Over the holiday break I’ll be brushing up on some skills in between sipping hot chocolate and sneaking into the kitchen to snag some not fully prepared morsels of holiday cheer. I’ve accumulated several different resources for learning new skills as well as brushing up on existing ones. In the spirit of the holidays — and especially those New Year’s resolutions — I’d like to share these educational resources with you; and of course, if you have some recommendations of your own, I’d love for you to share yours with us in the comments.


For just about any skill you can think of Lynda.com is one of my favorite resources for online learning. Lynda.com offers up a vast array of videos on just about any tech related topic you can think of. Need to learn more about MySQL, JavaScript, Objective C, networking, design and illustration, or analytics? They have a video on each of those subjects and so much more. Lynda.com charges a reasonable monthly fee of $25 which gives you access to all (currently) 1,208 available courses.

Safari Bookshelf by O’Reilly

Safari Bookshelf is an indispensable resource with thousands of books available online and to download from prominent technical publishers such as Peachpit Press, Addison-Wesley, Microsoft Press, O’Reilly Media, and several more. Additionally Safari Bookshelf offers video training and rough cuts for those on the cutting edge who like to get their hands on unpublished information. There are two ways to subscribe: either a 10-slot bookshelf that gives you access to the whole library but only allows you to store 10 books in your shelf at a time, or full-access with unlimited slots. 10-slots is $27.99 a month or $299 a year, and the Unlimited shelf is $42.99 a month and $329.99 a year. O’Reilly is currently running a special which can net you a 10-slot account for as little as $19.99 for the first 6 months and $29.99 for the first 12 months for unlimited access.

iTunes U

I prefer free, as I’m sure many of you do as well. iTunes U is by far one of the best free online resources for learning around. With dozens of accredited universities available, each offering up hours of recorded lectures and courseware, it’s difficult to not find a subject of interest and pursue it. Some of my favorite available classes are iPhone Application Development provided by Stanford University and Building a Business provided by Oxford University. These are quality courses with none of the associated cost. Granted you can’t obtain college credits, but that’s where my next suggestion comes in.

M.I.T. OpenCourseWare

M.I.T. has been making course materials available now for about 10 years, but there is extremely exciting news on the way. M.I.T. will now not only be providing over 2,000 courses with their expansive OpenCourseWare available online, but announced this week, M.I.T. will be releasing a new interactive online learning platform called M.I.T.x that will provide self-learning students laboratories, self-assessments and student-to-student discussions for free. While the software will be free, M.I.T. will also provide certification and credit hours toward courses, but has yet to determine a cost.

Read the full scoop here.