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Want to start learning something new? Here's where you should start

With so much information at our fingertips, where’s the best place to go if you want to learn a new language or brush up on your knowledge of the world?
Apr 19th 2014, 10:00 AM 18,474 14

THE WEB IS a vast resource with numerous guides and services out there.

While we mostly rely on the likes of Google and Wikipedia anytime we have a question, you mightn’t be aware that there are other services out there which will teach you about science, help you learn a language and let you learn about the world.

If you’re looking to brush up on their knowledge, learn something new or you know someone who is preparing for exams, here’s a number of services which will help you out.

Duolingo
For: Desktop, iOS, Android

One of the more popular learning apps out there, Duolingo allows you to learn a number of languages in your own free time. With the focus on quick, easy lessons and games, it’s handy for when you’ve a few minutes to spare.

Source: Duolingo/YouTube

Khan Academy 
For: Desktop, iOS

The description of Khan Academy is it “allows you to learn almost anything for free” and for the most part, it does a great job in providing this. With more than 4,200 videos covering a wide range of topics, it’s a comprehensive learning tool.

It’s a US-focused service so it’s likely sections like the SAT and GMAT won’t apply to you, but what is relevant is presented well and will give you hours of material to go through.

Khan Academy Source: Khan Academy

Wolfram Alpha
For: Desktop, iOS, Android 

Wolfram Alpha is a search engine that’s all about learning. Describing itself as a “computational knowledge engine” (which makes it sound more complex than it actually is), it’s an incredibly powerful tool that can help solve complex maths equations, analyse data, provide definitions for scientific equations and give answers for just about any educational topic you can think of.

Wolfram Alpha Source: Wolfram Alpha

Memrise
For: Desktop, iOS, Android

Another learning service, but this time based on flashcards. Much like Duolingo, the focus is on quick, digestible lessons and uses the spacing effect to keep things in your memory.

As well as languages, it covers a wide number of topics such as geography, maths, science and other random bits of trivia created by its community.

Memrise Source: Memrise/Google Play

Coursera
For: Desktop, iOSAndroid

Coursera offers a compliation of online courses from universities and colleges around the world which you can take in your own time.

Once you sign up, you will be able to learn about a wide number of topics through video lectures, assignments and peer-to-peer learning.

Corsena Source: Coursera

Mocks.ie
For: Desktop, iOS, Android

Yes, there’s only a month an a half until the Junior and Leaving Cert begins, but if you’re preparing (or more likely, you know someone who’s preparing),

Covering every subject on both the Junior and Leaving Cert curriculum, the site and apps provides a more interactive format for doing past papers and help your study.

screen480x480 Source: Mocks.ie/App Store

CleverNotes
For: Desktop, (Separate apps for iOS and Android)

Another useful service for Leaving Cert students, CleverNotes provides notes for all subjects on the Leaving Cert curriculum and breaks them down into manageable chunks. It’s useful if there’s a particular topic you don’t entirely understand and need another way to clarify it.

Earlier in the year, its partner site, CleverCourses provides video tutorials apps for both iOS (Irish and German) and Android (Irish, German, French and Biology), but the language apps are dedicated towards oral exams so their use may be limited now.

CleverNotes Source: Clevernotes.ie

Google Earth
For: Desktop, iOS, Android

Easily the most popular service on this list, few free tools are both as comprehensive as what Google Earth has to offer. It allows you to explore 3D recreations of cities, historical imagery, the sky and stars and NASA images from the moon and Mars.

Source: googleearthweb/YouTube

Lang-8
For: Desktop

Another language learning app, Lang-8 lets you write posts in the language you’re learning, which is then critiqued by a native speaker who is also trying to learn your own language.

In turn, you get to critique their posts and help them learn too.

Source: 1lang8/YouTube

Sporcle
For: Desktop, iOS, Android

Nowhere near as detailed as the other services listed above, but if you want to test your knowledge on subjects like the countries of the world, or capital cities, Sporcle is a great way to brush up on your knowledge.

Sporcle Source: Sporcle

Dictionary.com
For: Desktop, iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Apart from the obvious benefits of having a dictionary in your pocket, the word of the day is always a fun feature to have.

You won’t memorise every word that appears but more often than not, but you never know what you might learn when the next word arrives.

Dictionary Source: Dictionary.com/App Store

Codecademy
For: Desktop, iOS

If you’re looking for a introduction to the basics of coding languages, but don’t want to go through classes, Codecademy is the best introduction you will get.

Clear, quick and accessible lessons with a gentle learning curve means so long as you put the time into it, you come away from it with a good grasp of the basics.

Codecademy Source: Codecademy/App Store

Read: TUI says 3,900 secondary school teachers needed over the next 10 years >

Read: Scientists discover planet that is more like Earth than any other planet (but still not that similar) >

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Quinton O'Reilly

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