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Exam Code: S90.20A SOA Security Lab learning January 2024 by team

S90.20A SOA Security Lab

Exam: S90.20A SOA Security Lab

Exam Details:
- Number of Questions: The test consists of practical lab exercises.
- Time: Candidates are given a specified amount of time to complete the lab exercises.

Course Outline:
The S90.20A SOA Security Lab is a practical test that focuses on evaluating professionals' hands-on skills and expertise in implementing and managing security measures in Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) environments. The course includes the following lab exercises:

1. Lab Exercise 1: Secure Service Interactions
- Implementing message-level security using secure protocols and encryption techniques.
- Configuring and enforcing security policies for service interactions.
- Implementing secure service discovery and registry.

2. Lab Exercise 2: Securing Service Infrastructure
- Configuring and securing SOA gateways and intermediaries.
- Implementing identity and access management solutions for service infrastructure.
- Securing service deployment and configuration management processes.

3. Lab Exercise 3: Advanced Security Governance and Compliance
- Implementing security governance frameworks and processes in SOA.
- Performing security testing and vulnerability assessments.
- Ensuring compliance with industry regulations and standards.
- Developing and implementing incident response and management strategies.

Exam Objectives:
The S90.20A test aims to assess candidates' practical skills and proficiency in the following areas:

1. Implementing secure service interactions.
2. Securing service infrastructure components.
3. Applying advanced security governance and compliance measures.
4. Demonstrating proficiency in incident response and management.

Exam Syllabus:
The test syllabus covers the following lab exercises:

- Lab Exercise 1: Secure Service Interactions
- Implementing message-level security using secure protocols and encryption techniques.
- Configuring and enforcing security policies for service interactions.
- Implementing secure service discovery and registry.

- Lab Exercise 2: Securing Service Infrastructure
- Configuring and securing SOA gateways and intermediaries.
- Implementing identity and access management solutions for service infrastructure.
- Securing service deployment and configuration management processes.

- Lab Exercise 3: Advanced Security Governance and Compliance
- Implementing security governance frameworks and processes in SOA.
- Performing security testing and vulnerability assessments.
- Ensuring compliance with industry regulations and standards.
- Developing and implementing incident response and management strategies.
SOA Security Lab
SOA Security learning

Other SOA exams

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S90.02A SOA Technology Concepts
S90.03A SOA Design & Architecture
S90.04A SOA Project Delivery & Methodology
S90.05A SOA Technology Lab
S90.08A Advanced SOA Design & Architecture
S90.09A SOA Design & Architecture Lab
S90.18A Fundamental SOA Security
S90.19A Advanced SOA Security
S90.20A SOA Security Lab
C90-06A Cloud Architecture Lab

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SOA Security Lab
Question: 27
Service Consumer A sends a request message to Service A (1), after which Service A
sends a request message with security credentials to Service B (2). Service B authenticates
the request and, if the authentication is successful, writes data from the request message
into Database B (3). Service B then sends a request message to Service C (4), which is not
required to issue a response message. Service B then sends a response message back to
Service A (5). After processing Service B's response, Service A sends another request
message with security credentials to Service B (6). After successfully authenticating this
second request message from Service A, Service B sends a request message to Service D
(7). Service D is also not required to issue a response message. Finally, Service B sends a
response message to Service A (8), after which Service A records the response message
contents in Database A (9) before sending its own response message to Service Consumer
A (10).
To use Service A, Service Consumer A is charged a per usage fee. The owner of Service
Consumer A has filed a complaint with the owner of Service A, stating that the bills that
have been issued are for more usage of Service A than Service Consumer A actually used.
Additionally, it has been discovered that malicious intermediaries are intercepting and
modifying messages being sent from Service B to Services C and D. Because Services C
and D do not issue response messages, the resulting errors and problems were not reported
back to Service B. Which of the following statements describes a solution that correctly
addresses these problems? A. The Data Confidentiality and Data Origin Authentication
patterns need to be applied in order to establish message-layerconfidentiality and integrity
for messages sent to Services C and D. The Direct Authentication pattern can be applied
to require that service consumer be authenticated in order to use Service A.
B. Messages sent to Services C and D must be protected using transport-layer encryption
in order to ensure data confidentiality. Service consumers of Service A must be
authenticated using X.509 certificates because they can be reused for several request
C. Apply the Service Perimeter Guard and the Message Screening patterns together to
establish a perimeter service between Service Consumer A and Service A. The perimeter
service screens and authenticates incoming request messages from Service Consumer A.
After successful authentication, the perimeter service generates a signed SAML assertion
that is used by the subsequent services to authenticate and authorize the request message
and is also carried forward as the security credential included in messages sent to Services
C and D.
D. Apply the Brokered Authentication to establish an authentication broker between
Service Consumer A and Service A that can carry out the Kerberos authentication
protocol. Before invoking Service A, Service Consumer A must request a ticket granting
ticket and then it must request service granting tickets to all services in the service
composition, including Services C and D. Messages sent by Service B to Services C and D
must further be encrypted with the public key of Service Consumer A.
Answer: A
Question: 28
Services A, B, and C reside in Service Inventory A and Services D, E, and F reside in
Service Inventory B. Service B is an authentication broker that issues WS-Trust based
SAML tokens to Services A and C upon receiving security credentials from Services A
and C. Service E is an authentication broker that issues WS-Trust based SAML tokens to
Services D and F upon receiving security credentials from Services D and E. Service B
uses the Service Inventory A identify store to validate the security credentials of Services
A and C. Service E uses the Service Inventory B identity store to validate the security
credentials of Services D and F.
It is decided to use Service E as the sole authentication broker for all services in Service
Inventories A and B. Service B is kept as a secondary authentication broker for load
balancing purposes. Specifically, it is to be used for situations where authentication
requests are expected to be extra time consuming in order to limit the performance burden
on Service E. Even though Service B has all the necessary functionality to fulfill this new
responsibility, only Service E can issue SAML tokens to other services. How can these
architectures be modified to support these new requirements?
A. When time consuming authentication requests are identified, Service E can forward
them to Service B. Upon performing the authentication,Service B sends its own signed
SAML token to Service E. Because Service E trusts Service B. it can use the Service B-
specific SAML token to issue an official SAML token that is then sent to the original
service consumer (that requested authentication) and further used by other services.
B. To provide load balancing, a service agent needs to be implemented to intercept all
incoming requests to Service E. Theservice agent uses a random distribution of the
authentication requests between Service B and Service E. Because the request messages
are distributed in a random manner, the load between the two authentication brokers is
C. Because both Service B and Service E issue SAML tokens, these tokens are
interchangeable. In order for both services toreceive the same amount of authentication
requests, a shared key needs to be provided to them for signing the SAML tokens. By
signing the SAML tokens with the same key, the SAML tokens generated by Service B
cannot be distinguished from the SAML tokens generated by Service E.
D. Because the federation requirements ask for SAML tokens generated by Service E,
Service B cannot function as anauthentication broker. To address the load balancing
requirement, a new utility service needs to be introduced to provide functionality that is
redundant with Service E. This essentially establishes a secondary authentication broker to
which Service E can defer time- consuming authentication tasks at runtime.
Answer: B
Question: 29
Service Consumer A sends a request message to Service A (1), after which Service A
sends a request message to Service B (2). Service B forwards the message to have its
contents calculated by Service C (3). After receiving the results of the calculations via a
response message from Service C (4), Service B then requests additional data by sending a
request message to Service D (5). Service D retrieves the necessary data from Database A
(6), formats it into an XML document, and sends the response message containing the
XML-formatted data to Service B (7). Service B appends this XML document with the
calculation results received from Service C, and then records the entire contents of the
XML document into Database B (8). Finally, Service B sends a response message to
Service A (9) and Service A sends a response message to Service Consumer A (10).
Services A, B and D are agnostic services that belong to Organization A and are also
being reused in other service compositions. Service C is a publicly accessible calculation
service that resides outside of the organizational boundary. Database A is a shared
database used by other systems within Organization A and Database B is dedicated to
exclusive access by Service B. Service B has recently been experiencing a large increase
in the volume of incoming request messages. It has been determined that most of these
request messages were auto-generated and not legitimate. As a result, there is a strong
suspicion that the request messages originated from an attacker attempting to carry out
denial-of-service attacks on Service B. Additionally, several of the response messages that
have been sent to Service A from Service B contained URI references to external XML
schemas that would need to be downloaded in order to parse the message data. It has been
confirmed that these external URI references originated with data sent to Service B by
Service C. The XML parser currently being used by Service A is configured to download
any required XML schemas by default. This configuration cannot be changed. What steps
can be taken to Strengthen the service composition architecture in order to avoid future
denial-of-service attacks against Service B and to further protect Service A from data
access- oriented attacks?
A. Apply the Data Origin Authentication pattern so that Service B can verify that request
messages that claim to have been sent by Service A actually did originate from Service A.
Applythe Message Screening pattern to add logic to Service A so that it can verify that
external URIs in response messages from Service B refer to trusted sources.
B. Apply the Service Perimeter Guard pattern to establish a perimeter service between
Service B and Service C. Apply theBrokered Authentication pattern by turning the
perimeter service into an authentication broker that is capable of ensuring that only
legitimate response messages are being sent to Service C from Service B Further apply the
Data Origin Authentication pattern to enable
the perimeter service to verify that messages that claim to have been sent by Service C
actually originated from Service C. Apply the Message Screening pattern to add logic to
the perimeter service to also verify that URIs in request messages are validated against a
list of permitted URIs from where XML schema downloads have been pre-approved.
C. Apply the Service Perimeter Guard pattern and the Message Screening pattern together
to establish a service perimeter guard that can filter response messages from Service C
before they reach Services A and B. The filtering rules are based on the IP address of
Service C. If a request message originates from an IP address not listed as one of the IP
addresses associated with Service C. then the response message is rejected.
D. Apply the Direct Authentication pattern so that Service C is required to provide
security credentials, such as Username tokens, with any response messages it sends to
Service B. Furthermore, add logic to Service A so that it can validate security credentials
passed to it via response messages from Service B. by using an identity store that is shared
by Services A and B.
Answer: A
Question: 30
Service A exchanges messages with Service B multiple times during the same runtime
service activity. Communication between Services A and B has been secured using
transport-layer security. With each service request message sent to Service B (1A. IB),
Service A includes an X.509 certificate, signed by an external Certificate Authority (CA).
Service B validates the certificate by retrieving the public key of the CA (2A. 2B) and
verifying the digital signature of the X.509 certificate. Service B then performs a
certificate revocation check against a separate external CA repository (3A, 3B). No
intermediary service agents reside between Service A and Service B.
Service B has recently suffered from poor runtime performance plus it has been the victim
of an access-oriented attack. As a result, its security architecture must be changed to fulfill
the following new requirements: 1. The performance of security-related processing carried
out by Service B when communicating with Service A must be improved. 2. All request
messages sent from Service A to Service B must be screened to ensure that they do not
contain malicious content. Which of the following statements describes a solution that
fulfills these requirements?
A. Eliminate the need to retrieve the public key from the Certificate Authority and to
verify the certificate revocation information by extending the service contract of Service B
to accept certificates only from pre-registered Certificate Authorities. This form of pre-
registration ensures that Service B has the public key of the corresponding Certificate
B. Add a service agent to screen messages sent from Service A to Service B. The service
agent can reject any message containing malicious content so that only Checked messages
are passed through to Service B. Instead of using X.509 certificates, use WS-
SecureConversation sessions. Service A can request a Security Context Token (SCT) from
a Security Token Service and use the derived keys from the session key to secure
communication with Service B. Service B retrieves the session key from the Security
Token Service.
C. Apply the Trusted Subsystem pattern by introducing a new utility service between
Service A and Service B. When Service A sends request messages, the utility service
verifies the provided credentials and creates a customized security profile for Service A.
The security profile contains authentication and access control statements that are then
inherited by all subsequent request messages issued by Service A. As a result,
performance is improved because Service A does not need to resubmit any additional
credentials during subsequent message exchanged as part of the same runtime service
activity. Furthermore, the utility service performs message screening logic to filter out
malicious content.
D. Apply the Trusted Subsystem pattern to by introducing a new utility service. Because
Service B is required to limit the use of external resources. Service A must ensure that no
other services can request processing from Service B in order to prevent malicious content
from infiltrating messages. This is achieved by creating a dedicated replica of Service B to
be used by the utility service only. Upon receiving the request message and the
accompanying security credentials from Service A. the utility service verifies the
authentication information and the validity of the X.509 signature. If the authentication
information is correct, then the utility service replicates the code of Service B, performs
the necessary processing, and returns the response to Service A.
Answer: B
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SOA Security learning - BingNews Search results SOA Security learning - BingNews SD Times Blog: Machine learning is the new SOA

It seems almost comical to think that artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming, or rather have become, full-blown buzzwords. First of all, according to the annals of science fiction literature, we should have already invented a smarter-than-human AI by now, and according to “Terminator,” we’re 19 years overdue for a giant, AI-based nuclear annihilation of the human race.

1997 was the year pegged in the Terminator series, the year Skynet took over and decided humans were no longer of use. I prefer the 1970 movie, “Colossus: The Forbin Project,” a film that does not appreciate the premise that the United States could, alone, create a computer smart enough to take over the world. Colossus, you see, required the help of its Soviet counterpart.

(Related: Google builds a chip for machine learning)

The world of AI is far more scientific and mundane than this, however. Its history is littered with startups, hardware firms and software projects that were often just as much a product of the times as they were products of machine-learning advances.

All roads lead to Marvin Minsky, of course. But there are other stops along the way, from the Thinking Machines Corporation, to Lisp machines, there have been many attempts to turn computers into “thinking” brains.

The reality, however, is that it’s still all just software underneath. Whether the dataset being used is the product of a human curator, or the product of a deep-learning algorithm and a neural network, it’s still just 1’s and 0’s being pushed through copper and stacked up in registers.

What has really changed in the world of AI in the past 30 years? Many things. But fundamentally, the problem for the… call it a genre… has been the inability to gather enough good data for training, or the lack of speedy enough hardware to enable the so-called brain to be of much use.

Naturally, these problems are remedied by cloud-based Big Data systems. And thus, the sudden interest in AI and machine learning. These are technologies that can now be brought to the enterprise markets.

What form will they ultimately take, however? As I have always done with buzzwords in the enterprise market, I like to compare them to SOA.

Service-oriented architecture is not exactly a smoke-and-mirrors proposition. It’s not like Crocs or the Slanket in its temporary faddish appeal. SOA has fundamental underpinnings that are of great use to enterprises.

And yet SOA, as it existed during the SOA boom from around 2003 to 2007, large software companies couldn’t keep their hands off of registry and repository companies. The Enterprise Service Bus was a thing, and all manner of cart-before-the-horse solutions to enable the SOA migration were flooding the market, and many were even being acquired.

The big words in the SOA market were “Web services standards” and “SOAP”. Everything was XML, and it was all going to be validated through complex security and identity projects.

Today, SOA still exists. Everyone is building services. They’re everywhere. It’s standard. What don’t exist are all the solutions to help with this new world. Instead, they’ve all been recreated from scratch, or are still being recreated.

Why? First of all, it’s because XML and SOAP were awfully heavy. REST was chosen by developers, not by committees or startups or foundations. It was chosen by the real developers because it was easier and it just worked with the technology that already existed.

So while AI and machine learning are without a doubt the path forward for software to evolve and become more powerful in the future, the current marketplace and the current stream of products that have arisen in this space are highly unlikely to be the right choices for the future.

Instead of being tangled up in a buzzword, this is the time to learn about real AI and machine learning, and to foster your internal center of excellence in fundamentals. Buying AI and machine learning products now is probably not a great bet in the long term.

Especially not when companies like Google and Amazon are betting they can build better-generalized AI for everyone to use than you can build in your own Hadoop clusters.

Sun, 12 Jun 2016 12:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Nuclear Security E-Learning

The IAEA offers 21 free online learning modules in nuclear security. Each module is based on the IAEA Nuclear Security Series and other guidance documents and is estimated to take one to four hours to complete. The modules target a wide range of professionals with nuclear security responsibilities and others interested. To access the modules, please visit the IAEA’s e-learning platform.

The responsibility for nuclear security within a State rests entirely with the State. The Agency contributes to global efforts to achieve security in activities or facilities that involve the use, storage or transport of nuclear and other radioactive material. It does so by supporting States, upon request, in their efforts to meet their national responsibilities and international obligations, to reduce risks and to respond appropriately to threats.

Human resource development is a key component of a robust and sustainable national nuclear security regime. The IAEA assists States in developing nuclear security expertise through training, including e-learning modules that introduce aspects of nuclear security. E-learning complements face-to-face trainings and supports efforts to ensure competence, skills and strong nuclear security culture.

The 21 modules are divided into four topical categories:

  • Crosscutting Topics
  • Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities
  • Nuclear Security of Material out of Regulatory Control
  • Information and Computer Security

The Nuclear Security e-learning is available here. Participants need to create an account and log in – instructions are available on the IAEA e-learning platform. For further information please send an email.

Sat, 04 Dec 2021 21:59:00 -0600 en text/html
Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Cellebrite sees silver lining in the NetSuite cloud

It’s only natural that companies invest in business software solutions to bring about growth in their organisation. But in times of uncertainty, the narrative is around doing more with less, how to increase productivity and efficiency through automation, and how to get better control of supply chains. We see how one company is doing just that Continue Reading

Fri, 21 Aug 2020 05:19:00 -0500 en 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
Developers need learning, skills to tackle security

Pieter Danhieux has an impressive background in cybersecurity. And he acknowledges that when it comes to building software, problems in the code lead to security issues. Yet he blames this problem not on the developers themselves, but on what he has seen as “a lot of things we’ve done wrong with developers.”

Organizations, he said, have given development teams tools they’re not familiar with and don’t know how to use. Further, developers are actually split over their role in security. While some have embraced secure coding practices, others still have not. “Developers say security is slowing me down,” said Danhieux, the CEO of Secure Code Warrior, a company that takes a holistic view of software security. “They just want to release new features as quickly as they can. The friction (developers have) with security teams still exists.”

Meanwhile, colleges and universities are not including safety and security as part of their software engineering curricula, This is leaving new developers entering the field ill-prepared to take on security issues that might be created while they are writing new code.

This certainly is not a new problem. For instance, the OWASP Top 10 list of software vulnerabilities was first published in 2003, and many of the items on that list – cross-site scripting and SQL injection, as two examples – remained there for many years, because developers didn’t understand the vulnerabilities and lacked the knowledge and skills to end these issues.

Danhieux recommended that developers take a single issue – SQL injection, for example – and learn how to eliminate that one thing. When that’s taken care of, move on to the next biggest issue, and eliminate that one. Before too long, the code will be more secure and developers will have the skills to stay on top of security. 

Another aspect of modern software development that makes security so important is that more applications being written today are consumer-facing, where in the past much of the work was done largely on the back end, behind the scenes. “Software is in your house, in your car, in your watch,” Danhieux said. “It must not be vulnerable.” Some organizations, he pointed out, still take risks by pushing software live before they can certify it is secure, but in a few years, that won’t be an option because of where software is embedded, he said.

NIST – The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology – recently updated its Secure Software Development Framework (SSDF) to address security in the software supply chain, which are those open-source and third-party components developers rely on to complete their applications. The update outlines the need to produce well-secured software with minimal vulnerabilities upon release.

Yet, from the sheer amount of breaches reported each year, that is no easy task.

According to Danhieux, developers will be absolutely key in upholding those SSDF recommendations, but he also noted they’re often not set up for success in security, having had little to no exposure to secure coding best practices or security tooling. “Security programs must include comprehensive developer enablement and upskilling so they can tackle common vulnerabilities head-on, and share responsibility for upholding those best practice guidelines,” he said. 

Danhieux emphasized the need for Checked developer security skills from vendors supplying software to the government, “so it’s vital that they can build upon foundational learning that is practical and assessable,” he said.

To help developers get out in front of these issues, Secure Code Warrior provides learning and tooling for developers, including coding patterns that can help them avoid introducing vulnerabilities into their work, Danhieux said. The company’s platform, he added, uses gamification to bring those security skills to developers. “We’re not policing them,” he said.

Thu, 17 Mar 2022 12:00:00 -0500 en-US 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 Strengthen 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 Strengthen 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
Retirement Daily Learning Center: Social Security Pension Rules No result found, try new keyword!In the third of a multi-part Retirement Daily Learning Center webinar series, Martha Shedden, co-founder and president of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts (NARSSA ... Tue, 28 Dec 2021 06:00:00 -0600 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 reading 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 courses 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 courses 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 courses 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, reading 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
LIST: Metrobank shares tips to keep your business safe from fraud

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The security of financial transactions is a concern that is not exclusive to customers. Businesses of all sizes are also vulnerable to fraud. For them, the stakes might even be higher as security breaches may cause millions of revenue loss, or even compromise the brand’s integrity among customers and stakeholders.

Given this, it’s integral for entrepreneurs to ensure that their everyday transactions are kept safe. Good thing, there is a plethora of tools that they can use to their advantage. Adding to this, Metrobank, one of the leading banks in the Philippines which caters to businesses, also shares useful advice to help business owners #FightFraud as they run their day-to-day operations.

Here are some tips on how to keep your business transactions safe, according to Metrobank:

1. Track your cashflow regularly

Apart from enabling you to efficiently manage your cashflow, properly tracking your business’ financial transactions helps you identify irregularities promptly.

It would help to make use of tools that allow you to keep track of the income generated from your clients, your company’s government dues, and pending payment to suppliers, among others, in one platform. If you have a corporate account with Metrobank, you can easily do all of these via the e-SOA (electronic Statement of Account). Since this is an online service, you can access e-SOA anytime, anywhere.

The e-SOA also has security features to ensure that it only falls to the right hands and protects authorized recipients from fraudsters. It has no clickable links to thwart phishing attempts; it asks for a one-time password (OTP) to ensure that it can only be accessed by the rightful persons; and has a limited access period for e-SOA to prevent unauthorized use.

Meanwhile, Metrobank Business Online Solutions is an online platform that allows business owners or their finance managers to process payments, collections, and do basic banking transactions at any time of the day.

With tools like these, you can easily check for suspicious transactions and verify these immediately. It helps lessen cases of internal fraud in your team.

2. Use tools to safeguard your transactions

To ensure that all your transactions are safe, you must have security tools in place. There are firewalls and anti-virus software that can help detect breaches early on. If you have bigger funds and data to manage, Metrobank recommends to put in place more sophisticated fraud management tools that use advanced algorithms and machine learning that can help you detect fraudulent activities and suspicious patterns.

When working with banks, make sure to work with a stable, credible, and reliable bank like Metrobank that has platforms to aid you in your daily operations, which are also equipped with anti-fraud features to keep your business transactions safe and secure.

3. Surround yourself with trustworthy employees

Trust is the most important thing to establish with the people helping you run your business — your employees. Some of the biggest fraud schemes involve employees because they know the ins and outs of your operations.

It’s important to build a team that you trust, but it’s also important to keep in mind that there are tasks that you can’t delegate to just anyone, specifically those that involve accessing critical information or tracking financial transactions.

4. Limit access to sensitive information

While you have a trusted team, it’s important to only allow limited employees to access sensitive information on your business — this includes the account details and password on your company’s bank account or even tools similar to the Metrobank e-SOA.

Managing your business’ cashflow is not a task that you should delegate to just anyone. Corporate banking platforms usually have multiple roles available to designate appropriately to your employees — such as a maker, a verifier, and an authorizer. In this way, you are able to control their access to the information available based on their role. This also allows for checks and balances in your process.

5. Educate your employees on fraud awareness

Apart from using software products and digital tools, it's also important that you and your employees stay alert for any possible scams or signs of fraud in every transaction — even personal ones. So always keep yourself updated with the schemes of fraudsters.

Metrobank reminds business owners and employees three simple steps to #FightFraud:

- Stop. Never click an unverified link or obtain a suspicious attachment

- Check. Verify the identity and legitimacy of the sender or caller before responding

- Think. No matter what, do not share your personal and bank details with anyone

With this guide, Metrobank hopes to empower entrepreneurs to protect their businesses against fraud – in line with the bank’s promise of keeping Filipinos in good hands.

Visit Metrobank’s official website for more information and tips on how to #FightFraud. Follow @metrobank on social media for news and updates.

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 06:46:00 -0600 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 courses 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 reading and writing. In some cases, you might pick up two apps, one that focuses solely on reading 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

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