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Studying Simplified: Tools and Resources for Independent Learning

Learning is multifaceted, that’s why it’s important that learners go out of the box — the traditional books, literally! We share with you a list of [free] online learning resources that will help you in your independent study routine. These may or may not work for you, but don't worry about going through the trial and error process (spoiler alert: it's one of the best ways to learn). Go and discover what’s best for you.

1. Google Workspace

Formerly known as Google Suite, Google Workspace is “everything you need to get anything done, now in one place.” Usually, universities will give their students a school email ([email protected]) for you to access a bunch of productivity tools like GMail, GDrive, GCalendar, GDocs, GMeet to store files safely, sync seamlessly, access anywhere, and share easily. It’s an understatement to say that these products are lifesavers for remote group works through its collaborative editing, suggesting, or commenting real-time features — as if you’re together in a classroom, but online.

If your school doesn’t give you one, you can sign up for a personal account! (Tip: make sure your email address is professional).

2. Canva

Canva is an “online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.” There are free unlimited and new templates each day you can browse and edit for anything related to social media, personal, business, marketing, education. If you’re feeling a lot more creative and innovative, you can start from scratch, or play around with elements. Canva lets you easily design presentations, posters, resumés, infographics, brochures, worksheets, and more projects (you name it!). Saves you the hassle of making your works a lot more presentable and prepared.

Canva Pro is free for students and non-profits; although we suggest that you do your further research for details on the different subscription plans and pricing that match with your needs and wants (Check out the Canva Plans site).  

3. Notion

Notion, an all-in-one workspace is “one tool for your whole team to write, plan, and get organized.” Currently, there is an emerging trend of offering free Notion templates from Study and Productivity YouTuber templates, so try looking up on that, or visit Notion’s guides and tutorials. If you’re not comfortable with digital planning or you’re still confused with navigating the app (we understand, it’s really complex), try turning to bullet journalling or go back to square one: making to-do lists, so you keep track of your stack of requirements and responsibilities.

4. YouTube (Khan Academy, Crash Course) - bank of information

YouTube is an online video platform (also owned by Google) where you “enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world.” Unless you’re living under the rock, YouTube is a daily essential. It’s practically an accessible information bank for practically anything you can type onto the search bar. While it’s not advisable that you study for your quiz using educational videos, these are great accompaniments that can supplement and fortify your learnings — at your own pace.

My personal picks for channels that serve as a refresher for a variety of topics are Khan Academy (offers interactive practice problems, articles, and videos in math, biology, chemistry, physics, history, economics, finance, grammar, and many other topics), and Crash Course (as of writing, has produced more than 32 courses on organic chemistry, literature, world history, biology, philosophy, theater, ecology, and many more!)

5. Discord

Discord is “the easiest way to talk, chat, hang out, and stay close with your friends and communities over voice, video, and text.” Discord, initially developed for gamers, has evolved to cater to different purposes. You can create servers tailored to a specific shared interest then make use of the channels to send in files, hang out with your friends while making requirements (for your mental health), virtually meet up to discuss organization tasks, host watch parties, and more! The interface does seem intimidating for a lot, and requires a bit of getting used to, so if you’re new to the app, here’s a Discord blog article on “How to use Discord for your classroom.”

Key advice: always remember to make the most of the resources you have, and constantly seek for growth opportunities (if they do not come knocking on your door, step out of it on your own!). These resources might not guarantee you a sure “A,” but these do give you the headstart and leverage to maximize your expected results.

Ultimately, you are accountable for your own actions; your greatest assets are already within you — your discipline and determination to resist and persist.

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