The internet has revolutionized so many
aspects of our lives. A new
language, coding, designing, art, cooking
— things you would normally expect to
pay for - are all available online for free.
To get started with the basics of photography, you should visit
photographycourse.net. This is a site without any distracting ads
and with content neatly laid out by skill level.
At photo.net/learn, you'll find a handy collection of (regularly
updated) articles and tutorials from photo professionals. And
when you need to brush up on your photography jargon, the
ever-popular DP Review has a comprehensive listing at
On the app side, Photography Tutorials (by Anton Gregory) is a
great free app for Android devices. This app curates and
organizes a large list of photography tutorials from around the
web — practically any beginner or advanced technique that you
need to know about is here.
2. Computer programming
www.codeacademy.com. The interactive website offers step-by-
step instructions to familiarize you with the language, shortcuts
and other instructions.
You don't even need to sign-up, but do so if you want to keep
track of your course and resume from where you left off. A free
iPad app called Treehouse can teach you Objective-
dedicated section for iOS and Android app development if you
are interested in it.
You get access to various tutorial videos for learning, which are
constantly updated with new updates. As you move ahead in the
course, you have to take a regular quiz and complete interactive
3. A new language
Depending on what you currently speak, some languages are
easier to learn than others. For instance, if you know English
well, it'll be easier for you to pick up Spanish rather than
The courses hosted on www.openculture.com are a pretty good
place to start. Duolingo is another great place to learn Spanish,
English, French, German, Portugese or Italian. Duolingo
'gamifies' the process with rewards. They also have free apps for
iOS and Android.
Other popular services include Live Mocha and Lang-8. While
you learn, you also act as an editor for someone learning your
native language — this keeps everything free.
Cooking is a fine art — any seasoned chef or homemaker will tell
you that cooking is not just about combining ingredients — it's
also about applying hundreds of little tricks and techniques that
usually take years to master.
Luckily, you can find a lot of tips on basic cooking techniques at
simplyrecipes.com (they also offer free apps). Over at
reluctantgourmet.com, the 'How to cook' tab will help you brush
up on roasting, poaching, grilling, frying, braising, baking and
everything in between.
A handy cooking converter at the bottom of every page can help
you convert quantities: tablespoons to teaspoons, litres to pints
and so on. For apps, two of our favourites are All Recipes and
Epicurious (free, for all platforms). They're easy to use, attractive
and customised for each platform.
5. Artistic skills
It's possible to learn art at any stage as long as you have the
motivation. To learn the basics (colors, drawing
techniques, perspective and so on), head to artyfactory.com.
Meanwhile, at thevirtualinstructor.com you can find a list of art
lessons, tutorials, articles and videos curated from around the
web. When you want to do more, head to instructables.com —
where you can learn how to do stuff as diverse as watermelon
carving, making jewellery, puppets, and costumes.
You're also welcome to share your ideas with the community. On
the apps side, How to Draw by ArtelPlus (for iOS and Android) is
a good place to start. There's also a huge range of apps available
in the 'How to Draw' series — each app teaches something
6. Self defence
You won't be able to learn advanced self defence
techniques or master a competition, but you can easily
pick up and practice basic martial arts and self defence
with some online help.
Lifehacker has a great, one-page guide to basic self
defence that can get you out of a sticky situation. This
includes tips on vulnerable parts of the body, how to
attack, leveraging your weight, basic kicks/punches
and how to administer/get out of basic holds. You can
find the guide here — goo.gl/gsFUBn. For apps, you
can try the Self Defense Trainer by Bizapp Media.
Unlike most others on this page, dancing needs you to
'do' more than read or look up. That's why tutorial
videos on various dance forms on YouTube are the first
place you should look.
Next, head to dancetothis.com and you can start
learning different dance moves and styles (hip hop,
pop, street, break dance, krumping, ballroom and so
on). Beyond that, practice is what you need.
8. Free courses from top
Prominent names like MIT ( Massachusetts Institute of
Technology), Harvard, Berkeley, University of Texas and
University of Toronto offer free online courses that anyone can
You can either visit the individual websites of these institutions
or head to edx.org. Edx accumulates all free courses offered by
institutions across the world across subjects.
Choose a subject of your choice, select the institution you want
to learn from and join a course. There is no prerequisite
knowledge required for most courses and you get access to
various videos, transcripts and notes. You can even earn yourself
a certificate of course completion from Edx if you do all the
homework and pass the exam for a particular course.