Inspiration, Guest Posts, Learner's Corner

How to Use the Internet to Learn New Things Cheaply

The Internet is the planet’s biggest learning resource. Packed with information, it covers virtually any subject you can think...

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Use this opportunity to learn new skills.

The Internet is the planet’s biggest learning resource. Packed with information, it covers virtually any subject you can think of. All available with a few clicks.

There’s just one problem: where to start. And if you do know what you want to learn about, vast ranges of options are available. Some aren’t cheap. It’s a real challenge.

If you’re just starting out on the path to online learning – or you’re simply looking for some fresh pointers – this quick guide should help you smarten up, saving time and money…

Learn another language

Picking up another language is doubly useful. Not only does it give you an educational insight into other cultures, but it also broadens your career prospects in other countries.

This one’s quick and easy. A resource called Duolingo combines learning with speed, making it ideal for those looking to acquire knowledge in their precious spare time.

Over 30 languages are there to learn, and you can do so for free if you wish. With each mini-course clocking in at around 10 minutes, this is a no brainer.

Alongside the usual French, German and Italian are some more fun options. For example, ‘Game of Thrones’ viewers might want to try pronouncing words in High Valyrian. 

A great way to slay any pesky dragons that are affecting your confidence…

Open your mind

A traditional route education-wise is to study at university for a number of years, which requires time and, most importantly, money. Student fees are famously expensive.

Education shouldn’t break the bank. One long-established choice for learners is the Open University. They’ve offered a dizzying range of subjects to study over the years.

From getting a grounding in law, politics or the environment, to maths, sports and the arts, you’re bound to find something right for you. Approx 1,000 courses await, and they’re free of charge.

The courses are online, but old-fashioned learning with books is still very much in demand. Use a price comparison search engine for books and you can ensure that you can fill up your knowledge bucket with low-cost textbooks.  

Start cooking 

One of the planet’s most underrated life skills is cooking. So many people lead busy lives, relying on ready meals containing processed ingredients and high salt and sugar content.

But cooking is hard isn’t it? Well, maybe if you’re a cordon bleu chef. Mastering the basics or learning a new recipe on the other hand is easier than you think. And above all free.

BBC Good Food likes to provide added value to the licence fee, giving anyone access to top-quality sustenance that can often be made on a small budget… depending on the ingredients!

It’s one of many options out there but is arguably one of the best. Other resources you might find whetting your appetite are supermarket recipe pages

Nourish your mind before filling your belly. The best part is the cost, which more often than not is zero…

Get into coding

A quick tip here. Learning a spoken language is a worthwhile activity, but how about the language of computers? It all starts with a code.

How to break it? Become a coder. The industry is always on the grow. Unless humans stop using technology for everything, this is a skill that will serve you for life.

Whether you’re looking to pay or spend zilch on the basics, General Assembly is geared towards this ever-expanding sector. 

Diverse subjects on offer include Software Engineering and Data Analytics. This is certainly an option for those wanting to launch a career and possibly supplement existing income. 

Learning isn’t a tough code to crack if you put the time and effort in…

Make things musical

Let’s say you’re less practical and numbers aren’t your thing. Maybe you want to be more creative. Learning a musical instrument has arguably never been easier.

Fancy a tinkle? Check out Pianu. This online music teacher gives you a virtual keyboard on which to practice your Mozart. Or Tim Minchin, depending on your taste! 

Because the piano isn’t the simplest of things to master there is a price tag. Noodling on the keys however is free, should you be one of those who picks up a new skill intuitively.

Of course, there’s one place where all the free learning you could ever need is available round the clock. What are we talking about…?

Stream what you want

YouTube has really changed the game in terms of learning new skills. Other sites are out there, but for many, the enduring site is their first port of call.

This is great. All the topics we’ve covered so far can be searched for and viewed via the platform. Plus much more, from putting up a shelf to building a camera.

The pros are that you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. The cons concern quality control. Anyone can upload a video, so results may vary!

It’s certainly a good place to find out more about the world around you, and the skills needed to succeed in your chosen field.


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