5 Places You Can Learn Ridiculously Cool Stuff For Free

You don't need a formal lesson plan or the promise of a degree to learn exciting and useful things ... even advance your career. Here are my favorite five places to learn stuff. 

1. Coursera

Have you ever heard of Coursera? The education company hopes to connect people to a great education so that anyone around the world can learn without limits. They partners with top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for you to take, for free. The Khan Academy and Udacity work in a similar way. Coursera is giving away some of the world's best courses on everything from Intro to Music Production to Cryptography to Think Again: How to Reason & Argue. They make money partly through charging some interested users for "verified completion certificates."

2. YouTube

Need to learn how to coordinate an outfit, or install a new muffler?   Seeking bold nail polish designs? Powerful debates about religion?  Ridiculous food recipes? It’s all here: practical "how to" videos, tutorials, and thought-provoking conversations galore. Channels like the TheRSAorg and Ted post powerful speeches and discussion regularly. Organized online news efforts like The Real News Network  and RT provide news analysis, but so do literally hundreds of lesser known, but interesting content creators and vloggers (be discerning, choose several). Hands down my favorite source on this list.

3. Wikipedia

Wikipedia is an awesome open source, publicly-editable online encyclopedia. I use it in spite of the often overblown claims against its accuracy. With an incredibly thorough network of volunteer editors and managers, Wikipedia is probably more accurate than your favorite cable news network. Estimates range from a conservative 600,000 to as many as 3 million "articles" … That's insane. Wikipedia stands strong as a fairly good source of information for just about anything, particularly in history and the sciences.

4. PolicyMic

If you're here then you already know that PolicyMic is an online news platform with a broad base of talented and young millennial writers, who naturally write about news stories that are relevant to young people. Issue focus can vary from writer to writer and the site's culture encourages respectful debates, with hundreds of comments and replies on some posts. Its democratic nature assures broad perspectives while allowing you to join in the conversation. From breaking news, to commentary & culture pieces, there's a lot to experience and learn on PolicyMic.

5. Miscellaneous On the Interwebs

- All you need is a healthy Twitter feed to know exactly what’s happening during any live award show or sporting event.   

- I work as a visual effects artist/animator, and I learned digital and design technologies mostly from frequenting great, free resources like Creative Cow, and VideoCopilot.

- The guys behind this blog were kind enough to post  12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online for Free . That's over 100 free information resources, broken down into categories … Science & Health, Business & Money, Math, Computer Science, Law, and more.   

- If what you're looking for isn't at one of the links in this article then you're probably into some weird stuff, my friend. But that's fine, because you’re still only a simple Google search away. Go learn something!