by Tim Jahn on November 9, 2011
I was having a conversation with my mom a few weeks ago and she mentioned that for older people, it can be hard to go back to school to learn new skills and discover things they enjoy.
I explained that today, thanks to the Internet, there are a variety of websites out there that provide alternative ways to learn niche skills of all sorts. And of course, I couldn’t remember the names of these sites.
Have no fear though. I looked them up (and found a few new ones). So here’s a list of sites that offer alternative ways to learn new skills and discover new hobbies.
http://www.dabble.co – based in Chicago, IL
I’ve written about Dabble here before and interviewed their co-founder Jessica Lybeck as well. Dabble offers in person classes that allow anybody to “dabble” in a new skillset. They’re still only offering classes in Chicago (with other cities on the radar), but their offerings are much more than they were when I first discovered the site. From learning how to cook various foods to law school for entrepreneurs to an introduction to welding, Dabble offers an affordable way to learn a new skill. All classes are $20.
And if you have a skill of your own that you want to teach others, you can sign up to teach a class on Dabble. You’ll even make some money: half of the $20 class fee goes to the teacher!
Class I want to take: “Intro to Welding”
http://www.skillshare.com – based in New York, NY
Skillshare is similar to Dabble in that it offers offline, in person classes. It’s also currently open in cities outside its home base of New York. Pricing isn’t consistent at $20 though and can range from free to $100 or more.
Skillshare offers a wide variety of types of classes, from fashion to food to games and sports, and currently their selection of classes is bigger than Dabble. They boast more than 9,000 hours taught already!
Class I want to take: “Wait, I can make shoes?!”
http://www.mentormob.com – based in Chicago, IL
MentorMob crowdsources learning by creating a learning playlist for you. They see the current way of Internet learning as stumbling through lots of dead end links before finding something worthwhile. Their “learning playlist” eliminates these dead ends. And it’s all free.
There are all sorts of “mobs” (groups of playlists) in all sorts of categories, from Study Tips, Financial Planning, and Careers in Academia & School to Salsa Dance, Guitar, and Knitting in Arts & Crafts/Hobbies.
If you were looking to learn more about basic salsa dance steps, you could pull up that playlist, which happens to be a playlist of several related YouTube videos. A playlist about starting a 401k has related information from the Wall Street Journal website, Bank of America, Bloomberg, and How Stuff Works.
Playlist I want to learn from: “How To Home Brew Beer”
http://www.niroka.com – based in San Francisco, CA
Niroka is looking to provide a fun way to discover new skills both offline and online. Their class sizes and costs can run a wide range, from $8 and 10 spots, to $75 and 120 spots and more. Their online classes are offered live at a specific date and time, rather than whenever you want.
At the moment, Niroka seems slanted towards learning web and software programming.
Class I want to take: “Typography for Hackers”
What about you?
I’d love to hear about any other sites you know about that I missed above. Let me know in the comments below!