We are currently living in the “learning decade,” according to entrepreneur Sam Herring. “Learning has gained new prominence as a critical lever for performance,” he emphasizes: “More and more organizations recognize that learning can help solve the most vexing economic and financial problems of the day.” At the same time more and more startups are emerging to take a stab at capturing this giant market.
Here are just a few of our favorites here at Big Think:
1. Code School – Combining instructional videos, direct in-browser coding, and principles of gamification, Code School is a true vanguard of online learning. Aspiring programmers learn Ruby on Rails by completing coding tasks for which they are awarded special badges and which in turn unlocks special videos and new levels, much like a video game. The first course is free, with subsequent courses currently priced at $45.
2. Khan Academy – With over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced exercises, Khan Academy is a free, online database of content, with a strong emphasis on math and science.
3. OpenStudy – Turning the web into your freshman year study group, OpenStudy allows question-seekers in math, finance, physics, English, and computer science to link up with others around the globe and receive real-time feedback and support for their questions.
4. Behance – A one-stop portal for creative types, Behance is a platform for designers, artists, and photographers to share their work and have it rated by the rest of the community and ultimately gain freelancing work as a result of their online portfolios. The endorsement by the community effectively supplants the need for expensive accreditation.
5. MIT Open Courseware – Alright, this one isn’t new, but it still makes the list for having pioneered the online learning market 10 years ago. Users have access to course materials for virtually all the courses taught at MIT, free of charge.