5 tools for learning anything on-the-go

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Do you follow recipes from YouTube? Or get household tips online from Facebook or Pinterest? Why not go the next level and learn a new skill or boost your professional knowledge using online tools?

The following are tools that offer interesting learning opportunities for people who have no time to learn. We have chosen those that are offered for free so you can test them out without obligation and see if they work for you:

  1. Highbrow

    What it is: Highbrow is a subscription service that provides bite-sized daily courses to you via email. Each course is divided into 10 parts that are meant to be read and learned in five minutes. The site currently has more than 2,000 courses across 12 categories (art, business, health, languages, literature, logic, nature, philosophy, productivity, psychology, and science).

    Why you need to try it: This is “no-pressure” learning at its best. If you only have five minutes to spare every day, this is an ideal tool for you. It will help you learn about a new topic, or gain a new skill. Or if you like art or literature, you can enjoy a piece of art or read a short story before you start your work (or on your commute to/from work). It is an ideal tool to develop lifelong learning skills.

    To give you an idea about what they offer: The science of happiness, Ideas that changed the world, The basics of English writing, Ultimate guide to running

  2. GCF Learn Free.org

    What it is: This site has 125 tutorials on technology basics (their specialty), essential skills, and work and career that are all for free. You can access the lessons right away, no registration needed. But if you want to track your learning or get a certificate as proof that you accomplished an online course, you would have to register (but it’s still free).

    Why you need to try it: The lessons are straightforward and some tutorials are supplemented by videos and interactive materials. The lessons are also divided by topic. This way, if you just want to answer a question, you can go straight to the specific portion of the lesson you are interested in. If you want to learn more, just go back to the material when you have more time. It also has mobile apps that you can download for iOS, Android or Kindle for learning anywhere.

    To give you an idea about what they offer: Computer basics, Digital photography, Powerpoint tips, Work Skills, Interview Skills, Job Success

  3. Open2Study

    What it is: This site offers 49 courses ranging from technology to language and culture. Each course takes only four weeks. It is backed by Open Universities Australia, an organization that has been offering online learning for over 20 years. You will benefit from their expertise in course design and learn from their roster of academics and industry professionals. Learning on this site will require more of your time (as compared to the previous two sites), but you can choose to study in your spare time at nights or on weekends.

    Why you need to try it: Aside from quality instruction, the courses are designed for practical learning. Each subject is divided into modules. You can get a preview of how many lessons each module contains. From this, you can estimate how much time you need to devote to a course. The lessons are structured – every lesson ends with a quiz, and each course requires an evaluation. You get a “classroom feel” because you know how many are enrolled in the course. There is a forum where you get to introduce yourself, learn about your classmates, “connect” with them, ask questions and share comments. At each step, you get merit badges for accomplishing tasks. Upon completion of the course, you receive a certificate which is a nice bonus.

    To give you an idea about what they offer: Writing for the web, Early Childhood Education, Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship and Family Business, Strategic Management

    Similar sites: Also check out Saylor Academy (more appropriate for high school to college-age students), ALISON, Khan Academy (may require registration).

  4. The Muse

    What it is: The Muse is an online career source. Generally, it can help registered users find a job as they feature openings (which are US-based), however, The Muse made it to this list mainly for its career advice content. You can sign up for their newsletter and receive personalized content via email which you can read in your spare time.

    Why you need to try it: If you are intent on career success, you will benefit from the easy-to-read articles on every aspect of professional life – from finding a job to moving up in your career. You can simply go to the site and read Career Advice, or sign up for the newsletter.

    To give you an idea about what they offer: Example articles: 11 Time-saving Microsoft Word hacks you won’t know how you lived without, The non-scary realistic guide to changing careers when you’re older, How to build a resume website that will impress every hiring manager who sees it.

  5. Podcasts

    What they are: Podcasts are audio files that you can download to your computer or mobile device for listening offline or on-the-go. You will have to download an app (e.g. Podcast for iPhones, or Stitcher for Android) and then subscribe to a particular podcast. You can also listen to a podcast on your computer while it is streaming online. They can be about a variety of topics and can be delivered similar to a radio show. Podcasts can also be in audio-book, or talk-show formats.

    Why you need to try them: You can listen and learn even while you are doing something else, like working out, cooking or even doing the laundry. Also, listening to podcasts will help you become accustomed to English conversations and boost your vocabulary. Getting a podcast is easy. You can subscribe and get new ones automatically. If you have a portable media player like an iPod, your podcast software can search and load new shows to it. You can also search via iTunes.

    Suggested educational podcasts: TEDTalks audio (covers a variety of topics), Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas (information and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs around the world), Back to Work (a talk show discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, and new tools to help you work better).

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You may also be interested in these: Top free apps for learning English, Online resources for developing your writing skills, and Online resources to improve English pronunciation

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5 tools for learning anything on-the-go

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