Spanx founder Sara Blakely teaches a MasterClass in self-made entrepreneurship — Photo courtesy of MasterClass
If you’ve worked your way through pretty much everything available on Netflix and Amazon Prime, it may be a good time to expand your horizons – and your mind.
It turns out kids aren’t the only ones doing online learning these days. Over the past year, people of all ages have used their time at home to learn something new – remember the sourdough frenzy at the beginning of the pandemic when bread baking became the hot trend? – or polish skills they already have.
Whether you want to read or listen to more books, up your business game for returning to the office or actually learn the rules of a new game, there’s a service for you. Here are the ones that make learning fun.
Sign up now and you can still enjoy many of them on road trips or flights when you start traveling again. In fact, you can even get some inside tips on where to go and what to see when you do.
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger teaches a MasterClass in Business Strategy and Leadership — Photo courtesy of MasterClass
If you’re going to learn something new, why not learn from the experts? MasterClass lives up to its name by having pros – we’re talking the pros you immediately think of – teach you the tricks of their trade one lesson at a time. For example, Wayne Gretzky will give you hockey lessons, Aaron Sorkin will teach you how to write captivating dialogue and Gordon Ramsay will show you how to make Beef Wellington.
New classes are added regularly and your annual subscription gives you access to them all. There are already dozens of top names in every area of life sharing their secrets and totally dispelling the myth, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
One Day University
University of Pennsylvania Professor William Burke teaching his very popular One Day University class, “The Most Powerful People in the World” — Photo courtesy of One Day University
One Day University gives you the opportunity to attend the most sought-after college classes around the country without having to worry about taking tests or writing papers. Just sit back and take in everything from The Science of Happiness to The Story of Film in America to The Future of The Presidency, all taught by the award-winning professors who made them so popular.
In addition to more than 400 online lectures in the One Day University library, there’s also a new live-streamed talk every day accompanied by a Q&A with the professor. Feel free to come in your pajamas.
Scribd is paradise for readers — Photo courtesy of Scribd
A subscription to Scribd ensures you’ll always have a selection of new books to read. Offering more than a million titles, from classics to bestsellers to new releases, it lets you download as many as you want on the app so you can read anywhere, even without Wi-Fi. It also features magazines, articles, audiobooks, documents and sheet music.
Plus, it will make suggestions for you based on your personal preferences. Because you have unlimited access to books you might have hesitated about buying individually, this is a great way to explore a new genre. Scribd is basically like having your own library in your phone. For avid readers, it’s pretty much heaven.
Audible is the largest producer of audiobooks in the world — Photo courtesy of Audible
For those who prefer to be read to, a subscription to Audible is a must. The largest producer of audiobooks in the world, Audible is devoted to storytelling. Not only do they let you listen to award-winning performers and beloved authors including Trevor Noah, Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama read your favorite – or soon-to-be favorite – books to you, but they also offer a wealth of Audible Original Content.
You can learn about The History of Sketch Comedy with comedian Keegan-Michael Key, catch an original production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” through Audible Theater or go beyond the lyrics with singer/songwriters like Sheryl Crow, Sting and Alanis Morissette. Put on your headphones and listen to that little voice in your ear.
Get your theater fix at Broadway HD — Photo courtesy of Broadway HD
Going through Broadway withdrawal? If you’ve watched Hamilton so many times on Disney+ that you could perform the whole show yourself, check out Broadway HD, which gives you access to more than a hundred musicals and plays.
That includes fan favorites like “Cats,”http://www.10best.com/”Kinky Boots,”http://www.10best.com/”Miss Saigon” and “42nd Street,” plus a selection of ballets, movies, concerts and a wide variety of Royal Shakespeare Company productions. The performances were filmed live on Broadway, London’s West End and other stages around the world, and are the next best thing to actually being there.
Acorn TV offers the best of British television — Photo courtesy of Acorn TV
Everything sounds better with a British accent, and Acorn TV offers the best of British television minus the commercials. Whether you like period dramas, cozy mysteries, suspense or comedy, you’ll find something compelling here.
There are hundreds of shows to choose from, all of which will transport you across the pond. We give Acorn two pinkies up and remind you that the only thing not included in your subscription is the cup of tea you’ll feel obliged to sip as you watch.
Food stylist Susan Spungen critiques participants’ original recipes and photographs during her Speakeasy workshop, Building a Beautiful Recipe: A Food Stylist’s Guide to Bringing Beauty into Your Cooking — Photo courtesy of Bebe Black Carminito
Created for lifelong learners, Speakeasy hosts live, interactive, online events led by world class speakers and performers. You can take seminars in growing a sustainable farm, beauty basics and getting a literary agent – and that’s just one week’s offerings.
Speakeasy was founded by Elizabeth Slavitt, former CMO at Khan Academy, the renowned non-profit organization whose mission is to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” so she knows a thing or two about how people learn.
On Speakeasy, you can take a writing workshop with novelist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rebecca Makkai, study photography with New York Times photographer, Andrew Scrivani, and learn about biblical archaeology with Cairo-based researcher, Dr. Andrew Henry.
Classes are intimate and accessible, and Speakeasy is proof that you really can learn something new every day.
Hand lettering is one of many skills you can learn on SkillShare — Photo courtesy of SkillShare
When you join Skillshare, you become part of an online community for creatives, one whose daily usage quadrupled during the pandemic as more and more people decided to dig into their passions and hone the skills necessary to make them a reality.
There are classes in everything from how to shoot YouTube videos to indoor gardening to “artivism,” and all include a combination of video lessons plus a class project.
They’re made to fit your schedule and your skill level, and there are so many exciting – and practical – classes offered in three sweeping categories: Create (which includes all kinds of arts, from animation to web development), Build (more than 63,000 students have taken Going Freelance: Building and Branding Your Own Success) and Thrive (check out the Productivity Masterclass that almost 100,000 already attended).
The skills you learn will be so valuable, and the empowerment factor is priceless.
A selection from Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild Reads” book club through Literati — Photo courtesy of Literati
If you eagerly await the book club selection from Reese Witherspoon or Jenna Bush Hager each month, you will definitely want to sign up for the new celeb-focused book clubs from Literati. They offer subscriptions curated by well-respected names you would totally trust when it comes to recommending books, such as Cheryl Strayed, Malala, Susan Orlean and Richard Branson.
Each month, you receive a book chosen by the Luminary of your choice along with access to exclusive content, author interviews, celebrity conversations and book discussions with fellow club members. Literati has taken the idea of the book club and elevated it to an A-list level event.
Context offers “The Scottish Highlands and Skye: An Introduction with Irene Mariani” — Photo courtesy of Context
You may not have been able to get on a plane this past year but, thanks to Context, you could have virtually meandered the streets of St. Petersburg with a storytelling local, gone behind the velvet rope at the Musee D’Orsay to discuss the masterpieces with an art historian, strolled through Santorini at sunset with a Greek historian and so much more.
Since March 2020, Context has presented thousands of seminars by top scholars around the world, taking a deep dive into a topic and immersing participants in it (for which they received over 11,000 five star reviews). Context believes that travel is the ultimate form of education, and you will want to fill your schedule with their classes. This is a degree we all aspire to earn.