Are you tired of the repetitive, online clutter that sucks up your bandwidth? Are you longing to be inspired? If so, there’s good news for you. A plenitude of superb websites will inspire you, entertain you and even make you smarter. Here’s my pick of the 15 best ones, listed in no particular order:
V-Sauce – Vsauce comprises a host of YouTube channels dedicated to fascinating facts, scientific topics, gaming, technology, culture and general interest materials. A great place to learn something new.
Factsie – The CIA spent $20 million on a program to equip cats to spy on Soviets. The first deployment of the cat led to it getting run over by a car. That’s straight from Factsie, where you can learn “interesting scientific and historical facts”. All facts come with links to sources too.
Duolingo – This is the place to learn a new language, “for free, forever”. Duolingo’s bite-size lessons are fun, addictive and super- effective, with gamification “poured into every lesson”.
Freerice – Get smarter and feed the poor at the same time. Answer questions from a range of subjects: English, grammar, maths, humanities, geography and the sciences. Here’s how Freerice works: for every question you answer correctly, 10 grams of rice is donated to the United Nations Food Program. Over 101 billion grains of rice have been donated to date
Fast Company’s 30-second MBA - The 30-second MBA offers business advice and life lessons through a “curriculum” conveyed in short video clips of successful business people; people who are “making business happen”.
Lynda.com - What do you really want to learn? At Lynda.com you can learn most things through its great video tutorials, from esoteric courses to more popular offerings such as cloud computing. You can learn on-the-go, too: watch the tutorials on your mobile or tablet device.
Instructables – Love DIY? Then you’ll really like Instructables. It’s a website that specialises in user-created and uploaded DIY projects on which other users can rate or comment. Learn how to make anything from zip-up laces to a Viking hood.
Investopedia – This is an excellent resource dedicated to financial education. Learn anything to do with finance, trading or investing. Investopedia offers a highly comprehensive financial dictionary, tutorials, videos and the ingenious Investopedia Stock Simulator, a free “fantasy investing pool”.
Memrise – This is an online learning tool which boasts academic and non-academic courses. There are thousands of courses on Memrise, all are free and are created by members of the Memrise community. The use of ‘mems’ and a spaced repetition scheme makes it easy to retain new learning. Learn on the go, too: Memrise is available on iPhone and Android.
Academic Earth – Built on the premise that everyone deserves access to the best education, Academic Earth promises to “bring the amazing world of academia to you for free”. Select the degree level you wish to pursue, eg diploma, Bachelor’s or Master’s, and browse their impressive offering of courses from universities such as Stanford, Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Lumosity – Lumosity’s brain-training games are designed by neuroscientists. The games are designed to boost memory, speed, attention, flexibility and problem solving. Although the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of brain-training games remains contradictory, the sense of achievement gained from knowing you’re in the top 29 percent of the population for short-term memory is wonderful.
Quora - This is the place to get any of your questions answered. Subjects are wide-ranging and the Quora community is vibrant and well-informed. Examples of questions on the site include: “What are the examples of startup ideas for a recent graduate in corporate finance?”
Power Searching with Google – This useful, free course provided by Google teaches a prized skill: how to search on Google. It’s taught by Google’s Search experts, and you’ll be given ‘tips and tricks’ to help you find what you’re looking for faster, instruction on how to identify the most credible sources of information and complex search challenges to help you hone your searching skills. There’s a certificate of completion to look forward to at the end, as well as the envy of friends and colleagues who’ll be in awe of your amazing Google search skills.
Recipe Puppy – Recipe Puppy is an ingredients-based recipe search engine. Simply enter all the ingredients in your fridge and/or store cupboard and the search engine will give you a list of recipes you could make. Clever, eh? Other useful features are Recipe Labs, where you can ask any cooking-related question of the friendly Recipe Puppy community and a guided recipe creation tool.
Unplug the TV – Well, that’s the missive from founders of this fun website. Instead of watching TV, you can watch Unplugthetv’s videos on a myriad of scintillating, whimsical and serious topics such as “How to spot a lie” and “Is there a noise loud enough to kill you?”