We are big fans of online tools here at OpenSesame. Websites and apps help us connect with others, keep up with current events, learn new skills, as well as can inspire us to think big. Online tools for learning enable and empower us in ways never imagined, and thousands are being created every day.
Last year we covered the top 100 tools for learning in 2013 to help you achieve your goals. This year, we’ve expanded on that list to include 100 new tools that have made us more effective, made a splash or made us think. As there are few repeats, we encourage you to take advantage of ALL the tools we’ve mentioned in your personal and professional pursuits for 2014.
Learn Something New
- Google Scholar - Google takes on the likes of EbscoHost and LexisNexis. The narrowed search options include "Articles, including patents" and "Case law". I feel smarter already.
- Anki - Create digital flashcards to help you study everything from physics to a new language.
- Cerego - As a memory management tool, Cerego builds personalized study plans based on your strengths and weaknesses to retain knowledge.
- Umano - No time to read but want to stay current on newsworthy events? Have popular articles read to you by trained voice actors.
- LifeHacker U - A collection of free online courses from top colleges and universities in the U.S.
- The Saylor Foundation - Similar to a college curriculum, you can take courses in an area of study at your own pace, resulting in a certificate of completion.
- OpenSesame - Marketplace for online training, now with 22,000+ courses.
- Google Helpouts - Get one-on-one appointments with experts for help on everything from cooking a turkey for the holidays, to how to shop for footwear.
- Coursera - Partnering with some of the top U.S. universities, Coursera offers MOOCs or massive open online courses for free.
- Flipboard - Beautiful tile layout makes browsing articles a visually-stunning experience.
- Pocket - A virtual pocket to save all those hilarious cat videos for later...after work.
- Mynd - It's time the calendar got a makeover. See a complete picture of your day, including information on people you'll be meeting with and even notes you'll need for the appointments.
- trackthisforme - A data-lovers dream, this site can track anything you want—from your mood, to how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop.
- SpiderOak - Securely store and sync your files across all of your devices.
- You Need a Budget - Money management has never looked so good.
- Slice - The must-have tool for avid online shoppers, Slice tracks orders, spending and price drops across all your online shopping sites.
- Ember - A visual scrapbook of ideas and inspiration. Simply snap a picture of a typography, ad or image you like to add it to projects.
- Tick - Get pats on the back for the work you do with this radical update of the to-do list.
- Fences - Messy desktops be gone!
- Trello - A virtual card-based project management tool that combines the best parts of a physical and cloud-based task list.
- Inspiration Grid - Creative showcase of design, art, photography and more, updated daily.
- Instructables - The online mecca for everything DIY.
- Google Think Insights - The ultimate tool for marketers—trends, ad collections, sample objectives for any stage of a campaign and more.
- XMind - Struggle with explaining complex ideas? Mind mapping is a great tool for displaying your thoughts visually.
- HackDesign - Weekly design lessons sent to your inbox each week that can be taken at your own pace.
- Paper - Sketch out ideas easily on your iPad and share with your team or across the web.
- Pinterest - Remember tacking pictures of your favorite movie stars on your childhood bedroom walls? Pinterest is the grown-up version, with recipes and crafts virtually-pinned along side the movie stars.
- Coffitivity - Ambient coffee shop noises on-the-go to help increase productivity.
- Share a Story - Share your story or read others on this crowdsourced storytelling site.
- Upworthy - Rough day? Remind yourself of the good things in the world with this site of inspirational articles and videos.
- Honey - Avoid a flooded inbox and share links to articles or research all in one place.
- Popplet - A brainstorming tool the whole team can use to collaborate and elaborate.
- Google Hangouts - The video conference phone we were promised in the 90's, but better.
- Doodle - Stop lengthy email exchanges on meeting times—send a Doodle poll instead!
- Quip - Edit and discuss documents in one place.
- Splitwise - Hate splitting the check? Share bills and IOUs to make sure everyone gets paid back.
- WhatsApp - Escape costly text messages with your overseas colleagues with this group-messaging app.
- Campfire - 37Signals group-messaging application that includes features like live image previews and conference calling.
- Box - Secure content-sharing that can be accessed from anywhere.
- Team Gantt - See your team's project schedule in a visual format, with simple drag-and-drop functionality to shift timelines.
Outsource Busy Work
- IFTTT - Automated rules for your social networks—"If I post a blog, than share the post via Twitter and Facebook."
- Reward Summit - Reward Summit tracks your credit card rewards programs so you never miss out on another dollar again.
- Seamless - Why call for delivery when there's an app for that?
- Microworkers - This crowdsourced site is useful if you are looking to have many contributors (even from a specific region or timezone) collaborate on your goal.
- Mechanical Turk - Great for outsourcing de-duplication, data entry and moderation.
- oDesk - Find talent around the world, from web design to copywriting and everything in between.
- Exec - Simply enter your zip code to find a qualified house cleaner near you.
- Ruby Receptionists - Ruby is the smart and cheerful team of virtual receptionists trained to make a difference in your day.
- FancyHands - Pay a flat monthly fee rather than an hourly fee for help on your tasks.
- TaskUs - Outsourcing tool for companies needing content, data analysis and sales support.
- The Walk - Get a piece of the story each time you walk.
- Moves - No gadgets necessary, Moves uses your smartphone to track your activity.
- Map My Fitness - Whether you choose a route from their database or create your own, MapMyFitness tracks your mileage, speed and activity level.
- Endomondo - Need some healthy competition to get you moving? Use Endomondo's social tools to keep you motivated in your fitness goals.
- Tinke - Tinke expands on the typical fitness tracking to include heart rate, respiratory rate, even blood oxygen level.
- ShopWell - Created by dietitians, the app returns a score from 1 to 100 based on factors such as your age, gender, weight-loss goals, allergies and more.
- Fooducate - Be informed about the foods you purchase with grades regarding nutritional value and useful tidbits such as what minerals or nutrients a food includes.
- ChefTap - Import recipes from any site or blog and sync across your devices. Even has Pinterest integration!
- Jawbone Up - The latest contender in the fitness tracking market, the Up bracelet tracks daily activity, sleep habits, as well as alerts you when you've been idle too long.
- Sleepbot - Trash your old-school alarm and awake more naturally with the help of Sleepbot.
- MyPermissions - See applications that have access to your personal data, as well as receive alerts when new apps are connected.
- Hotspot Shield - Prevent hackers from snooping on your computer when using public WiFi.
- DuckDuckGo - A private search engine that allows you to surf the web anonymously.
- Norton Identity Safe - Don't be caught with a "1234" password. Norton Identify Safe helps you create strong passwords and then stores them for safe-keeping.
- StopDataMining - A directory of opt-out links to stop data brokers from selling your personal information.
- Silent Circle - Have to send sensitive information over the phone? This service encrypts phone calls and texts.
- Bitcoin - For those seeking financial options beyond traditional banks, BitCoin is an open-source, virtual currency.
- Burner - Posting an item to Craigslist but don't want to give out your cell number? Burner creates temporary, disposable phone numbers.
- Synapster - Get rewarded for the data you create every day on the web.
- JustDeleteMe - Want to delete that old MySpace account but aren't sure how? This site ranks sites based on ease of removal and provides links for deletion.
Learn a Language
- Duolingo - Free language education app that has a reading, writing and speaking component.
- LiveMocha - Practice makes perfect! Immerse yourself in a language by practicing with native speakers.
- Quizlet - Learn a new language by translating your Facebook news feed.
- The Mixxer - Teach others or come as a student to this global forum for language learners.
- italki - Require more personal attention? italki can connect you to an online language tutor.
- Verbling - Join live language classes taught by native speakers.
- Memrise - Earn points while you learn a new language, and compete against friends.
- Fluentify - 30-minute sessions with native speakers on your own schedule.
- BYKI - Engaging flash card interface that remembers how you learn and adjusts the cards accordingly.
- Forvo - Visiting a new country and need language assistance ASAP? Forvo is an online pronunciation guide with more than 2 million words.
Get to Know Others
- Skout - Meet new people by searching for users around your current location.
- Nextdoor - Find a babysitter or organized a neighborhood watch group with this private social network for small communities.
- MeetMe - Start a conversation with someone new.
- Path - Enjoy a small group of close friends? Path is the network for you.
- Active - Connect with fellow fitness buffs by searching upcoming events and connecting with others either on the forums or at the event itself.
- Volunteer Match - Meet good people while helping out a good cause.
- Reader's Circle - Locate a book club near you and meet fellow book lovers.
- Meetup - Find people doing fun things near you - make professional connections and meet new friends.
- Yelp - Not just for reviewing restaurants, Yelpers can connect with fellow foodies and organize events to meet new people.
- LinkedIn Groups - For those looking to expand their professional network, LinkedIn groups provide a great way to learn more about a topic while engaging in conversation with potential connections.
Go On An Adventure
- TripIt - Keep track of all your travel in one place, as well as share your trips with family or fellow employees.
- touristeye - Guidebooks are so 2001. Touristeye helps you plan your trip in minutes, providing info on best places to visit and insider tips.
- WorldMate - WorldMate syncs travel notifications and changes to your phone and calendar so your itinerary is always up-to-date.
- HitList - Don't let obscure holidays get in the way of your travel. Tell HitList where you want to go and they'll tell you the best time to visit.
- FlightTrack - Real-time departures, delays, and gate numbers on zoomable maps for most flights worldwide. If your flight is cancelled, FlightTrack locates alternative flights.
- Rove - The digital travel journal for the wanderers of the 21st century.
- Hotel Tonight - If you’re in a pinch and need to book a hotel room, Hotel Tonight will show you what is available nearby and help you book all the way up until 2am.
- Glympse - Need to establish a meeting place in a strange city? Glympse allows you to share your geolocation with friends or colleagues, so they can see your real-time location on a map.
- HopStop - Door-to-door transit, walking, biking, taxi and car rental directions in over 300 cities.
- AirBnB - There's no place like home, but AirBnB rentals are close. Enjoy a homey environment as opposed to a hotel when traveling.
If you’re already using any of the tools for learning listed above, let us know whether you think its been helpful in the comments. Have a favorite website or app we've missed? Share your own list in the comments!