Top 5 sites to get smart, quick

The competition is tight nowadays. We’re all short for time. And sometimes, everyday life is just… Every. Day.

We need something new – a spark to light up our brains and fire our neurons.

Here are five.

Code.org

Code_logoCode.org is one of the fastest-growing, most exciting not-for-profit tutorial site on the internet. It’s specific purpose – to help all schools start a computer science program.

Started in 2013, it has over 1.8 million people signing its petition to allow all US students to have Computer Science count as part of their curriculum in high school. The logic is that everything right now in our lives is controlled by computers. And if you’re not with them, you’re losing out big time.

Despite the seemingly heavy subject, the site has easy-to-digest tutorials, designed to introduce programming to learners of all ages, even kindergarteners!

Each tutorial lasts about hour, which they call the ‘Hour of Code’. Start off with learning how to draw lines and shapes on the screen using code and move on to writing your own game. They even have Disney-themed tutorials to get kids more engaged with the courses.

Resources are available online to support educators, and students, in bringing the courses into the classrooms, and to start a computer science program in their own schools.

With faces like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and even Barack Obama behind them, Code.org is definitely on to something. And, that’s right, it’s all free.

Udemy

udemy_logo-greenUdemy has one of the widest range of topics, and the largest price range, available for learning among the sites listed here. You’ll be joining the ranks of their 7 million users learning from their platform.

With their pay-per-use model, you ay a one-time fee for any selected course you choose. Each course is designed and priced by the instructor themselves. This also means that you can choose from an array of instructors for any one topic, in case you feel that one instructor’s teaching style suits you more than the other.

Subjects include a whole variety of topics like K-8 Math concepts, pattern-cutting and making for beginners, video production and how to self publish a book on Kindle.

The price for each course starts from absolutely free to US$500 and more. Course presentation styles also range widely from a text-based presentation with a voice-over, to a video filmed from an actual live workshop.

Feel you’ve got some knowledge you want to spread to the world? You can post your own video courses on Udemy and earn from sales of the course too.

Skillshare

Skillshare-LOGO-09272010This beautifully designed platform allows the thirst for knowledge to really thrive. Though not exclusively for artists, about 90% of the courses on Skillshare revolves around something to do with design, photography, websites or something pretty. No particular reason why that seems to be, though it could be the aesthetics of the site itself.

A basic membership is free, but is only gives you access to the free courses. (Hey, you get what you give!) and they are mostly short courses which act as promotional material for a certain brand or person. Nevertheless, the content is very useful.

Comparatively, Skillshare is more affordable but also has less content. Paid membership is only $10 month-to month, or $96 per year (which works out to $8/month). So if you have some lunch money to set aside in exchange for a useful skill, this site would be perfect for you.

Try watching some of their free courses to get your learning groove on, like ‘The Art of Baking – A Beginner’s Guide‘ (just to stare at some chocolate), or ‘Typography that Works‘ (an essential and favourite), or ‘Validate Your Startup Idea for Less than $1,000‘ (by the Skillshare founder himself).

If you find a premium course which you like, I say it’s still worth a 10 bucks to try it out.

Lynda.com

I don’t know who Lynda is or where she’s from. But this squinty-eyed lady delivers some solid content and videos, which will usually give you something that can actually help in your work and to boost your productivity.

Lynda.com, being a LinkedIn company, aims to help working professionals pick up a few skills in their free time, in order to advance in your career. Their courses are curated and of relatively high quality and value, most of the time with recognized industry experts conducting the lessons.

If you’re looking at upping the skills of your whole team, be it in a school or office, lynda.com offers integrated solutions, or group discounts as well.

A free trial lasts for 14 days, after which, you can choose from 2 kinds of memberships – Basic ( from US$19.99/month) or Premium (from $29.99/month). Premium membership includes access to bonus course materials, provided by the course instructors, which you can download and work on as you watch the videos. That comes in really handy if you are a kinesthetic learner.

Skillfeed

(Not to be confused with Skillshare) Courses available revolve mainly around its only 2 main categories of web design and graphic design. Not surprising, as the site is a side project of Shutterstock. But a small portion of the site does contain other tutorials in subjects like health and wellness, sales, and languages.

I know one which my Dad will love – ‘Introduction to Aviation English’. You definitely don’t see that everywhere. Need something a bit more laidback? Try to ‘Learn how to Crochet Left-handed’.

One useful feature of this website is that they also categorize by software. So if you’re looking to master a new graphic design tool you’ve gotten, this might be the site for you. At $19/month, it surely beats buying one of those bulky paperbacks for dummies.

So whether you’re out to just tickle your brain waves a bit or looking for a life-changer, there is no right or wrong. With all these resources out there delivering content in so many different ways, there’s really no excuse not to pick a new skill or learn something new. Choose a short 30 minute eye-opener, or find a style which suits you and stick with that.

There is never too much knowledge to be had.

Study hard. Get ok grades. Study something else.

Alongside you,

The Curious Passenger

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