In college I told myself “Stick to the major you started with” because if I didn’t I would never graduate. It is probably true that I would have stayed in college learning a little bit of everything forever. However, it was a bad deal to make with myself because my dedication to graduate “on time” limited me on what classes I could take. This of course limited what I learned during the time I was in the very place meant for learning amazing things. Lucky for me, I came of age during the technology boom. Now I can explore anything I want using my favorite free online learning resources; .edx, Khan Academy, Youtube, and “How to Do Everything”. As long as I can find the time…
Today I want to show you some of my favorite places to start exploring new things via free online learning web resources so that you can start your expeditions off on the right foot!
.Edx is a Free online learning site that aims to bring university coursework to everyday people for free! I love this site because it offers actual classes (meaning people are taking them in person somewhere else) that you can sign up for. There are all kind of free online learning courses offered from universities around the world in topics from history to math, computers to art appreciation. You can also pay for a verified class and even for credit for select classes. If you are like me and wish you never left college this site is like heaven!
I did half of the CS50 class and completed the Intro to Linux class. Someday I hope to complete the electronics MicroMasters Program.
The great thing about all the classes at Edx is that they have homework, tests, lectures, etc… just like a regular class would. Edx classes even have discussion boards so you can ask questions and chat with other students and sometimes even the professors. Not too long ago .edx began offering AP classes in select subjects, this is great for homeschoolers and kids who live in rural school districts that aren’t able to offer as many advanced classes.
My favorite free online learning site to explore is probably KhanAcademy.org. I started out using it for math when it was in its infancy and have now used Khan Academy for a dabbling of Java Script, and Art History. Recently I used a newer feature called “partner content” with my reading and writing enrichment class at school. We worked through “The art of story telling“ which is created by Pixar.
One of the features I really like about Khan Academy is earning badges for completing goals. The badges helped keep me motivated in the harder maths when I would spend 3 hours on one set of problems. It has also been really fun to earn a badge each year I have been a member.
KhanAcademy now also has a test you can take for math to help place you in the right series of videos and problems. KhanAcademy also put out an app so you can watch the videos from your mobile devices easily.
Good free online learning site for learning or reviewing coding in many languages. I have played on here but I have yet to use the site to it’s fullest potential.
“How To Do Everything” Is a great free online learning podcast in which the hosts attempt to answer questions about how to do- you guessed it, everything. When I feel the need for a quick adventure into something new but have a huge pile of chores or need to work out I listen to an episode or two of How To Do Everything to get my adventure fix for the day.
I love the episode about voice-overs for censoring inappropriate language in movies to air on T.V.. This episode features the man who did the voice-over edits for “Snakes On A Plane”. In another episode I learned that you can put out a fire with beer.
The best thing about this podcast is that for the most part you can pop in and listen to any episode without needing to have listened to every episode from the beginning. . Filled with both knowledge and humor, How To Do Everything is well worth your time.
“How Stuff Works” is a great free online learning site for reading up on how stuff (pretty much anything) works. HSW also offer several different subject specific podcasts. This is a good site to bookmark to visit when you have questions about real life problems or have a few extra minutes to read. My favorite podcast from HowStuffWorks is sadly no longer current. “Pop Stuff” was a great way for me to stay informed about all the pop culture I cared little about, but my friends were obsessed with. I wish they would bring it back.
This is perhaps the most obvious Free online learning resource. I never used Youtube for anything besides entertainment until learned to change my car’s cabin air filter. Desperate to save $40, I found a helpful video that that showed this maintenance. It took me 3 minutes to learn this important skill. In fact, the original video showed the filter changed in 1.5 minutes. Leaving the creator plenty of time to solve a Rubix Cube.
Since that initial success, I have begun to use Youtube regularly. I have learned how to fix things on my car and computer using Youtube. Youtube has also helped me in my new diaper making hobby.
We are lucky to live in the age of free online learning!
I have had many an adventures with each of these sites. I hope they help you get started exploring topics that are on your “to learn” list very soon!
Please leave a comment letting us know what you are learning about today!
What resources have been stepping stones in the paths of your learning adventures?
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