Whether you’ve dreamed of becoming the next Iron Chef or would like to become fluent in the language of love, this is the year you’ve resolved to make it happen. In the past, you would have had to enroll in a class at your local college, requiring that you work around your busy professional or personal life. Today you need only a computer and access to the Internet to dive into the abundance of knowledge available online – in many cases for free.
Whether you want to improve your cooking skills, learn a new language, or continue your education, check out the list below for easy ways to use technology to keep your educational resolutions this year.
For the inner chef
Check out Epicurious for their inventive recipes and delicious food ideas, and now they offer online classes in conjunction with The Culinary Institute of America. Learn everything about Italian cooking or how to concoct a signature cocktail. The first class is free, and then you pay about $50 for several hours of video instruction on the topic of your choosing.
Allrecipes is also a good catch-all place for beginners or anyone looking to improve their cooking style. With menu planners and recipes for just about everything, you can hone your skills without leaving home.
For the wannabe artisan
Have you always wanted to learn how to quilt? Maybe you’ve thought about baking a unique cake for your son’s fifth birthday party, but don’t know where to begin. Craftsy offers online courses on quilting, baking, jewelry crafting, and much more. Costs for full individual classes vary, but there are many FREE mini-classes you can try, and they offer a money-back guarantee. Watch classes from any device with an internet connection – they even offer an app for iPhones and iPads.
Don’t want to have to pay for training? Check out Pinterest a great resource for inspiration and links to craft how-to’s, most are free with photos or videos. Many are geared toward the novice so you can learn from your fellow hobbyists how to tie-dye, create your own candles, decorate adorable cupcakes, and much more.
Become a DIY diva
If you feel like your home is falling apart, one leaky faucet at a time, look no further than DIY Network for everything home-improvement. VideoJug is another great resource for short videos showing you how to complete a bevy of common repairs – they promise to help you “get good at life.” The “DIY & Home” tab gives you a wide selection of tutorial videos on topics like electrical, plumbing, interior design and much more.
Dream of becoming bi-lingual
While Rosetta Stone has been found to be a very effective language program, it’s pretty pricey. The BBC has a nice program for the complete learning of upwards of 40 languages with step-by-step courses including pronunciation, grammar, and exams. Once you’re beginning to master the language, you can test your knowledge further by listening to BBC World Service broadcasts in the language of your choice.
Anki can help you learn more quickly. It’s a flashcard program that runs on computers and smartphones and is designed to put a large number of words into your long-term memory rapidly while allowing you to “study” anywhere you have a few minutes to spare.
As they say, “knowledge is power.” We all have that class that “got away” while we were attending university, but never fear: There are resources for free online education aplenty. Apple lovers should start at iTunesU. With courses from hundreds of universities, including Stanford, Yale, and MIT, you can watch lectures and take entire courses on all subjects from biology to economics. It seamlessly integrates with iBooks in case you want to purchase the textbook for future reference.
For others, the Open Courseware Consortium is a worldwide community of institutions that provides free continuing education, complete with notes, memos, and examinations. They also have a list of member schools so you can take courses online directly with the university.
What will you learn this year and how will you do it?