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3X0-101 Linux Installation and Configuration (Level 1) learner |

3X0-101 learner - Linux Installation and Configuration (Level 1) Updated: 2024

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Linux Installation and Configuration (Level 1)
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3X0-101 Linux Installation and Configuration (Level 1)
3X0-102 Linux System Administration (Level 1)
3X0-103 Linux Networking (Level 1)
3X0-104 Linux Security, Privacy and Ethics (Level 1)
3X0-201 Core Concepts and Practices (Level 2)
3X0-202 Apache Webserver
3X0-203 Samba Resource Sharing
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Linux Installation and Configuration (Level 1)
Answer: C
Question: 105
Which of the following is NOT a GUI-based method for getting help?
A. xinfo
B. xman
C. xdoc
D. tkman
Answer: C
Question: 106
Netscape Communicator suite is a useful set of programs when using the Internet under
Linux. However, it cannot perform some tasks. Which of the following services does
Netscape Communicator NOT provide?
A. Anonymous FTP client
B. Mail program Mail program
C. Web page editor
D. Web page viewer
E. Web (http) server
Answer: E
Question: 107
Which of the following is TRUE about the FTP application? (Select the best answer.)
A. FTP is an acronym for file transmission program.
B. The application allows interaction with the host exactly as if one were sitting at the
console of the machine.
C. It allows data to be sent from a server to a client in order that data might be displayed
via graphical interface.
D. It allows files to be transferred to and from a server.
Answer: D
Question: 108
Graham would like to use the P4-1.5 GHz in his office to write and compile a Perl
program from home. Which of the following programs would allow Graham to do this
through a console-like interface?
A. telnet
B. ftp
C. talk
D. netscape
E. gopher
Answer: A
Question: 109
nroff, groff, TEX, and LATEX are all examples of what?
A. Markup languages
C. Programming languages (like C)
D. Plain text editors
E. Proprietary word processors
Answer: A
Question: 110
Andy just used vim to type a long letter to his boss asking for a raise. What can he use to
check the spelling of his document?
A. vim is one of the fewUnix programs with a spell checker, so he can use vim.
B. He can use the common utilitycheckit.
C. He can load the document in Microsoft Word for Linux and use its spell checker.
D. He can use the common utilityispell.
Answer: D
Question: 111
Which of the following are functions of GIMP? (Choose two.)
A. Merge two MPEG video files
B. Create/modify graphics
C. Strip Unix resource headers from graphics files
D. Convert graphics files into postscript
Answer: B, D
Question: 112
Juan is on his tenth disk while updating his new Linux distribution. Suddenly, the "Read-
intr: 0x10" error message appears. What should be done to correct the problem?
A. RunLinux's scandisk utility.
B. RunLinux's badblocks utility.
C. RunLinux's diskdruid utility.
D. RunLinux's chkdisk utility.
E. None of the above.
Answer: B
Question: 113
While installing Linux via an FTP download, Lucy gets the error: "Tar: read error" or
"gzip: not in gzip format." Identify the problem and the most appropriate solutions.
(Choose two.)
A. The files are corrupt, so go to another site and try again.
B. The files are corrupt, so replace your network interface card.
C. There is a necessary library that has not yet been installed, so skip the file and come
back to it when the system has installed all other components.
D. The files are corrupt, so e-mail the system administrator of the FTP site and ask him to
correct the problem.
E. The FTP program is corrupt, so re-install the FTP package from your CD-ROM.
Answer: A, D
Question: 114
Alan has lost the root password to his Linux machine. Furthermore, he needs to add 10
users, delete three users, and install a new hard drive. What should Alan do to fix the
A. Alan should run thepasswd -n command to create a new root password.
B. Any user can perform all of the tasks listed without use of the root password, so this is
not a problem.
C. Log in on the default user account as "Administrator" to perform the above tasks,
which include changing the root password.
D. Boot a rescue kernel from a floppy, mount the hard drive, and change the password.
Answer: D
Question: 115
Jane has just replaced the CMOS battery on her main board, but the clock is reporting
time incorrectly. Which of the following would correct the problem? (Choose two.)
A. Use a time server to update the clock.
B. download and properly install GNUgclockware 2.0.
C. Instruct the system to ignore the time and count the number of seconds since boot-up.
D. Manually update the BIOS clock before boot-up.
Answer: A, D
Question: 116
Which of the following would correct a terminal that has begun to display strange
characters? (Choose the best answer.)
A. Use the reset command.
B. Type set DISPLAY=localhost:0.0
C. Switch tosuperuser and type clear.
D. Type set font=courier.
E. None of the above.
Answer: A
Question: 117
Jared complains that his keyboard refresh rate is too slow. What command should he
issue to correct the problem?
A. /sbin/set kbdrate = 250
B. /sbin/kbdrate -r 250
C. /sbin/ifconfig -keyboard 250
D. /sbin/keyboard -set 250
Answer: B
Question: 118
At boot time, Maya's computer reports that there are problems with inodes, blocks, etc.
What is the problem, and how should it be corrected?
A. The problem is that the file system has become corrupt and needs to be repaired (i.e.,
usingfsck or equivalent).
B. The problem is that the partition table has become corrupt and needs to be repaired
(i.e., usingfdisk or equivalent).
C. The problem is that the partition table has become corrupt and needs to be repaired
(i.e., using FIPS or equivalent).
D. The problem is that the drive is configured using an improper file system.
Answer: A
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Sair Configuration learner - BingNews Search results Sair Configuration learner - BingNews Adult Learners In 2010, the UNG Gainesville Campus (formerly Gainesville State College), now one of the five campuses of the consolidated University of North Georgia (UNG), was honored to become a part of the Adult Learning Consortium (ALC).  

Along with this recognition, the UNG Gainesville Campus received a $25,000 grant to increase support for adult learners. The grant was subsequently renewed in 2012 for an additional $25,000. The intent of the grant was “to galvanize [adult Georgians] to change their situation, thereby boosting the state’s economic growth” (University System of Georgia). 

As part of this same initiative, in March 2011, the University System of Georgia’s Office of Military Outreach awarded the UNG Gainesville Campus the Soldiers to Scholars grant enabling the university to better serve military personnel in its service area. With the ALC grant funds, institutional funds, and faculty/staff support, the University of North Georgia has continued to grow its support for veterans and adult learner students.  

With a growing number of both student veterans and adult learners, UNG created the Center for Adult Learners & Military (CALM) in 2012 in an effort to better serve these non-traditional student populations. CALM was renamed in January 2017 to Veteran & Adult Learner Programs (VALP). 

In August 2020, VALP and Orientation and Transitions Program (OTP) merged to form a new department:  Nighthawk Engagement and Student Transitions (NEST). This merger has increased the number of dedicated staff trained to serve Veterans and Adult Learners. NEST is now able to provide a dedicated team of staff members for Veterans and a dedicated team for Adult Learners. Having specific staff dedicated to each of these programs allows NEST to continue all previous VALP programs with an addition of new programs better geared toward each specific population. These programs will help Veterans and Adult Learners connect, prepare, and navigate their college career. 

NEST is the point-of-contact concierge for the Veteran and Adult Learners and provides advisement as requested, ACE transcript reviews, portfolio counseling, career advisement, and mentoring. NEST also works with faculty and staff by providing them training opportunities concerning Veteran and Adult Learners. 

Wed, 23 Jun 2021 21:23:00 -0500 en text/html
Adult Learner

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Transcripts must be sent directly to UAB from the institution to be considered official. For transcripts sent through a secured transcript service (like Parchment, eScrip, or National Student Clearinghouse), please select University of Alabama at Birmingham from the vendor’s dropdown menu.

Mailing Address

UAB Office of Undergraduate Admissions
BOX 99
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Birmingham, AL 35294-2936

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Learner driver failed 59 theory tests before pass No result found, try new keyword!A learner driver who failed the theory test 59 times before passing has been praised for their "amazing" commitment. The person, who has not been named, spent £1,380 and around 60 hours on the ... Sun, 03 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-us text/html The Learning Network

Student Opinion

How Do You Feel About High School?

Scroll through some work by the winning students and educators who participated in our “What High School Is Like in 2023” multimedia challenge. Then tell us how well the collection captures your experiences.


Wed, 03 Jan 2024 18:07:00 -0600 en text/html
The Lifetime Learner

WRITTEN BY: John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Roy Mathew, Maggie Wooll & Wendy Tsu

A new business landscape is emerging wherein a multitude of small entities will bring products and services to market using the infrastructure and platforms of large, concentrated players. The forces driving this are putting new and mounting pressures on organizations and individuals while also opening up new opportunities. But traditional postsecondary educational institutions are not supporting individuals in successfully navigating this not-too-distant future, nor are the educational institutions immune to these forces. Perhaps more than any other sector, postsecondary education is being affected by changing demand as the learning needs and preferences of the individual consumer rapidly evolve. Increasingly, individuals need both lifelong learning and accelerated, on-demand learning, largely as a response to the pressures of the broader evolving economic landscape.

Rarely seen amid gross national statistics on the skills gap, employability, completion rates, and tuition hikes is a serious discussion of the unmet, and increasingly disparate, needs and expectations of individual learners. The costs to the individual are increasing, and the payoff is less certain. Students of all ages are more comfortable with technology and are less tied to traditional notions of the academy as fewer American adults between the ages of 18 and 22 achieve a four-year, full-time, campus-based degree.1 At the same time, technological advances reduce the lifespan of specific skills, and an increasingly globalized and automated workforce needs to continuously learn and retrain.

As a result of a growing set of unmet needs and lower barriers to entry and commercialization, a new ecosystem of educational players is emerging, largely independent of the traditional educational landscape. This rich ecosystem of semi-structured, unorthodox learning providers is emerging at the edges of the current postsecondary world, with innovations that challenge the structure and even existence of traditional education institutions. These challengers are extending the education space beyond grades, degrees, and certificates to provide lifelong learning in a variety of formats and levels of effectiveness.

What does this mean for traditional players and the educational landscape? Similar to what is occurring more broadly, the emerging landscape will consist of a few large, concentrated players that will provide infrastructure, platforms, and services to support a wide array of fragmented niche providers of content, formats, environments, and experiences. Existing institutions—educational institutions, educational publishers, and corporate training departments—would do well to understand the diversity of the emerging landscape and the needs and preferences they reflect in order to help define sustainable roles in this new landscape. Existing institutions will likely have to choose what roles they can play sustainably and where they should be integrating emerging players and tools to support the learning needs of the future.

Profile of a learner

Meet Christine. After earning an undergraduate English literature degree, she taught English to adults in Portugal for two-and-a-half years before returning to school to earn a master’s degree in journalism in an immersive two-year program. She worked as a reporter at the Seattle Times and then became managing editor at a city-based weekly. She spent the next two years working as an editor at an Internet health site, and then freelancing as an editor and writer for online publications. Dissatisfied with the online writing world and with print newspapers struggling, she returned to school for a law degree. After a year in a big firm, she opened her own practice focused on representing youth removed from their parents for neglect or abuse. To balance against the high stress and emotion of the work, Christine took an 18-month-long series of weekend and evening classes to become a certified yoga instructor. Christine’s love of literature never left her, so in her spare time she enrolled in a six-week evening class in novel writing at the Grotto, a community of working writers. From this class, she formed a writing group that continued to meet biweekly for several years—since then, three members have completed their novels. Several years later, with state budget cuts threatening the financial viability of her juvenile practice, she began taking online courses and attending conferences and seminars to earn certification in elder law, and in 2011 opened an elder law practice. She just completed a 20-hour conflict coaching course and hopes to use those skills both in an informal way in her law practice and as a separate discipline. She also is enrolled in a 40-hour mediation training and intends to add mediation services to her repertoire. Christine is 47.

Meet Al. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from a large state school and went to work for a leading metals manufacturer in quality control. Over the years, he became more involved in the development of first aluminum and then beryllium alloys and worked at a series of companies in the Midwest experimenting with a growing assortment of metal alloys. Throughout this time, he took occasional night school courses on subjects relating to his work at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and at Case in Cleveland, sometimes reimbursed by his employers. In the 1960s, he began using “timesharing” computing practices for statistical analysis of masses of data. Al has retired from a major industrial manufacturing conglomerate and lives in a university town where he occasionally attends special lectures. He says that he would have “trouble trying to live without the availability of all the information, the ease of communications, and the speed with which it can be accomplished.” He uses YouTube to learn new knitting techniques and once a week attends a “sit and knit” at a community center where he and the other knitters trade tips and help each other figure out complex patterns. He provides instruction to the “newbies” who drop in and makes cancer caps for a local charity. A technophile, Al visits the Apple Genius Bar® service and support program or the Best Buy Geek Squad when he occasionally gets stuck on one of his many devices, and also relies on reviews and Internet forums, such as the best voice-to-text dictation and translation software to help him communicate with the non-English-speaking patients at the hospice center where he volunteers five days a week. Al is 97.

Meet Britney. She discovered a thirst for entrepreneurship while earning an undergraduate business degree from a top university. A finance major with some knowledge of business analytics, she realized that she needed a technological skill set to start her own ventures. As a result, while still in school, Britney sought out massive online open courses (MOOCs) as the stepping stone to learning how to code. She started taking online courses through several sources. Through these free online courses, she learned coding outside of the traditional classroom setting at her own pace, cost- and grade-free. The MOOCs gave her a technical foundation and new clarity about wanting to pursue a career in programming, but she struggled to assemble a coherent curriculum from the offerings. To move from being an enthusiast to employable, Britney enrolled in a nine-week intensive Dev Bootcamp course in San Francisco to develop her skills enough to begin freelancing. Now Britney goes to Meetups to make connections and learn about new opportunities, and she uses the Dev Bootcamp alumni network to seek contract work. She wants to travel and create technological analytic solutions for social impact issues and is building a portfolio of projects. Britney is 24.

Meet Sarah. After graduating from high school, Sarah enrolled in a vocational-technical program to earn certification as a beautician. Working at a series of salons, Sarah saved money and enrolled in a state school while continuing to work part-time. Two years into her studies, she married a soldier and spent the next several years moving from place to place and starting a family. Sarah returned to salon work to supplement the family income, learning the latest techniques from her coworkers and industry publications. As her children got older, she resumed college courses through a distance-learning program with her original school, earned her teaching certification, and began teaching kindergarten in a large, challenging public school. Now, with her children a few years from leaving home, Sarah can start to think about what comes next. Sarah is 43.


In the book A More Beautiful Question, Warren Berger suggests that the true focus of education should be on encouraging students to question and explore rather than on delivering a canon of knowledge to students.2 This stands in stark contrast to the current pressure on traditional educational institutions to provide job-driven curricula to better meet the needs of the economy. With skyrocketing costs, a growing student-debt crisis, and the perception of a widening gap between institutional curricula and employer needs, more attention is being focused on the value provided by different types of traditional educational institutions, specifically four-year universities, two-year community colleges, and trade or vocational schools. Yet, as undersecretary of education Ted Mitchell explains, the value of education can be thought of in several ways: “There is economic value for the individual, economic value for society, but there is also civic value for society and having good, engaged citizens.”3

Unfortunately, the conversations revolving around skill-based training, financing reform, and improved access in many ways ignore the broader shift occurring in the global business environment. As detailed in The hero’s journey to the business landscape of the future,4 rapid advances in technology and a trend toward public policies that allow labor, resources, and capital to flow more easily across borders are shaping a future economic landscape in which a relatively few large, concentrated players will provide infrastructure, platforms, and services that support many fragmented, niche players. Individuals and institutions alike will have to chart a path through this future (figure 1).

This emerging landscape, and the underlying forces driving it, can have direct implications for education, learning, and other aspects of society. First, exponential advances in the core digital technologies that permeate all industries are leading to exponential, cumulative innovations that are blurring boundaries between once-separate domains and industries, disrupting business and the workforce in ways that are difficult to imagine or predict.5 In such an environment, greater collaboration between industry and academia alone cannot ensure a well-trained, well-targeted workforce. Second, in this global and networked environment, fixed knowledge stocks have decreasing value, while more fluid knowledge, specifically participation in diverse information flows that lead to the creation of new knowledge, becomes more important. As such, education as a one-way transfer of a canon of knowledge is inadequate, and the characteristics that defined education in the 20th century—bound by time and place, with a fixed curriculum—cannot keep up with the rapid rate of change or the new demands on knowledge and learning.6

Most traditional institutions—educational institutions, educational publishers, and corporate training departments—have not yet made the shift from knowledge stocks to knowledge flows. As a result, the traditional learning pathways for acquiring skills and credentials and securing employment are in flux. The institutions that have defined those pathways (see figure 2) are being challenged by a growing array of unorthodox learning providers who are experimenting not only with delivering educational content faster, cheaper, and on demand but also with entirely new learning experiences.

The underlying forces putting pressure on institutions and opening the door for new opportunities and entrants are unlikely to subside. This will drive changes in the postsecondary educational landscape as in most other industries, and it will also continue to increase demand for a richer, more diverse learning ecosystem to help individuals navigate the future landscape.


Individuals increasingly face the prospect of not just multiple jobs but multiple careers over a lifetime, and of constantly changing technology and environments within a job. As Robin Chase, former CEO and founder of ZipCar, puts it, “Our parents had one job, I will have seven jobs, and our children will do seven jobs at one time.”7 As the expectations for employment and fulfillment change, continuous and lifelong learning becomes increasingly important. Individuals are looking for not just learning but guidance in navigating the changing world to find the best learning and career opportunities. The growth in life coaching and self-help books, now $2 billion and $11 billion industries respectively, is an early signal of this need.8

Individuals are also challenged by an accelerating cycle of skill obsolescence in a period of unprecedented transition from skill set to skill set. The rapidly changing business landscape demands constant learning of new skills and domains, retraining, and applying existing capabilities in new contexts. It also demands a greater fluency in digital tools and comfort in virtual environments. It rewards those with greater capacity to seek and access resources and to build social capital through personal networks and participation in communities. While globalization has opened opportunities for new jobs and careers internationally, it has also in some cases narrowed opportunities as certain types of employment migrate to nations with lower labor costs. In manufacturing and IT, for example, 53 percent and 43 percent of US companies, respectively, engage in offshore outsourcing, displacing as many as 2.6 million jobs.9 What happens, then, to the individuals who must recalibrate their careers for options that their education may not have equipped them for?

Predicting which skills and jobs are vulnerable to obsolescence is no longer straightforward, either. Beyond globalization, the 21st-century work environment is what Michael Gove, former UK secretary of state for education, termed a “new machine age,” where breakthroughs in automation, robotics, and even artificial intelligence have begun replacing jobs once thought to be the domain of human workers.10 Fujitsu, Canon, and Amazon are but a few examples of organizations that have automated significant portions of the assembly and fulfillment processes.11

Changing preferences for autonomy, and the ability to find meaningful work that satisfies those preferences, are also starting to redefine traditional career paths. Many individuals have left large companies for smaller firms or become self-employed as the traditional promises of stability, income and career progression, health care, and training and development opportunities once tied to large companies have been broken. In addition, retirement-age workers who do not retire, either because of financial needs or a desire to continue to make an impact, are also moving from large companies with retirement programs to smaller businesses or self-employment. While the average worker today switches jobs every 4.4 years, the independent workforce has grown from 16.1 million in 2011 to 17.7 million in 2013.12 The switch from large to small or independent often requires a new skill set even when the occupation builds off of experiences in a former job or role. Independent workers, as much as their employed peers, continue to need professional development and learning opportunities to maintain and refresh skills, but they have to seek it from external sources. Most small companies, if they offer training at all, also turn to outside sources for professional development, and even larger companies have reduced investment in internal training and development opportunities for employees.

The shelf life and relevance of skills are decreasing, while new occupations, roles, titles, and functions are being created at a rapidly accelerating pace. In an oDesk survey asking hiring employers to rank the criteria for their hiring decisions, a college degree ranked last. The No. 1 criterion was a person’s previous performance on a similar or related task.13 Moreover, by 2020, it is estimated that the work-related knowledge a college student acquires will have an expected shelf life of less than five years.14 Fabio Rosati, the CEO of Elance (which recently merged with oDesk), states, “The technologies that were relevant even two to three years ago are different than the technologies that are going to be relevant in the next two to three years, [and that’s moving] at increased speed.”15 From an occupational perspective, according to career networking platform LinkedIn, the top 10 job titles used by employees today (including iOS developer, social media analyst, big data architect, cloud services specialist, and digital marketing specialist) did not even exist five years ago.16 What are the options for the approximately 16.4 million students who graduated from higher education institutions just 10 years ago and now want to pursue a career in one of these jobs that didn’t exist then?17

Profile of a learner

1) Navigational guidance to select the best options

2) Continual challenges and learning

3) Affordability

4) Job placement

5) Relevant skills and contextual application

6) Flexible and compressed timeframes

7) Intangible skills and tacit/experiential learning

8) Professional development (for independent workers, workers at small companies, and workers at companies where training budgets have been cut)

9) Network and community of practitioners

In addition to the pressure to continuously adapt to the forces that are reshaping the business landscape, the cost-benefit equation for individuals considering any form of traditional education has changed. Tuition costs have grown in absolute terms and are part of a long-term trend of state and federal governments shifting the cost burden to students and their families. In fact, 71 percent of students graduating from four-year universities have debt averaging $30,000, a 20 percent increase since the recession. Even 88 percent of Pell Grant recipients had student loan debt greater than the national average of $25,550 for public universities.18 While tuition costs have gone up, job placement rates from four-year institutions have decreased, with 40 percent of exact college graduates unemployed in the first year, and others underemployed.19 This changes the equation for individuals as they consider their options, and alternative learning pathways become more appealing.

Add to this equation a potential student, very much a consumer, who is comfortable with technology and accustomed to getting information from a variety of online sources. This description isn’t limited to Millennials, who have undeniably grown up with a different expectation for the pace and engagement of their learning environments, are fluent in social media, and easily transition to new platforms. Across virtually all generations, people turn more readily to the Internet as a resource for entertainment and information; education and learning aren’t such a leap. Some of these learners are the same exact students who didn’t complete degree programs, who graduated but failed to find employment, or who saw friends or family members sink under runaway student debt. In addition, with more visibility into options, as with other aspects of their lives, consumers are seeking out those that match their preferences for faster, more flexible, or more experiential formats.

Finding new ways to empower learners and support their unmet lifelong learning needs is an attractive opportunity for new entrants. But with a shifting student profile—currently the “modal student is 36 years old and doing school on the side”—traditional educational institutions, if they want to stay relevant and viable, must also find new ways to better address the unmet needs of a variety of learners.20 It is no surprise that new forms and institutions are emerging and gaining credibility, in part as a consequence of the slow response and inability of traditional institutions—not just educational but government and corporate as well—to keep up with these evolving needs.


Much has been written about “the higher education crisis” and the multilayered organizational inertia, policies, and practices that hinder innovation and change within traditional educational institutions. Those arguments are valid, but we would suggest that by focusing internally they miss the competition coming from the “edges,” from unexpected places and sectors. These new entrants in education are unlikely to look like the incumbents; lowered barriers allow competitors to offer individual components of what traditional institutions (four- and two-year colleges, vocational schools, and corporate training) provide.

New entrants are innovating all along the learning spectrum. A rich ecosystem of unorthodox learning providers is emerging at the edges to experiment with technologies and approaches—in some cases to try to deliver a component of traditional education in new ways that reduce costs, Excellerate effectiveness, or increase accessibility (faster, on demand); and in some cases to offer something entirely new with different goals that cannot necessarily be judged by traditional metrics of time-in-seat, completion, or assessment scores.

The eroding barriers to innovation in learning

In The hero’s journey through the landscape of the future, we examine, across industries, how the barriers to entry, commercialization, and learning are being dramatically impacted by technological advances, ubiquitous connectivity, and more empowered and digitally savvy consumers. In particular, we study the way these forces have shifted consumer power and preferences, how they have lowered barriers to new entrants in education and opened the doors to innovation in learning, and the platforms that have come out of these forces.

One potent example is the availability of financing for education technology.21 What began as a trickle—$64 million of investment in 2009—has swollen into a flood, with $1.25 billion, an increase of 35 percent, invested in the education technology market in 2013.22 Much of the growth has been in informal, lifelong learning: MOOCs, professional development, and professional skills were the education categories most funded by venture capitalists in Q2 2014. San Francisco-based Udemy, a MOOC platform specializing in helping individuals Excellerate skills related to career and life, raised $32 million in series C funding of new ventures.23

The growth of venture funding in this space is allowing more entrants with potentially disruptive technologies in content creation, access, tools, and formats to directly impact lifelong learning. Platforms such as Udemy and Udacity have opened a content creation ecosystem that was originally restricted to academics, administrators, and publishers to include new entrants such as engineers, designers, data scientists, coaches, and others with a desire to share their expertise. While the offerings in education technology are still nascent, and many will fail to either become viable business models or provide long-term value to learning, the increased investment in the informal learning space signals consumer and market appetite for learning experiences that extend beyond an education bound by time or location.

While access to financing has become relatively less of a hurdle, other barriers remain, not impassable but not yet negligible. The desirability and superiority of a four-year college education is deeply embedded in American culture and policy, with the consequence that even the best alternative forms of education are viewed as inferior compromises. As a result, and with the notion of meritocracy, the higher education conversation tends to revolve around access and outcomes. Ted Mitchell, US undersecretary of education, summarizes the administration’s agenda as “access, affordability, quality, and completion,” with the goal of providing the highest level of education for which people qualify.24 The assumption is that the ranking of options remains unchanged. For new entrants to gain traction, they will have to overcome the barriers around brand, acceptance by employers, and comfort with non-authoritative sources of learning and warranting. While these barriers may be slower to fall, emerging players will likely gain momentum from the increasing desire for participation in learning, relative affordability (particularly if new entrants gain acceptance by federal/state funding sources), and flexibility (which reflects the increasing diversity of learners, for example, transitioning/reentering workers such as veterans and senior citizens).

Where are the edges?

Currently, new entrants primarily exist in parallel to traditional postsecondary education institutions, but they are beginning to compete with traditional paths. New entrants are emerging in five arenas, mostly centered around the individual:

  1. The workforce: As workers recognize the importance of continuous learning, they are more actively seeking learning opportunities. In 2013, 23 percent of employees left their jobs citing the lack of opportunities for professional development and training.25 Companies are starting to realize the need to provide more and different training opportunities that better suit each unique worker, allowing workers to develop relevant and marketable skills. Companies such as SAP have started to create their own MOOC-based platforms, like openSAP, to allow subject matter experts within the workforce to create relevant and timely content for others. Rather than fund expensive training departments, others are turning to outside providers such as Udemy for flexible, relevant content.
  2. Independent agents: The growth in the independent workforce, together with the lack of formal training and development programs in small companies, leaves a large population of individuals who are accustomed to managing their own careers looking for external solutions so that they can continue to learn and retrain. This is where specialized programs such as coding-intensive boot camps (for example, Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, and Codeacademy), Meetups, and MOOCs are emerging.26
  3. Passion arenas: Passionate workers, specifically those who embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and who connect with others to find solutions and make a meaningful impact on an area of interest, want to share that passion with others. As a result, the need to share and connect with other passionate individuals manifests itself as social communities and creation spaces where learning and connection can blossom around significant challenges.27
  4. Emerging countries: Access to education is a necessary element for economic prosperity, particularly in developing countries. The global demand for learning through more inexpensive, pull-based, flexible models is leading to experiments with new platforms and environments to make learning accessible to a rapidly changing world. Free MOOCs are one example, but so is the global network of institutions owned by Laureate Education, or New York University’s global academic centers that have a mission to provide access within a country.
  5. K-12: The learning habits and preferences of students move with them, and experiments that began in the K-12 space might translate into the postsecondary world. For example, AltSchool, a new network of K-8 schools in the Bay area, is experimenting with ways to make the experience of learning more flow-based and immersive. AltSchool focuses learning around microschools where the neighborhood playground serves as the gym and the science class on liquid nitrogen takes place at the local ice cream shop.28 Consider, also, the example of Khan Academy. In providing short, modular, on-demand, self-paced math instruction to the K-12 audience for the past seven years, Khan Academy has been refining the platform and techniques for engaging learners in personalized curricula focused on skills mastery.29 As its target audience moves beyond secondary school, the lessons learned by Khan Academy may prove extensible into higher-level material or into other subjects or curricula, whether that will be carried forward by Khan Academy or others. This format is already migrating into other K-12 flipped classroom30 ventures and will likely prove applicable to a variety of other learning needs.

What types of innovations are emerging?

As the barriers to innovation have been lowered, new entrants and incumbents have innovated in four different areas, each of which transforms learning into more of a flow-oriented activity (figure 3). None of these emerging innovations is likely to supplant traditional education on its own. Collectively, however, they represent a rich and growing ecosystem of providers and learning opportunities that have the potential to disrupt education.

Innovation 1: Accessibility

The Internet has democratized learning by increasing access to content for a growing population of learners. This accessible content, structured both as formal educational content and informal informational content (which is ever growing and includes platforms such as YouTube and discussion boards), is the basis of virtual knowledge flows. In a networked era, learning can be more flow-oriented, opening both content and content creation to a larger pool of people. For example, the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, spearheaded by MIT’s OpenCourseWare initiative in 2001, encourages providing access to teaching, learning, research, and assessment materials under open licenses that permit free use and modification for a variety of educational purposes. OER is part of a global movement toward increasing access to content, enabling knowledge to flow and be built upon rather than commoditized.31 The movement has spawned other OER platforms, from iTunes U®, a feature of the online store that allows users to organize course lectures, notes, and books for an entire course, to Connexions, a platform that provides authors and learners with an open space to share and freely adapt education materials.32 The OER movement changes not only the way professors engage with content, but also how the learner engages with content so that the learning experience is more personalized, adaptable, and affordable. In 2012, in an effort to reduce costs to students, the University of Minnesota created a tool to help faculty find more affordable textbook options. The resulting Open Academics textbook catalog lists “open textbooks,” which are under a license that enables students to get free or low-cost versions of textbooks while being able to adapt and distribute the material as well. The Open Academics catalog, with over 84 open textbooks, is the first of its kind and is available to faculty worldwide.33

While OER is primarily focused on materials, which can be mixed and modified but are not, in and of themselves, developed as full courses, MOOCs are full courses or mini-courses developed and guided by an instructor and designed for large-scale participation. The OER movement has largely focused on improving access to content for instructors, while MOOCs expand access to an educational experience through digital learning platforms. For example, a course on machine learning, taught by Professor Andrew Ng of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, is now available for free to 4.5 million users rather than only to Stanford students.34 MOOC platforms such as Udacity, EdX, and Udemy democratize access to educational content, allowing individuals to participate in knowledge flows regardless of geographic borders and organizational boundaries.

OER still needs to find answers to the problems of credibility and validation (such as peer review) while maintaining timeliness, diversity, and quality of content. MOOCs also, rather than replacing instruction, are coming to be understood as a tool for delivering certain types and levels of content in the most cost-effective way and as a supplement to in-person, expert-guided learning and practice.

OER and MOOCs serve as stepping stones for rethinking how content can be developed, structured, and delivered to the global masses. In some parts of the world, they represent convenience—learning on demand—while in others, they are revolutionary. By democratizing accessibility to content, in terms of both the number of learners and number of courses available, learning shifts from being a protected stock-based resource to a flow where learners from the broader ecosystem can engage with previously unavailable information.

Innovation 2: Social learning

One of the most profound effects of learning in a networked age is the importance of social learning.35 Social learning, according to the Educause Review, is based on the premise that our understanding of content is socially constructed through conversations about the content rather than on the content itself. As such, learning institutions should focus less on what the individual is learning than on how the individual is learning.

From physical collaboration settings (such as libraries and coworking spaces) to virtual collaboration settings (forums, blogs, online communities), the ability for the individual to interact with others through multiple channels is expanding. Increasingly, we see a movement toward communities of social learning that focus on interaction and engagement beyond the four walls of a traditional learning institution. For example, at events such as Meetups, learners can interact with others from different backgrounds, getting exposed to serendipitous learning opportunities and, potentially, new collaborators with whom they can take on challenges.

Case study: MOOC Meetups everywhere

In the ongoing evolution of MOOCs and other digital learning, organizations are experimenting with Meetups to fill the role of the social learning environment that is characteristic of the traditional college experience. Meetup, founded in 2002, is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various locations around the world. Online education provider edX has over 40 Meetup communities around the world, while Udacity has 18. Nearly 220 other Meetups exist for categories like “MOOCs” and “online learning.” MOOC Meetups span the globe with concentrations in places like New York, London, Bangalore, and San Francisco and newer groups in Beijing and Hyderabad. These Meetups create a physical environment for learners to gather and engage with the content together; they are directed by the learners according to their needs. For example, a learner might create a study group Meetup for an Introductory Software as a Service course and schedule the meetings for every Sunday in Palo Alto; nine or so other learners from different backgrounds might attend regularly to ask questions, share ideas, and meet others who want to explore challenges related to the topic. It remains to be seen whether, lacking the formal structure or grade incentives of traditional education, these self-directed gatherings can fill the need for social learning among the broad learner population because they rely on the personal motivation and initiative of the individual, which may be less well-developed in some learner populations. As proponents of online learning have largely embraced the need for blended physical/virtual models, some providers may take a more active role in launching learning hubs that build community and provide physical space and opportunity for students and facilitators to interact.36

Social communities, combined with online content and resources such as the Meetups, are a step forward in providing social context for lifelong learning in non-traditional settings. The drawback with social communities is that some lack content or structures to use the community effectively as a mechanism for collaboration. The next step lies in creating communities of discovery where new content is created through collaboration. To some extent, this is emerging in shared workspaces, incubators, and accelerators that target specific technologies or skillsets, such as the various “hacker” spaces for making (tinkering), biohacking, and social/civic entrepreneurs.37

Innovation 3: Creation spaces

A real opportunity for learning institutions to amplify learning is to build deliberately constructed environments, “creation spaces,” that combine the advantages of tightly knit teams with the ability to involve an ever-increasing number of participants. This is where the “power of pull”—the ability to attract people and resources around a challenge or interest—comes in. Creation spaces are intended to bring learners together in the creation of new knowledge. Rather than focusing a discussion on content, learners within the creation space work together to create their own content and gain new insights, while the creation space connects individuals to a richer learning environment that encourages interactions. Creation spaces require three key ingredients: a critical mass of participants, the co-evolution of interactions within the team and with a broader set of participants, and an environment that supports various layers of activities.38

Looking back to the game World of Warcraft (WoW) and how it revolutionized gaming, one of the game’s enduring innovations was its ability to foster creation spaces. In WoW, performance is measured in terms of experience, while the degree of complexity and challenge increases with advancement through the game. WoW created a platform for learning where players innovated together and developed new knowledge. While the new knowledge pertained to advancing to new levels in the game, players across different backgrounds worked together to overcome new experiences and learn. Beyond these tightly knit teams or “guilds,” a rich learning platform evolved that helped participants in individual guilds to reach beyond their own teammates and learn from others through discussion forums, video archives, and communities of interest. What traditional learning institutions can learn from WoW is how to construct an environment that continually challenges its participants.

Innovation 4: Warranting

As education technology investments have increased, so have new ways to warrant the quality of learning beyond grades, certificates, and degrees. Traditionally, the validity of a learning experience was based on the credibility of the institution, as determined by nationally recognized accreditation agencies.39

In the emerging learner-centric landscape, learning is more utility-oriented than authority-based. With the recognition that even exact college graduates are often not employed in their fields of study (if employed at all), and the widespread sentiment of employers that students are ill prepared for the demands of the workforce, the grade or degree as a symbol or accurate assessment of achievement is losing ground. Instead, innovators are experimenting with portfolio-based models that allow learners to incorporate learning and mastery from informal and non-textbook, non-classroom experiences. For example, learners using the Mozilla Development Network can be recognized for skills they learn both offline and online, and beyond their time at a formal learning institution. From Purdue University with its Passport badging platform to Mozilla with its Open Badge platform, the spectrum of what warranted learning looks like is expanding; so, too, are the people and organizations that can warrant learning. For example, corporations, new online accreditation organizations (such as Degreed and Accredible)40 and individuals themselves can now carry weight in validating learning experiences.

While badging has served as an innovative solution for capturing more skill-based learning, the impact that it will have on traditional learning institutions is unclear. According to Peter Stokes, executive director of postsecondary innovation in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University, one of the biggest challenges will be the normalization of badging, or the ability to create a learning currency.41While the adoption and recognition of badging by higher education is important, the greater impact will be felt as companies start recognizing and even issuing or accrediting badges. In addition, if companies start investing in building their own badges, it begins to change the relationship between corporate HR and the academy, shifting power away from the academy.

Case Study: UC Davis badging and skills qualification 42

In 2013, the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) launched digital badging within the sustainable agriculture program. The introduction of the badging system, called “Skills Qualifications,” was spearheaded by the department chair Gregory Pasternack and learning coordinator Joanna Normoyle in an attempt to bridge the gap between the theoretical knowledge taught by professors and the practical knowledge learned through the genuine application of theory. The badging system helped deliver the informal learning that students felt the current curriculum was not capturing. The badging system at UC Davis became the first step to creating an education portfolio for its students illustrative of projects and experiences tied to core competencies needed to excel in a particular profession. While the badges are not intended to replace grades, they are intended to make education more transparent and allow students to take more control of their learning careers.


With barriers to entry and commercialization diminishing and an array of new entrants challenging traditional forms and institutions with innovations to make learning more accessible, flexible, and personalized, what are the implications for existing institutions, from higher education to educational publishing to corporate training?

The education/learning landscape is simultaneously becoming both fragmented and concentrated. Figure 4 shows the emerging landscape of unorthodox providers at the edges. Concentration will exist in the functions that operate on scale and scope, particularly with aggregation platforms, whereas fragmentation will exist within the content creation space as warranting and accrediting content becomes easier.

Fragmentation in content creation

The establishment of informal and more formal learning aggregation platforms (Udacity, EdX, Khan Academy, Udemy, and even YouTube) has led to an explosion of content creators. Online service tools (such as SchoolKeep, Fedora, and Skilljar) provide guidance to instructors on how to create their own online learning videos, lowering the costs of producing and distributing content to serve diverse and highly specific learning needs. Combined with more liberalized warranting, the pool of content creators will likely continue to increase beyond those with a professional degree and institutional affiliation.

For example, over half of Udacity’s courses are created by people who aren’t traditional professors but are experienced industry leaders.44 With 4,000-plus independent content creators, Udemy maintains an open platform, meaning that anyone regardless of credentials can log on and create a course available to all its users, including such courses as Java for Complete Beginners, created by software development trainer John Purcell with 209,000 enrolled students, or Become a Startup Founder, created by the Founder Institute with more than 600 enrolled students. According to Dan Chou, director of business development at Udemy, the courses offered on the platform are filtered for quality as determined by the learners themselves. The best-rated courses appear at the front of search queries, and others drop to the bottom.45

Meanwhile, other emerging providers offer “white label” and hosted solutions rather than a marketplace model. Companies such as SchoolKeep, Fedora, and Skilljar make it easy for individuals to build and operate courses at their own Web domain,46 resulting in a blurring of the line between education and e-commerce. Online service tools enable individual instructors of all backgrounds to not just build great lectures but also develop a sales funnel for the product that is independently owned by the content creator.

As fragmentation continues in the content creation space, the individual has more opportunities to continue learning beyond a traditional school setting across an increased array of subjects with timely and updated content. Technology and the liberalization of warranting content allows business to move from traditional teacher-centered models to new models that shift the current focus on the transfer of expert-generated knowledge toward scalable learning.

Concentration in learning content aggregation

Investments in education technology have financed the creation of online learning platforms, which in turn have opened the doors for all types of individuals to create, distribute, and share learning content. YouTube can be thought of as an early-stage learning aggregation platform. Anyone can learn almost anything on YouTube because it has lowered the barriers of entry for anyone to easily upload, organize, and distribute content on the Internet for free. While YouTube may not have the same sophistication in warranting its content as MOOCs, its equivalent measure of relevancy can be seen through the number of likes, views, and real-time comments a video receives.

Rather than trying to provide all content to all people, learning aggregation platforms are beginning to carve out niches in the market, shedding unnecessary costs and better differentiating themselves from their peers. The learning content aggregation platforms that support fragmented content creators will become concentrated, as any given end user’s participation on many platforms delivers little value and carries high convenience and attention costs, if not financial.

Already, the prominent names related to MOOCs each serve a particular genre and learning type (figure 5). Udacity provides STEM content and mostly targets computer programmers and engineers; NovoEd provides entrepreneurial content, mostly to individuals starting businesses; and Khan Academy mostly targets those who seek competency mastery through practicing problems.

The way some learning content aggregation platforms have gone about partnering with corporations is targeted and reflective of the genre in which they serve. In 2013, Udacity formed the Open Education Alliance by partnering with Google, AT&T, Nvidia, and Intuit to create courses that would help bridge the technology skills gap in today’s workforce, moving away from direct partnerships with universities.47 While the genuine effectiveness of these courses is still to be measured, by partnering with leading tech companies, Udacity is able to brand itself as the learning content aggregation platform for STEM topics.

Much as Napster was not the final word in the music industry, these learning aggregation platforms are not the end-all solution to innovation in learning. However, they can be the catalyst for change aligned with supporting lifelong learning. While MOOCs have reported low average completion rates of around 7 percent, completion may not be the definitive success metric of this new format, as learners may dip into courses for a specific purpose or content that may not require completion. Success for an aggregation platform might be better measured by a net promoter score (the likelihood of a learner recommending the course to someone else) or even a retention score (the likelihood of a learner returning for another course). While only 23 percent of academic leaders believe MOOCs to be a sustainable method of education, their value comes from opening the learning ecosystem to a broader set of creators, distributors, and learners in support of continuous learning.48

Mobilizers and learning agents

Aggregation, of course, doesn’t provide the support or social and experiential environment that accelerates learning. Aggregation is also not the same as skillfully sequencing courses within a collection, or across collections, to resemble a coherent curriculum. This is where mobilizers and agents come in.

Lifelong learners seek coursework not just to learn but to Excellerate their performance, and that type of learning comes from moving beyond hearing and studying to doing—alone and as a member of a group. To get better and faster requires the support of a broad set of resources and platforms that enable people to come together to create and absorb knowledge. MOOCs and other early technology offerings generally aren’t designed to facilitate individuals coming together with a goal of dramatically improving performance, something that traditional learning institutions are better able to provide within the existing physical infrastructure for collaboration.

But with the help of emerging mobilizers (players focused on orchestrating collaboration and learning within the ecosystem), first steps have been taken to foster the coming together. By partnering with Meetup, for example, online content aggregators can create an initial environment for the individual learner to connect with other students and engage with the content, share feedback, ask questions, and, hopefully, create sustained relationships.

Some traditional institutions for learning, such as Arizona State University (ASU), have realized the power of mobilizers such as TechShop as a means of facilitating collaboration among not just students, but a diverse array of community members and corporate partners. In 2013, ASU, the US public university with the highest enrollment, partnered with TechShop, a membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio and coworking space, to provide all the 60,000-plus ASU students with free access to a wide range of machinery and tools. According to Mitzi Montaya, dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation, TechShop has enriched students’ learning experience.49 TechShop allows students to apply knowledge they have learned in projects that are meaningful to them, regardless of major or coursework.

As fragmentation leads to a proliferation of information and content options through learning aggregation platforms, and lower barriers and unmet needs attract an ever-richer array of learning options, individuals will likely need help navigating not just MOOCs and digital resources, but the whole ecosystem of learning. The role of the agent, an entity that thoroughly understands the individual’s learning and career goals, becomes increasingly important. Britney Van Valkenburg, passionate about programming, sought online courses to learn how to code, but she found it difficult to navigate a career path in programming because of all the content that existed. What courses should she take, and in what order? What communities should she engage with, and where could she learn fastest? Should she enroll in a degree program or join a hackerspace? The role of the agent is to provide holistic career coaching that is personalized to the individual based on a deep understanding of his or her needs, skills, and goals. More and more, individuals are seeking out such agents; in fact, the life coaching industry grew to a $2 billion industry in 2013.50 A pure-play agent is brand-agnostic, anticipates individual needs with proactive recommendations, and is widely accessible, whether in person or virtually. A scalable, widely accessible, and affordable type of agent is still very much nascent, although companies such as Eddefy are trying to create a scalable solution for navigating a learning path, and LinkedIn also fulfills some of the goals of an agent.


As the business environment becomes more globalized and automated, and individuals begin to recognize that a four-year degree is neither an automatic ticket to employment nor the last milestone in their learning careers, more individuals are traveling alternative learning pathways (figure 6).

This expanding ecosystem of semi-structured learning fits the model of how learners—or at least a certain type of learner—want to proceed through their learning. The mobilizer serves as a spark or catalyst. This has so far been observed in the programming space but may prove relevant across other domains. Between Meetups, social learning spaces such as Hacker Dojo and TechShop, and on-demand resources such as Codeacademy and GitHub, individuals are exposed to some skills, ideas, and foundational concepts. This initial exposure sparks an interest, which leads the individual to look for opportunities to apply or experience skills in context, and to engage with a community of others pursuing similar interests. At this point, the desire to go deeper and achieve mastery often leads to a need for a more structured setting, a physical presence, guidance, and a coherent curriculum. This is where the emerging, short-term, immersive institutions come in, whether it is the nine-week Dev Bootcamp for coders or entrepreneurial schools such as the new Draper University.

Specialized, short-term, intensive programs such as Draper University, Hack Reactor, Codeacademy, and Dev Bootcamp, while still at the edges and currently confined to entrepreneurship and programming, have gained significant traction with individuals and companies. Coding boot camps alone are poised to reap $59 million in tuition in 2014. The number of graduates from these specialized intensive programs, or vocational schools, has also grown by 175 percent in the past year.51 In fact, across the existing coding boot camps, 75 percent of graduates report working full time in a job that requires the skills taught in the curriculum, compared with the 5 percent who were working as full-time programmers beforehand.52

While these programs are not intended to replace the four-year institution or the community college for now, they are intended to close the gap between what academia teaches and what modern jobs require. The average computer science major may not graduate with enough coding- or workplace-specific skills to be a professional coder, resulting in an unemployment rate of around 9 percent in 2013 for exact college graduates with computer science degrees.53 These boot camps aim to bridge that deficiency by providing an intensive project-based curriculum relevant to the work environment. Dev Bootcamp touts a 90 percent placement rate for its students at top-tier companies such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Google; Hack Reactor reports 100 percent job placement, saying all of its alumni are software engineers with salaries of over $100,000.54 Dave Hoover, cofounder of Dev Bootcamp, agrees that a nine-week intensive program cannot compete with a four-year immersive higher education institution, but it can serve as an alternative pathway in an à la carte model of learning. A student, no matter what age, could attend these intensive boot camps within different disciplines and find work opportunities to apply that knowledge.55

Experience Institute (Ei) and Draper University are two other emerging institutions that are repositioning what a traditional learning institution’s structure could look like. Instead of restricting students to the classroom, Ei immerses them in at least three three-month internships at different companies over the course of a year. In between apprenticeships, the students come together as a community to participate in live classes and share and reflect on their experiences. And at Draper University, an intensive entrepreneurship boot camp, students are able to more quickly gain exposure to relevant and new experiences within venture capital than through a four-year institution. This is why aspiring entrepreneur JC Xu decided to apply to Draper University rather than attending another graduate program.56 Consider also the success of alternative institutions such as Singularity University and the Minerva Schools at KGI,57 both of which adopt a global perspective and focus on creating intense, immersive environments for collaboration and learning. Each is able to be highly selective and charge premium rates for its unique learning offerings, competing with traditional programs in ways that MOOCs cannot. In the case of Singularity and other short-term intensive programs, the network is a critical selling point. These influential networks of financiers, employers, and collaborators, as well as the program’s own active alumni, compete directly with the alumni networks of traditional institutions, one of their historical advantages.


The emerging ecosystem of learning tools and providers is ripe with opportunities for both individuals and institutions. But as new entrants gain traction at the edges, they will increasingly threaten components of the traditional learning structure. Traditional institutions must be open to opportunities to leverage and integrate this new learning ecosystem and identify the most appropriate and sustainable roles to play in the new landscape. Individuals have both the need and the capabilities to navigate and benefit from new offerings. Meanwhile, higher education institutions have been hearing about MOOCs and other models for the past several years, yet the threats have not materialized as quickly as some predicted. This makes it that much harder for institutions to understand the future landscape and take action in the face of deep structural obstacles.

Despite having vast physical and human resources that dwarf those of any new entrant, traditional institutions should think of themselves as operating within the broader context of the learning ecosystem. They operate in a world that is more globalized, automated, and networked, where both consumers and providers have greater reach and more options, and where continuous learning will be a fixture of our professional and personal lives. Individuals’ success in learning will depend increasingly on their ability and motivation to navigate a myriad of options to create a personalized, relevant learning pathway. Relevant players in the future learning landscape will need to address not only how they can better help individuals learn faster, but also how they can help them unlearn and be open to truly new ideas. As psychologist Herbert Gerjuoy’s quote in Future Shock is commonly paraphrased, “The illterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”58

We tend to underplay the difficulty of unlearning to make way for new learning, but unlearning is unlikely to happen in a classroom where the same push-based methods of delivering content have been in use for the past century. What types of immersive experiences can help an individual adopt a new lens or change his or her frame of reference? What social support is needed to look at things differently, even at the risk of looking uneducated, along the way to learning? What does it take to get an individual, or an entire organization, out of the comfort zone?

The educational institutions that succeed and remain relevant in the future business landscape will likely be those that foster a learning environment that reflects the networked ecosystem and is meaningful and relevant to the lifelong learner. This means providing learning opportunities that match the learner’s current development and stage of life. In community colleges, we see more experiments in “stackable” credentials that provide short-term skills and employment value while enabling students to return over time and assemble a coherent curriculum that helps them progress toward career and personal goals. Similarly, corporations such as Siemens have worked with high schools and community colleges to create apprenticeship programs that yield immediate skills and employment for young or reentering learners who might lack the resources to effectively benefit from the learning ecosystem. For both vocational and academic education, there is greater recognition of the need for personalized pacing, modularity, and structures to provide continuity across time.

Some universities have started to look at the examples coming from both the edges of education and areas such as gaming and media to imagine and conduct experiments in what that future learning environment could look like:

  • ASU has ventured into more experiential, community-oriented, self-directed learning and has leveraged the energy and learning potential of the maker movement59 in its partnership with TechShop Chandler.
  • Georgetown University, through a series of workshops led by Ann Pendleton-Jullian, director of the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, has challenged the organizational and physical boundaries of a campus to reimagine the higher education model of 2033 as a locus for communities of practice.60
  • Stanford Design School’s 2025 project reimagines the university experience, focusing on experiential learning and examining the value derived from residential learning and colocation with peers.61

In traditional educational institutions, structural and organizational inertia can hinder thinking about how to offer and support learning in new ways. The requirements of state and federal funding programs, typical fund-accounting models, incentives, hierarchies, and even reputation mechanisms derived from publishing and classroom authority can all stand in the way of traditional educational institutions making the changes needed to remain relevant and sustainable in the context of the future business landscape.

Looking ahead: What can institutions do?

As we have shown above, learning and higher education, while related, are not necessarily following the same trajectory. Learning is evolving rapidly, while the typical institution for postsecondary education is changing more slowly. Traditional institutions and providers that are considering their position in the emerging landscape should adopt a mindset that allows them to see past the obstacles and the “way it’s always been done” to adopt a realistic and optimistic perspective.

Adopt a new mindset

  • Change your lens: The pressures institutions are facing also hold the opportunity for making significant changes according to their individual contexts. Rather than focusing on the problem—budget constraints, unsupportive faculty, poor technological infrastructure—or replicating the shiny emerging tool that others are using (such as MOOCs), focus on identifying the learning mechanisms that work within the context of your institution and are meaningful to tomorrow’s learner.
  • Move from static to fluid: In a networked world that is rapidly changing, static knowledge stocks delivered at a fixed point in time will be less valuable than knowledge flows created as individuals continually refresh what they learn through experience beyond the four walls of a classroom. Learning institutions have the unique opportunity to enable a physical space and opportunity for tacit knowledge sharing—the knowledge that resides in our heads and cannot easily be codified—which taps into the rich and changing ecosystem around them.
  • Identify your competitive strengths: The value of the university, community college, or vocational college is in its ability to function as a community of practice around knowledge. The higher education experience is unique in its ability to surround the learner with a network of individuals from different backgrounds—leverage that. As Pendleton-Jullian suggests, probe deeper into what value the university experience brings that cannot be replicated or virtualized, and identify the specific factors (people, programs, disciplines, and context) compared with other forms of learning that make your institution unique and relevant to the lifelong learner.
  • Scale the edges: Antibodies to change and innovation will exist and may stem from misaligned faculty support, lack of a strong technological infrastructure, or lack of funding transparency. Innovation can exist at the edges of every organization, whether in a particular department, set of students, or physical location. Focus on these areas where change is blossoming rather than despair about the immovable core, and leverage external resources from the surrounding ecosystem of tools and organizations for support rather than seeking internal funding and approval. Identify initiatives that are both aligned with your strengths and with agents of change within the organization. Edges can become conduits of transformation, helping the institutions of today tap into the opportunities of tomorrow.

Identify a sustainable role

Today, learning institutions have the unique opportunity to transform the learning environment (physically, virtually, and socially) into a new ecosystem that supports the currently unmet need of lifelong learning. Traditional learning institutions—universities, community colleges, and vocational schools—will need to understand what roles they currently play, where they want to be, and what assets they can leverage to stay relevant in the context of moving from knowledge stocks to flows, identifying dynamic factors, and scaling the edges. With concentration around the scale and scope roles mapped in figure 4 (infrastructure provider, aggregation platform, and agent business), fragmentation with content creation, and mobilizers as the connective tissues between the fragmented and consolidated players, traditional postsecondary institutions have a choice:

  • Transform into an infrastructure business. Focus on providing the facilities and locations for a variety of learning experiences. As an infrastructure provider, traditional institutions shed the roles that are not core to providing facilities and learning infrastructure. This helps transform the institution into a recognized space for learning where content can be brought in or accessed from external sources, but students look to the institution to connect with a broader pool of individuals for the purpose of collaborative and social learning. While in this context, the institution amplifies the value of its physical infrastructure. Back-end systems and delivery and warranting systems are also forms of infrastructure that will be valuable in the future. It is more likely that these types of infrastructure will be provided by new entrants, so existing institutions should be realistic about where they can compete sustainably and leverage other providers for the roles they don’t play best.
  • Become a platform business and curator. Aggregate resources for knowledge and connect them with appropriate learners rather than act as the vendor of knowledge. As a platform business, institutions become the entities that now pull knowledge from the broader ecosystem to share with learners, rather than holding tightly to the content that is their own. This helps enable the institution to access the most relevant and current knowledge content from an ecosystem of content creation that extends beyond the institution. In the process of becoming a platform business, institutions have the ability to also curate content. Top universities such as Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology can use their current brands to curate quality content. In this case, the institution acts as a platform to identify relevant content in the networked ecosystem.
  • Become an agent business. Channel your sector experience to provide lifetime guidance for the learner on his or her learning and career. As an agent business, an institution would help learners navigate a world of exponential change and abundance of information. As a talent agent for the student, the institution would commit to this role for the student throughout his or her career in the pursuit of lifelong learning.

Some traditional learning institutions are already thinking about the new roles they can play. In the Stanford 2025 project, one of the four proposed models of innovation was the Open Loop University. Through Open Loop, students can attend university through a six-year nonlinear timeline, allowing them to learn, work, and return to learn again. Axis Flip is another model that will rework the infrastructure of the university to center around learning hubs, a model most closely tied to the role of the institution as an infrastructure provider for collaborative learning.62

Whatever role they play, institutions will also have to connect and collaborate with mobilizers in order to unlock the collective knowledge of the ecosystem and become part of the transformation. The learning landscape is changing, and traditional institutions and new entrants have the opportunity to participate in and define a rich learning ecosystem that is more personalized and fluid than education has been for at least a century. Institutions will need to decide where to compete and where to cede the floor, but those that succeed will find ways to remain relevant, embrace the forces shifting the broader global environment, and begin building their own futures now, before it gets harder to claim a meaningful space in this emerging landscape.

Institutions of higher education face ongoing challenges, including skyrocketing costs, intense competition, increased government regulation coupled with less public funding, and an unpredictable economy. Reengineered business processes that align personnel activities with institutional goals and strategies—supported by selected IT—can help organizations reduce costs while creating innovative services that help attract and retain quality students, faculty, and staff. Deloitte serves over 200 higher education clients, drawing upon a pool of multidisciplinary sources across consulting, financial advisory, tax, and audit. Learn more at

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Tax LLP, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, and Deloitte Consulting LLP, subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.


John Hagel

John Hagel (co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge), of Deloitte Consulting LLP, has nearly 30 years of experience as a management consultant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, and has helped companies Excellerate performance by applying technology to reshape business strategies. In addition to holding significant positions at leading consulting firms and companies throughout his career, Hagel is the author of bestselling business books such as Net Gain, Net Worth, Out of the Box, The Only Sustainable Edge, and The Power of Pull.

John Seely Brown

John Seely Brown (JSB) (independent co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge) is a prolific writer, speaker, and educator. In addition to his work with the Center for the Edge, JSB is adviser to the provost and a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California. This position followed a lengthy tenure at Xerox Corporation, where JSB was chief scientist and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. JSB has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and authored or co-authored seven books, including The Social Life of Information, The Only Sustainable Edge, The Power of Pull, and A New Culture of Learning.

Roy Mathew

Roy Mathew (principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP) specializes in IT strategy, transformation, and restructuring to help higher education clients develop innovative services and reduce costs. Roy focuses on helping universities with major transformation and efficiency efforts that include significant process, organization, and governance change. Most recently, he led the shared services operational excellence program at one of the largest and most eminent public universities in California. He is actively involved in developing Deloitte’s capabilities and eminence in innovation, business process reengineering, and operational performance improvement.

Maggie Wooll

Maggie Wooll (senior editor and engagement strategist, Deloitte Center for the Edge), of Deloitte Services LP, combines her experience advising large organizations on strategy and operations with her love of storytelling to share the Center’s research. At the Center, she explores the implications of rapidly changing technologies for individuals and their institutions. In particular, she is interested in learning and personal fulfillment within the shifting business environment.

Wendy Tsu

Wendy Tsu (former research fellow, Deloitte Center for the Edge) is passionate about exploring the edges between learning, social impact, and innovation. As part of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Strategy & Operations practice, her focus has been in technology and education. Most recently, she has been helping higher education institutions reimagine their operating models. As part of the Center, she conducted research and analysis related to new forms and institutions of education and how they impact the educational journey for the lifelong learner.

Originally published by Deloitte University Press on Copyright 2015 Deloitte Development LLC.

Sun, 14 Aug 2022 07:40:00 -0500 text/html
The Best Online Learning Platforms for 2024

Online learning sites enable us to expand our minds and creative spirit. No matter where you are in the world or how little prior experience you have with a subject, you can learn just about anything, so long as you have an internet connection. We test and review dozens of online learning platforms, and here we list the best ones for all kinds of non-matriculated learning.

"Learning" isn't limited to the education taught in school. There are sites where you can pick up new software skills, become a better manager, study the art of memoir writing, watch a tutorial on how to set up a sewing machine, and listen to a world-renowned master in their field explain how they got there. Are you looking for practical skills? Business skills? Professional development? Inspiration? Or are you a student who needs tutoring in AP History? You can learn any of these things and more.

Read on for the top services we've tested, followed by everything you need to know about online learning.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks


Best for Inspiration

Why We Picked It

Everything about MasterClass deserves an A+. Instructors are among the top names in their fields. Each class is designed in painstaking detail. The production quality is superb. And what you learn from MasterClass is a combination of practical skill and inspiration.

Who It's For

MasterClass is for anyone who has a curiosity and desire to learn, from teenagers on up. It's for people who want insight into a chosen field, as well as those open to learning what they can from the highest achievers in other fields. Whether you're passionate about standup comedy, filmmaking, leadership, baking, music, or scholarship, you can find wonderful insight from MasterClass.


  • A-list celebrity instructors
  • Supremely high production values in videos
  • Well-thought-out course structure
  • Great breadth of topics


  • Video and course run times and year filmed should be clearer
  • Ads for other MasterClass classes are frustrating and senseless


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free

Khan Academy

Best for Free Academic Learning

Why We Picked It

Khan Academy is one of the best online learning sources because it clearly and strategically helps you learn academic subjects for free. Whether you need to master a mathematical concept or advance your understanding of macroeconomics, Khan has you covered. The videos, readings, and interactive components it uses to teach are well thought out and delivered with care.

Who It's For

Khan Academy focuses on learning materials for students in kindergarten through early college. That doesn't mean other people can't use it or find immense value in it. When you look at the available courses, however, you will notice that many of them closely map to the US education system. So for example, there are courses under the heading High School Physics. Khan Academy is especially adept at teaching math, science, computing, economics, history, and personal finance, among a few other subjects. You get sequential material, too, so you can work through one lesson at a time in order until you've learned what you need to know.


  • Free
  • No account necessary
  • Uses video lectures, readings, and quizzes
  • Impressive test-prep and college-prep resources
  • Generous language support


  • Missing some subjects, such as foreign languages and music
  • Caters uniquely to the US education system and needs


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free


Best for Free Access to University Courses

Why We Picked It

Coursera is different from many other online learning sites because it hosts real courses from prestigious universities and makes many of them available for free. In other words, you can get all the lectures (recorded to video) and studying materials from a class at, say, Yale University without paying anything at all. Coursera has other kinds of classes, too, but the university material is really what sets it apart. For some courses, there are options to pay for it and earn a professional certificate, bachelor's degree, or master's degree. If you don't pay, you still get the exact same learning materials, but you don't get any interaction with instructors or any grades on your assignments.

Who It's For

Coursera is for people who want access to real university classes and have the self-discipline to follow through on all the assignments, which can often take weeks or months to complete. You mostly learn through videos, readings, quizzes, and assignments. If you use Coursera for free, you may be able to get feedback on your assignments from other learners, but not the instructor. Coursera is best for learners who can handle college-level course material.


  • Offers real courses from universities for free
  • Partners with private corporations for job-specific skills
  • Reasonably priced certificate courses


  • Interface dated in some areas


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free


Best for Quizzes and Games

Why We Picked It

We picked Kahoot! as one of the best online learning platforms because it lets you create games, quizzes, and other interactive content for your learning materials. Whether you are designing games and quizzes or playing them, Kahoot! is easy to use. We love that it adds engagement to all kinds of get-togethers, whether in the classroom, meeting room, or living room.

Who It's For

Kahoot! is an ideal platform for businesses that need to teach something, as well as educational instructors who want to make their content more engaging. Once you have an account, you'll see other fun ways to use the platform to create, for example, trivia for family gatherings or activities at conferences


  • Encourages interaction in a fun way
  • Variety of uses, from business training to student learning
  • Easy to use as creator or player
  • Players don't require an account


  • Strict 120-character limit on question text field
  • No auto-advance option; host must manually move to next question or slide


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free


Best for Creatives Learning Practical Skills

Why We Picked It

Skillshare's videos teach you skills to lead a creative life. It covers everything from creative hobbies to tips for running a creative online business. This site offers short videos, sometimes as part of a much longer series, where you learn and practice mostly hands-on skills. You get additional materials, such as PDF handouts, and sometimes community forums where you can upload examples of your work to get feedback from other learners. While its pricing has jumped around over the years, Skillshare now has a reasonable annual cost.

Who It's For

Skillshare is for people who want to develop creative skills or need help learning the ins and outs of running a creative business. It's especially good at helping people with drawing, painting, digital arts, photography, cooking, writing, sewing, and other crafts. One aspect of Skillshare that we appreciate is that it does have some very short courses or lessons within courses that you can complete as a one-off. For example, if you just want to practice drawing cacti for five minutes, Skillshare has videos that will indulge your creative cravings.


  • Varied content syllabus all suited to creative types
  • Optional assignments and community interaction
  • Some free courses


  • Feedback from other learners is rarely insightful or instructional
  • No ensure that instructors participate in community features


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free


Best for Programming and Vocational Skills

Why We Picked It

We picked Udacity as one of the best online learning platforms because it teaches highly specific, job-focused skills and gives learners an opportunity to create trial work to prove it. Udacity delivers rigorous courses, called Nanodegrees, that teach highly specific job-related skills, mostly in the tech arena. Some of the Nanodegrees have been created in partnership with big-name companies, like IBM Watson and Google. Learners come away not only with new skills but also—fairly often—sample projects to show their work, perhaps for a job interview.

Who It's For

Udacity is clearly for job seekers who want to work in a specific technical field and perhaps for a specific employer. How specific? There's a course called Self-Driving Car Engineer, developed in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia, Uber, and other companies. Udacity does offer some more general business courses on syllabus such as marketing. That said, Udacity is best for people who are willing to pay a few hundred dollars per month to complete one of its highly targeted Nanodegrees.


  • Focused on specific job skill development, especially in programming and computer science
  • Nanodegree learners come away with relevant work samples
  • Self-service cancellation, data download, and account deletion


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to measure the value for job seekers
  • Less inspirational and motivational than other learning sites


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free


Best for Curious Minds

Why We Picked It

Wondrium is a subscription-based video streaming service that focuses on educational programming. Wondrium was formerly called The Great Courses Plus, and while it has expanded its catalog in exact years, it still has everything that The Great Courses Plus had. The courses come across as a series of TV lectures or simple documentaries. You can watch video courses not only on your computer, but also via Apple TV, Roku, and other devices. The service has an overwhelming amount of content on syllabus such as philosophy, religion, and the natural world.

Who It's For

The best way to describe Wondrium is to call it couch-side edutainment. It's not geared toward teaching you hands-on skills or helping you achieve a specific learning goal (though it does have some skills-focused classes). Instead, Wondrium feeds your curiosity with videos that explore ideas that perhaps you know nothing about. In that sense, it's wonderful for beginners or people who don't have any prior knowledge of the subjects it covers.


  • Excellent accessibility options
  • TV quality production values
  • Variety of content


  • No free account or content
  • Prices somewhat high


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free


Best for Taking One-Off Courses

Why We Picked It

We included Udemy in this list of the best online learning platforms because it sells discrete video courses on an array of topics. Many people end up using Udemy because they met an instructor through another context, and the instructor pointed them to Udemy to purchase their course. Generally speaking, Udemy's content covers both personal and professional development, with excellent lessons in management training, software use, and programming. We like that you can pay for Udemy courses one by one, with prices varying per course, or you can get access to a catalog of content with a business subscription. Regrettably, the subscription prices are high, and you need a minimum of five people for a business account.

Who It's For

Udemy is for three kinds of people: 1) those with a business subscription to the site who can simply explore what it has to offer, 2) people who are interested in a specific course offered on the site, and 3) instructors who want to host and sell their courses on Udemy. For the third use case, we didn't do detailed testing or analysis, instead focusing on Udemy from the learner's perspective.


  • Great learning courses for hard and soft professional skills
  • Interesting array of content
  • Clear resources for instructors


  • No subscription for individuals; pricing is per class
  • Price for Business accounts somewhat high, with a minimum of 5 people


User Created Classes
Some Celebrity Instructors
Some Courses Free

Buying Guide: The Best Online Learning Platforms for 2024

How Effective Is Online Learning?

All the sites included in this roundup use video as the primary teaching method. Some add interactive quizzes, PDFs, links to additional resources, and discussion areas (usually little more than a section for comments) so that everyone engaged with the material can learn from one another.

Videos can be standalone, although usually, they're part of a series. A course might contain several hours of videos, but they're always broken up into parts. The best learning sites take care to plan out how much content goes into each video as well as the sequence of videos. In this way, your learning is cumulative. You're typically building new ideas or concepts on top of what you've already learned.

When quizzes are available, they can be private to you or shared with an administrator or instructor if your login is part of a business account or associated with a formal class or tutoring (in the case of Khan Academy). They help you track how well you've retained new information. Some sites offer certificates upon completion. They are not widely accepted by other institutions, but they may be helpful to you in some cases. For example, if your employer pays for you to have a subscription to a learning website, you can offer these certificates as evidence of using it.

A note on language learning: There are so many excellent websites and apps for learning a foreign language that we have a separate article for them. When you want a language app, you'll have specific questions, such as: Which one offers the language I want? How much time do I need to spend on it each day? How much does it cost? You might also want to know which apps are better for developing a base vocabulary versus advancing existing skills. Our roundup of the best language learning apps and websites covers all these points and more.

Similarly, PCMag has a separate article on the best courses for learning to create websites. It's another concrete skill that comes with specific questions. We have another entire article dedicated to the best online courses for Photoshop.

Stills of MasterClass videos

(Credit: MasterClass/PCMag)

Is MasterClass Worth the Money?

MasterClass is an on-demand learning website where you get hours and hours of video featuring top talent talking about their fields. Everything about it is extremely well made, and if you're interested in even one course, we think it's worth paying for a year's subscription. You will certainly find other courses if interested once you get into the catalog.

MasterClass is simultaneously binge-worthy, educational, and thought-provoking. The quality alone leaves you whispering, "How is this so good?"

In the exact past, MasterClass has done a good job of improving its lineup of instructors to include more top talent who are people of color and women (it was previously weak in this regard). The catalog of classes is growing all the time. The content is top rate, and the quality is exceptional.

Where Can You Take Real College Classes Online?

Coursera is one of the best online learning sites that offers plenty of free video courses and materials. It also partners with universities to make some of their degree programs available online. If you want the degree, you have to apply to the program and pay tuition to the school, just as if you were an in-person student. However, if you don't care about getting the degree and you just want access to real courses and materials from the likes of Yale, University of Singapore, and Sciences Po in France, then you can create a free Coursera account and have access to them.

No matter how you attend, you get video lectures, studying materials, quizzes, and in some cases the opportunity to submit assignments for peer-review (when you audit a course) or grades (with paid enrollment).

Recommended by Our Editors

Coursera interface

(Credit: Coursera/PCMag)

Coursera partners with private companies, too, to offer accessible education in a variety of fields from programming to designing with AutoCAD. Other examples of classes you can take include Introduction to Food and Health, Google IT Automation with Python, and Introduction to International Criminal Law.

What Are the Best Online Learning Platforms for Specific Job Skills?

If you need to learn specific job skills, there are two online sites that we recommend. One is Udacity because it teaches highly specific, job-focused skills. If you are aiming to get a job from one of the companies that Udacity partners with, the Udacity courses could provide you a leg up. While Udacity offers a handful of courses that aren't technical in nature, the majority are, and they are highly specific. How specific? There's a course called Self-Driving Car Engineer, developed in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia, Uber, and other companies.

The other site is LinkedIn Learning. We like it best for brushing up on general job skills, such as public speaking and developing interviewing strategies; we also love its video tutorials on learning creative software, such as Photoshop. Many of those software programs come from, which was acquired by LinkedIn some years ago. was the best resource for learning software for many years, and we're happy it lives on today at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Learning

(Credit: Microsoft/PCMag)

Learn at Your Own Pace

The next time you feel like you need some fresh ideas, take a spin through one of these sites and learn something new. You might find yourself caught up in wonderment at new and interesting ideas or taking notes on something useful. The beauty of online learning sites is that they don't require any commitment, so you can learn what you want at your own pace.

Mon, 18 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
To Become Adventurous Learners, Kids Need Routine

Learning often requires taking different risks, whether it’s the willingness to try something new or trying after a failed attempt. For children, it’s this process of learning how to take risks and becoming comfortable with failure that can help them grow and develop. But encouraging them to take these risks, even when it’s scary and uncomfortable, can be a difficult task for parents. As research is showing, the willingness of a child to take risks in learning can depend on what their relationship with their parents look like.

Taking risks while learning  

In a recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, children who viewed their parents as being reliable were more willing to take risks while learning. In this study, which included more than 150 children, participants were asked questions about their home environment, which included their relationship with their parents, after which they were asked to play a series of games.  

Children who viewed their parents as being more reliable, which included answering yes to questions such as whether they could count on them to pick them at specific times, follow through on their promises, or predict their reaction to different situations, were more likely to take risks during the games.  

“The children from more stable backgrounds, they play around and experiment in our games. They use that to get a sense of how things work, maybe earning them more money or more points,” said Seth Pollak, a psychologist at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead researcher on the study, in a press release.  

Having parents who are seen as reliable can be thought of as a buffer for children, one that gives them the security to take risks and explore. “If you trust your parent is there, you trust the reliability and the stability, it allows you to venture off and come back,” says Sarah Greenberg, executive director of behavior change and expertise for, which is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting people with learning differences. “It’s almost like this internalized feeling of a safety net.” 

It’s this sense of reliability and predictability that gives kids the sense that it’s okay to take risks and to fail, as they have a parent at home that they can count on, who will be there to support them.  

Look for patterns of behavior

Creating a supportive learning environment for your child often includes identifying what they struggle with and what they need. One way to do that is to track certain behaviors over time, looking for patterns. “Your child can’t necessarily tell you what they need, but they are often showing you,” Greenberg says.  

For example, if your child is consistently having a meltdown after school, that could be a sign that they are overwhelmed or overstimulated from the school day, and need some extra time to decompress before starting their homework. Other behaviors could include refusals to do something, such as writing with a pencil or doing their math homework, which may be a sign they are struggling in specific areas.  

Small, consistent routines make a difference

Oen way to create consistency and reliability, even when swamped with all of the day-to-day demands of raising a family, is to develop small, but consistent routines with your child. “One positive routine can be a really good starting point,” Greenberg says.  

In terms of these routines, it’s less about how big or time-consuming they are, and more about their predictability. For example, it could be making the effort to provide them 10 minutes of undivided attention when they come home from school, making it a habit to play LEGOs with them every Friday evening, or a predictable bedtime routine. “Ten or 20 minutes of consistent, positive attention can make such a world of difference,” Greenberg says.  

The key is to make it consistent and enjoyable, to provide your child a sense that their parents are there for them. “It’s not about the rigidity, it’s really about the solidity, that the child feels the ground beneath them,” Greenberg says.  

Thu, 14 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
How Machine Learning Will Transform Your Industry

CTO, Caresoft Global Technologies, Inc.

Machine learning is a rapidly growing field with endless potential applications. In the next few years, we will see machine learning transform many industries, including manufacturing, retail and healthcare.

In manufacturing, machine learning can be used for quality control, automation and customization. For example, machine learning can be used to detect defects in products before they reach consumers. It can also be used to automate repetitive tasks such as assembly line work. And finally, manufacturers will increasingly use machine learning to customize products for individual consumers.

In retail, machine learning can be used for data analysis to help businesses make better decisions about inventory and pricing. Personalization will become more common, with retailers using machine learning to recommend products to customers based on their past behavior. Robotics will also become more prevalent, with machine learning being used to automate tasks such as shelf stocking and order picking.

In healthcare, machine learning can be used for diagnostics, treatment and prevention. For example, machine learning can be used to diagnose diseases earlier and more accurately. It can also be used to develop personalized treatments based on a patient's characteristics. Machine learning can also be used for preventative care, such as identifying risk factors for disease and providing tailored recommendations for healthy living.

So far we have only scratched the surface of what is possible with machine learning. As technology continues to evolve, we will see even more amazing applications of this transformative technology.

Machine Learning In Manufacturing

In the past, quality control for manufactured goods was a time-consuming and expensive process that required human inspectors to examine each item for defects. However, machine learning can be used to automate this process by training algorithms to identify defects from images or other data sources. This can help reduce the cost of quality control while also increasing the accuracy of the inspection process.


Machine learning can also be used to automate manufacturing processes. For example, robots that are equipped with machine learning algorithms can be trained to perform tasks such as welding or fabricating parts. This can lead to a more efficient manufacturing process and can free up human workers for other tasks.


Another way that machine learning is transforming manufacturing is by enabling customization at scale. In the past, it was difficult and expensive to create customized products due to the need for manual labor and individualized production lines. However, machine learning algorithms can now be used to automatically generate custom designs based on customer specifications. This allows manufacturers to quickly and easily produce personalized products without incurring significant additional costs.

Machine Learning In Retail

In the past, retailers have relied on data from customer surveys and transactions to make decisions about their business. However, this data is often incomplete and doesn't provide a full picture of customer behavior. Machine learning can help solve this problem by analyzing large data sets to identify patterns and trends. This information can be used to Excellerate customer service, optimize stock levels and make other strategic decisions.


Machine learning can also be used to personalize the shopping experience for customers. For example, Amazon uses machine learning to recommend products that customers may be interested in based on their previous purchase history. This helps shoppers find what they're looking for more quickly and makes the overall shopping experience more enjoyable.


Robots are increasingly used in retail settings to perform shelf stocking and order fulfillment tasks. While these machines cannot replace human workers completely, they can free up employees' time to focus on more critical tasks, such as helping customers. In the future, robots may become even more involved in the retail sector as machine learning technology develops.

Machine Learning In Healthcare

Machine learning is already being used in healthcare to diagnose diseases. For example, Google has developed an algorithm that can detect breast cancer based on images. In the future, machine learning will be used to diagnose more complex conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer.


Machine learning can also be used to develop new treatments for diseases. For example, a company called Insilico Medicine is using machine learning to develop new drugs for cancer and other diseases. In the future, machine learning will be used to develop more effective and personalized treatments for patients.


In addition to diagnosing and treating diseases, machine learning can also be used to prevent them. For example, IBM's Watson system is being used to predict patients' risk of developing certain diseases. In the future, machine learning will be used to create more personalized and effective prevention plans for individual patients.


Machine learning is set to transform a wide range of industries in the coming years. In retail, machine learning will enable more accurate data analysis, personalization of products and services and even the use of robotics in stores. In healthcare, machine learning will revolutionize diagnostics, treatment and prevention. And in manufacturing, machine learning will Excellerate quality control, automate processes and allow for greater customization. These are just a few examples of how machine learning will change the landscape of the industry as we know it. So whatever sector you're in, it's time to start preparing for the machine learning revolution.

While ML and associated technologies like natural language processing are gaining traction in current workflows, it's important to pay close attention to ethical standards that differentiate humans from machines. Today, ML has come to a point where it can replace humans in many intelligent tasks. The future is clearly AI/ML-driven, and it will eventually become part of our lives to the degree the mobile phone is. We will take it for granted. Given all of this, those using and developing AI must keep ethics in mind when dealing with it, whether that's focusing on consumer privacy rights or keeping up to date with laws and regulations surrounding the technology in this space.

Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?

Sun, 26 Feb 2023 21:30:00 -0600 Richard Ambadipudi en text/html
The Best Language Learning Apps for 2024

The Best Language Learning Software Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our commerce team

What language do you want to learn? Have you already learned a little, or are you starting from scratch? Is your goal to know the language so well that you can speak, hear, read, and write it like a native speaker, or do you have a different goal? Does the language you're learning use a different script? Is it hard for you to make unfamiliar sounds? Answering all these questions is crucial to finding the right apps for learning and practicing a language—yes, apps, plural. If you want to make real progress with a language, whether you're learning for school, travel, family, or personal enrichment, you need a variety of tools.

As with all kinds of education, learning a language takes dedication. Picking the right tools sets you up for success. Read on to learn which apps scored highest in our testing, as well as everything you need to consider when choosing the right language-learning tools for you.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Rosetta Stone

Best Paid App for Beginners

Why We Picked It

Rosetta Stone is one of the best software programs for learning a language, especially for beginners. It excels at introducing new words and basic grammar, like conjugation and agreement, in a way that's compelling. When learning is going well, you don't even realize all the work that has gone into creating a program that introduces you to new ideas at the right time, and that's a huge part of what makes Rosetta Stone so good. Rosetta Stone also does an excellent job of getting you to commit to learning and studying for about 30 minutes per day with its wonderfully clear and structured lessons, which are laid out in an order you should follow.

Who It's For

Rosetta Stone is best for beginners and some students at the early intermediate level. Once you know a language well enough to converse a little and read with some fluidity, you're probably beyond what Rosetta Stone has to offer. But when you're just getting started with a new language and are still uncomfortable with it, that's when Rosetta Stone is best.


  • Excellent user experience
  • Highly intuitive
  • Polished interface on desktop and mobile
  • Optional online tutoring sessions
  • Great bonus content


  • No placement test
  • Repetitive at times


Best Free Language App

Why We Picked It

There really is no better free language learning app than Duolingo. Having tested dozens of language learning apps, we have no doubt that Duolingo would still be one of the best if you paid for it—which you can do with Duolingo Plus if you prefer to have a slightly improved experience with no ads, a special mode for practicing your mistakes, and other perks. What makes Duolingo so good? The content is strong and the design of the app makes it so that you can pick up and practice for a few minutes per day or sit down for longer study sessions. We love Duolingo's podcasts and Stories feature for the languages that have it. No matter what other tools you use to learn a language, you should incorporate Duolingo for daily practice.

Who It's For

Duolingo really is great for all language students. It's available on all major platforms and works great on mobile devices. You can learn as many languages as you want for free, and there are more than 30 languages to choose from. It works very well for beginners and intermediate-level students. And it's free. How can you go wrong with that?


  • Free with few limitations
  • No limit to how many languages you can learn
  • Clear structure, great exercises
  • Can test out of lessons that are too easy
  • Excellent podcasts
  • Low price for paid subscription


  • Quantity of material varies by language
  • Grammar lessons could be more prominently placed


Price Includes All Languages, All Levels
Style of Program Interactive Exercises
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 37
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 4


Best for Group Classes

Why We Picked It

Lingoda offers small group and one-on-one classes via Zoom for very reasonable prices. More importantly, however, the classes are highly structured. You get PDFs of all the materials before the class, and the instructor works their way through the same PDF during the class. What Lingoda offers is completely different from tutoring, where a student often brings to the table syllabus they want to practice or learn. In Lingoda, however, the class material is set ahead of time, and students work their way through all the classes in a particular level before advancing to the next one.

Who It's For

Lingoda is one of very few online language learning programs that's appropriate for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level students. If you've studied a language for several years but need so-called maintenance classes, Lingoda will do the trick. If you're just starting out with a language, Lingoda is also suited for you—although do expect to work on the language in your own time to supplement the practice you get in Lingoda. We don't recommend using only Lingoda for new speakers. Pair it with another class or learning app to get the best results.


  • Affordable
  • Small group and one-on-one language classes via Zoom
  • Qualified, enthusiastic instructors
  • Excellent learning materials
  • Placement test provided


  • Classes for only a few languages
  • Doesn't include a software-based course


Price Includes Small Group Classes and Materials
Style of Program Live Video Call Classes
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 3
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 60

Sign It ASL

Best for Sign Language

Why We Picked It

We tested quite a few apps and websites for learning American Sign Language, and Sign It ASL is by far the best. Working through a lesson feels a little like watching a television show because there are segments with characters who essentially perform short skits in ASL with narration and closed captioning to help you learn. After each skit are interactive sessions for practicing and quizzing yourself on what you've learned. Sign It ASL includes a lot of information about etiquette, culture, and other aspects of ASL that are essential to learning this language, and it does so wonderfully.

Who It's For

Sign It ASL is for teen and adult learners looking to learn American Sign Language. Because Sign It uses both narration and closed captioning, you can be hard of hearing or deaf and use this program. You can also be hearing. The team that makes Sign It ASL also has programs and YouTube videos for young children learning ASL called Signing Time. Sign It ASL is also appropriate for parents and family members of deaf infants and very young children who will need adult support in acquiring the language as they grow, and there's a special application process for those parents to get Sign It ASL for free.


  • Excellent content and compelling format
  • Accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people
  • Free for parents of deaf children under 36 months
  • Wonderful cast of instructors and actors
  • Buy once, own forever


  • No mobile apps
  • Small improvements to interactive quiz design would help


Price Includes Video Lessons
Style of Program Quizzes
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 1
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 45-60


Best for Instructor-Led Videos

Why We Chose It

If you've ever tried Rosetta Stone and felt that it just wasn't for you, Fluenz is the best alternative. It is just as good as Rosetta Stone at teaching beginners and intermediate level students what they need to know about a language, but the teaching approach is completely different. In Fluenz, you get a virtual instructor in short class-style videos. Then you move into interactive practice modules, which are tougher than Rosetta Stone's and don't use the deductive method of learning that gives Rosetta Stone its unique feel.

Who It's For

If you learn better with a teacher than a game-like app, then Fluenz is for you. It's best for beginner and intermediate-level students. Fluenz doesn't offer too many languages, however, only Chinese (Mandarin with Pinyin only), French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Latin American Spanish, and European Spanish.


  • Excellent core content
  • Well suited for beginners and for long-term use
  • Thorough
  • App design prevents distractions


  • Limited number of languages
  • Only basic voice recording
  • No live web classes


Price Includes 1 Level
Style of Program Exercises
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 7
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 45


Best for Audio-Based Learning

Why We Picked It

Pimsleur uses a unique teaching method developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, for whom the program is named. The Pimsleur method introduces you to words and concepts, has you repeat them, and then waits a specific amount of time before asking you to recall them again. The idea is that these timed intervals between moments of learning and recall strengthen your memory. Pimsleur courses have great content to boot.

Who It's For

Some adult learners start up with a new language and have a really hard time with pronunciation because they continue to say the letters and sounds they see as if they were in their native tongue. For those people, Pimsleur is exceptional. Pimsleur gives you the opportunity to hear words and practice saying them before you see them. This audio-focused language app is also ideal for people who need to practice a language while multi-tasking or who simply prefer audio-based learning. Pimsleur has courses for beginner, intermediate, and upper intermediate level students.


  • Excellent for learning to speak and hear spoken languages
  • Superb structure
  • Programs for 50 languages, plus ESL courses


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to learn new scripts


Price Includes All Languages, All Levels
Style of Program Audio
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 50
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 30


Best for Inexpensive Tutoring

Why We Picked It

Rype is an online marketplace where language students find tutors and then sign up for low-cost sessions. We like that you can find tutors in a variety of languages with plenty of availability for a very good rate. It makes finding a tutor and attending a lesson extremely convenient.

Who It's For

Because Rype offers tutoring and not classes, it's best for language learners who are not true beginners. Intermediate level speakers and higher will get the most out of Rype. If you're a beginner level speaker who's at least ready to have short conversations or you have specific questions about the language that you want answered, then Rype may be a good option.


  • Inexpensive one-on-one tutoring
  • Good tools for finding instructors


  • Short sessions
  • May take time to find the right instructor


Price Includes Individual Lessons
Style of Program One-on-One
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 9
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 30

Transparent Language Online

Best for Hard-to-Find Languages

Why We Picked It

Where do you turn when you need to learn a language that other language apps don't teach? Go to Transparent. It specializes in courses and lessons that teach boutique and hard-to-find languages. The amount of content for languages varies greatly, however. Transparent is better than some other language apps in terms of its speaking and listening exercises. It is more expensive than many other apps, and generally speaking, it's more challenging.

Who It's For

Transparent Language is for people who can't find the language they need to learn anywhere else. The only other app that offers close to as many languages as Transparent is Mango Languages, and Transparent is hands-down better.


  • Offers instruction in more than 100 languages
  • Clear learning path and structure
  • Excellent speech analysis
  • Appropriately challenging


  • Writing and spelling exercises could be more polished
  • Some languages have more content than others
  • Pricier than others


Price Includes 12-Month Subscription
Style of Program Interactive Exercises
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 100
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 10


Best for Getting Videos in the Native Language

Why We Picked It

Unlike most other language learning apps and services, Yabla takes a video-first approach. Diving into Yabla's material is more like going to YouTube than cracking open a text book. You learn by watching videos, some of which are in the style of a language learning lesson but many others are just interesting content—music videos, cooking segments, travel shows—in the language you're learning. What makes Yabla different from YouTube is the interactive questions you can answer after you finish a video to test what you learned.

Who It's For

While Yabla has some content for beginners, we think it's best for intermediate and higher speakers. Beginners with a few months of learning under their belt would do all right with Yabla too. It's refreshing for people who have grown tired of other language learning apps that drill you in the standard listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar lessons.


  • Excellent for sharpening language-listening skills
  • Provides exposure to new words and expressions
  • Uses a variety of speakers and accents
  • Videos with conversational pace


  • Lacks structure
  • Inconsistent quality
  • Few languages offered


Price Includes 1-Month Subscription
Style of Program Videos
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 5
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) varies


Best for Challenging Content

Why We Picked It

Babbel has a web app and mobile apps that help you learn and practice a new language at your own pace, even if that pace is quite fast. Interactive exercises can feel tedious at times, but they are also more challenging than what most other language apps offer. With Babbel, you learn concepts, words, and phrases unique to the language at hand—it's not a cookie-cutter course for each language, the way many of its competitors are. Bring a pen to take notes, and get ready to learn a lot.

Who It's For

Babbel is best for people who find learning languages somewhat easy, possibly people who grew up speaking two or more languages and are now studying a language in a familiar language family. This app is tough, so if you find most language learning apps to be too easy or too slow, then Babbel is one you should try.


  • High-quality lessons unique to each language
  • Helpful instructional blurbs for true beginners
  • Live classes available
  • Challenging content


  • Total amount of content varies by language
  • Layout could be clearer
  • Unmemorable lessons
  • Not a great value for the money


Price Includes Subscription
Style of Program Exercises
No. of Languages Offered (Not Incl. English) 13
Average Duration of Lesson (Mins) 5

Buying Guide: The Best Language Learning Apps for 2024

What Is the Best Language Learning Software?

The best app for learning a foreign language depends on your needs and your goals. Apps and online services let you learn at your own pace and in spaces where you're most comfortable. The trick is figuring out what you need to work on at different stages.

When you first start out, you might like a program that tells you exactly what to study for an intensive 30 minutes per day. Rosetta Stone and Fluenz are both exceptional at that. Add in a mobile app with more bite-sized content so you can refresh your memory in short bursts. Duolingo is especially good for practicing on the go, as is the study aid Quizlet

Some language learners find that looking at written language trips up their pronunciation. In that case, you might be better off starting with an audio-focused program, such as Pimsleur or Michel Thomas. Between the two, Pimsleur rates higher in our testing.

If you're already an intermediate or advanced speaker, small group classes or one-on-one conversations with a tutor are excellent options. Lingoda offers one-hour small classes and one-on-one sessions, all conducted over Zoom. Babbel now has similar classes that it sells separately from its app subscription. Between them, we recommend Lingoda more highly. Another place to get human instruction is Rype, which focuses on one-on-one tutoring in 30-minute sessions. Not quite ready to converse? Try Yabla, a site that's flush with videos of native speakers, which can help you acclimate your ear and expand your vocabulary.

Sometimes, you need resources that are specific to the language you're learning. For example, when learning American Sign Language, you really need either a live instructor or videos. Sign It ASL, an online course whose video lessons have the feel of a television show, is extremely effective. 

Similarly, for languages with a script that's new to you, it's best to find an app that includes content for teaching studying and writing. In some cases, you might pick up two apps, one that focuses solely on studying and writing and another that teaches speaking and listening. There are plenty of apps that teach only writing for Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, and other non-Roman scripts.

How Do You Learn Language Best? 

One of the hardest parts about learning a different language is that if you succeed 100% of the time, it's not difficult enough. If it's too easy, you're not learning. It's uncomfortable for many people, but it's another reason you need to explore all your options and language learning apps and resources that match your skill level. 

For example, podcasts are a great way to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Babbel and Duolingo both have good podcasts. If you can understand about 80% of what's being said, that's right where you should be. If you're not into podcasts in the first place, you might get frustrated and provide up.

A few apps, including Lingoda, offer placement tests so you can find out which level is the most appropriate place for you to start.

Duolingo quiz with sound

Duolingo is the best free language learning app, offering bite-sized interactive sessions. (Credit: Duolingo)

What Is the Best Free Language Learning App?

The best free app for learning a language is Duolingo, hands down. We recommend it enthusiastically, no matter your level or language goals, as it has just about everything. You won't become fluent using only Duolingo, but it is excellent for helping you study and keep up your skills.

It's available as a web app and mobile app, and it works well whether you're a total beginner or already have experience. You can study as many languages as you like on Duolingo. It has more than 30 languages with instruction in English, plus more options if your preferred language of instruction is something else.

If you're not a beginner, Duolingo lets you take a placement test to find the right place to start. It also makes it easy to practice specific skills because it has lessons that focus not only on vocabulary themes (Family, Hobbies) but also on verb tenses and grammatical rules (Past Imperfect, Dative Case).

You can practice exercises in bite-size lessons or explore content for intermediate and advanced speakers, including Stories and podcasts, which are only available for some languages. Duolingo also has some gamification aspects, so you can set a goal for yourself and compete against others. The more you hit your goal, the more bonus points you earn. It's a wonderful app that's totally free. You can support Duolingo by paying for a Plus account, but it's not necessary to get everything this app has to offer.

Is Rosetta Stone Worth the Price?

Rosetta Stone is the most polished language-learning app, with plenty of extras. Among paid programs, it continues to be our top pick, with Fluenz being a close second. Rosetta Stone is often on sale, so you can expect to pay less than the list price to get it. If you and your family members study multiple languages often, the Lifetime membership is a good deal because it gives you access to all of Rosetta Stone's languages for your lifetime for one flat rate (usually you can get it for about $179 on sale).

Rosetta Stone is reliable, accurate, and thorough, with more than 20 languages. We like its rigor, especially for beginners. You know what to do every day, and you can plan to spend about 30 minutes per day completing your lesson. If you follow this routine, Rosetta Stone has enough content to keep you busy for months. Again, you won't become fluent in a language using only Rosetta Stone, but it's superb at getting you started and helping you build a foundation so that you can add more tools to further your learning.

For all these reasons, Rosetta Stone is ideal for anyone who is new to a language and wants to develop a base vocabulary and grammar. It's well-structured, clear, and moves at a deliberate pace. Use Rosetta Stone faithfully for a few months, and you'll learn to speak, read, write, and understand basic words and phrases.

Rosetta Stone Spanish storyboard

Rosetta Stone uses an immersion teaching style in its interactive software. (Credit: Rosetta Stone)

The Best Language Software With a Virtual Teacher

Some learners do best when they have an instructor to guide them. When you're starting with a language, seeing another human being speak it, watching their facial movements, and seeing their smile can make it feel less intimidating. Fluenz gets it. This program uses videos of a teacher to introduce new lessons and review concepts, then follows them up with interactive learning exercises and quizzes. It's as rigorous as Rosetta Stone, but it uses a completely different approach, which some people prefer.

Fluenz quiz screen

Fluenz has prerecorded video-based lessons with an instructor, plus interactive exercises. (Credit: Fluenz)

As Fluenz progresses, the instructor walks you through lessons in not only pronunciation and grammar but culture, too. If you learn best when you see a familiar face, Fluenz is a great program to pick.

Fluenz offers seven language courses: Chinese (Mandarin with Pinyin writing only), French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Latin American Spanish, and European Spanish.

Lingoda interactive class on Zoom

Lingoda's small group classes are limited to five students. (Credit: Lingoda/Zoom/PCMag)

The Best App for Group Classes and Speaking Practicing

Lingoda is our top pick for live, video-based group classes designed to get you speaking. With Lingoda, you take a placement test and then commit to a package of classes, which you pay for upfront. Classes take place over Zoom and are limited to five students. One-on-one sessions are also available for a higher per-class cost.

The curriculum and levels used in Lingoda are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Lingoda offers classes in French, German, Spanish, English, and Business English.

Babbel multiple choice question

Babbel is the best language learning app for people who like challenging content. (Credit: Babbel)

What Is the Most Challenging Language Instruction App?

One app stands out for having lessons that are harder than others: Babbel. While testing this app, we kept a notebook by our side and quickly filled it with words and phrases just to keep up. Not everyone can jump into tough language-learning content, but some people can and like it.

For example, if you're learning a language that's linguistically close to the one you already speak, such as German and Dutch or Spanish and Portuguese, tougher content might be best for you. Additionally, experienced language learners might find Babbel's content just the right speed.

Babbel has 13 languages, assuming your language of instruction is English. You can learn Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. There's also a course for learning English, with instruction available in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

Recommended by Our Editors

If you've studied a language before and find that most language learning apps are too easy, you might want to try an app that gives you movies and TV shows in your target language, plus some tools to help you learn the words, phrases, and expressions that are new to you. Two good apps offer this: Yabla and Lingopie (which didn't score high enough to be included in our final list of the 10 best language apps). Both Yabla and Lingopie let you watch videos with the option to show closed captioning in the native language as well as English subtitles. You can look for content from a particular country or region if you're trying to acclimate your ear to a certain dialect or accent.

Yabla conversation quiz screen

Yabla helps experienced learners practice listening and comprehension. (Credit: Yabla)

What makes them different? Yabla offers six languages: Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, plus an English program for Spanish speakers. When you sign up, you choose just one language. Lingopie has six languages as well (French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish). When you pay for an account, you get access to all the content in all the languages. Yabla has more interactive exercises for practicing the new words you learn, and in terms of genre, it offers both instructional learning videos and entertainment. Lingopie has only entertainment—no lessons on grammar or anything else—and only flashcards for interacting with new words you learn along the way.

The Best Audio-Focused Language Apps

If you're the kind of person who can get immersed in podcasts and audiobooks, you might consider an audio-focused language learning program. Two that stand out are Pimsleur and Michel Thomas. (Michel Thomas did not score high enough to be included in our top ten.) Each is named after the person who created the learning technique used in the program. Both were sold as tapes, then as CDs, and now as apps.

Pimsleur app screens showing lesson breakdown and example phrases

Pimsleur offers audio-focused lessons, plus interactive app content for select languages. (Credit: Pimsleur/PCMag)

Pimsleur, named for Dr. Paul Pimsleur, uses a spaced repetition method. In other words, the program uses specific intervals of time between when you first learn a word and when you're asked to recall it, and these intervals are designed for maximum language retention. Each lesson takes about 30 minutes, and you're supposed to do exactly one lesson per day. For select languages, you can find a version of the Pimsleur app with interactive exercises, too.

The method used in the Michel Thomas app is different. Michel Thomas was a polyglot who developed a method of informal teaching. It involves putting people into a classroom and teaching them words that can be used as building blocks. That way, you get to speaking quickly and can mix and match the words you've learned to say in several sentences. When you buy the Michel Thomas program, you hear the recording from one of these classrooms, and you're supposed to play along as if you were there in person.

Mango Languages conversation lesson

For learning a language that isn't widely taught, Mango Languages is one of the best places to look. (Credit: Mango Languages)

The Best Apps for Hard-to-Find Languages

Most language-learning software is available for Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. What do you do if you need to learn Igbo or Ojibwe?

When you're in a bind to find an app for a language you want to learn, there are two sources to try: Transparent Language Online and Mango Languages (which didn't make the cut for this list). Transparent has programs for more than 100 languages. Some of those programs are short, but the company is adding to them over time. Mango Languages is an option if you're stuck, though it's not an app we highly recommend. For some languages, however, it may be your only option.

The Best App for Learning ASL

There are several useful apps for learning American Sign Language, but our clear favorite is Sign It ASL. This app meets the unique challenges of teaching fingerspelling as well as more complex signs, grammar, culture, and etiquette. 

Sign It ASL video lesson with lesson breakdown

Sign It ASL is the best service we've tested for learning American Sign Language. (Credit: Sign It ASL)

As you might guess, the content is entirely video-based, using pre-recorded and professionally produced videos. Sign It ASL manages to convey a lot of information in relatively long (up to an hour) video lessons that are entertaining and engaging.

Make Sure Your Apps Are Tough Enough

However you choose to learn a language, stick with it! Don't be afraid to change the app you use as you progress. When an app feels too easy, it's time to stretch yourself in new ways.

If any of the apps in this list sounds right for you, click the link for an in-depth review. If you're looking to learn something other than a language, from coding to sewing, see our roundup of the best online learning services.

Mon, 18 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Adult Learners In 2010, the UNG Gainesville Campus (formerly Gainesville State College), now one of the five campuses of the consolidated University of North Georgia (UNG), was honored to become a part of the Adult Learning Consortium (ALC).  

Along with this recognition, the UNG Gainesville Campus received a $25,000 grant to increase support for adult learners. The grant was subsequently renewed in 2012 for an additional $25,000. The intent of the grant was “to galvanize [adult Georgians] to change their situation, thereby boosting the state’s economic growth” (University System of Georgia). 

As part of this same initiative, in March 2011, the University System of Georgia’s Office of Military Outreach awarded the UNG Gainesville Campus the Soldiers to Scholars grant enabling the university to better serve military personnel in its service area. With the ALC grant funds, institutional funds, and faculty/staff support, the University of North Georgia has continued to grow its support for veterans and adult learner students.  

With a growing number of both student veterans and adult learners, UNG created the Center for Adult Learners & Military (CALM) in 2012 in an effort to better serve these non-traditional student populations. CALM was renamed in January 2017 to Veteran & Adult Learner Programs (VALP). 

In August 2020, VALP and Orientation and Transitions Program (OTP) merged to form a new department:  Nighthawk Engagement and Student Transitions (NEST). This merger has increased the number of dedicated staff trained to serve Veterans and Adult Learners. NEST is now able to provide a dedicated team of staff members for Veterans and a dedicated team for Adult Learners. Having specific staff dedicated to each of these programs allows NEST to continue all previous VALP programs with an addition of new programs better geared toward each specific population. These programs will help Veterans and Adult Learners connect, prepare, and navigate their college career. 

NEST is the point-of-contact concierge for the Veteran and Adult Learners and provides advisement as requested, ACE transcript reviews, portfolio counseling, career advisement, and mentoring. NEST also works with faculty and staff by providing them training opportunities concerning Veteran and Adult Learners. 

Fri, 04 Dec 2020 12:04:00 -0600 en text/html

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