Let's face it, these days, if you're not learning, you're losing. The world is changing so fast, and just going to school is not enough. To keep up in the information age, you'll need to be intentional about learning marketable skills. So I've compiled a list of the best continuing education resources (and many are free!).
Life-long learning can be a little bit intimidating, so finding courses that are structured will keep you regularly coming back. That's why I love the resources in this list! Between them, you can find just about anything you want to learn and you can do it at your own pace, sometimes even from your phone.
Ok, let's get to the best continuing education resources that will no doubt give you more places to learn!
Coursera is an online learning platform that connects educators to students by partnering with top universities and organizations to offer online courses. They're not joking when they say top universities. There are courses taught by John's Hopkins and even Yale. Talk about world class!
Courses include video lectures, homework assignments, and quizzes, depending on the class you take. So, you're not just staring glassy eyed at the computer screen, you have to prove what you've learned.
Coursera has many different types of classes. There are a bunch of free classes available, and you can even take the classes through the Coursera Smartphone App. Look for courses that will round out your resume and show that you continuously push yourself.
If you want a little bit more ‘merit' to the credentials, you can sign up for Coursera's specializations, or even a complete online degree. To get the official certification, you have to pay a fee. Or, you are often allowed to ‘audit' the class without the certification, but you can have access to all of the material!
Also, Coursera offers scholarships, if you are unable to afford the certification. Or, employers will often pay for certifications, if you can show that the class will provide you a necessary job skill. So why not ask your boss if the company will cover the expense?
Skillshare is an online community of over 17,000 classes which are taught by experts! The classes are usually only 1-2 hours in length and are targeted at learning just 1 skill. That way, you learn just what you need, and can move on to the next topic!
I love that many of the Skillshare classes are free. However, there are some premium classes. Luckily, Skillshare offers a $8.95/month membership that gives you access to all 17,000+ classes! That is some pretty spectacular value.
Udemy is another fabulous resource for online learning! Expert instructors offer classes on their realm of expertise, and the classes span a huge array of topics. You can learn very specific skills, and go as in depth as you want with their course list of over 55,000 courses!
Some of the unique categories include game and app development, design, languages, music and even self-defense. The best part is that classes start at just $10.
I love Udemy because the instructors are teaching from their real life experience. The classes offer real world perspective that you can put into practice right away.
EdX has a great collection of online courses that are offered for free. Their mission is to increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere. And, they were founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012– so they're pretty legit.
Companies like Microsoft have published courses on this platform to help you learn how to use their tools to advance your career.
There are also professional education and classes that offer certification from universities like Wharton School of Business. These paid classes can even earn credits for continuing education for licenses.
How to Stay Motivated with Continuing Education
Continuing education isn't something you can do now and be done with, it has to be done over time! I suggest picking just one topic today, and pick something that you've always wanted to learn! If you're having trouble figuring out what class to take, ask a mentor or your boss what skills they think you could work on!
Set aside 1-2 hours per week. Many bosses will let you take this time out of your work schedule because they see you taking the initiative to learn!
When you finish that, find the next course immediately, and mark the start date on your calendar. If you take a hard class and want a few weeks of a break, that's OK. But make sure to make sure get the next one on the calendar and stick to it!
I think a good goal is to learn 1 skill every 3 months, but always make sure to set new goals and research the new skills that you should be developing!
Have you tried any of these great learning tools? Which ones worked best for you? Leave your answer in the comments!