Become a lifelong student: how to learn online

Image of a woman learning online

One of the greatest fiction writers to ever grace the world with his prose, the late Kurt Vonnegut once said, “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on Earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” 

The desire for novel experience is ingrained within the human psyche. Our need to explore, discover and innovate is what has enabled us to prosper for so long. In our modern world, the thirst for knowledge remains programmed in our minds. Learning new skills, ideas and creative avenues remains a critical need for all of us. With the Internet at our disposal, we can continue to be lifelong students and grow as individuals enriching our quality of life. 

All you need is an Internet connection and a bit of smart searching to find that there are a ton of great resources online from “beginner” and “101”-level courses, to more advanced topics within a field. Regardless of your preferred method of learning, whether it be through visuals or by absorbing text, there is something out there to best suit your needs. We’ve included links and descriptions for some great free resources to help you get started.

 

General “How-To” Sites

These sites are excellent resources for learning the basics of specific, goal-oriented tasks such as learning to change the oil in your car. 

eHow – It’s actually more than just a “how-to” site: eHow provides general tips and tricks, top 10 lists and coaching for various topics, including style, health, money, and food.

WikiHow – What’s a wiki, you ask? “A Web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.” In other words, each article has many writers and editors sharing their knowledge on a subject. WikiHow is a collection of over 212,000 “how-to” articles contributed by thousands of individuals from all over the world. If you want to know how to do something, chances are that you’ll find out how at WikiHow!

 

Expand Your Knowledge with Lectures

These conversation-based avenues are perfect for those looking to learn more about a particular subject they are already interested in. These vast databases are composed of audio and video content on essentially anything and everything. If you enjoy listening and absorbing new facts or ideas through lectures similar to a university or college-based environment, these websites are for you. 

TED Talks – If you’re looking to learn, to be inspired, or to be persuaded, TED is the place to visit. The acronym stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”, but you’d be surprised by how many subjects fit into these three broad categories. Not sure where to start? TED Talks has 11 suggestions, and this shared Google Doc ranks the best “rated” Talks of all-time.

 

 

Learning New Skills with Video Learning

These popular sites are the most effective at expanding your knowledge as they offer excellent visuals, audio and often the teaching is coming from professionals. 

Udacity– Video courses that follow a syllabus professionally done by experts in the field depicting well-rounded how-to methods first hand and via presentation platforms. The online learning centre covers a wide range of topics like physics, robotics, accounting, machine learning music, and mathematics. Many of the courses mentioned are free to use. The knowledge you gain from udemy could help you professionally or boost your productivity. 

Youtube– Endless content on youtube is available for almost any topic. Piano tutorials, DIY projects, dance lessons, yoga and workout tutorials are all available in high-quality video formatting by everyday people with at least some knowledge in the field. 

Codecademy– Has dedicated lesson plans and actual on-site exercises, where you pick a “learning track”, monitor your progress throughout the course, and then graduate as a bonafide coder! 

Try searching for something that interests you and you’ll be amazed at what kind of help is available online. If there is one thing that is certain about life,  it’s that nothing is more important than personal experience. Enrich your life and never stop learning.