5 tools for learning anything on-the-go

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Original Image  by Adam Pantozzi/Times Alliance.  CC BY

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

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

  1. Microsoft/LinkedIn Learning/GitHub

    What it is: This program offers free online courses to teach skills required in 10 jobs that are currently in-demand. Aside from the courses, the hub also offers discounted Microsoft certifications to validate your skills*, as well as an opportunity to practice your tech skills on the GitHub Learning Lab. When you’re ready to apply for jobs, LinkedIn’s community and resources will be available to support you. You can go to the site and start learning right away. But to maximize the experience, it will be best to have a LinkedIn account to access all the courses, resources, and supports.

    *The EO Community can avail of exam vouchers for Microsoft Certifications for free until March 31, 2022. This is a program EO is promoting in partnership with IEC-BC. Please see poster below.

    Why you need to try it: Aside from the free and high-quality instruction, the courses are designed for flexible learning, meaning you can study at your own pace. You’ll also boost your LinkedIn profile when you display your Microsoft certification after you complete a course.

    What they offer:Courses to become a software developer, sales representative, project manager, IT administrator, customer service specialist, digital marketer, IT support/helpdesk, data analyst, financial analyst, and graphic designer.

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

  3. Highbrow

    What it is: Highbrow is a subscription service that sends 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 the 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


    What it is: ASCEND means Applied Skills Curriculum to Empower Newcomer Development. It is an online program that builds newcomer skills for employment. It has seven interactive modules that teach job readiness skills which prepare newcomers for onboarding and integration into Canadian work culture.

    Why you need to try it: This program is being offered for free by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC in cooperation with English Online as its Manitoba partner. This program is self-directed and self-paced. If you are intent on career success, this online tool is for you.

    ASCEND is ideal for those with CLB 6+ language proficiency and have previous work experience. Enrollment for the next batch is on April, 2022 (watch out for our announcement). Registered EO learners can send an email to ivolchok@myenglishonline.ca to register. If you’re not an EO learner yet, it’s not too late! (Register here: Register).

  5. 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

  6. 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.

    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. Listening to podcasts will help you become accustomed to English conversations and boost your vocabulary. 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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Community Resources

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Go to: Get Ready to Get Hired: Microsoft Skills for Employability Program for more information and to register to get your free voucher.

You may also be interested in these resources: 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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