Robert Greene wrote in his book Mastery, “In the future, the great division will be between those who have trained themselves to handle these complexities and those who are overwhelmed by them – those who can acquire skills and discipline their minds and those who are irrevocably distracted by all the media around them and can never focus enough to learn.”
Whether we realise it or not the Internet is a powerful resource that can be used to gain a wealth of knowledge in a given field or to learn a whole new set of skills. The Internet is home to a wide range of dedicated learning platforms that provide both free and premium content.
Here’s a list of cool online platforms that you can use to build a repertoire of skills that will help you sculpt yourself into a more productive individual.
1. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a not-for-profit online platform that offers free education to users from all around the world. It’s a platform that relies on its community of thousands of volunteers and donors, and it offers courses for free in the fields of mathematics, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics and so much more.
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Their math missions guides learners from kindergarten to calculus with adaptive technology that’s even able to identify strengths and learning gaps. They also offer specialised content through partnerships with institutions like NASA, MIT, and many more.
Laracasts is a dedicated platform that you should turn to if you’re planning on picking up modern web development skills with PHP. Jeffrey Way will walk you through every step of the way, and lead you from being an absolute novice to a well-groomed expert.
The platform lists a significant number of series and lessons that you can use to pick up on skills on a particular theme. If you’d like to become an expert at a particular skill, it also lays out a roadmap of all the relevant series and lessons that you should to watch to become one. As you progress through each lesson, the platform also rewards you with experience points to keep you motivated.
The platform offers a couple of free videos but you can access the entire collection of series and lessons by subscribing monthly for only US$9.
Lynda.com is an online learning platform that you could use to pick up business, software, technology and creative skills that meet your personal and professional goals.
You can learn everything from 3D Designing, Computer Aided Design, Audio and Music to marketing, programming and web development. This platform has a total of 4000+ video courses and you could access all of them for US$24.99 a month. You can check out some of the free videos included in their paid courses to get an idea of what the platform is all about.
Lynda.com also offers a free trial version that you could use for a period of 10 days to see if the platform is a good fit for you. The platform also offers different subscription tiers for individuals, corporates, and academia and government organisations.
4. Envato Tuts+
Envato Tuts+ offers both video courses and written tutorials that you could use to learn creative and technical skills. The goal of the platform is to provide users with the right resources so that they can direct their efforts towards learning skills that fit them the best.
The platform currently has over 18 000 free tutorials and articles that will surely keep updated with all the happenings in your field of study. The platform also has over 700 video courses and numerous e-books in its collection that you could access by either purchasing them individually or as a bundle of six courses.
If you’re likely to visit the platform often, you could also subscribe to them monthly and this will grant you access all of their content.
Edx was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, and it’s an online learning destination and a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) provider that aims to increase access to high-quality education for all their users.
The platform features content from over 90 global partners that include leading universities, non-profits, and institutions. Users from anywhere in the world can enroll in courses in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, electronic, etc., for free. The platform also offers verified certificates for courses that you’re enrolled in for a price. Given that this is an non-profit platform, it relies on the sale of verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally.
Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig founded Udacity after offering their Intro to Artificial Intelligence course online for free as an experiment. Over 160K students from more than 190 countries enrolled for the course, and that essentially began the platform’s journey. Today, Udacity is maintained by a group of educators and engineers on a mission to change the future of education by bridging the gap between real-world skills, relevant education, and employment.
This platform teaches skills that meet industry standards at a price that’s much lower than that of traditional schools and colleges. This platform also offers Nanodegree programs and credentials by partnering with Google, AT&T, Facebook, Salesforce, etc. Students get to acquire real-world skills by going through the online courses and by building hands-on projects that are part of the curriculum. While the Nanodegrees do come at a price, the platform also offers free courses and content that you can check out to pick up on tech skills.
7. Harvard University Online Learning
Although this platform was created by Harvard, it doesn’t host any direct learning content but it rather pulls together and indexes content from professors, centers, schools, libraries, and initiatives from across the Harvard campus.
This platform offers a wide range of courses from Arts & Design, Business & Management, and Computer Science to Economics, Mathematics, Medicine, etc. It’s also important to note that this platform offers open courses as well as ones that require admissions and/or fees.
However if you’d like to access a paid course for free, you could always double check to see if it’s listed on other platforms like HarvardX and edx.
Coursera is an education platform that partners with universities and organisations from around the world to offer online courses to its users. Unlike some platforms, Coursera allows its students to learn at their own pace by watching short video lectures, taking interactive quizzes, completing peer graded assessments and by connecting with fellow learners and instructors.
This platform offers a wide range of courses from the Arts and Humanities all the way to languages, business, science and IT. Courses are broken down into different modules and users are required to enroll for each course by paying a fee. The platform even presents you with a certificate once you complete a particular course.
If you prefer watching short and concise videos rather than lengthy tutorial videos and courses, then you should look no further than TheNewBoston. Initially targeted towards programmers, this platform has grown to feature tutorials for fields like beauty, business, and computer science all the way to cooking and social sciences.
The videos are broken down into multiple short lessons, usually spanning an average of less than 10 minutes. It’s a great way to quickly brush up on key concepts or to learn new and interesting tricks. However, if you’re looking for in-depth information, you can always supplement your learning from this platform with other tutorials and videos available online.
Codeacademy is a platform that’s dedicated to teaching people to code and it takes the process of interactive learning to a whole another level. Rather than watching videos, this platform provides you with an environment that you get use to learn programming languages for free. The platform offers interactive courses for various programming languages and technology, and it breaks each course into modules and individual lessons and quizzes.
When a user clicks on a particular lesson, they’re taken to a web page where coding instructions are presented on the left hand side of the page and the user can code on the right. This gets users coding right from the start and it eventually lets them build a cool project at the end of each course.
The Internet is filled with numerous platforms and websites that provide you with tutorials and how-to videos on every topic imaginable. If you’re unable to find a good, dedicated and a valuable platform, you can always resort to tutorial videos on YouTube. I’m sure you’d be able to find a channel that will satiate your craving for learning.