most valuable skills in today’s job market. SoloLearn provides learning tools that can help you acquire coding skills for free, requiring only your time and effort. It offers a massive collection of free learning content for all levels—from beginner coders to experts in staple languages, such as C++, Python, and JavaScript.


4. Coursera

Often hailed as the best online learning platform out there, Coursera collaborates with almost 200 top educational institutions and companies involved in various fields of research. From tech giants like Google and IBM to Ivy League schools, online course content is available for free in this platform.

5. Bookboon

If you’re the learner type who likes text and text only—no explanatory videos required, thank you very much!—then Bookboon is a great resource for you. This site offers over 50 million eBooks and textbooks on just about any subject that you can think of. From an introduction to essay writing to the philosophy of artificial intelligence, Bookboon has you covered.

6. The University of Oxford

England’s oldest university offers over 600 online courses, sets of teaching materials, and lecture series on its open education platform. This makes it one of the most invaluable learning tools on the internet.

Unlike on other platforms such as Coursera and Khan Academy, Oxford’s courses and lectures are not laid out to give introductions to broad topics. Instead, learners can deep-dive into specific mesmerizing subjects, such as hegemonic narratives, the late works of Schumann, or the performance history of Medea.


7. edX

Much broader in terms of online courses is edX. Like Coursera, it partners with numerous universities and learning institutions to provide courses in topics from computer science to engineering. The levels this platform provides range from introductory courses—like Entrepreneurship 101—to those covering advanced content—like the Economics of Energy Transition.

8. iTunesU

Apple users may be more familiar with this learning tool. Available as an iOS app, Apple’s iTunesU offers courses on a wide variety of subjects.

From an introduction to financial markets and a how-to for founding a startup to AP Biology and developing iOS Apps with Swift, this platform makes a variety of topics accessible at the high school and university levels. Another plus—it offers access to many of The Open University’s resources.

9. Codecademy

Like SoloLearn, Codecademy is a platform that will give you a doorway to the fantastic world of programming—for free. From R and Python to Ruby, Javascript, and C++, Codecademy can provide you with the tools to tackle everything from web design to game development.


10. Udemy

Finally, Udemy is another repository of online courses with over 150,000 courses taught in 65 languages. Subjects range from photography over blogging to finance. Lectures include a variety of text, audio, and video elements, as well as multiple-choice questions and mini-quizzes.

This learning platform allows you to take your learning content with you wherever you go since Udemy also offers apps for iOS and Android.

Final Thoughts

If you know where to look, the internet is a paradise for autodidacts. Learning and higher education have never been more accessible. Though some sites above may require payment for certificates, their courses offer the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills for free.

With enough passion and dedication, these resources and learning tools can help you boost your personal development and abilities—and to discover the world, one lesson at a time.


More Learning Tools That You Can Use

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Tanvir Zafar

The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

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.


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.


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:


  • 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.


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.

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