The 24 Best Websites for Learning New Skills

Woman learning new skills on laptop
••• SolisImages/iStock

Online education tools have completely changed the way we learn. These websites empower millions of people from around the world to build their skills, launch businesses, and create meaningful changes in their lives.

For those seeking new learning tools, the vast number of options can be daunting. Here you'll find the 24 best sites for online education, narrowed down and categorized by the type of learning experience they offer.

Diverse Learning

These websites offer thousands of courses that cover a wide range of topics. From art history to photography to economics, these sites will likely have a class that caters to your subject of interest.

  • CourseraChoose from over 2,700 online courses on Coursera. Some courses are backed by universities and can lead to degrees, while others give students the tools to master a specific skill.
  • CreativeLiveCreativeLive broadcasts free, live classes with the world's top experts in photography, business, design, craft, and audio. Instructors include New York Times contributor Victoria Will and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss from Forbes' "Names You Need to Know."
  • edXJoin over 16 million learners in highly actionable online classes backed by Harvard, MIT, and other prestigious institutions from around the world. Some courses here are taken just for the love of learning, while others can earn you a degree or certificate.
  • Khan AcademyThis nonprofit offers free online classes that students tackle at their own pace. The classes cover most subjects through high school levels, and some courses dip into early college content.
  • MIT's OpenCourseWareMassachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S., but did you know you can access many of its learning materials for free? You won't get a degree, but you can follow along with MIT classes through the OpenCourseWare project.
  • UdemyUdemy is all about options. Students choose from over 130,000 online courses, which cover a broad range of focuses and make use of more than 50,000 instructors.

Coaching

For those seeking personal and professional guidance, online coaching matches the structure of coaching experiences with the convenience of an online course.

  • Coach.meCoach.me offers a free app for coaching and goal-tracking. Paid services come with more exclusive access to over 8,000 personal coaches, including personalized leadership coaching that caters to your specific workplace problems and goals.
  • The Muse: The Muse is an all-in-one professional site that includes job boards, company analysis, but most importantly, lots of online coaching options. Users choose from a huge database of coaches, then they choose the style of coaching they're seeking. Coaches are available for 30-minute Q&A sessions and quick resume reviews, but they're also ready to start long-term mentor relationships.

Languages

Whether you're learning a new language for travel, work, or just for fun, these sites are valuable tools for bilinguists-in-training.

  • BabbelLearn a new language with this fun, engaging online learning platform. Users pay by the month for this subscription service, but newcomers can try out a course for free.
  • DuolingoThis free service uses points, levels, and achievements to make learning a new language fun and addictive. It's easy to get started; just download the app, create a free account, pick a language, and you're ready to go.

Life Lessons

Here you will find insights on life, creativity, happiness, the economy, health and much more. The courses are meant to motivate you, expand your mind, and inspire you to take action.

  • Daily Burn: If you want to add some fitness skills to your life, the Daily Burn is the perfect place to start. For a monthly membership fee, users have access to thousands of workout videos and personalized regiments. If you want the gym feeling in your living room, you can tune in for live workout sessions, broadcast daily for members every morning.
  • HighBrowHighBrow specializes in short courses that are emailed daily to your inbox. Subjects can be traditional or outside-the-box, including classes like “Introduction to Commodities and Commodity Markets,” "How to Edit Photos in Lightroom," and "How to Improve Your Memory."
  • Insight Timer: Insight Timer is a mobile app geared toward meditation enthusiasts, but you don't have to be a monk to make use of this tool. Secular courses guide listeners through meditations, thought exercises, and talks on everyday issues like happiness, grief, and insomnia. Some courses are free, but you can pay for any additional courses that pique your interest.

Online Training

These sites use e-learning techniques to share specific workplace skills that help professionals advance their career.

  • OpenSesameChoose from a variety of online training courses designed specifically to foster productivity in business. If you don't know where to start, advisors can help curate a course load based on your goals.
  • Savvy.isConnect with and learn from industry experts over live one-on-one video consultation sessions. While most courses emphasize workplace skills, this site also offers courses in music, language, and general education.
  • ThinkfulThinkful ditches rigid class outlines in favor of a more personal approach. Work one-on-one with a personal mentor to create specific job goals, while also building a network of professionals with shared interests. Some courses guarantee a job, and they won't charge you until you get one.

Practical Skills

Courses offered through these sites will give you the tools you need to go off and tinker on your own. They're great starting points for those looking for a new hobby or passion project, or those considering a career change.

  • CodeAcademyLearn to code for free in HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby, and more.
  • General AssemblyGeneral Assembly has more than a dozen physical campuses, but students can also take online classes taught by certified experts. General Assembly's specialties include technology, data, design, and business.
  • LyndaAcquired by LinkedIn in 2015, Lynda features over 13,000 courses in digital marketing, graphic design, IT security, and much more. Instead of paying for individual courses, users pay for a membership and then pick as many courses as they'd like.
  • SitePointThis site is best for web developers looking to expand their skillset. Users pay a monthly membership fee to access video tutorials, online books, courses, and community discussions.
  • SkillcrushLearn coding skills from Skillcrush's immersive three-month courses. Each course focuses on the skills needed for a specific career, like front end developer or freelance WordPress developer.
  • Skillshare Gain creative, business, or tech skills from over 23,000 online courses. The site boasts expert instructors like author Roxane Gay and illustrator Yuko Shimizu.
  • TreehouseThis is another site that emphasizes coding. It offers over 300 courses and a supportive online community of thousands of students. Coursework includes multiple projects that help develop real-world skills.
  • UdacityEarn a nanodegree in almost any tech field with Udacity. Courses range from web development to self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. The site also offers a master's degree program in Computer Science through its partnership with Georgia Tech.