Here are ten tools to help you teach yourself when you are at home or online. The fun thing is that most of the resources are free to use and have been around for quite a while so they are unlikely to disappear in a few weeks (as so many online learning websites do). Here are ten of the best online learning resources so far this year.
1 - TED
You will find these videos on Smartphone and tablet device apps, as well as on websites, online tools and video sharing websites. It is an event that brings people to the stage so that they may say their piece to help teach other people. The speeches are not always hosted by the best people, and there are some that are crap dressed up as clever, but you filter through the crappy to get to the good stuff. It is a world-renowned event.
Yale is a well-known American University, and they offer a certain amount of learning for free. Most of it is the introductory stuff, but is free and accessible by all. It allows an online learner to gain a bit of free knowledge from what many agree to be a world class University. The classes you see were recorded in real Yale classes, and you can find them in video, audio and transcript form. They do not offer course credits for watching, listening or reading.
Here is a blog that teaches students and online learners all they need to excel in their studies. The subjects are varied in their range and they cover a lot of ground, but you will be hard pressed to read the blog without finding something that will help you with your studies. The blogs are posted frequently and are written by their online experts so you know you are getting the information straight from the source instead of something people read on Facebook.
4 - PBS Videos
PBS is already known in America for showing an educational program or two, so it is no surprise that they have put a bit of their educational content on their website too. You can watch shows of an academic nature, and there are other shows on there too that are more for entertainment value. It is a good place to start if you are looking for a gentle introduction into online learning and would like to see a few documentaries to get you started.
5 - MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a well-respected American University that is now known for its free learning resources. In a move that adds to the public knowledge, they have added over 12,000 free videos from their classes and lectures onto the Internet. This means that a lot of people can get a lot of free education from this University alone. If you are trying to learn online, then this is a very good place to start.
This is not the easiest website to navigate, but they do have a lot of content you can learn from. They have series of lectures from different companies, institutions and websites that you may learn from. They are not free, at least not all of them are, but being monetized helps to keep the website maintained so that the resources do not wither away into a list of links that do not work. It is a decent enough website to start your learning.
7 - Academic Earth
This is a website that has built a collection of online courses that people may take for free. The idea was to create a resource where people could learn without having to pay. You cannot get a degree, but you can learn the contents of a degree to a certain point. They have tried to add in content and learning that will appeal to everyone, so that it will not scare off the people that have a more passive interest in learning new things.
8 - Wikipedia
Schools, colleges and Universities have all categorically said that using Wikipedia as a referenced resource is not allowed, and yet the information on it is not as flimsy as some may think. There is this idea that content issued by a University is more unquestionably perfect than that issued by pages on Wikipedia has never heard of Fritz Machlup’s "Half life of Knowledge" (1962). And, if you want to know more about that subject, then there is a very good page on it on Wikipedia.
9 - How Stuff Works
Maybe it is not the most high-brow or advanced academic resource, but what they show you is based on real science and some of it is based on the fundamentals of science that are going to power higher education. It is not a place to start studying for your degree, but it is a good place if you want to learn and be entertained at the same time. They have taken some of the slog out of learning, and for that they should be applauded.
10 - Science.gov
This is a science website that searches over sixty databases and over 2200 websites from fifteen federal agencies. They offer two hundred million pages of authoritative U.S. government science info that includes research and development they are working on (non classified obviously). The website is not a place to study for your degree, but is a good place to find things to add to your essay about current science and technology.