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Teaching Yourself New Skills

Updated on November 29, 2018

Old Dog, New Tricks

Learning a new skill doesn't have to be limited to people with ample time or the money to invest in educational materials and instructors. By using a repeatable methodology, you can begin gaining proficiency with new skills overnight. While mastery will take time, effort, and study, there are ample free sources for you to pick up the basics of virtually anything.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a great website you are probably already familiar with if you haven't already used it. Increasingly, educators are beginning to realize the value of the program and are incorporating it into their lesson plans. Nevertheless, it is a great starting point when talking about any academic based skill. The best part - it is completely free!

Khan Academy is focused primarily on foundational educational classes but also features some collegiate level courses and an excellent module to introduce you to computer programming. There are a number of stand-alone courses and modules to truly deliver what is promised; a world class education.

Logo for Khan Academy - a great free resource!
Logo for Khan Academy - a great free resource! | Source


There's very little I can probably tell you about Youtube as you are undoubtedly quite familiar. I will offer however that in the event you feel less than technically savvy to certain challenges you encounter in life, (car breakdown, appliance on the fritz, or heaven forbid, a computer issue) Youtube can potentially be a wonderful asset. There are videos on fixing virtually anything and everything so even if you are not the most hands on person, you have a decent shot at bumbling your way through an issue. I am possibly weakest in this area and I have managed to pull off a number of small plumbing jobs in my home. The biggest problem with this resource is taking the time to sort through videos which may not resolve your particular issue.

Caution: It should go without saying that any repair you attempt is done at your own risk. Electrical issues, in particular, can be especially hazardous for people who aren't familiar with what they're doing as even a small amount of electricity going through your heart muscle can kill you. While you would be far safer relying on a professional in such instances, at the very least, please make an effort to disconnect any device you are taking apart from its power source prior to beginning work.

Khan Academy
Foundational Academic Knowledge, Filling in Gaps in Education or Memory, Test Prep
Introduction to Programming, RN Test Prep, Foundational Math Coursework
Videos on Virtually Any Subject, Many Step-by-Step Guides.
Dishwasher Troubleshooting, Software Troubleshooting, Recommendations on Coding Languages to Learn
Lowe's How-To Guide
Home Improvement Projects, General Handyman Skills
Building a Patio, Assembling a Toolkit, Wrench Types and Uses
Building Professional/Technical Skillbase, Printing Certificates/Diplomas
Communication Skills, Google Adsense, Intro to Teaching ESL

Lowe's How-To Guide

Lowe's is a pretty ubiquitous hardware and materials chain throughout the US. They have a section of their website committed to providing information on acquainting yourself with tools and considerations for various projects you might undertake. The pricing calculator can help you figure out the cost of the project you are about to dive into.

A good place for any home improvement project you might have to undertake.
A good place for any home improvement project you might have to undertake. | Source


Alison offers free online courses in various topics, seemingly aimed at developing professional and technical skills for the workplace. Content is free but there is a fair amount of advertising involved. It features a number of certificates and diplomas for pursuing various disciplines. I haven't had much of an opportunity to play around with this one but it looks very promising!

Logo for the Alison website. Looks promising!
Logo for the Alison website. Looks promising! | Source

But the most important thing is...

A tenacious attitude. If you don't stick with it, you can't possibly succeed. This trumps any other factor such as intelligence or natural aptitude for determining success in any endeavor.

"If you don't stick with it, you can't possibly succeed."

Other Sources

There are a number of good sources throughout the internet that other people have done an excellent job finding and explaining - I've gathered some good leads below. - An excellent, comprehensive resource for a number of skills and ideas for where to look. Mostly based around academic endeavors and computer programming.

A lot of universities and colleges offer online coursework for free provided you invest some time locating these resources. I am required as part of my state licensure to undergo annual training to renew, but I am able to satisfy this requirement with such a university course and able to print a certificate out afterwards.

Any other tips?

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