Take charge of your growth and development this year with our selection of powerful online learning tools.
Growth requires one thing above all else: Change—and our ability to adopt and direct change is largely influenced by our ability to process, store, and act on new information.
The problem is, our brains are constantly flooded with new information. Names, places, data, decisions, you name it … We’re introduced to countless variables a day. So how do we stay focused on what matters most amidst a sea of information overload? And once we learn something, how do we retain it for future use?
There’s a number of solutions out there, but you can build a strong foundation by utilizing some of the powerful online learning tools below. We’ve used them here at Mindmaven to great effect, and many of our clients can claim the same.
So without further ado, here’s our top 5 online learning tools to make the most of the new year.
Our #1 Pick for Learning New Concepts: SuperMemo
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus changed learning and education forever with his theory of the Forgetting Curve. According to the Forgetting Curve, our brain needs rapid, repeated exposure to retain new information on initial exposure. But over time, the repetition should be spaced further and further apart to ensure continued retention.
SuperMemo is a powerful learning platform built largely on that concept. For that reason, I’ve found it to be an immensely powerful tool when trying to learn new information. At this point in time, their courses are largely focused on science and languages.
That said, you can apply their approach to any number of topics by reading the SuperMemo blog.
Udemy offers a massive selection of topics across language to communication to business to leadership to programming to just about everything in-between. Coupled with their affordable pricing, this is a great resource for anyone looking to learn a specific skill.
LinkedIn Learning is an incredibly powerful resource for business-focused education. Their high-quality videos cover a range of topics, including leadership, management, business strategy, sales, and similar topics.
Our #1 Pick for Retaining New Information: Brainscape
Flashcards aren’t a new concept, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked.
One of the key ways our brain processes and stores new information is through visual association, and the simple act of creating and reviewing flashcards can be highly-effective in retaining new knowledge. The good news is, quality flashcards are easier than ever.
Described as “flashcards on steroids,” Brainscapes is a web and mobile study platform for adult learners on a strict time budget. It allows you to create custom digital flashcards for anything you’re trying to learn, and also allows you to review flashcards others have created.
What really makes it unique is their “confidence-based repetition” system that allows Brainscape to identify where you need to focus your learning efforts most. Plus, it also includes a preloaded “cultural literacy list” of all the things a person living in the 21st century should know—which can be a fun (and sometimes painful) wakeup call.
StudyBlue is another powerful flashcard app with a powerful additional feature: The ability to turn your Evernote notes into flashcards. Like Brainscape, StudyBlue also allows you to search and share flashcards with the community.
Our #1 Pick for Notetaking: Evernote
When it comes to organizing any aspect of your digital life—learning including—Evernote is the place to do it. Although it’s already a widely-used app, I’ve found that many users don’t use it to it’s full capabilities.
I’ve found it to be an especially valuable notetaking app with it’s ability to organize notes with searchable notebooks, tags, and stacks. On top of that, their ability to share and collaborate in real-time has proven unmatched.
Those features, coupled with their powerful browser extensions, make it my go-to notetaking application.
Zoho Notebook is perfect for anyone who wants a more aesthetic notetaking experience. Like Evernote, you can take a number of different types of notes (text, checklist, audio, photo, etc) and easily search through them.
Our #1 Pick for University-Level Courses & Education: MIT OpenCourseWare & Sloan School of Management
Available for: Browser
Many people aren’t aware that MIT offers content from over 100 of its courses online for free through OpenCourseWare. You can access courses across a number of topics, including data management, leadership, entrepreneurship, accounting, and much, much more.
If you find yourself with time on your hands and a desire to learn from the best, MIT’s Sloan School of Management is one of the most powerful online learning tools out there.
Coursera compiles courses from universities and colleges across the country. Unlike MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Coursera programs tend to be more structured. They typically run 4-6 weeks and are priced between $29-$99. If you’re really serious about your education, you can even complete an accredited master’s degree entirely through Coursera.
Our #1 Pick for Learning Management: Asana
Throughout the year, you’re going to come across topics, industries, people, or skills you want to learn more about. But if you’re like many, that desire won’t amount to much more than a fleeting, “That’s interesting, I should learn more about that” thought.
For that reason, I recommend keeping a running list of the things you want to learn more about—and there’s no better tool for that than Asana.
I recommend creating a project in Asana called Lifelong Learning and, every time you encounter a thought like, “I’d like to learn more about that,” adding it as a task to that project. Here’s an example of how that might look:
When you keep a running list like the one above, you can pop in there anytime you have some time to spare and invest that time in learning something new.
Trello, Evernote, and Todoist all offer organization and management features similar to Asana but—in my experience—fail to deliver the same ease-of-use. That said, they’re perfectly fine alternatives if the Asana workflow doesn’t resonate with you.
Your Turn: What’s Are Your Favorite Online Learning Tools?
Alright, that’s about it from us, but I think it goes without saying that this list is far from exhaustive. Have online learning tools you can’t live without? Share it with the Mindmaven community in the comments below!