10 Best Online Learning Resources To Sharpen Your Mind Before Semester Starts

Hello Slick Case community! Are you ready to slay a new semester?

Back-to-school shopping alone is only half of the preparation - sharpening your mind is the other half that doesn’t get enough credit. That's why we researched and recommend these 10 best websites to help you master a new or existing skill, something you can do right on your MacBook, that will go a long way.

 

You can use these resources as a complement tool for your studies, or alternatively,

  • Try out a new major/minor/programs that you may be interested in
  • Explore career paths by working on real-world projects
  • Prepare for studying abroad / exchange programs by learning a new language
  • Start a side project that will later enrich your portfolio

 

Let’s go down the list of 10 best online learning websites!


Master Skills with Industry Experts

Learn from the best! We’ve picked out 4 best options if you’re looking for serious learning - we’re talking higher-education level learning. Most of these websites team up with top educational institutions and bring actual courses taught there online. Some collaborate with top corporations such as Google, IBM, etc. and offer awesome online courses to help kickstart a career. These are incredible resources to help sharpen skills you already possess.

Udemy is one of the most popular online-learning platforms, with over 150K courses on topics ranging from business, IT & software, marketing, design, photography. Courses are taught by qualified instructors who are often real-life professionals with a passion of sharing their knowledge.

 

Prices: Plenty of free courses. Paid courses cost around $15 to $200 per course, depending on length, categories, etc.

Great for: Gaining practical knowledge of a specific topic.


Ambitious learners, rejoice. Aside from offering online courses taught by prestigious universities around the world, Coursera also makes earning professional certificates and online degrees possible. For more career-focused options, learners can enroll in guided projects or specializations, which focus on hands-on projects and real-world scenarios to help master specific skills. Committed learners can access world-class education resources on Coursera, 100% online and at a rather affordable price.

 

Prices: Free courses available. Subscription-based options from $49, or Coursera Plus priced at $399/year available.

Great for: Ambitious learners, working professionals looking to earn an online degree.


A lesser-known resource for online-learning, eDX is no doubt among the best. As a global nonprofit founded by MIT and Harvard, its mission is to “increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere.” Online courses are available in a wide variety of subjects and professions including Medicine, Law, Engineering, Art & Culture,Economics & Finance, just to name a few. Access insightful courses from top universities around the world here for just a fraction of the tuition.

 

Prices: Free courses available. Paid courses from around $100.

Great for: Anyone interested in courses from top-notch universities.


Free Courses For Busy People - Self-Paced, Bite-Sized Lessons

Most courses in our last category require a more committed schedule. If you’re already busy with school and maybe several part-time jobs, you may want to consider more bite-sized and completely self-paced lessons that can be stuffed into your spare time. These 3 websites are best for these.

If you’re a busy person, you may not always have time for serious, big lessons. TEDed enables light-hearted learning with bite-sized videos (2-10 minutes on average), a great resource to help quench your thirst for learning new concepts, ideas and knowledge. TEDed videos are made with exquisite animations to help visualize ideas in an engaging way. Learning on TEDed is always fun!

 

Price: Completely free.

Great for: Busy people, commuters; exploring new topics.


You use the Internet, apps, and websites everyday. Ever wonder how it works? Well good news, you don’t have to be a programmer to understand computer programming. Codecadmey is one of the best resources to help learners of all levels learn coding for free. This resource is a little more specific (its name is self-explanatory) but it’s a great one so we had to include it. Lessons on Codecademy are guided, beginner-friendly, completely self-paced lessons, and the website is beautifully designed. You can start, pause and resume where you left off, whenever. Learners can start from 0 and feel their knowledge for programming go as they complete lessons, quizzes and practices.

 

Price: Basic courses are free. Codecademy Pro grants access to member-only content and is priced at $15.99 per month.

Great for: Busy people looking to fit self-paced programming lessons into their schedule.


For an online learning website as comprehensive, interactive and well-built like Khan Academy, one would think it has a high pricing. You’d be delighted to know (if you haven’t heard of it already) that it is in fact 100% free. There aren’t that many subjects covered on Khan Academy compared to the other websites that we recommended, but it is of top-quality. Its courses are mainly focused on subjects like math, physics, chemistry, but there are also courses on computing, arts economics, reading and language arts, life skills and test prep. The best part? Videos are short enough to tackle in a busy schedule!

 

Price: 100% free.

Great for: Students who are preparing for tests, students looking to excel, learners looking to explore a new subject.


Best Websites & Apps To Learn A New Language For Free

Learning a new language is always a good idea. Languages open doors to new cultures and new opportunities in ways you may not be able to imagine. Whether you’re planning to be an exchange student abroad, studying abroad or start a career in the future, or just enjoy the pleasure of picking up a new language, we recommend getting started with these 2 websites/apps.

Duolingo has been one of the most popular language learning websites, for a good reason. Learning a new language on Duolingo is like playing a game. The website/app encourages repeated practice to enhance grammatical, conversational skills in an interactive way. It now supports 20+ languages. Most lessons are translated into different languages so you can learn with your mother tongue, or the language you’re most comfortable with. This is a great tool for learning the basics of a new language.

 

Price: 100% free. You can also pay to remove ads.

Great for: Beginners looking to pick up a new language.


Learning a new language is all fun and games until you’re stuck in the bottleneck of expanding your vocabulary. Memrise is here to save the day. Memrise is a powerful tool that works like a flash card app, but what makes it special is that it utilizes a special spaced repetition method that makes memorizing vocabulary much more effective than regular flash cards. We recommend sticking to Memrise-created lessons, or only user-generated lessons with great reviews.

 

Price: Free plan is enough to do the trick, but a paid option is also available.

Great for: Expanding vocabulary when you learn a new language.


Paid Lessons with Overwhelming Reviews

We’ll end our list with 2 alternative options if you have a little more budget to continue your online learning journey. These online learning websites unfortunately, do not offer free plans (free trial may be available) but both have overwhelming reviews and success stories to back up their high quality content. Hear us out:

Udacity is a powerful resource to help students leverage their skills to land their dream job. Courses on Udacity are tailored by industry experts and are heavily focused on equipping learners with “employable skills.” Although leaning towards tech topics, Udacity also offers business “nanodegree” programs, for instance, project management, digital marketing, UI design, etc.

 

Price: Around $399 per month for “nanodegrees.”

Great for: Graduates, interns, or those looking to start a career in a new industry.


Following your favorite celebrities on social media? Now you can actually learn from them! MasterClass is an online-learning platform “starring” celebrities as instructors. You can learn about culinary arts from Gordan Ramsay, writing thrillers from Dan Brown, acting from Natalie Portman, need we say more? MasterClass videos are one of the best in the game and makes learning fun and exciting.

 

Price: $180 annual subscription fee with access to all videos.

Great for: Curious learners, people of all ages.


Final Words

We hope by now you have multiple tabs open in your window to take a look at these amazing online learning websites! Most of them offer free courses so it costs nothing to get started and find the right ones for you. With thousands of free courses right on your fingertips, you can make the best of your time and excel at something!