If you are learning on your own, outside of the classroom, you will need some third-party help at one point or another. It may be when you run into a problem you can’t solve or trying to comprehend a higher-level theory that you just can’t wrap your head around. When that happens, rely on the following ten resources to supplement your self-direct learning:
1) Khan Academy
Perhaps the most famous website for self-directed education, Khan Academy features more than 4,000 instructional videos, which allow the user to learn almost anything for free. Its extensive library includes resources for mathematics, science and economics, computer science and humanities, to name a few. Test preps for SAT Math and GMAT are available at the website as well.
Signing up is as easy as streaming the instructional videos, as you can create an account at Khan Academy in just a few seconds with the use of your Facebook or Google account.
Udacity is an educational website for high school and college students, as well as professionals who want to delve with self-directed learning. Udacity makes the process of studying fun with its interactive exercises, bite-sized videos and real world examples – all of which come from titled academicians. One of the highlights of Udacity is its certificates of completion, which you can earn after successfully mastering lessons and courses.
To get started with Udacity, all you need to do is sign up for an account, choose your lessons, and track your progress through “My Courses.”
Established in 1999 by Michael Saylor, his self-named website takes advantage of technology to provide free education for learners all around the globe. Its open courses are perfect for working students, as well as self-directed students as they can browse through the lessons at their own pace. Saylor has a total of 283 courses, all of which are drafted by experienced professors. The Saylor library includes resources for General Education, Art History, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Economics, English Literature, History, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Philosophy, Political Science and Psychology, among many others.
4) Big Think
Big Think is an online resource that promotes the best thinking practices, so an individual can sift through the wealth of information available in the World Wide Web. The website features more than 12,000 videos from industry experts and literature from expert bloggers, all of which are organized under seven categories: Inventing the Future, Power and Influence, Extreme Biology, Going Mental, 21st Century Living, Earth and Beyond, and New World Order. The website’s pride and glory is the Big Think Edge – which consists of engaging courses that pave the way for professional development and career mentorship. With Big Think, you can definitely think big.
Ted features a rich library of videos which focus on ‘ideas that are worth spreading.’ Established in 1984, Ted focuses on the three worlds of technology, entertainment and design. Ted videos are categorized under six categories: technology, entertainment, design, business, science and global issues.
The videos that can be accessed on the website are hosted by respected authorities, such as U2 singer and Humanitarian Bono, Chemistry Professor Lee Cronin and Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg of the Harvard Teaching Hospital, to name a few.
By signing up for a Ted account (manual or through Facebook,) you can create your own profile page, join conversations, save your favorite videos in order to enhance your online learning experience.
StackExchange is a free, community-powered online resource that provides expert answers to curious minds and autodidacts. It features a network of more than 100 Q & A sites which cover a diverse array of topics.
Ask Different is for Apple-related queries, while IT Security is for techie professionals. Bicycles, as the name suggests, is for bike enthusiasts. Other sites include information about Ubuntu, Web Apps, and Theoretical Computer Science, to name a few.
Getting started with a StackExchange account is as simple as finding answers to your questions in the website. You can log in right away with the use of your Yahoo, Google or Facebook accounts.
With its mission to ‘share and grow the world’s knowledge,’ Quora is one of the best stops for autodidacts. If you have a question, all you just need to do is post your query, and wait for an intelligent answer from individuals with first-hand experience about your concern. You can also browse through the other members’ questions and answers, all of which can provide you with information that can help you out with your curiosity. You can also get started with your own blog and share your knowledge with other self-directed learners.
Joining Quora is easy. You can sign up with your E-mail address, as well as your Google, Twitter or Facebook accounts. After a few seconds of registration, you can access the website resources right away.
8) Study Guides and Strategies
Established in 1996, Study Guides and Strategies is one of the best resources for self-directed pupils. It features an extensive library of guides ranging from learning and studying, internet, project and time management, writing and vocabulary, thinking and evaluation, reading and research, and math and science. One of the greatest advantages of this website is that it also features resources in over 39 languages, which makes it useful for students and curious minds all around the globe.
Instagrok is an online repository for self-directed learners who wish to discover the joy of learning and become lifelong learners. Pioneered by Dr. Kirill Kireyev and Andrew Bender, the website enables the user to research about the topic with the use of a colourful and engaging interactive map. The user can customize the map with facts, videos and links and share it to other willing pupils to help them with their learning process. With its visual interface and innovative features such as quizzes, glossary and difficulty slider, self-directed learning is easily achievable with Instagrok.
Eduscapes prides itself in being the go-to site for people of all ages who enjoy the process of lifelong learning. Created by educators Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, it features professional resources with colorful designs and flash animation, several elements which make learning engaging. The resources tackle the various disciplines of gaming, technology, multimedia, science and math, and what a person needs in order to make the most out of the available programs in the internet.
Netflix enthusiast, horrible speller, jiujitsu hobbyist, weekend drinker, and occasional poker player. Favorite quote is “[o]ut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”