10 Power Tools for Lifelong Learners

Every now and then, we like to remind read­ers of the audio/video resources that Open Cul­ture makes avail­able to life­long learn­ers. These col­lec­tions are all free, and can be down­loaded to your com­put­ers and mp3 play­ers. When you add it all togeth­er, you will find thou­sands of hours of free edu­ca­tion­al con­tent here from qual­i­ty sources. If you have a chance, please
  • Free Audio Books:  This page con­tains a vast num­ber of free audio books, includ­ing many clas­sic works of fic­tion, non-fic­tion, and poet­ry. Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Scott Fitzger­ald, James Joyce, Kaf­ka, Shake­speare, Orwell and much more. You can down­load them all straight to your com­put­er or mp3 play­er, then lis­ten any time. (On a relat­ed note, you might want to see our list of Life-Chang­ing Books, accord­ing to our read­ers.)
  • Free Cours­es from Major Uni­ver­si­ties: This list brings togeth­er over 250 free cours­es from lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties, includ­ing Stan­ford, Yale, MIT, UC Berke­ley, Oxford and beyond. The­ses full-fledged cours­es range across the human­i­ties, social sci­ences, and sci­ences, includ­ing com­put­er sci­ence. The page is a gold mine for life­long learn­ers.
  • Learn Lan­guages for Free: Span­ish, Eng­lish, Chi­nese & 37 Oth­er Lan­guages: Cen­tral­ized in one place are free lessons that will teach you 37 lan­guages. Span­ish, French, Ital­ian, Man­darin, Eng­lish, Japan­ese, Russ­ian, Dutch, even Finnish and Esperan­to — they’re all free and portable.
  • Free eBooks: Here’s a new col­lec­tion that fea­tures over 100 Free eBooks, most of them clas­sics, that you can access on your PC, smart phone (includ­ing iPhone), and Kin­dle.
  • Ideas & Cul­ture Programs/Podcasts:  In this one col­lec­tion, we have gath­ered togeth­er some of the most intel­lec­tu­al­ly stim­u­lat­ing pro­grams avail­able via pod­cast. The pro­grams will keep you think­ing and cul­tur­al­ly up-to-date, as will our col­lec­tion of sci­ence pod­casts. All can be down­loaded straight to your mp3 play­er.
  • The Best Intel­li­gent Video Sites: Where can you go to find intel­li­gent video? We have list­ed 46 web sites that fea­ture a steady stream of intel­li­gent con­tent: doc­u­men­taries, lec­tures, edu­ca­tion­al pro­gram­ming and much more.
  • Smart YouTube Col­lec­tions: It’s hard to sep­a­rate the wheat from the chaff on YouTube. But we have done it. Here you will find upwards of 100 YouTube chan­nels that reg­u­lar­ly serve up smart video con­tent.
  • Our YouTube Picks: Over the past few years, we have fea­tured sev­er­al hun­dred YouTube videos on Open Cul­ture. And some of the best ones we have brought togeth­er in our own YouTube chan­nel. You can sub­scribe to this col­lec­tion and watch new videos as we add them.
  • Great Clas­sic Movies: Our new movie col­lec­tion fea­tures land­mark films for the stu­dent of cin­e­ma. Here, you’ll find numer­ous Chap­lin films from the silent era, 12 Alfred Hitch­cock films, and many oth­er great works from the 1920s, 30, 40s and 50s. You’ll even find some great con­tem­po­rary films as well. Many of the great Amer­i­can direc­tors are rep­re­sent­ed here.
  • Open Cul­ture iPhone App: A lit­tle some­thing spe­cial for iPhone users. When you down­load our free iPhone app, you can take with you, wher­ev­er you go, many of the items list­ed above. Free Audio Books, Free Uni­ver­si­ty Cours­es, Free Lan­guage Lessons, Music and Sci­ence Pod­casts, etc. Give it a try and tell a friend. Note, that per Apple’s require­ments, you will need access to Wi-Fi.

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Comments (14)
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  • Margretha says:

    Thank you, thank you. Recent­ly found you and I love this place :)

  • It’s amaz­ing how there is so much high qual­i­ty con­tent avail­able out there these days. I’ve been going through some of the com­put­er sci­ence cours­es avail­able online and have been real­ly enjoy­ing them. I think this is the future of edu­ca­tion!

  • Susana says:

    Thanks, excel­lent info!

  • Your title is mis­lead­ing. These are all resources, not tools.

    I’ve been an auto­di­dact for the last five years and have used many resources from some of those list­ed in this post, books, and peo­ple.

    A pos­si­bly more inter­est­ing post would be one that does actu­al­ly dis­cuss in detail “life long learn­ing” tools. Men­tal mod­els, memes, rou­tines, med­i­ta­tion tech­niques to pre­pare before read­ing a book, note tak­ing skills, spaced rep­e­ti­tion tools, mnemon­ic exer­cis­es, men­tal exer­cis­es, &c…

    This is a fluff post, and could be made much bet­ter (or atleast change your title to be more of an epi­thet).

    (By the way, this com­ment box is absurd­ly small)

  • Raymond says:

    I like this post/blog what­ev­er. Is there a forum for life­long learn­ers? maybe I can comis­er­ate with some peo­ple who are like me still going to night class­es, online and at work well into the 50’s. Some of my friends think I am nuts.
    These resources will be use­ful I think.

  • The famous author J. Car­roll tweet­ed about this post and I’ve blogged about it on living-las-vegas.com. Thanks for com­pil­ing a great list!

  • Thanks for this! I teach old­er stu­dents and always want info like this to share with them. Excel­lent.

  • Gordon says:

    Yes I’m sure there is a demand for a forum for life­long learn­ers and although I haven’t searched there are most like­ly group­ings of this type around. The prob­lem with forums is achiev­ing a crit­i­cal mass of users so that posts don’t remain unan­swered and recent activ­i­ty is always obvi­ous to new vis­i­tors. We (at iBer­ry) have not been able to achieve this but maybe a more high pro­file web­site … with the “best free cul­tur­al & edu­ca­tion­al media on the web” can? We would cer­tain­ly give it pub­lic­i­ty.

  • Scott Leslie says:

    This is a great set of resources, thanks for col­lect­ing them, but as has been point­ed out, they are *resources*, and learn­ing on one’s own can be a lone­ly (though not impos­si­ble) affair. Peo­ple ask about a “forum” for life­long learn­ers and the pos­si­bil­i­ties of cre­at­ing one. Yes, there are “forums” for “life­long learn­ers” already, the inter­net is lit­er­al­ly strewn with them, indeed on almost any sin­gle top­ic you could think about, I can guar­an­tee you if you look hard enough you will find peo­ple already con­nect­ing on that top­ic, in dis­cus­sion boards, mail­ing lists, blogs, wikis, com­mu­ni­ty sites. Please please please don’t make the mis­take of believ­ing the world needs Yet Anoth­er Com­mu­ni­ty Site, espe­cial­ly a gener­ic one for “life­long learn­ers”; it does­n’t. What new learn­ers need is maybe some help con­nect­ing with exist­ing com­mu­ni­ties and con­ver­sa­tions; I would ven­ture that if you applied your con­sid­er­able tal­ent for find­ing qual­i­ty open resources to iden­ti­fy­ing qual­i­ty open con­ver­sa­tions and com­mu­ni­ties this would be a MUCH more val­ue­able ser­vice to the “life­long learn­er” than any new site/forum/etc could be. Keep up the great work, sin­cere­ly, Scott Leslie

  • Eileen Nordstrom says:

    I’m hop­ing the iPhone app will be devel­oped for Android. I would love to have this on my phone.

  • Seth Henric says:

    I feel very lucky for find­ing this page. It’s like find­ing a trea­sure filled with arse­nals that both young and old minds can real­ly uti­lize in order to sur­vive the mod­ern gen­er­a­tion. Thank you for shar­ing these help­ful mate­ri­als!

    I just want to share some­thing per­son­al. I’ve always seen my future to be some­one who will con­tribute new knowl­edge or things that are not yet proven by any­one to the soci­ety. I believe that you have done what I have always been wish­ing to do. I’ll def­i­nite­ly use these resources to improve myself and to achieve my pur­pose in life and life­long dream.

    Thank you Dan and kudos to the Inter­net!

  • Fan­tas­tic list of free online resources for learn­ing at any age!

  • Zylie says:

    Teach­ing your child num­bers and let­ters should be fun for the child and you.
    1.) Using mul­ti-col­ored con­struc­tion paper, draw and cutout one let­ter or num­ber at a time (start­ing with “A” or “1” of course). After you do each one, get some scotch tape and tape the let­ter or num­ber to the child’s wall in his or her room. Before the child goes to bed each night, ask him or her where the let­ter “A” is on the wall. Just cut out one or two per night so that the child isn’t over­loaded, and so that you will have some­thing the two of you can look for­ward to doing each day.
    2.) If you’re wait­ing some­where with your child (in line, in a doctor’s wait­ing room, etc.), just look around and try to find a sign, mag­a­zine, etc. that has num­bers and let­ters on it. Ask your child to name the let­ters or num­bers that you point out. It’s a great way to pass the time and to teach your child simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.
    3.) Play a game called “Find the “A.” Tell your child to go around the house and find the let­ter “A,” whether on a book, a wall, a pic­ture, or what­ev­er might be around with let­ters on it. Reward your child with some­thing, like a treat or a stick­er. Then play “Find the let­ter “B.” With an incen­tive to find the let­ters, you’ll be sur­prised how quick­ly your child will learn.

  • Prometheus says:

    I was wan­der­ing astray..was depressed. Great mas­ters like Jacques Der­ri­da and I A Richards and his *gang* of New Crit­i­cism had snatched away my sleep of the nights..I was reck­less. But Prof. Paul H. Fry came like an angel. Thanks to him and your entire team. Thanks.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.