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TODAY SHOW: Learn something new this year with these instructional apps

instructional apps

This time of year, possibilities seem infinite. Master the ukulele? Why not? Learn Swedish? Ja! I’m even inspired to revisit knitting— sure, I’ve tried to learn a million times, but maybe I’ve just had the wrong teacher (sorry, mom!); maybe I need the guidance of an instructional app to finally master it.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to learn something new, you might want to jump into the app store. I’m on the Today Show this morning talking about apps to help you learn something new in the new year.Whether it’s cooking, tennis, cake decorating, or improving your business acumen you’re after, there’s a class in session, on demand, in the palm of your hand.

Tune into the Today Show this morning at 10a ET/PT (I’ll upload the video clip later), and read on to see what instructional apps I’m featuring (and a couple I didn’t get to feature!). Happy learning.

UPDATE: Here’s the video clip!


Blinkist: Apps to learn something new in the new year


Think of Blinkist as the CliffsNotes for non-fiction books. Read or listen to the most important ideas from more than 1,500 best-sellers, all delivered in 15-minute segments that are easy to grasp and digest. The books span a ton of topics, too, from business to history to parenting. A perfect pick for aspiring generalists and folks on the go. (Free with in-app Purchases; Android & iOS.)


Craftsy: Apps to learn something new in the new year


Take your DIY obsession to the next level with an entire app devoted to crafting. Craftsy’s streaming video courses cater to creators at every skill level across a variety of disciplines, including knitting, sewing, quilting, baking, and photography. A great find for serious hobbyists and newbies alike. (Classes range from Free to $25; Android & iOS)




It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete newbie or an experienced musician – Yousician is a great way to fine-tune your piano, guitar, ukulele, or bass-playing skills at home. The app offers step-by-step game-like tutorials with sheet music to help you practice; then, using your phone’s microphone, it listens to you play. Built-in tools give you instant feedback and track your progress. (Free with in-app purchases; Web, iOS and Android)


Duolingo: Apps to learn something new in the new year


Itching to learn a new language for travel or pleasure? Download Duolingo, then get ready to Parlez Francais, or any of the other 20 language courses they offer.  The bite-sized lessons are gamified to keep learning fun and rewarding, and include a mix of listening, translation, and speaking exercises. Biggest selling point? It’s all free— in-app purchases allow you to purchase the ability to go at a quicker pace, but a bit a day works just fine. (Free with in-app purchases; Android & iOS.)


SideChef: Apps to learn something new in the new year


If you need to learn how to boil water, SideChef has your back. For more seasoned cooks, there’s lots to learn as well. Equipped with more than 3,000 recipes from pro chefs, bloggers, and other at-home users, this instructional app serves up new dish suggestions, tips, and tutorials daily. Each recipe features a hands-free step-by-step voice tutorial, so it’s like having a cooking teacher in yoru kitchen. Short, instructional videos pop up to help you with technique, like peeling garlic or zesting a lemon, and timers help you stay on track. (Free; Android & iOS)


Ummo: Apps to learn something new in the new year


When you speak in public, do you find yourself frequently saying, um, like, a lot of, uh, filler words? (Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.) Ummo listens to you speak, tracks your, patterns and gives you an annotated analysis so you can speak more, um, you know, effectively. A win for both speakers and listeners. ($1.99; Android & iOS)




Imagine getting inside the brain of a creative legend or star athlete for less than a hundred bucks. Cool, right? While not technically an app, the MasterClass web platform offers exclusive online courses with people who are tops in their fields – we’re talking TV writing instruction from legendary Shonda Rhimes, acting lessons from Dustin Hoffman, hours of tennis tips from Serena Williams, and an upcoming cooking tutorial from Chef Gordon Ramsay. The list goes on – and you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas for class. (Classes are $90; Web)

Have you come across any other great apps that teach you something new? Tell me which ones you love and why in the comments below.

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