Learn Something New With These 9 Cheap Apps

By Damian Davila on 3 February 2016 0 comments

With so many new things in the world to learn and so little time in your hectic schedule to spare, the learning part should be easy and accessible. For those who don't have the patience to sit down with a book, and who also are extremely attached to their smartphones, apps are a great way to turn a potential distraction into a powerful and portable medium for learning.

Here are nine cheap or free apps to help you learn something new.

1. Couch to 5K

Right now, many Americans are trying to keep their New Year's Resolutions. Among the top resolutions is to "get fit" and one of the most common ways to achieve that is to get off the couch and train for a 5K race.

Recommended by Shape Magazine as the best app for new runners, Couch to 5K provides you a training schedule of three 30-minute sessions a week for nine weeks to achieve your goal of running your first 5K race. It costs $2.99 to download and it's available on iTunes and Google Play.

Ready for the next level? There are also 5K to 10K and half-marathon (13.One) training apps. (See also: 5 Apps That Pay You to Exercise)

2. Dictionary

Want to become a "logophile" or discover what that word even means? Then download the Dictionary.com mobile apps for free (available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Android, Android Wear, and Amazon devices). With over 100 million app downloads and 5.5 billion word searches per year, Dictionary.com is the world's leading digital English dictionary.

Through its Word of the Day feature, you'll learn a new word every day, including its definition, pronunciation, origin, and example of use. This dictionary app also allows you to keep track of your favorite words so that you can bring them up when the time is right — and impress the pants off everyone you know with your massive vocabulary.

3. Duolingo

Speaking more than one language may enable you for higher pay in certain jobs and help you fight against Alzheimer's disease. By gamifying the language learning process, Duolingo (available on iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Store) makes your lessons fun and provides immediate gratification. Duolingo grants you points for completing tasks so you can see how you stack up against your friends.

Chosen as 2013's App of the Year by Apple and available for free download, Duolingo is a top choice for learning Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and English.

4. Fooducate

With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from a total of 11,200 ratings, Fooducate is another useful app to keep your resolution for a healthier and fitter 2016. This app, available on iTunes and Google Play, grades food items from A down to D based on the item's nutrition facts panel and ingredient list.

By scanning the UPC of many food items, you'll be able to spot information that may be hard to identify, including tricky trans fats, added sugars, and controversial food colorings. The rating isn't arbitrary. In 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General's Healthy App Challenge awarded Fooducate first place in the category of nutrition and healthy eating.

5. Khan Academy

Use it or lose it. Spreadsheet software and modern calculators hinder many math skills, including performing long division, factoring a quadratic equation, finding the least common multiple, or solving a system of linear equations. While you may have thought that you would never have to perform these math operations ever again, you would run into them if you were to take a standardized test, such as the GMAT, GRE, or ASVAB.

Without ads and subscription fees, the Khan Academy app, available on iTunes and Google Play, allows you to review those key math skills. You can also find plenty of free online classes on science, computer programming, history, art, economics, and other topics.

6. Mint

Available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, the free Mint app helps you track all your financial accounts, cards, and investments in one place so you can improve your financial wellbeing. While you could try to keep track of all of your finances from statements, you could benefit greatly from Mint's visual dashboard. And since 65% of individuals are visual learners, the app's bar charts, pie charts, and colorful alerts allow you to spend smarter and save more.

One of the best features of the app is the ability to create a detailed budget so you can keep track of how much money you have left for the month in specific categories, such as dining, clothing, and transportation.

7. Poems By Heart

Another way to keep your mind sharp is to improve your memory. The Poems By Heart app helps you memorize and recite poems from several genres, including the "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" sonnet by Shakespeare and "Eldorado" by Edgar Allan Poe.

The app is only available for iPhone and iPad and comes with four free poems. You can buy additional poem packages that feature the works of iconic poets like Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, and James Weldon Johnson. Apple featured Poems by Heart as one of "Apple's App Store Best of 2013" because it's highly engaging (and addictive!) user design.

8. Photomath

One of the hardest things about solving mathematical problems is to understand all of the steps involved in the process. Even worse, it's hard enough trying to write down a complicated arithmetic operation or lengthy linear equation.

The Photomath app allows you to snap a photo of a wide variety of mathematical expressions, including basic arithmetic, fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations and several functions, with the camera of your iPhone or Android device and show you a step-by-step answer. This is a very useful app for math students of all levels and parents of those young students willing to help out.

9. Quizlet

Flashcards are an excellent study tool because they allow for a self-directed personalized study experience that help us gauge our progress. Available on iTunes and Google Play, the Quizlet app allows you to build your own set of digital flashcards on any subject that you're trying to master. From learning new words in Spanish to memorizing kitchen recipes to preparing for a driving permit practice test, use Quizlet to unlock the learning power of flashcards in six study modes.

What are other cheap or free apps to help you learn something? Share with us in the comments!

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