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20 Websites To Help You Learn More In Less Time

20 Websites To Help You Learn More In Less Time

Advances in modern technology, particularly the internet (and yes, the word wide web is still considered “modern”) have given us a lot of things to be thankful for. Every day, it seems that new websites are started and new articles, videos, and billions of other pieces of digital content are created and uploaded to the web. And every time a new piece of content is uploaded to a website, it’s expanding the available pool of knowledge and information we have at our fingertips.

But the problem with this influx of available information, is that it doesn’t come along with any extra time!

Between work, school, and spending quality time with family and friends — when will we ever have enough time to do anything with all of this information anyway?

… Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon this list of 20 websites to help you learn more in less time. So you can finally start to make the best possible use of this abundance of information we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.

#1. Spreeder

Spreeder.com is a free online speed reading software designed to improve your reading speed and comprehension.

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    #2. Freerice

    Expand your vocabulary while feeding the hungry. Feed your mind while you feed the needy.

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      #3. GetFlashNotes

      Business and Self-Help book summaries you can read or listen-to in under 20 minutes. Their book summaries are available in every format: PDF, Kindle, Android, iPhone, iPad. MP3. Everything.

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        #4. Instructables

        Instructions to help you build, cook, and create a wide array of different things. Doubles as a platform for people to explore, document, and share their creations.

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          #5. TED

          Watch video lectures delivered by the brightest minds in the world.

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            #6. Memrise

            Learn foreign languages in your underpants.

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               #6. Factsie

              Learn from an endless stream of random facts about life, science, and history.

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                #7. Audible

                Listen to audiobooks while you’re on the go. Perfect for people who read at a slower pace; or dislike reading but enjoy learning.

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                  #8. Codeacademy

                  Learn to code quickly via interactive lessons.

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                    #9. iTunes Podcasts

                    Podcasting has revolutionized how we listen to the radio. Thanks to the good folks at Apple, there are thousands of podcasts that can teach you about everything from economics to personal development to business and more.

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                      #11. khanacademy

                      Video lectures on just about any subject

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                        #12. investopedia.com

                        Learn and practice investing however you want. Whenever you want.

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                          #13. Future Learn

                          Future Learn is a site that offers free courses, in categories that range from Law, Psychology, Teaching and beyond.

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                            #14. Udemy

                            A platform where you can learn to do anything from the the world’s best teachers.

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                              #15. Stanford Online

                              Actionable learning material from one of the world’s most prestigious universities; ready for your brain’s taking.

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                                #16. Quora

                                The best answers to every question. Anyone can ask. Everyone can contribute. It’s like social networking for smart people.

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                                  #17. Udacity

                                  Wanna learn real technical skills you can use at a real company after learning them? Udacity.com is for you.

                                  udacity

                                    #18. Memorize Now

                                    Wanna boost your brain power? Now you can. With Memorize Now, which provides a memory exercising service that allows you to create online flash cards and aid your memory retention process.

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                                      #19. The 7-minute workout

                                      This one’s for the cubicle-jockeys. Learn to stay fit with a simple seven minute workout — all without leaving your desk.

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                                        #20. Drawspace

                                        Cultivate your drawing skills with Drawspace! Learn to draw anything with their fun and easy tutorials.

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                                          You’ve got some learning to do

                                          So, there yah have it: 20 websites to help you learn more in less time. Hopefully they’ll help you become more successful in the way you lead your life — both personally and professionally. And by the way, if you’ve got any great websites you’d like to suggest that might be helpful, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments!

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                                          Dean Bokhari

                                          Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

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                                          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                                          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                                          It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

                                          Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

                                          “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

                                          In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

                                          New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

                                          There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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                                          So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

                                          What is the productivity paradox?

                                          There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

                                          In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

                                          He wrote in his conclusion:

                                          “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

                                          Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

                                          How do we measure productivity anyway?

                                          And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

                                          In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

                                          But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

                                          In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

                                          But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

                                          Possible causes of the productivity paradox

                                          Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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                                          • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
                                          • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
                                          • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
                                          • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

                                          There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

                                          According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

                                          Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

                                          The paradox and the recession

                                          The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

                                          “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

                                          This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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                                          According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

                                          Looking forward

                                          A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

                                          “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

                                          Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

                                          “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

                                          On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

                                          Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                          Reference

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