The Complete Guide To Finding & Learning Something New Online
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 :
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 :
- Personal Finance & Productivity (GenxFinance)
- Dancing (LearnToDance)
- Photography (Morguefile)
- Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBA)
- Various topics. Free for individual learners (Alison)
- Various topics such as cookery, art, investing. Some are premium courses (Nuvvo, WorldWideLearn)
(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!
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 :
- Personal Development (StevePavlina Forums)
- IT, Programming & Internet Marketing (Sitepoint, DigitalPoint, WarriorForums)
- Investment (Morningstar, Fool)
- Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SmallBusinessBrief)
- Travel (Travellerspoint)
- Cookery (Discuss Cooking)
- Other Hobby & Special Interests (Groupsrv)
(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?
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!