The Complete Guide To Finding & Learning Something New Online

By Ellesse

Want to pick up a new language, skill or hobby but simply don’t know how to go about it? What if you don’t even know what you want to learn?

In this era, finding something to learn isn’t that difficult. Virtually anything is already available freely or inexpensively on the Internet. Yes, even activities that requires practical application. Such as learning how to dance!

As part of the special feature for “Learn Something New”, the 3rd ranked goal in my previous poll Top 10 Goals of Goal Setting College Readers, let me bring you on a scavenging hunt for some of the net’s most wonderful treasures.

But before that, let’s tackle this mind boggling question.

How Do You Decide What You Want To Learn?

It’s ok. All of us have such moments, isn’t it? Can’t decide which restaurant to go for a nice Sunday brunch. Having a dilemma which preschool to send the kids to. Etc. Etc.

If you’ve been wrestling with finding what you’re interested to learn, tendency is, you’re probably too busy looking at what others are doing. Instead of seeking this entirely out of yourself, take a moment to look what’s within.

Here’s are some tips that may help :

  1. Relive Your Childhood Ambitions.

    Have you always wished you knew how to play the piano, strum the guitar or dance ballet? Just like what some of your grade or high school classmates did? Instead of feeling resentful for not being given such opportunities then, why don’t you try reliving it by learning it now? Go through your past & jot down the items you wished you’ve learned. Trust me, you’ll soon find yourself with a long list. Makes you wonder if you’ve ever had a fulfilled childhood!

  2. See What’s Lacking In Your Job or Business.

    Is it important for you to speak well or look good in your job? Is it essential for you to know other countries’ business customs and legal environment? If yes, you may want to consider toastmaster, personal grooming or business courses. Reviewing what’s required in your present career is not only a great road map to knowing what you need to know. It’s also a good opportunity for a SWOT analysis. Who knows, the new skill may land you that big break – an overseas posting or a multi-million dollar contract!

  3. Review The Essential Life Skills You Need.

    Life skills are what I refer as important know-how for personal development, financial management or safety (such as swimming or self defense). Though these don’t seem crucial on a surface level, it’s actually necessary for life efficacy. For example, goal setting allows people to derive the most out of their lives. Basic financial planning, on the other hand helps one to grow his investments for self sufficiency.

  4. Consider Lifestyle Activities You’ve Been Thinking About.

    There are some things that appeals because of the perceived social recognition. Such as yachting, golfing and wine appreciation. These activities don’t come cheap but they certainly gives people the impression you’ve made it! If you’ve got some spare cash, go ahead and try them out. Ostentatious they may seem, most of them are actually quite good for your general well being too!

  5. Check Out What’s In & See If It Appeals.

    Take an hour or two off a free weekend afternoon and scan through those fashionable albeit trashy magazines. I’m sure you’ll be able to spot one or two of the current trends. See if any of those appeal to you. For example, when Korean dramas serials were very popular in my country, many people signed up to learn the Korean language. Little did they know that they can actually learn different languages online for free! I’ll show you in a moment.

  6. Further Your Passion, Hobbies & Interests.

    When all else fails, you may just want to explore your existing know-how. Even if you’re very familiar with different magic tricks, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt to know other ways to hide that rabbit in your sleeve, isn’t it? Trust me, you’re bound to find something that you don’t know!

Where Can You Find Such Information On the Internet?

Once you’re clear of what you want to learn, take a moment to look through these online tools. 90% of them are free and I’m sure you’ll be definitely be able to find something that suits you. Have fun!

(1) Online Courses

Suitable for beginners, such courses have easy-to-follow lesson plans. If there’s only 1 site you want to visit, Jimmyr is my personal recommendation. Not only does it contain links to 177 Berkeley course videos, it’s literally a resource vault. Some of the most amazing audiobooks, podcasts, software and reference sites that I’ve seen are all listed there. And guess what? All of them are free!

You can also find some other online courses here :

(2) Instructional & How To Videos

Not satisfied with just reading? Well, you can watch videos! Almost anything you want to know – from cooking to magic – can be found in these Top 10 Video How-To Sites. Check them out. Personally I think they’re awesome!

(3) Forums

Mainly to reinforce concepts and techniques, forums are some great places to ask questions. It’s almost impossible for me to list down all the forums but here are some of the more active ones I know :

(4) Wikipedia & WikiHow

Wikipedia & WikiHow are volunteer supported article repositories which you can find written on any topic. You name it, they’ve it. In WikiHow alone, I’ve come across interesting topics such as wine tasting & appreciation to dog grooming. How’s that for free information?

(5) Podcasts.

If you’re an auditory learner, you mustn’t forget about podcasts. Download them onto your ipod and you can learn even while on the road. Try searching for your favourites through podcast search engines such as Yahoo, Podscope. Or alternatively, take a look at these picks :

  • Business & Entrepreneurship (SBA)
  • Personal Development (The Change Blog)
  • Various Subjects (Jimmyr, Oculture – Click Podcast Library Section links for more)

(6) Ebooks & AudioBooks

Well, what I can say about them? A lot of the classics that we’re very familiar with are already converted into downloadable pdfs or audiobooks on the public domain. Refer to the ‘Free Ebooks’ Section on Jimmyr for all these. And if you’re interested to read original works by aspiring authors, Free Ebook and Podiobooks are 2 places you may want to visit.

(7) Test & Quizzes

Not only are tests and quizzes fun, they’re an excellent way to verify if you’ve absorbed the reading. Here are 2 good quiz sites to start you off with : AllTheTests, GoToQuiz. A warning though, don’t get too addicted!

That’s all from me. Is there anything you know that’s not on this list? Let me know in the comments!


17 Responses to “The Complete Guide To Finding & Learning Something New Online”

  1. Peter at 2:10 pm

    Ellesse you’re awesome! Thanks for sending a few people my way :)

  2. Luke at 11:47 pm

    A comprehensive list. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ellesse at 1:03 am

    @Peter, don’t mention it. I really liked your 5 recommended podcasts and well, good things are meant to be shared, isn’t it?

    @Luke, thanks for the kind words. Glad to have you here, too!

  4. Al at 7P at 3:08 am

    Great post. Youtube also is a great repository for video tutorials… you have to do a little digging and sifting, but you’ll find some gems there.

  5. Ellesse at 3:15 am

    Absolutely agree, Al. I’ve watch many interesting stuff on the Youtube! There are also many other sites on that list of how-to videos I’ve posted that I’ve never heard of myself until I did the research. Way cool!

  6. Lisa at 3:37 am


    Wow what a comprehensive list. I am new to the blogging community so I feel like a baby just getting ready to walk. Thanks for the ideas, I am going to take your suggestions and see what new thing I want to learn this year.


  7. Ellesse at 5:04 am

    Lisa, thanks for your kind words! You’re welcomed. Take your time to go through the item and I’m sure you’ll find something to do! Feel free to me know if you need any other assistance!

  8. Albert | UrbanMonk.Net at 9:12 pm

    Very comprehensive post, certainly gave me food for thought. I think I’ll go take a first aid class now, for some reason it’s been popping into my head a lot.

    Albert | UrbanMonk.Net
    Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

  9. Monika @ The Writers Manifesto at 9:39 am

    That is some cool list your wrote here. I love Steve Pavlina’s forum and recently become a member there too.
    Now I’m going to check out your Jimmyr site. :-)

  10. Ellesse at 1:06 pm

    @Albert, are you scared of getting hit head-on by those comments trouts we see? Don’t worry! Your readers love you too much for that…

    @Monika, go go… it’s very very good. Don’t spend too much time on it though :)

  11. grapeshot at 4:41 pm

    I recently discovered that the BBC offers on-line language courses in French, Spanish, German, and a whole host of other languages.

  12. Ellesse at 7:50 am

    Grapeshot, thanks for the link! It’s also in Jimmyr, right under the “Learn Languages” menu on the right! Have fun…

  13. Koosha at 12:46 pm

    Thanks Ellesse, that was interesting

  14. Ellesse at 1:22 pm

    Koosha, glad you liked it!

  15. Albert | UrbanMonk.Net at 7:27 am

    Meehehe…no I love my readers too, but as the summer nears in Australia I have to wear more and more revealing clothes and I have to protect myself from the wild women roaming the streets…

    BTW, noticed that you’re generating so much conversation in your blogs, good stuff – you’re developing a real community!

  16. Ellesse at 11:07 am

    Haha.. so you’re learning first aid to help those women with their nose bleeds? That’s nice of you. This article was picked up by so that was a couple of incoming trackbacks. I’ve still got much to learn from you! Aside from the excellent content, your ability to generate a community on your blog is something I’m truly impressed with!

  17. Jonathan at 12:58 pm

    Another free ebooks library:
    Over 20’000 eBooks…


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