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The Best Places to Get a Top Grade Education For Free

The Best Places to Get a Top Grade Education For Free

We all want a good education. We want to learn, become better informed and be at the top of our “A Game.” However, one of the most common complaints that arise from getting a great education always circles back to costs. Whether it’s a community college, digital school, university or night class, school costs money. Not just pennies, top dollars. Enough to break the bank.

Naturally, therein lies the problem. It’s really a catch-22. We need an education in order to work in the ever-growing competitive world to make money, but we need money in order to earn an education. Is there a solution to this problem? Luckily, there are many new avenues to acquire top education. And what’s better? They’re free. So, if you’re in the market for life-long learning or want to nab that job, take a look at some of these high-quality places without the top-shelf prices.

Institutional Courses

Stanford University

Stanford

    Who knew one of the best schools in the country gives away valuable information? Check out Stanford’s website to learn about free webinar opportunities and to access other free, online resources. The next free webinar series is scheduled to take place May 14!

    Harvard’s open learning courses

    Harvard

      In an effort to make its high-quality education more accessible to the general public, Harvard University offers a number of free courses, lectures and web series. Check out their site to learn more about “Harvard edX” opportunities.

      Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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      MIT

        Yes. The infamous MIT offers free courses for students and non-students alike. While some of them require registration in advance, many of them are available via video on the MIT OpenCourseWare website.

        Brown University

        Brown

          Not to be outdone by MIT, Stanford and Harvard, Brown also offers free online courses that web users from all over the world can access to expand their learning. Learn more about the free courses offered by Brown on their website.

          Dartmouth University

          Dartmouth Library

            Beginning in the Fall semester of 2014, Dartmouth University will be offering free courses via the edX program used by Harvard. A number of other reputable universities and colleges also provide free learning materials via the edX program. Check out the edX website to learn about all of them.

            Your hometown university’s free lectures and presentations

            local college

              Many colleges and universities offer a free lecture or after-school presentation. The trick is that, in many cases, you have to live near these areas to attend them. Many free resources are advertised on local radio stations, via flyers around campus or by word of mouth. Keep and eye and ear out for these events and you could learn a lot of new things.

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              Informative Talks and Free Info

              The library

              Stockholm Public Library

                 

                You know that little card you keep tucked away in the back of your wallet collecting dust? It’s a library card, and guess what, it unlocks many free resources in order to foster self-education. When it comes down to learning, you have to be your biggest motivator. You put forth all the work and effort and instill it into your brain. Why not be your own teacher?

                The library has excellent resources in every subject from print texts and scholarly articles to videos, journals and internet archives. The best part? It’s all free and ready at your fingertips. The library is a great place to start, especially when you are searching for a topic of study.

                Google Books

                Google books

                  If you are more of an internet junkie, Google Books is very similar to a public library in digital form. You have the opportunity to browse and preview or read books for free. If you’ve recently found a hobby, you can look up unique topics like basket-weaving or polymer clay jewelry.

                  With its easy navigation, this site can help you search for what you’re interested in or update your credentials. Say you’re on a business trip and looking for a new job. You have your laptop handy and you’re not familiar with the area. In your hotel room, you can search for books, get caught up on your work and explore your educational interests.

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                  iTunes U

                  itunes u

                    Newsflash: iTunes isn’t just about listening and downloading the greatest hits on the radio. With iTunes U, educational institutions from Kindergarten through college can post and upload materials and information for free. Set up like a Podcast, you can subscribe, stream and download information. Also, one of the best features is that you can learn on the go and just about anywhere with your mobile phone. It’s perfect for those that wish to stay active, are working or transitioning into a new venture.

                    Additionally, iTunes U features audio books, slideshows, lectures, PDF files and many resources from upstanding universities and covers many areas of study. While searching, you don’t have to download full lectures and courses to get information, you can choose piece by piece. You can foster your own education.

                    SlideShare

                    slideshare

                      Viewed from an infinite scroll platform, SlideShare is a great way to visually search for information and learning materials. From Spanish terminology to case studies of different countries, this platform has many avenues to explore.

                      As another social networking resource, you can like slides, share them with others and communicate on different content. If you’re looking for specific study or a unique topic, this is a great place to acquire statistics, facts and information.

                      TED

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                      TED

                        In 1984, the original TED conference began by forming three ideals together: Technology, Entertainment and Design. Today, TED features online talks and conferences that inspire, educate and entertain. Currently, you can stream over 1,400 TED Talks.

                        If you want to become a life-long learner or enjoy absorbing something new, this is a great place to start. So, download and stream these talks wherever you go.

                        Khan Academy

                        Khan Academy

                          Looking for a lecture? The Khan Academy has over 3,600 video micro-lectures. Beginning in 2006, this non-profit website offers tutorials stemming from basic mathematics, history, marketing, healthcare and other subjects.

                          Say you are beginning a new career or starting from scratch. The lectures are easily understood and taught in a relatable manner. Try this source if you want to start from the ground up and enjoy the free videos at your disposal.

                          Inspire Life-Long Learning

                          No matter what educational road your life takes you, it’s important to constantly be learning and gathering new insights and information. Who says you have to pay a fortune to learn? Propel yourself to success and go out and try some of these free educational platforms.

                          Featured photo credit: ockenden via flickr.com

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                          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                          How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

                          How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

                          What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

                          When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

                          In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

                          While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

                          As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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                            Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

                            Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

                            The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

                            But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

                            However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

                            This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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                            Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

                            We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

                            Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

                            Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

                            The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

                            When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

                            When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

                            How to Make Decision Effectively

                            Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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                            1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

                            You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

                            Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

                            Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

                            2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

                            You don’t have to choose all the time.

                            Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

                            Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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                            3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

                            You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

                            The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

                            Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

                            Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

                            So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

                            More Tips About Decision Making

                            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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