Whether you want to improve your employability, acquire a new skill, or just keep your mind active, finding a website to learn new things is a great solution. Options range from long (sometimes accredited) courses to fun activities that just require a few minutes of your time. Some require a large investment, whereas others are completely free. Whatever your interests, budget, and time constraints, you can find something that works for you.
Websites for Learning Languages
You may decide to learn a language to communicate with locals when you travel, talk to family members or friends in their native language, or prepare for a relocation to another country. Even if none of the above apply, learning a language is worthwhile, as it will change how your mind works — making you more creative, improving your memory, and enhancing your listening skills.
The best-known language-learning platform is Duolingo, which has courses in 97 languages. The website and app use gamification to help you learn words and phrases. As you progress, you’ll learn more complex structures, which will help you understand a wider variety of constructions and improve your communication skills.
Duolingo is completely free, although you can pay for an ad-free experience if you want to support the platform.
To learn more than just phrases, try Busuu. Although you’ll be limited to just the 12 most common languages, the lessons are much more in-depth than on Duolingo. There are grammar explanations, vocabulary flashcards, and a variety of activities to practice your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
Each lesson has some free activities, but you’ll unlock many more if you pay for the premium version. When you pay for two years in advance, it costs $5.41. However, here’s a top tip: start with the free version and wait a few days before you upgrade. The website often offers big discounts when you do this.
Websites for Creative Learning
Enhancing your creativity will mean you become better at solving problems, cope well with uncertainty, and improve your innovation. You can also learn valuable skills you need or want, such as photography or writing.
On Skillshare, courses fall into the categories of Create, Build, and Thrive. All are based around improving creativity in areas as diverse as animation and fine art to business analytics and marketing. Each class is a sequence of videos alongside a project. You can share your project with others in the class to receive feedback.
The first month is free, then Premium costs $19 a month. However, if you pay for the whole year in advance, membership costs only $8.25 a month. Skillshare also allows you to sign up for a team account to improve your creativity together with other people at your company. This costs $99 a year per user.
With MasterClass, you have the chance to learn from the greatest names in entertainment, music, design, food, and much more. Classes are created by people like David Sedaris, Dr. Jane Goodall, RuPaul, and Jodie Foster. You’ll watch videos and use a PDF workbook, spending an average of 10 minutes on each class.
You’ll need to sign up for an annual subscription, which works out to $15 per month. With a subscription, you have access to the entire catalog of nine categories, each with more 85 classes.
Websites for Business Skills
If you want to gain a specific skill or demonstrate your knowledge to an employer or client, your best option may be a website to learn business skills.
The training on HubSpot Academy is of the same quality as the HubSpot services. You can take certification courses that last several hours or short courses to learn about a specific aspect of marketing, sales, or customer service. Each course is split into different video lessons with quizzes to check your knowledge. There are also assessments and practical exercises to demonstrate that you’ve understood everything.
All the online training courses at HubSpot Academy are free. Plus, unlike on many other learning websites, the certifications are free.
If you already have a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn learning will provide you with a personalized selection of top courses to improve skills related to your industry and role. You can also see what is popular with your coworkers, which is useful for keeping up with others at your company. The courses are made up of videos, quizzes, and practical activities. As well as receiving a certificate, some courses allow you to earn continuing education credits.
Membership is $29.99 a month, with your first month free. However, if you pay for the entire year, it costs just $19.99 a month. Either way, you’ll receive access to all the courses along with LinkedIn Premium membership.
Websites for Learning IT Skills
Virtually every job requires employees to have good IT skills. Furthermore, advanced IT skills can open the way to new opportunities.
Although Udemy offers courses in a range of areas, some of its best are IT and software related. The website has highly-rated courses in areas like network and security, hardware, and operating systems. These courses last anywhere from about five hours to more than 80 hours. You can also find courses to prepare for AWS exams to receive official certification of your skills.
Costs vary according to the course. The most expensive are around $100, but there are often discounts, bringing prices down to as low as $13.
Whether you want to code for web development, computer science, programming, or data science, you can learn the skills you’ll need at Codecademy. When you take a course, you’ll have the chance to create code and test it out to ensure it works. At the end of every course, there are quizzes to check your knowledge.
The free version gives you access to all the basic courses. If you sign up for a premium account, you’ll also have unlimited mobile practice, certificates, members-only content, and more. This costs $15.99 and is billed annually.
Websites for University-Level Learning
Some of the top universities in the world have created courses just to study online. These are ideal for filling gaps in your knowledge or even for earning an official certification from an accredited institution.
One of the pioneers of massive open online courses (MOOCs), Coursera offers a huge range of courses in a wide variety of subjects. The courses are provided by universities from around the globe. You can study short courses, certifications, and even degree programs. Depending on what you choose, you may be able to start at any time or you may need to wait for a start date to take part in activities with other students.
Some courses on Coursera are completely free. Others you can audit for free, but you’ll need to pay if you want someone to grade your assignments or you want a certificate. There are also Specializations, where you take several courses in the same area. These cost between $39 and $79 a month. Finally, degrees range in price from about $11,000 to $45,000 (most are master’s degrees).
Unlike Coursera, the courses on OpenLearn are all from the same institution: the Open University in the UK. The courses mostly use material adapted from the university’s bachelor and master degree programs. They consist of a combination of readings, interactive activities, videos, and quizzes. All the courses provide you with a certificate of achievement and longer courses (designed to take 24 hours) give you a badge that you can display in places like your LinkedIn profile.
All courses on OpenLearn are free and there are no paid premium features.
Websites for Learning Soft Skills
Learning soft skills is just as important as acquiring specific knowledge. Whether you need to become more productive, be a better communicator, or improve your analytic thinking, there are some great options.
The courses on Highbrow cover areas like personal growth, relationships, finance, and entrepreneurship. As each lesson is just five minutes long, there’s no room for excuses that you don’t have enough time. Choose the course you want to take and you’ll receive a new lesson every day to your inbox. At the end of the course, there’s a fun quiz to test your knowledge.
After the 30-day free trial, Highbrow costs $10 a month (although you can often find it discounted) and you’ll pay a recurring annual payment. There is also a team membership option, which costs only $4 per team member.
You’ll gain more from all the other websites if you improve your memory. Even though memory is a crucial soft skill, few people know how to improve it. Memozor has numerous games that you can play every day to give your brain a workout.
The games are all free to play.
All these websites for learning new things allow you to fit studying around your other life commitments. This way of learning is much more flexible than trying to make it to a class; plus, many people find that it’s easier to stay motivated when learning on their own. To see the best results, though, it’s necessary to schedule some time every day to ensure learning becomes part of your daily routine.