Most of us spend some amount of time--sometimes a lot!--online. Instead of chasing after provocative headlines and weird old tricks, why not spend time on sites that will make you smarter in life, shrewder in business, and wiser in leadership?
Here are 30 of the best sites for professional and personal development. Learn as an individual or connect your team.
1. TED Talks
TED's tagline is "ideas worth spreading." TED Talks is a video collection in the form of short, powerful speeches on every subject imaginable (18 minutes or less).
2. Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings has interesting posts drawn from art, science, design, history, and philosophy.
99U's actionable insights on productivity, organization, and leadership help creative people push ideas forward.
Lynda has thousands of video tutorials covering technical, creative, and business skills, all taught by industry experts.
5. University of the People
University of the People is a nonprofit, tuition-free online university based in California and committed to educational access and inclusion.
Learnist is a collaborative knowledge-sharing site where users create and curate "learning boards" composed of text, images, video, and audio.
Alison offers free online courses with certification and diploma options.
8. Mental Floss
Mental Floss tests your knowledge through quizzes, brainteasers, and games.
9. Brain Pump
Brain Pump lets you learn something new and feeds your curiosity, through a vast library of entertaining videos on topics ranging from chemistry to physics to history.
10. Peer 2 Peer University
Peer 2 Peer University is an open education project in which learners gather in lightly organized circles that meet at public libraries and other accessible sites.
Platzi offers live-streamed courses--many free--on topics including web and app development, online marketing, interface design, and server administration.
EdX, a collaborative project of Harvard University and MIT, provides free online courses and classes from the world's best universities and other institutions.
OpenSesame is a marketplace for business-oriented online training.
At Udacity, find free online courses, self-paced with code reviews, when you want to make a career change or get a new job.
Coursmos is a micro-course platform with short video lessons on topics ranging from business to lifestyle.
Highbrow lets you choose one course and receive new knowledge every morning. Super-brief lessons are delivered to your inbox. Learn, grow, repeat ... in all subjects: art, health, history, literature, logic, nature, philosophy, productivity.
Coursera is a platform where anyone can take free online classes from 120-plus top universities--including Stanford, Yale, and Princeton--and educational organizations.
18. University Webinars
On University Webinars and Videos for Blended Learning, top college faculty, staff, and experts in their field share knowledge from their courses and programs, targeted for higher education professionals.
DataCamp is the most engaging way to learn R and data science. Learn in the comfort of your own browser via tutorials and coding challenges. A monthly or annual fee provides access to all courses.
At CreativeLive, take free live online classes taught by the world's most inspiring instructors. Choose from video workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software training.
Investopedia is a premiere resource for investing and personal finance education, market analysis, and trading simulators. Access free educational content and tools.
Gibbon is a peer-to-peer learning network that connects users who want to teach one another and learn about anything. An enterprise knowledge portal for employee development and learning, individually accessible courses are also available.
23. BBC Languages
BBC Languages provides free online language learning--via courses, audio, video, and games--that includes the alphabet, phrases, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, activities, and tests. Free interactive tutorials come in 40 languages.
24. Future Learn
Future Learn has free courses in subjects including law, psychology, and teaching, offered in partnership with top universities and specialist organizations in the U.K. and around the world.
25. MIT OpenCourseWare
MIT OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication, open and accessible, of virtually all MIT course content.
26. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a digital library of more than 50,000 free e-books to read online or download. Included are book listings, a search engine, a newsletter, articles, and information on how users can help create more free e-books.
Quora: the best answer to any question. On Quora, ask a question on any topic or subject and receive an answer from an expert.
Udemy is an online education marketplace with limitless variety: more than 30,000 courses, developed by subject-matter experts.
Skillshare is a learning community for creators. Anyone can take an online class, watch video lessons, create projects, and even teach a class.
Inc.com is all about advice, news, tools, and services to help small businesses grow. Everything you read on Inc.com will make you a smarter leader and entrepreneur--especially articles like this one.
Which websites do you visit that make you smarter?