A lot of students worry about not knowing what they want to do in the future, or they feel frustrated and confused about their career path. Many students, like the three years ago me, don’t even know what we actually are interested in.
So what helped me to transform myself from this very confused state to finally become motivated to work for my passion?
I would have to say that a huge part that contributes to this is online learning platforms. You might be wondering, how does that even relate to finding your passion?
I am an active learning that loves to explore different knowledge and things to learn. Learning and strengthening my skills has always been my top priority, and I was completely over the moon when I found out that I can easily do so by using online learning platforms – I can just sit in my room and get access to a ton of knowledge. This sounds like the greatest gift to me.
Through learning online, I was able to find out what I truly love, and I could then continue to invest my time into my passion and continue to enrich my life through learning more about the field I love.
To help you better utilize online resources to learn, we are going to cover the following in this article.
- Follow up: find out what you should learn
- 10 Online Learning Platforms recommendations
- Free download: self-learning log (and how to use it!)
Follow Up: Find Out What You Should Learn
In our last post on our summer series, we’ve covered how you can do an End of Semester Reflection: an Important Part of the Learning Process. This is the key first step to knowing more about yourself and how you can improve in the future.
To follow up, you can look back at your reflection and think about how you can better improve yourself. In the end of semester reflection tutorial, you have written down your reflection on your academics, personal improvement, career, and commitments, as well as your health and lifestyle. You can look back at your strengths and weaknesses in the personal improvement section, as well as subjects you like and dislike in the academics section.
Is there something you can work on? Do you need to improve your writing skills or presentation skills? Do you need to strengthen your foundation of language, mathematics or science?
You can take notes of these things and skills you’d like to learn, and then look into the online platforms I am going to introduce you in the section below to search for these things.
Setting these directions for yourselves can give you clear goals on what you want to achieve. If you want to learn about how you can set achievable goals that can help you succeed, this article How to Set Goals and Achieve Them is what you should read.
10 Top Online Learning Platform
I’d have to say that we are all lucky to live in this era when we can easily access to all different kinds of knowledge with just a few clicks. The abundance of online learning platforms also makes knowledge accessible to different kinds of learners.
To help you better browse the internet and look for resources that can help you learn, here are 10 awesome online learning platforms that can help you gain more knowledge and be smarter!
Coursera is a venture-backed and education-focused technology company that offers a variety of online courses in partnership with different universities. They have courses that are self-paced, on-demand, or timed.
Coursera is relatively more structured, so it’s best for students who would like to participate in online courses that are similar to your real-life courses in college or university.
Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects by the University of California, San Diego is one of my favorite courses on Coursera that offers a detailed description on how we learn in a scientific way and some ways for us to enhance our learning and studies.
EdX is another popular MOOCs (massive open online courses) platform. Most of the courses are edX are introductory level classes of different academic fields, with many of its courses being in the science field. Again, they have courses that are self-paced and timed.
If there is something you would like to explore, or if you would like to get ready for studying your major, or if you would like to see if you are interested in a particular field, EdX and Coursera are great places to start with.
Udacity, another MOOCs platforms, contains classes that are mainly related to programming and computer science.
The number of courses on Udacity may be less than that of EdX and Coursera, but the courses on Udacity are more focused on vocational training – so it may serve the need of another group of students.
Another interesting feature of Udacity is nano degrees. If you go for a nano degree on Udacity, you will also be able to get feedback, coaches, and a verified certificate.
Skillshare is the place with courses that cover all practical and essential skills shared by experienced practitioners.
I recently joined Skillshare, and I’d have to say that it’s one of the coolest online learning platforms. Skillshare is specially made for creative professionals, but if you are interested in knowing more about how to be productive, or things like coding, writing, crafting, web design, calligraphy and Instagram, this platform is for you.
Since Skillshare is project-based, the learning community and engagement makes learning so much better.
If you would like to check this platform out, this link will give you a two-month free subscription to Skillshare!
Reading is the best way for you to learn different kinds of knowledge. It gives you insights and inspirations from other people. Reading every day can mentally stimulate you, reduces your stress, expands your vocabulary, improve your memory and focus, and give you stronger analytical skills and writing skills (source).
For me, I love reading using Scribd. It’s my all-time favorite tool to read. As a student, we often don’t have much to spend, and having a more affordable option to read than purchasing all paper books is just perfect for us. With Scribd, you just have to pay a price less than a paper book, but you will get access to all the monthly collection books and audiobooks, along with a number of books and audiobooks of your choice.
Of course, paper books are still awesome. But if you are like me who like to read a lot and purchasing all of them just doesn’t sound feasible to you, Scribd is the perfect option.
You will get to have two months free by using my link to see if Scribd is your thing!
Related Reading: 4 Steps to Reading Your Textbook Effectively and Efficiently
Want to read but ain’t got time for that? Hardbound is the perfect solution!
Hardbound convert non-fiction books into fun and illustrated stories that can be easily finished in just 5 minutes, and you can read them as if you are reading Snapchat stories.
You can learn anything from science, history, businesses, and culture on Hardbound. The unique format used by Hardbound also makes books and knowledge interactive, animated, and visual, helping you to get smarter in an easier way!
Are you one of those people who always like to search for summaries of long texts and books? If yes, you need to use Blinkist.
Blinkist summarizes the key insights of the bestselling non-fiction books so that you can learn about the most important ideas of the book without having to read through it. It is a great way for you to absorb more knowledge, and you can also get to choose whether to read the book from front to end by taking a look at the key insights and see if the book appeals to you.
Too lazy to search for something you’d like to learn? Why not have the course delivered right to your inbox!
Highbrow is a platform that consists of quite a number of email courses. You can subscribe to one course at a time and receive them by entering your email address. Each class is only a 5-minute read, so it’s light and fun!
When I evaluated the findings of the Students Toolbox Reader Survey 2017, I noticed that many of you told me that you learn best by reading blog posts.
For those who love learning through reading short and concise articles, Medium might be something you would want to explore. I personally love searching things that I’d like to know or research on Medium, since you can basically find everything on it, and they are usually written by experienced and knowledgeable experts.
Overall, Medium is a place for people to read, write, and interact with different stories. It has articles that cover basically everything, and you can follow tags to keep up with articles that you are interested in. Since it consists of short and interesting articles, I use its app during commute to make use of my time to learn.
I also like to use Medium to search for books to read. I do so by looking through the reading list tag in Medium. You will be able to find lots of book recommendations for different interests or types of people.
Learning a language has always been on top of my list, so Duolingo has to be one of my favorites.
Duolingo is an online platform for learning foreign languages. It provides 38 types of language to learn, for free.
One of the main advantages of Duolingo is its convenience as it provides Windows, iOS, Android applications and this allows you to learn anytime at anywhere you want.
On top of this, Duolingo breaks the traditional language lessons into numerous game-like lessons, so you can learn 5 minutes a day even you have a busy day, and this is scientifically proven to work!
- Personalized learning: Duolingo lessons adapt to your learning style. Exercises are tailored to help you learn and review vocabulary effectively.
- Receive immediate grading: Interactive exercises provide instant feedback to help you improve your Spanish skills on the spot.
- Stay motivated with rewards: Earn virtual coins, unlock new levels, and watch your fluency score rise as you master new words, phrases, and grammar.
- Improve quickly: Duolingo works. A study has shown that 34 hours of Duolingo are equal to 1 university semester of language courses.
Free Download: Self-Learning Log
In need of some space and area to think about what you want to learn? I’ve got you covered.
You can click here to download the self-learning log for this week’s free resources. This self-learning log helps you to brainstorm the areas you would like to learn more about, keep track of your self-learning progress, and reflect on your achievements by the end of the time you’ve set for yourself.
Here are some detailed description and an example of how you can use the log.
“Things I Want to Learn”
In this free download printable, you will find space to write out some skills and knowledge you would like to learn. For me, the list would be something like the following.
Skills I want to learn/strengthen:
The knowledge I would like to explore:
- Human right issues
- Learning Sciences
Next, having listed out the things you would like to explore, you can go ahead and search for the available resources for the things you have in mind.
Say for example I am searching for resources on learning sciences, and I have found out this course Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects by the University of California, San Diego on Coursera that I am interested in.
In the learning list, I would write down the following:
- Area: Learning Sciences
- Platform: Coursera
- Title: Learning How to Learn
Once I get started to learn, I would then write down the “date started” to keep track of my learning process. Once I have completed the course, I can write down the date of completion under “date completed”.
After the time you’ve set for yourself (e.g. summer holiday), you can then note down the number of courses you’ve gone through as well as the books you’ve read as a way to reward yourself. It’s also a great idea to set yourself a goal before you start so that you can work hard to reach that goal during the holiday.
Let others know about these online learning platforms!