Being smart can get you through thick and thin in life, as well as make you a more open-minded person. Moreover, being knowledgeable is simply a nice feeling. Unfortunately, this is what we, as kids, do not realise – at least some kids. The reason this is bad is the fact that we receive and keep new information better while we are young.

As we get older, we surpass all formal education, and focus on some other aspects of our lives. Somehow we just do not seem to find time for learning, or it only seems like that. In reality, we acquire new knowledge without realising that we do. For instance, by reading newspapers, online articles, wiki pages, and similar, we learn new information all the time.

There are many more ways, platforms and techniques that could help out, too, but only if we try and if truly want to improve. Here are a few suggestions you could give a shot, and become smarter without too much effort.

  1. Watch YouTube videos

Other than watching music videos or funny cat videos, YouTube can serve as an educational platform. There are numerous channels dedicated to teaching, and sharing useful information. For instance, you can subscribe to several channels that cover different topics, from general knowledge to languages or science. There is a wide selection to choose from, e.g. Ted Talks and similar educational channels. They upload videos with people – both famous and not – talking about lifehacks, their success stories and other experiences. You could learn a lot from watching these videos, and even become inspired to change something in your life.

Another fun channel would have to be AsapSCIENCE, where you are offered a lot of useful videos on an array of topics. For example, they have videos explaining how our brain and body work in different situations, what happens when we consume specific drinks and foods, and other similar things.

Lastly, for those who prefer practical things, there are a lot of experiments on YouTube, as well. You can see what happens when opening certain items, chemical reactions or dropping things from a certain height. All in all, this platform gives you so much, and it shouldn’t be neglected.

  1. Read online articles and wiki pages

The second great way of gaining knowledge is through reading news articles or other informative type of articles online. Maybe you are already doing this, but if not, get on with it. Thanks to them, you could learn about current events, history, mysteries, pop culture, sport, etc. There are numerous websites that offer stories written by professionals, or regular people like you, who are just a little bit more educated in the topic they write about.

For example, Mental Floss, Quora, HowStuffWorks and some others could be found useful. Quora is especially fun and can be to the point, because you can ask a question and receive a correct answer from someone who specialises in that subject. You can also contribute here, if you know the answer to someone’s question. All in all, it is a perfect platform for sharing knowledge among peers.

And if you do not want to miss an article, there are useful apps that could give you daily updates on new stories being published. Even better, you can use them on multiple devices, like a laptop or a phone. Once you download one and install it, you should set it up by selecting your favourite outlets and topics. Also, with some apps, you can choose how many times per day you want to receive the updates, and at what hour. This is pretty convenient if you like reading articles in the morning, before work or during lunch break.

  1. Attend courses

If you are more old school, then attending courses is the right thing for you. This way, you can learn photography, languages, IT skills, cooking, etc. Naturally, you pay for these classes, but the good thing is that they are not that expensive. Even better, you can choose between group classes or individual ones, which could be better for certain skills.

Whichever course you take, it will last for a few months, with classes taking place several times per week. This gives you consistency, but not too much. It is a well-balanced, well-organised way of learning. In a way, it feels like going to school again. And at the end of each course, the learners get a diploma.

  1. Learn with the help of software

One great thing about living in this day and age is the massive development of technology, and how different companies use. Thanks to the technological improvements, we now have learning platforms through which we can learn new subjects, like languages, via our phone, tablet or computer.

For instance, you can pick any online education software, and get down to work in only a matter of minutes. Let’s say you wanted to pick up a language, but do not want to enrol in a course. You could easily start learning with Duolingo, which also has a mobile app or use Livemocha. They are not difficult to master, and also offer a fun way of learning.

If you are looking for lessons in marketing, education, IT, or anything similar, head over to Coursera. This is probably the most popular educational website, mainly for its impressive offer of courses hosted by renowned universities like MIT or Stanford. Each course is free, but if you want, you can pay for a verified certificate confirming you have attended and successfully passed the course. Other websites with similar aims are Khan Academy and Lynda. Check them out and pick the one that best matches your preferences.

Luckily for those eager to learn, there are various ways in which they could attain new knowledge, on a variety of different topics. There are options for different types of learners, like learning remotely, online or attending courses in a private school. Also, for those not willing to pay at all or can only afford to pay a little, there are free courses or optional payment.

In conclusion, receiving education has never been easier. You can start right now, with only a few clicks by visiting a website or downloading an app to your phone. Therefore, you have no excuse for not trying at least one thing from this list. In the end, you shouldn’t cut yourself short of gaining new knowledge, whatever your chosen subject might be.