New Year, New Skills

Be a better you with these online resources.

January is the perfect time to study a new language, improve your career skills, or unlock your creativity. Here are some great online resources for learning something new, without spending too much time or money.


Lynda is one of the best training sites for learning new career skills. The site offers more than 5,000 video courses taught by top business and software experts. Each course is divided into short five-to-six-minute segments, perfect for watching during a lunch break. Topics range from basic tips and tricks to in-depth courses on how to build mobile apps or analyze big data. After the free trial, the whole Lynda library is available for $25 per month. The premium subscription ($35 per month) gives you full access to practice exercises and quizzes.


Whether you’re planning a vacation in Costa Rica or a business trip to China, Busuu is a terrific site for learning one of 12 languages. The free version shows you how to read and pronounce basic phrases, while the premium version ($10 per month) lets you take advantage of quizzes and grammar exercises. Perhaps one of the site’s best features is the ability to ask native speakers for help with pronunciations and writing. While Busuu offers basic and intermediate lessons, it’s still a great tool for getting started, or brushing up on a language.


Imagine taking classes in art, literature, or science from universities like Stanford or John Hopkins. That’s exactly what Coursera offers — a wide variety of courses taught by some of the best professors in the country. You can audit course videos and handouts for free, or spend a reasonable amount (usually less than $100) to get access to practical exercises, and help from mentors. Many colleges offer professional certificates if you complete all the classes in a specialization.


If you’re short on time, but still want to learn something new, Highbrow offers micro-lessons that take less than five minutes to complete. The site is free, and daily lessons are delivered automatically to your inbox. Each course takes about 10 days to complete, and you can choose from topics such as “Small Habits That Yield Big Results” and “How to Boost Emotional Intelligence.” While you may not be immersing yourself in a topic, it’s still nice to enjoy a short lesson with your morning coffee.

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