5 Awesome Online Learning Tools

?????????????????????????????????????????????

Whether you’re a high school student studying for a test, a college senior cramming for your last exam, or an entrepreneur taking an online class to improve your leadership skills, online learning tools can become your best friend.  Not only are they easy to use, but are also increasingly accessible and decidedly a leap into the future of education.  Here are 5 such tools to keep on your radar.

 

Anki – Powerful, Intelligent Flashcards

photo credit: ekai via photopin cc

Many of us are familiar with the beauty of online flashcards through Quizlet or StudyStack (fantastic classics that everyone should have bookmarked!), but Anki takes the undeniable efficiency of flashcards to the next level by making them ‘intelligent’.  Using spaced repetition software (SRS), Anki can predict what you already know and what you still need to learn, which lets it present only the information you still need to learn when you need to learn it.  So it pretty much organizes your brain for you – pretty cool and kind of scary (in a cool way).

If that isn’t enough, Anki is also highly customizable and controllable due to an open code and storage format.  Plus, you can download the app and study on the go (if you’re that hard core about it) or access the software online to prep from a different computer.  Conclusion:  Click on this link.  Stat.

 

Memrise – Learning, Powered by Imagination

Memrise is more of a tool to help you hone your mind and thought process than to help you study for a particular class.  Think Karate Kid: “Wax on, wax off.” Before you know it, you’ll be kicking butt on all your tests and projects (waxing rag in hand).

Memrise is the epitome of the gamification of learning.  You can learn the basics of languages, history, science, and trivia all while earning points and competing with other users.  It may not be the perfect tool to help you understand Organic Chemistry, but its definitely a solid summer tool to prepare for your upcoming class.  Conclusion: Check this out during your next study break!

 

Evernote – Remember Everything

Remembering a complex equation from your advanced calculus class, all the instructions your boss just gave you while you were drooling over your amazing chocolate cake from lunch, and the recipe for said chocolate cake can get complicated.  Evernote has your back with its family of apps that will help you stay organized.

Saving pictures, notes, screenshots, multimedia links, and documents in one place is the best way to make sure everything gets done, and Evernote makes it easy with a simple interface and myriad of features.  Conclusion:  Watch these videos. The background music sounds kind of like a Michael Buble song…and they’ll convince you to give the app a try!

 

Feedly – Read More, Know More.

mouse-306274_150Best thing about Feedly – it makes you sound smarter than you really are.  Just set up a few notifications for subject areas you want to know about and wait for Feedly to update you on the newest published material.  Next, just read, process, and voila!  You know about the new big thing before your non-Feedly-er interviewer or classmate and get to sound well connected and…well…smart.

Plus, its really easy to use.  You literally go to the website or download the app, pick a few websites and blogs, and start reading.  The only real effort you have to put in is to scan a few lines of words and process them.  Conclusion:  Unless you look into the Mirror of Erised and see nothing but yourself and your awesomeness, go here and pick a square.

 

ExamTime – Transform Your Potential

This one is the ultimate learning tool.  You can make mind maps and flashcards, take quizzes, and make notes.  The awesome part is that you can literally learn anything!  On my first visit to the homepage, the first thing I saw was a Breaking Bad quiz.  The second was a set of beastly chemistry notes.

If the founders of Quizlet, Evernote, a couple MOOC platforms, Google docs, and YouTube were locked in a room, they would probably come out pitching something like Examtime.  Conclusion: Give it a try!  Worst case scenario, you can brush up on some trivia.

 

Accredible Contest Hack #7: Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a popular technique for finding solution to particular problems by generating multitude of ideas. The method was created in 1952 by Alex Faickney Osborn. 

image

Image courtesy of Adi Respati.

Step 1. Formulate problem.
Everything begins with the right question to ask. Try to stick to one specific question, not lots of them.
For certificates and learning these questions might sound like:

How will I study for this course?

What techniques will I use for the course?

When will I study?

What kind of notes will I write?

What will I put onto my Accredible Slate?

 

Step 2. Take your time.

The main idea of brainstorming is generating ideas without assessing them. Quantity will transform into quality. Rather than finding one perfect solution for a problem, your goal is to discover as many solutions as possible.
You can use the
pomodoro technique for brainstorming. Set 15-25 minutes and think about the problem. Generate as many as you can ideas and write them down. No editing. No judging. No eliminating. Sometimes the most ridiculous ideas are the most insightful, original and interesting. An obvious reminder is to avoid distractions – turn off your phone and computer, since they might be detrimental to brainstorming.

 

Step 3. Use different approaches.

You can use the traditional method – a simple list of ideas. However, techniques from completely diverse areas may be really effective.

 

Mind maps are powerful way not only to organize, but also to generate ideas. You can use them at the beginning to get more ideas, using associations and branches. You can also use it after initial brainstorming to organize your ideas. You can work on one branch or jump from one to another.

image

Mind Map of creating study plan for Coursera’s Grow to Greatness 2: Smart Growth for Private Businesses course

 

 

The Method of 5 Why’s and How’s was originally used to identify problems and their causes. You can apply it to brainstorming, too. How does it work? Begin with a simple statement.
Example:

“I need to create Slate”
“How?”
“Using notes”
“How?”
“Writing by hand”
“When?”
“Right after each lecture, whilst watching the video or after one week of lectures”.

Questions may vary – the best are how, what, why who, when, etc. It’s very easy to reach a standstill during brainstorming. The method of 5 why’s will help you to start afresh. This method allows you to provide more concrete questions for your mind to answer. Use as many ideas and questions as you can.

 

Freewriting is a technique used by writers to overcome writer’s block and begin writing. According to Wikipedia, freewriting is completely different from brainstorming because  in brainstorming ideas are simply listed while in freewriting you deal with a text. However, it is indeed a fantastic technique to get your brain working. Freewriting helps you to collect ideas and thoughts on particular topic, using your associative thinking.

How does it work? Set 15 minutes and just begin writing about a course and the problems you need to solve. Don’t get distracted, ignore grammar and forget editing – just write down all of your thoughts. After the time is up, look through your notes and highlight the interesting ideas.


Rules:

1) Your goal is to create lots of ideas. Work for quantity not quality.

2) Don’t restrict yourself. Don’t eliminate some ideas because they seem ridiculous – every direction is good. Sometimes you’ll find unexpected, creative solutions in unknown territory.

3) No distractions. Brainstorming is a time when you and your ideas are meeting. Spend these 15 minutes offline.

4) Try no rules. If after 15 minutes you’re still full of ideas – don’t stop! Setting a time limit is more for you to begin working and doesn’t need to be strictly followed. If you find that mind-mapping doesn’t work for you and you’re better work with simply listing, or if you feel that freewritng helps you generate more ideas – go with it! The point is to find the most creative solutions for a particular problem.

Brainstorming is a powerful tool for discovering your inner genius. Moreover, it unlocks your creativity – a crucial skill in our modern world. In the next article, we’ll talk more about creativity.

Stay tuned!

 

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. How do you brainstorm? What other ways for getting ideas do you use?

Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter |Google+ or in comments.

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible

6. Skills ToolBox, an Overview

7. Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm(current post)