I don’t know where I would be without online courses.
We’ve come a long way from the traditional night school. Want to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby? You can bet that there’s an online course out there – and it probably won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
While it is also possible to simply do the research and teach yourself, a lot of people like enrolling in a flexible, online course because it gives them a sense of structure.
For those in the tech and digital marketing fields, learning is a major part of the job. New technologies and software are popping up all the time.
Below is a list of online course providers which I have found the most useful – and hopefully you will too. If you have any further suggestions, feel free to email me.
Online Courses – General
|The number of courses available on Udemy is immense. That’s partially because pretty much anyone who considers themselves an expert can design a course and sell it on this platform. While I would be dubious about some of the courses sold here, its not all bad. The platform is particularly useful if you just want a short course to refresh yourself on a subject or learn a new skill quickly.|
|For digital nomads or remote workers interested in picking up a new skill, Coursera is a pretty handy option. A lot of the courses themselves are actually free to do. It’s usually the certificate you pay for. So, if you’re really only interested in learning a new skill then this could be a good budget option.|
|Udacity is an online learning platform that works directly with corporate partners. In other words, they want to help supply big companies with industry fodder (you). A lot of their courses are focused on programming, tech and digital marketing. While not all the courses are free, they are relatively affordable and many people have gotten jobs and changed careers by taking courses on this platform.|
|The concept behind Skillshare is in the name: sharing your skills with others. This platform is more about fostering a community and helping one another fill in the gaps in terms of skills they want to learn. Not all the courses are free, but there are a few you can do without paying a cent.|
|Lynda.com’s main medium of instruction is video, which is my preferred method of learning (especially when it comes to programming…). Now owned by LinkedIn, Lynda is one of the best places to upskill professionally. For newcomers and first-timers, there is a free trial available before you have to pay for anything.|
Online Courses – Coding, Programming & Tech
|Codecademy focuses on developing IT and tech skills. You can learn to code in pretty much any language on this platform. One drawback, I find, is that it isn’t great for coding beginners. However, if you’re a seasoned developer looking to brush up on a new language, this site could prove to be very valuable.|
Online Courses – Digital Marketing
|Google Digital Garage|
|If you want to break into the world of digital marketing then the Google Digital Garage is a good place to start. What’s more – it is completely free. And you get official Google certification at the end which is apparently quite valuable these days.|
How are online courses structured?
How long is a piece of string?
The majority of courses on the Internet are run through online course providers like Udemy and Udacity. These providers have an extensive catalogue that you can look through and decide. Some providers are uniform in their course structure while others leave it up to the specific instructor.
Additionally, not all of these courses are paid. In fact, there are quite a few free ones out there which can help you excel in your career.
When it comes to pacing there are also plenty of options to choose from. You can choose crash courses which are done in a couple of weeks or the more popular, flexi-time options that work around your schedule.
Types of online courses
Online courses come in many shapes and sizes. You can do full degrees online, but for many working people this just isn’t practical. Sometimes we just need to learn an extra set of new skills in order to tackle a new project, or even get a new job. Perhaps you want a promotion or are interested in started your own online business. All of these are valid reasons to top-up your education. Whether they are free or paid, they are still worth it.
So, what form do a lot of these courses take? Well, it depends on the individual instructor but generally…
- Free online courses such as those offered by Google are probably some of the most popular. Not just because they’re free but also because they’re pretty comprehensive. Plenty of bloggers (who are naturally experts in their field) are also offer free courses.
- Online education can also take the form of an e-book. Expert bloggers may publish and distribute these for free. However, usually you’ll have to pay (ebooks usually don’t cost that much, so they’re definitely worth the investment!).
- Video instruction courses such as those offered at Udemy are also an excellent option. They’re interactive: you can literally see and hear the person talking. They’ll also provide you with exercises and some of them provide written feedback from your tutor.
- Live webinars and seminars are offered by some experts. They’re no different to a standard lecture you may get at university or at a conference. The difference is that you’re simply attending online.