It has never been easier to learn a skill, attain new knowledge or broaden your horizons than it is today. Thanks to the latest technological developments and the prevalence of high-speed internet, more people are looking to the online world to become amateur pianists or to become fluent in German (sprechen sie Deutsch?).
The internet is a treasure trove of educational websites that can help you achieve personal and professional development.
But where should you look? What are some of the top web portals for painting and gin rummy? Where can you obtain IT certifications or a master’s degree in economics through online courses?
We have compiled a list of 15 websites you can utilise, either during your leisure time at home or on a coffee break at work.
Skillcrush is an excellent platform for those who want to learn how to code - which is quickly becoming an integral skill in today’s economy. There are many courses in coding, design, user experience and digital marketing.
The website is appealing because it can be completed online, and users have the flexibility to study at their own pace. Plus, the focus of these courses is not just on theory, and you get to complete full-scale projects that you can also add to your portfolio.
In a tech-driven world, this platform allows you to attain a must-have skill.
One of the most popular websites to acquire knowledge in a wide variety of areas is TED-Ed. The site offers an extensive library on many topics of interest, and its primary goal is to support education for people of all ages.
Many of the animated videos are easy to understand, and some even have an interactive platform. With its global network of more than 250,000 teachers, TED-Ed provides an international experience in learning and is an excellent resource to develop your skills and knowledge in different fields and sectors.
In today’s chaotic economy, young people have never been more interested in stocks, bonds and everything in between.
For those who want to learn more about financial management, the economy, investments, and how stock markets perform, there is no better website than Investopedia. This platform has an abundance of free topics on everything from how to invest in the market to retirement planning. The topics vary when it comes to the depth of knowledge, but this is a comprehensive resource where there is something for everyone interested in improving their financial skills and knowledge.
Nova is one of the most popular American science programmes of our time; it is estimated that five million Americans alone tune in each week to watch the television series. But you do not need cable to engage with Nova because it offers the same knowledge and content online through the PBS website.
The website is extremely attractive, and its videos are available in more than 100 countries across the globe – and growing every day. Nova maintains an unbiased digital view of science and history. On the website, one can learn about the latest updates on current affairs and find content on fascinating topics, such as the eruption of Mt. St Helens, Colditz Castle, the AIDS epidemic, and Tarim mummies.
All videos are of high-quality with beautiful photography and images and excellent information. This is another platform that offers something for everyone, no matter their age or expertise.
For children and adults who want to learn how to draw, Drawspace is an outstanding platform. The website offers hundreds of lessons for all levels and experienced art teachers guide students and provide hints on how to improve style and technique.
The website offers well-designed courses, and there are ample free drawing lessons to give you a solid start. For those who want to acquire more in-depth knowledge and skills, paid courses are also available.
How many times have you wanted to learn a new language but just gave up? Ein? Zwei? Drei? Vier? Funf?
Indeed, you probably have always wanted to learn a new language, and you want to do it the easy way. Well, there is Babble. This platform is perhaps the most organised when it comes to formal learning of a new language as it considers pronunciation, verb placement and grammar.
The website uses state of the art technology so that you can learn a new language within a few weeks or months. You can either learn the basics for school or focus on topics like business, culture, travel or food. There is no limitation as to what you could do with this website, especially for people who love to travel and have a deep interest in languages.
7. Fast Company
Fast Company is a leading business media brand, with an emphasis on leadership, innovation, technology and creativity. This platform offers many videos, white papers and topics on leadership, management, organisational behaviour and networking.
It also offers business and finance updates for professionals, industry leaders and students. The mission of Fast Company is to inspire the audience to embrace change and know how to prepare ahead for business success.
8. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is highly recommended for professionals and students alike. The non-profit online learning platform, created by Salman Khan, provides a laundry list of online tools, from lesson plans to video editing. Although students primarily use it in secondary and post-secondary schools, adults can take advantage of the resource to boost their skills in any area they wish, whether it’s accounting or art history.
There are practice exercises, performance trackers and learning aids to ensure you are getting the most out of your programming languages and mathematics courses.
All the material from Khan Academy can be accessed through its digital platform, which is accessible through all digital devices.
Have you ever wondered how stuff works?
For the science buff who wants to have good overall knowledge, HowStuffWorks is an excellent resource. The basic aim of the website is to explain how things work in life, especially the sciences.
The website uses all sorts of visual aids, including videos, animation, photos and diagrams, to help the reader understand science. The content style of the website is very conversational and light-hearted, and you can acquire a great deal of knowledge and information without even realising that you’re learning.
Just like foreign languages, you have probably yearned to learn an instrument, particularly the piano. If the thought of playing a Franz Schubert composition feels you with eagerness, you can get started and conquer your procrastination with Pianu.
For music lovers, as well as those who are musically inclined but cannot play a musical instrument, Pianu is a great website. The motto of the founders is that everyone can learn how to play the piano.
The website offers numerous courses at all levels and guarantees that you will be able to play the piano fast. The best part is that the lessons are affordable, and you can learn from the comfort of your home.
11. Electric Literature
Electric Literature is a platform that some describe as a paradise for book lovers of all ages. The website features a diverse array of content related to literature, such as poetry, literary criticism, short stories and engaging infographics. Plus, there is new content every week!
If it feels like your brain is being drained at the office, you will find Electric Literature useful for stimulating your little grey cells. Creative stories and poems are what the doctor ordered.
Codeacademy is another tremendous platform where you can learn how to code. You can also learn how to build websites, analyse data, and write real and workable code. What helps is the fact that you can receive instant feedback on your coding, so you can immediately find out what needs to improve.
After a short amount of time, Codeacademy proves that anyone can code, as long as there is an interest and an inclination.
Coursera is another great outlet where you can sharpen your skills with courses, certificates and degrees. What makes Coursera compelling is that its digital ecosystem grants you access to high-quality courses from world-class universities and companies such as Duke, Stanford, Google and IBM.
So, whether your interest lies in information technology or business, Coursera will have a course for you. You can enrol and complete your studies online without any unnecessary hassle or delay.
Perhaps it might be too late in your career to enrol into Harvard or MIT, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a system created by the brilliant minds at these institutions.
Indeed, edX is a huge open online course provider that hosts university-level courses in all sorts of fields to more than 24 million students worldwide. You can sign up for many courses at no charge.
The non-profit organisation also conducts research to understand the efficacy of people learning subjects on its platform.
15. Adobe 99u
Do you feel like you’re too complacent in your work? Do you think you’re relying too much on of the status quo? Maybe it’s time to ‘supercharge your work!’
Adobe’s 99u, functions as a career resource kit meant to help you put some more pep, zip and pizzazz in your work. While you can gain a lot from its vast digital infrastructure, 99u also hosts an annual conference in New York City that offers hands-on workshops and access to creative studios and spaces.
Albert Einstein famously wrote, ‘Intellectual growth should commence at birth, and cease only at death.’ Our mind is a glorious, powerful and mysterious vessel that needs to be cultivated. Otherwise, it will be all for naught.
Years ago, you had to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to attend school and learn Mandarin or French. Today, you can expand your human capital with personal development tools at any time, be it on your daily commute, lunch break or the comfort of your home.
Whether we are here by blind chance or part of a greater purpose, no doubt exploring life is a sensational experience. It is up to you to create meaning, and that can only be accomplished by imbibing everything that this existence offers you.
Can you recommend any other useful educational websites? Share them with us in the comments section below!