The 49 best free websites and apps to learn something new

August 2, 2016

Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn something, you had to a) pay a bunch of money, and b) go to a school or classroom, a place specifically dedicated to learning. Those days are over.

Now, a profusion of apps, websites and institutions offer us a wider variety of (often superior) educational experiences than ever before- and we can access them from anywhere in the world, often for free. The apps and websites on this list can teach you practically anything- from coding and cooking, to surfing and negotiating.

In this day and age, there is simply no excuse to not know something you’d like to know. You can learn anything, for free, at your own pace, anywhere you can access the internet. We’re out of excuses not to educate ourselves- short of downloading knowledge directly into your head, this is as easy as it gets.

Take free online courses on a variety of subjects


Khan Academy- High-quality free courses on a variety of subjects.

Alison- Free online courses from the world’s top publishers.

CourseBuffet- Free online courses created by universities.

Udemy- Huge selection of free and premium courses- mostly on technical skills.

Highbrow- Free 10-day courses, divided into 5-minute daily lessons and delivered by email.

Academic Earth- Free online academic education for everyone.

Learnist- Print and video content, crowdsourced and curated by experts.

Degreed- Unlimited learning. Free forever.

Get healthier, be more productive, and learn faster


MemriseLearn a variety of subjects via digital flashcards and crowdsourced mnemonics.

Greatist- Articles on becoming healthy and happy.

ZenHabitsMinimalist productivity advice, with a focus on psychology.

Anki- Free flashcard software.

Hello Healthy- Short, actionable health weight loss and fitness articles.

Fitocracy- Free workout, fitness tips and fitness tracking.

Learn coding and other technical skills


Codecademy- Learn Javascript, HTML, CSS, Python and more.

Free Code Camp- Learn to code, meet other coders, build projects that help non-profits. Introductory coding lessons, designed for k-12 students.

Data Camp- Free and freemium courses on R, Python and data visualisation.

CodeCombat- Introductory coding lessons, in the form of a fantasy RPG.

Lrn- Phone app with free interactive coding mini-quizzes.

Learn a new language


Duolingo— Learn over 20 different languages, including Klingon for some reason.

Babbel- Free language learning with integrated speech recognition.

Drops- Study a language on your phone for just 5 minutes a day.

BusuuCommunity-base language learning. Interact with native speakers.

CoffeeStrap- Practice a new language by voice chatting with native speakers with whom you share common interests.

Lingvist- Learn a language in 200 hours.

Sharpen your social and career skills


Improve Your Social Skills- Free social skills guide from a guy who overcame Asperger’s.

Succeed Socially- Free social skills guide for awkward people. Free articles on job hunting, getting promoted, freelancing, personal branding, and other career skills.

Mind Tools- Free tools and videos for improving career, management and communications skills.

Make something


MakezineOnline magazine for makers with guides, projects and news.

Snapguide- Free user-created guides for makers.

ChefSteps- Mix of free and premium cooking classes.

Instructables- User-created guides for making everything from cookies to buildings.

Allrecipes- The web’s largest collection of recipes.

Become a human encyclopedia


InstaNerd- Read a never-ending series of random factoids.

TED-Ed- Curated, high-quality educational videos.

Brain Pump- Watch a random educational video.

Now I Know- Fun facts delivered in a daily email newsletter.

Curiosity- 5 fun new facts, delivered to your phone every day.

ZidbitsHuge collection of articles on fun and unusual (mostly scientific) topics.

Big Think- In-depth videos by experts.

Curious- Sharpen your brain with daily “workouts”

Do something fun


YousicianLearn your favorite guitar, bass, piano and ukelele songs.

Parkour & Freerunning World- Free Parkour and Freerunning video tutorials. Be careful!

Chesscademy- Learn chess from the masters, and solve chess puzzles.

Pianu- Learn to play piano online.

Surfedukators- Free surfing videos, tips and tutorials

Flowkey- Free piano training app.

By: John Fawkes

sculpture in front of the Thompson Center
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