The recent global Coronavirus pandemic is changing business, work and life as we know it. It could be one of the most significant events of the decade as the ongoing outbreak has provisionally put an end to our busy, social and professional lives. As much as we want to get back to the office and carry on with our normal project activities, it seems that many of us will be stuck at home for some downtime.
Nevertheless, this is not a reason to give up on your career nor your entrepreneurial dream. Take this opportunity to pick up new skills, learn that new programming language you kept postponing for different reasons or simply expand your knowledge from the comfort of your home. Whether for a career switch or simply to boost your job prospects or grow your current business, learning new skills online to achieve your professional goals is without a doubt a constructive way to cope with the current self-isolation.
Here is a list of the some of the best online learning platforms you can explore to brush up on your skills during this downtime.
Surely one of the top online course platforms in the world, Udemy is a great choice if you’re looking for a very large catalogue of courses at a reasonable price. It offers something for everyone, from business development, finance and accounting, to design, marketing and office productivity. Udemy allows you to pick and choose the topics you are interested in, rather than committing yourself to a strict lesson plan, which makes this educational platform extremely flexible and user-friendly. Besides, Udemy is offering numerous free courses for the quarantine period, so it is really a pity not to take advantage of it.
Tip: Since practically anyone can become a course instructor on Udemy, make sure to choose courses with high ratings and excellent reviews to maximise the money and time spent learning a new skill. Additionally, if you’re a business owner, you can opt for a business account, which will unlock thousands of relevant courses for all your team members and in very specific fields.
Covering every imaginable topic, Skillshare includes courses on a large number of technical subjects, business and entrepreneurship, programming, but also writing, painting, personal branding and other creative topics. Unlike Udemy where you pay for each course individually, Skillshare works on a subscription model, which translates into a monthly or yearly fee allowing you to dive into a wide range of skills.
Tip: Skillshare is a great learning platform if you’re looking to train casually, be practical in acquiring new skills and apply the knowledge right away. However, if you’re interested in obtaining an official course, you might want to check out other platforms listed here.
If you’re already on LinkedIn and actively searching for a job, you’ve most probably activated your Premium subscription – a monthly or yearly fee – which also gives you access to numerous online courses, launched to help you better your career prospects. Most courses are of high quality and they range from short, beginner-level to in-depth specialist training. The latter is best illustrated through the Learning Paths, a method used to quickly get you up to speed and help you specialise in certain fields, such as for instance ‘Growth hacking’ or ‘Become a Manager’. These paths are broken down into several courses, but it’s up to you to decide on the best choice and pick the ones that are most relevant to suit your current needs.
Tip: The platform offers you the possibility to add certifications to your LinkedIn profile, so you’ll be able to showcase your expertise and improve your online resume – a must if you want to attract recruiters on the hunt for top talent.
An extremely popular platform, Coursera is well-known for its value and prestige as it collaborates with top universities around the world who are responsible for developing the courses. It is considered one of the most professional online learning platforms out there and since these partner institutions even offer complete Master’s degrees in various disciplines, you’ll get a certificate from renowned universities and not just a “Coursera degree”. While many Coursera courses are accessible completely free of charge, you’ll still have to pay if you want to receive the official credential. On a personal note, I think that’s totally worth it!
Tip: Coursera is definitely the kind of learning platform you could invest in for the long term and I would dare to say you’d also need an appropriate budget to finance most of these professional online educational programmes. Also, please bear in mind that you’ll have to follow a certain timetable once you start a course and make sure you complete it before a deadline is notified to you by the platform.
This UK-based learning platform offers a top selection of online degrees and free certification courses, available on mobile, tablet or desktop. Owned by The Open University – one of the UK’s long-established educational institutions – the platform aims to connect learners from all over the globe with their tutors. They actually place a high value on the community aspect of online learning, transforming it into a social experience with plenty of opportunities to discuss with fellow students, collaborate and even mentor other students in the process. Joining the platform is completely free of charge as are most courses, which range from digital marketing, engineering, psychology to nutrition, history and politics. However, if you want to get a certificate at the end of the course, you’ll have to pay a certain fee, which will also allow you to download and store the course materials.
Tip: FutureLearn is by far one of the most affordable online learning platforms, offering a very wide selection of short courses, which are absolutely free of charge. Therefore, I would definitely recommend it, especially if what you’re looking for is upgrading your skills and not an official credential from an institution.
Irrespective of whether you decide on an academic credential programme or go for shorter courses to help you cope with the digital age, a truly entrepreneurial mindset also means adapting to new paradigms and never stop learning. And it’s never been easier with the wide range of available digital learning platforms. So, just go for it!