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9 Free Language Learning Online Methods You Can’t Miss!

9 Free Language Learning Online Methods You Can’t Miss!

Learning a second language has all kinds of benefits. If you travel, you’ll be able to talk to people in places that you travel. Studies have shown that learning a second language helps your brain work better. It’s even fun learning a second language with your friends or significant other so you can communicate among yourselves. Here are some free tools you can use to learn a second language.

1. Duolingo

free language learning online

    Pros:
    • Totally free resource.
    • Support for the big languages (German, Spanish, French) along with some others.
    • Full-featured mobile apps on iOS and Android so you can learn on the go.
    • You can sign up and log in using Facebook and Google+ which makes it easy to just jump in and go.

    Cons:

    • Not as comprehensive as others.
    • If you’re looking for stuff like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Farsi, Hindi, and others, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

    Special Features: A full mobile experience lets you use this on a tablet or phone for on-the-go learning. The learning experience is formatted to be like a game to help make the learning process more fun. To try out Duolingo, go to their website.

    2. Busuu

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    free language learning online

      Pros:
      • Free features include study options for reading, writing, and speaking.
      • Free languages include Chinese and Russian along with many others including the usual ones.
      • You can sign up and log in with Facebook and Google+.
      • Mobile apps available for Android and iOS for learning on the go.

      Cons:

      • You don’t get everything in the free version. You must pay to get grammar worksheets and an official certificate of completion.
      • Still missing big languages, including pretty much all Middle Eastern languages.

      Special features: The mobile apps are a nice touch and both of them are rated fairly well on their respective platforms. More languages than most. It allows you to set goals so you can work toward them instead of being free form like others. If you want to try it out, check out the official website.

      3. Foreign Services Institute

      free language learning online

        Pros:
        • Supports a metric ton of languages including African and Middle Eastern tongues.
        • Courses are crafted by professional linguists so they are extremely comprehensive.
        • Audio recordings available for listening.
        • Study materials are PDFs and downloaded audio files which means learning offline is easy and you can put these materials on any smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc and learn from anywhere online or offline.

        Cons:

        • All the lessons are in PDF format and (slightly fuzzy) audio files. There are no fancy graphics, goals, mobile apps, or other features.
        • Lesson plans focus on repetition and some people don’t learn well that way.

        Special features: This is professional learning materials and among the most comprehensive available for free. The PDF format and (slightly fuzzy) audio files are a tad primitive but their portability is unmatched anywhere. This is for serious learners. If you want to check it out, go to FSI’s official website.

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        4. Livemocha

        free language learning online

          Pros:
          • Uses a unique “live learning” technique where learners can observe and learn rather than the usual learning style of repetition and lessons. Don’t worry, they still have classic lessons too.
          • Live instructor-led classes is something unique on this list.
          • You can meet other people learning the same language you are and you can become study buddies, thus adding a social aspect.
          • A doubly unique system allows you to register using your native language. You then grade the work of other people who are learning that language. This allows you to earn points. You use points to unlock more lesson plans. Thus, you must give to get and help others learn in order to learn. Awesome!

          Cons:

          • It’s very social so if you don’t want a social learning environment then this isn’t for you.
          • It’s very possible to run out of points before you purchase your next lesson and you may have to grind to get enough for the next lesson.
          • People who don’t care and don’t want to take it seriously will probably give good greats just to get points quickly. If you don’t plan to commit, you shouldn’t join.

          Special features: The give-and-get dynamic is something truly special here. Help others learn and others will help you learn! Still has the traditional lessons as a base line. Live instructors are essential. If you want to check it out, look at the LiveMocha’s website.

          5. Memrise

          free language learning online

            Pros:
            • Uses “mems” which are essentially mnemonic flash cards to help you learn new vocabulary based on the vocabulary you already know.
            • Facebook log in makes it easy to start up and get started.
            • Community generated which means the content is ever increasing.
            • Great for visual learners!

            Cons:

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            • May not be comprehensive enough for advanced learners.
            • The mem cards and courses are user generated which means the quality varies.

            Special features: The community driven nature of this method means there are new things to learn all the time. The mem cards are unique and offer a much more visually stimulating way to learn.

            6. Internet Polyglot

            free language learning online

              Pros:
              • Flash card style lessons are great for visual learners.
              • You can actually use this without signing up for anything for a while but signing up for an account is easy.
              • Mobile apps let you learn on the fly.
              • Support for a lot of languages.

              Cons:

              • Not very comprehensive so serious learners will need additional tools.
              • The mobile apps haven’t been updated in over a year so if they don’t work for you, you’re out of luck.
              • The website lacks the polish of these other websites.

              Special features: Very simple flash card games are great if you only have a few minutes to learn stuff. Even if they are old, the mobile apps are present and if they work, they’re alright. If you’re up for trying it out, check out the official website.

              7. Lang-8

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              free language learning online

                Pros:
                • Like Livemocha, Lang-8 is social based where other people grade and help you learn while you grade and help other people learn.
                • You keep a journal of the stuff you learn which is a fun way to look back and see how far you’ve come.
                • Unlike most sites, this focuses more on written language. The stuff you post is reviewed by people who speak the language and they correct your errors so you learn.

                Cons:

                • This is for people who either already speak the language or have other tools that are teaching them. Lang-8 itself doesn’t actually have things like lesson plans or anything like that. It’s more of a trial-by-fire type of learning.
                • Signing up for an account is liking signing up for a social media account. It’s very tedious.
                • No speaking tutorials at all.

                Special features: The social media aspect is actually quite fascinating. You post things in your native language and speakers of other languages will correct it so that it reads the same thing in another language. This is an amazing tool for learning sentence structure and how to write in other languages. To check it out, head to the official website.

                8. Anki

                free language learning online

                  Pros:
                  • Downloaded and installed on the computer rather than a web interface so it works offline.
                  • It’s cross platform and you can sync your cards across multiple devices which is nice.
                  • It’s actually not just for languages. You can create custom flash card sets to learn anything from math to people’s faces. The sky is the limit.
                  • Can reportedly handle flash card decks with over 100,000 flash cards. That means you can learn pretty much anything except counting to 100,001.
                  • Supports images, audio, and video flash cards.

                  Cons:

                  • They’re flash cards which means memorization. If you’re not good with that kind of learning then you probably won’t find this much help.
                  • If the language you want to learn isn’t supported, you’ll have to create your own custom flash card set which can be tedious but it’ll help you learn the language better!

                  Special features: This is the best flash card system out there. It’s been around for years, is highly optimized, cross-platform, and you can use it for things other than learning a language. It’s tried and true and that’s what counts! Check out their official website for more details.

                  Like we said earlier, there are so many benefits for your brain and memory and you’ll be able to talk and interact with a whole new culture of people. There’s nothing left to do but pick your poison, dig in, and get started. N’attendez pas commencer!

                  Featured photo credit: Meme Generator via 4.bp.blogspot.com

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                  Published on November 9, 2018

                  How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                  How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                  Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                  Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                  So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                  6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                  When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                  1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                  Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                  To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                  In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                  • Microsoft Excel
                  • Microsoft Access
                  • Statistics
                  • Data Analytics
                  • Adobe Campaign
                  • Quickbooks
                  • XML Database management system
                  • Filemaker Pro
                  • MATLAB
                  • Hive
                  • FORTRAN
                  • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                  • SAS

                  2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                  Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                  Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                  • Content Management System (CMS)
                  • Google Analytics
                  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                  • Email Marketing
                  • Web Page Design
                  • WordPress
                  • Digital Media
                  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                  • Campaign Management Software

                  3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                  A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                  • Adobe Photoshop
                  • Adobe InDesign
                  • Adobe Illustrator
                  • AutoCAD
                  • CorelDRAW
                  • Microsoft Visual Studio
                  • Maya
                  • Microsoft Word
                  • Microsoft Publisher
                  • Operating Digital Cameras

                  4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                  The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                  To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                  • HTML
                  • C/C++
                  • Java
                  • Python
                  • XML
                  • UI/UX
                  • LINUX
                  • CISC and RISC architecture
                  • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                  • Memory Management
                  • PCB Layout
                  • SQL

                  5. IT Troubleshooting

                  Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                  So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                  • Backup management
                  • Diagnostics
                  • End User support
                  • Client-Server management
                  • Installation and configuration
                  • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                  • System administration
                  • Tech support

                  6. Enterprise Systems

                  Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                  Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                  The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                  Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                  Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                  Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                  1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                  a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                  Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                  Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                  b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                  This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                  c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                  Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                  Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                  2. Rule the Social Media World

                  a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                  Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                  From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                  b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                  This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                  c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                  Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                  Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                  3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                  a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                  From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                  b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                  Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                  The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                  c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                  The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                  4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                  a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                  It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                  From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                  b. Canva Design School

                  From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                  c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                  62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                  d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                  The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                  Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                  5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                  a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                  IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                  It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                  b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                  The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                  Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                  The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                  • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                  • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                  • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                  • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                  • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                  • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                  • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                  Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                  Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                  It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                  Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                  2. Work on Your Efficiency

                  Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                  For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                  3. Look for Shortcuts

                  Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                  4. Apply for an Internship

                  Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                  By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                  How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                  The Bottom Line

                  Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                  So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                  Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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