Online education: 3 online learning opportunities

Jan 14, 2011 at 2:09 p.m. ET

Education is always a good resolution to have for the new year. And sometimes a little brush-up is needed, whether it's to stay up-to-date on the current trends in your industry or to make yourself more attractive to potential employers. While many universities and colleges are now offering professional studies classes (classes designed for working adults), there's still a better (and cheaper) way: learning online. Unless you absolutely need to a certificate or diploma in the end, these online courses are a great way to plump your resume and learn something new and interesting in 2011.

Woman taking online classes

1HP Learning Center

HP, the well-known computer manufacturer, recently launched an online learning center dedicated to baby boomers (and really, anyone else) who need a quick brush-up on computer basics. They offer classes on Adobe, Microsoft software and social media, along with a long listing of additional courses that will have any computer-illiterate coasting through Word documents and touching up photos within a few weeks.

Our favorite online classes

2MIT's OpenCourseWare

The Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) is known for its high learning standards and rigorous courses. And now those of us who didn't score a 2200 on our SATs can share the coursework of geniuses -- for free. The MIT classes are online only and are downloadable on their website in zip file form. Most courses come with a syllabus, calendar, readings and assignments, though they vary by professor. You go through the lessons on your own, but courses of this caliber, in interesting and relevant topics -- at zero tuition -- are nothing to turn up your nose at.

Our favorite online classes

3Mango Language Classes

Mango is a language program that you can access online through most public library systems. Alternatively, you can take many of these classes at your local library or check out CDs to run on your computer. Languages are always a smart way to go, as the world is becoming increasingly multi-lingual, especially with a growing Spanish-speaking population in the US. Mango offers a great way to learn a new language at your own pace and for no cost.

[Editor's note: The individual class links are available through your local library's website. These links take you to the paid version on Mango's website.]

Our favorite online classes

Mango Language demo

How does Mango Languages work?

Mango Languages has created its very own methodology called Intuitive Language Construction, to help you learn to speak a foreign language. Watch this video to learn more!

More online help for your education and career