On a recent post about “living my best life”, one of the items I listed is being a lifelong learner. There are so many things that I don’t know and that I want to learn, but there is so little time! Fortunately for me, this is the age of the Internet and my quest to learn new things is easier than ever. I did a little research and found the following resources:

Podcasts
Podcasts are my favorite online learning resource. They are free, fun and convenient. I typically use iTunes and Podcast Alley as resources to find what I am looking for. You can listen to lectures by thought-leaders, learn languages, how to cook, how to use photoshop, create a podcast, write a book and just about anything else you are interested in. There are formal educational podcasts in iTunes U – an entire section dedicated towards elearning that includes courses, faculty lectures, and interviews from notable sources such as Stanford University, Harvard, Duke and much more. Please note that you do not need an iPod to take advantage of the great content that iTunes has to offer. Even if you don’t purchase your music through them, you can still use iTunes to manage your mp3’s and for subscribing to Podcasts. You can also burn these to cd’s for listening during your commute!

Small Business Administration
If you are an entrepreneur and are even remotely interested in starting your own business, the SBA has some great online courses. In general, they are self-paced and should take about 30 minutes to complete.  Most of the courses require a brief online registration.  

Open Courseware Consortium
I learned about this from one of my favorite blogs, So What Can I Do? OpenCourseWare offers full length versions of courses from major universities all over the world.  You can learn about almost any topic while using the same materials used in college and graduate courses. Some of the universities participating are : MIT, Notre Dame, Tufts, Berkeley and more. Choose classes in public health, engineering, foreign language, film, economics, psychology, you name it. This is an extremely valuable resource – and it’s completely free of charge. Thanks Karama!

Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative 
Carnegie Mellon University offers a series of  free online courses in an online format. These are mostly entry-level college courses with accompanying materials.

Open University of Washington
The University of Washington offers a small series of free online courses – from HTML basics to Greek Mythology.

CNET Online Courses
CNET offers a comprehensive series of free online courses and tutorials written by their experts.  I have taken a few of these and they are pretty good. The classes range from work-related topics to digital photography, creating podcasts, developing a budget and a lot more.

I am sure that this list just barely ‘scratches the surface’ of free learning resources online. For those who are motivated, there is a whole world of learning opportunities out there – so go for it!

After all, every day is an opportunity for us to improve.