A few decades ago, when you wanted to learn something new it typically meant spending a couple of evenings a week at a local school, taking a photography or bookkeeping class from a bored night school instructor.
Today, the worlds of learning and personal or professional development are literally at your fingertips. The open learning movement has made the opportunity to get smarter in your spare time completely accessible to anyone with an internet connection, and it's exploded in recent years. On one of the more popular online learning sites, Udemy, there are over 30,000 courses available...and that's just on one site!
So here's what I want you to do: Challenge yourself to learn something new every day. It can benefit your career, your personal life, and your mental well-being, making you a happier and more productive person overall.
To help you get started, here are 40 amazing places to learn something new:
1. Lynda.com: Where over 4 million people have already taken courses.
2. Your favorite publications: Make time to read and learn something new every day from your favorite blogs and online magazines.
3. CreativeLive.com: Get smarter and boost your creativity with free online classes.
4. Hackaday: Learn new skills and facts with bite-sized hacks delivered daily.
5. MindTools.com: A place to learn leadership skills (see more great places to learn leadership skills online here).
6. Codecademy: Learn Java, PHP, Python, and more from this reputable online coding school.
7. EdX: Find tons of MOOCs, including programming courses.
8. Platzi: Get smarter in marketing, coding, app development, and design.
9. Big Think: Read articles and watch videos featuring expert "Big Thinkers."
10. Craftsy: Learn a fun, new skill from expert instructors in cooking, knitting, sewing, cake decorating, and more.
11. Guides.co: A massive collection of online guides on just about every topic imaginable.
12. LitLovers: Practice your love of literature with free online lit courses.
13. Lifehacker: One of my personal favorites!
14. Udacity: Learn coding at the free online university developed by Sebastien Thrun.
15. Zidbits: Subscribe to this huge collection of fun facts, weird news, and articles on a variety of topics.
16. TED Ed: The iconic TED brand brings you lessons worth sharing.
17. Scitable: Teach yourself about genetics and the study of evolution.
18. ITunes U: Yale, Harvard, and other top universities share lecture podcasts.
19. Livemocha: Connect with other learners in over 190 countries to practice a new language.
20. MIT open courseware: To learn introductory coding skills; plus, check out these other places to learn coding for free.
21. WonderHowTo: New videos daily to teach you how to do any number of different things.
22. FutureLearn: Join over 3 million others taking courses in everything from health and history to nature and more.
23. One Month: Commit to learning a new skill over a period of one month with daily work.
24. Khan Academy: One of the biggest and best-known gamified online learning platforms.
25. Yousician: Who said when you learn something new it has to be work-related?
26. Duolingo: A completely free, gamified language learning site (find more language learning sites here).
27. Squareknot: Get creative with other creatives.
28. Highbrow: A subscription service that delivers five-minute courses to your email daily.
29. Spreeder: How cool would it be to be able to speed read?
30. Memrise: Get smarter and expand your vocabulary.
31. HTML5 Rocks: Google pro contributors bring you the latest updates, resource guides, and slide decks for all things HTML5.
32. Wikipedia's Daily Article List: Get Wikipedia's daily featured article delivered right to your inbox.
33. DataMonkey: The ability to work with data is indispensable. Learn SQL and Excel.
34. Saylor Academy: Offers a great public speaking course you can take online, and see more free public speaking courses here.
35. Cook Smarts: Learn basic to advanced food prep and cooking techniques.
36. The Happiness Project: Why not just learn how to be happy? I'd give five minutes a day to that!
37. Learni.st: Expertly curated courses with the option of premium content.
38. Surface Languages: A good choice if you just need to learn a few phrases for travel.
39. Academic Earth: Offering top quality university-level courses since 2009.
40. Make: Learn how to do that DIY project you've had your eye on.
There's no reason you can't learn something new every day, whether it's a work skill or a fun new hobby or even a language! Do you have a favorite place to learn something new? Share yours in the comments.