Learn A Skill Online - Interesting, Useful, Fun Things To Learn Online For Free!
Open Course Web Sites
Take A College Course
If you're interested in expanding your knowledge, but don't need to go back to school for a full degree, many colleges offer free courses and lectures online. You won't have the daily interaction with a professor, and you won't have anyone grading your homework and giving you feedback. However, you can learn all the same things real students learn, without having a set course load or schedule to follow! Want to learn computer programming at MIT? How about take a Stanford-offered physics class? Or maybe you want to listen to a Yale lecture on financial markets?
It's absolutely astounding how many free resources exist on the internet that enable you to receive an Ivy League education from some of the best teachers and experts in the world. Of course, you won't get the degree that comes with the Ivy League price tag, but all the knowledge is at your finger tips. Pick a topic that interests you, and dive in!
Language Learning Websites
- DuoLingo: Considered by many to be the best language-learning resource online. Also has an app.
- BBC Languages
- InterPals: Find a foreign penpal who speaks the language you wish to learn, and is learning the language you speak. Help each other learn, while making a new friend!
- MemRise: Vocabulary and memorization site
- Radio Lingua: Offers podcasts and free audio courses in many popular languages
- Polygot Project: Read classic novels in multiple languages, to help with immersion
- Anki: A website and linked Android App that has flashcard decks in a variety of languages
- Babbel: A website and free app that offers many languages
Learn A Language
How many times have you thought to yourself, "I should learn Spanish/French/Italian"? Have you looked into expensive software programs or local language classes? Maybe you took a language in school and want to brush up. Believe it or not, many websites offer completely free full language courses that work! There are also apps available to learn on the go, and podcasts to help with pronunciation. It doesn't matter what language you want to learn- there's a resource available for you.
In addition to the websites listed to the right, the internet is especially helpful in immersing yourself in a new language. The next time you look something up on Wikipedia, try reading it in the language you are trying to learn. You can find children's books on Kindle written in other languages, with simple sentence structures to help you learn. Once you get more advanced, there are many free ebooks written in different languages specifically geared towards helping you learn. Read Yahoo News in, for example, Spanish.
This website has a very comprehensive list of different resources for learning any language you can think of!
Party Trick Resources
- YouTube: One of the best resources there is. Millions of videos with step-by-step instructions to learn anything you can think of.
- FunPartyTricks: Great party tricks and bar bets, with new videos posted weekly.
- Xplore Magic: This site has more than just magic tricks- articles and videos for fun bar and party tricks to impress friends and break the ice.
Learn A Party Trick
If you're just bored, and want to spend an afternoon learning a cool new trick, the internet can teach you almost anything. Anyone can learn to juggle with a little practice. Learn a magic trick to impress your friends. Learn how to retrieve a cork that has fallen inside a wine bottle. Learn the Cups trick made famous by Anna Kendrick. The possibilities are truly endless. Millions of people post videos, pictorials, and blogs every day about neat things you can learn in a few hours. You'll have an amazing new skill to show off to friends and strangers alike!
- Codecademy: Step-by-step, easy tutorials in a variety of languages.
- Learn Programming: Online forum where you can post questions to get advice. Has a number of links to resource sites.
- Mozilla's School of Webcraft: For beginners and experienced coders alike.
- Google Code University: You might want to have the basics down before clicking this link. Great resource for the more advanced coder.
- W3 Schools: Learn everything you need to create a beautiful website, from html5 to XML
- Programmr: This is an awesome resource for practicing your skills. Pick the language you're trying to learn, and it gives you exercises to solve. Win points that can even earn you cash rewards!
Learn Computer Programming
This is a skill that can not only be fun and useful, but can actually earn you some money! In today's world, almost everything you do involves a computer. Your phone, your car, banking, research, getting directions... the possibilities are endless. Knowing a thing or two about how computers work, and how to program them, can be a useful skill in the job market. You can also start a side business designing websites for small businesses, or create a mobile app to sell on iTunes or Google Play.
Learning coding isn't easy, and not everyone will enjoy it. If you have a strong attention to detail, and like the feeling of watching something you created come to life, this option could be for you! It takes thousands, even millions of lines of code to create a complex and professional website or app, but when you see your creation up and running, it can all be worth it. If you have a creative side, you'll also enjoy designing the layout and graphics for your game or website.
With free courses online and hundreds of internet forums for you to get tips and tricks, there's no reason you can't learn how to code for free, in the comfort of your own home. After you're confident in your skills, you can sell your services on sites like eLance or Craig's List, or just use them to create a personal website or game you've always dreamed of selling. If it takes off, you can even become the next internet millionaire!
Learn An Instrument
Learn an Instrument
This one will require an investment on your part, as you need to purchase the instrument, and it will take time to get good! However, there's no reason to pay for an instructor when there's so much you can learn online for free. Watch video tutorials, find free sheet music, and find tips on forums.
Learn to Draw
- Drawspace: Amazing collection of tutorials and courses provided free online.
- DeviantArt: Artist's community with tutorials posted by members, and forums for you to post your own art and receive constructive criticism. You can even sell your creations here!
- PixieLovely: Collection of poses to practice figure drawing
- About.com: A few basic tutorials to get you started
- CtrlPaint: Video tutorials on digital painting
- Free ebooks by: Andrew Loomis, Jack Hamm, and more
- SketchDaily: A forum that gives you a subject to draw each day, where you can post your sketch and see what other members came up with. Great inspiration to get daily practice and step out of your comfort zone!
Learn to Draw
Perhaps you've always fancied yourself an artist, but didn't have the time for art school. The truth is, absolutely anyone can learn to draw with a little practice. There are many free resources online to learn about materials, different mediums, the basics of perspective, proportion, and figure drawing, as well as more specialized lessons on things like realism or drawing for comics. If you can set aside a little time each day to practice, you'll be painting landscapes and drawing your own manga comic in no time!
Learn A Hobby
Maybe there's a hobby you've always wanted to learn, or maybe you just stumbled upon something that sounds cool right on this page. Either way, there's nothing holding you back! Some hobbies can earn you money, like selling goods you knit on Etsy, but most are just fun things to do with your free time. This section is too vast for a succinct side bar. If there's something you're interested in, try looking it up on YouTube, or just Google "Learn _____ online". If you're looking for suggestions, try a few of these ideas below:
- DIY: Words can't really describe this site. No matter what you're interested in, there are tips, tutorials, and challenges. Beekeeping? Writing codes through cryptography? Puppeteering? Shoemaking? They have it all. There are many more mainstream hobbies on the site, but you can easily lose days just picking a hobby from their vast array of exciting options.
- Discover A Hobby: This site starts with 10 main categories (music, performing arts, arts & crafts, models & electronics, etc) and then lets you choose from a range of ideas in that category. Two examples in the "arts & crafts" category are woodworking and jewelry making, but there are dozens more. Choose your hobby, and it offers you an introduction, thorough tutorial, videos, forums, and outside resources. You can use the site to track things you've learned and things you want to learn. Truly an outstanding resource.
- Craftsy: If you consider yourself pretty crafty and want to learn to knit, sew, quilt, crochet, embroider, weave, spin, make jewelry, decorate cakes, upcycle furniture, or anything else of the DIY crafter nature, check this site out. It offers a few online courses, plus resources for supplies and project ideas. The forum community is very supportive and loves to share completed projects and new ideas.
- Speaking of upcycling, have you heard of that before? It's a way of turning old clothing and household items into something new and exciting. You can refurbish goods for your own use, or sell them online or at craft fairs. Some ideas might seem strange, like turning kid's toys into toothbrush holders. Some might be impractical, like building a roof out of plastic bottles. But some upcyclers can really surprise you with their creativity- like turning a filing cabinet into a rolling kitchen cart! Browse sites like UpcycleThat for inspiration, and start scouring your house for any old goods you can upcycle into something amazing!