"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." - Henry Ford
Do you know what makes successful people? To never stop learning. Always be curious about the world, new fields, and ways to improve your skills.
To get you even more motivated: Keeping your brain working will keep it healthy, preventing a bad memory or even Dementia.
So, how can we gain new skills? For some of us, we are lucky enough to have an employer who is interested in developing talents. It’s companies who are willing to spend on further education of their employees, for them to make a better job and bring in new ideas. But the reality is, that most people need to care for their own education. Not all of us have the time to enroll in university for some extra lectures or pay for further education on our own.
Luckily, web 2.0, the interactive web, offers great chances for online courses and tutorials to learn new skills all by ourselves! Of course, it’s not only limited to hard skills, you could even learn about fields you were always interested in. Art, History, Biology, Psychology, there's no limit on knowledge.
Here are 5 platforms to get your brain working - completely for free:
Udacity’s platform is directly related to gaining skills for your dream job. With courses about programming, web design, or data science, they offer nano degrees which are accepted as official references.
Instead of lecturing, they believe in practical learning.
Together with companies like Google, Salesforce, and Facebook, they develop interactive courses for beginners, advanced levels, and professionals. However, not all courses are free, so you have to filter in advance.
Some courses we really like:
- Android Development for Beginners (in Collaboration with Google): This course teaches you the basics of Android and Java programming to become an Android developer.
- Intro to Psychology (in Collaboration with San Jose State University): "Go on a journey through psychological concepts and principles to enable you to gain a more in-depth understanding of human thought and behavior.“
- Problem-Solving with Advanced Analytics (in Collaboration with Alteryx): „Learn a scientific approach to solving problems with data, a foundational skill for anyone interested in making data-driven decisions in a business context.“
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, short MIT, is known as one of the high-class universities of the world. Mostly, it’s known for engineering and physical sciences, but their graduate programs offer a wide range of courses. In their OpenCourseWare, MIT made their content from different courses available for everyone, sharing it online for free.
In the course overview, you can filter by topics and departments, for example, Business, Fine Arts, Engineering, etc., getting the possibility to access the course online or download the materials. Furthermore, most of them contain video and audio lectures as well as assignments.
So you have to do your homework! To be honest, it’s hard to follow an online lecture without having the possibility to ask for more details, so we’d recommend it mostly for humanities, psychology, and fine arts.
Here are 3 courses we love:
(not all of them might be important for your work but could interest you on a personal level as well. Just learn, the benefits are yours!):
- Ethics in Your Life: Being, Thinking, Doing (or Not?): A guide to ongoing reflection and action regarding our everyday ethical issues.
- Engineering Innovation and Design: „Learn to produce great designs, be a more effective engineer, and communicate with high emotional and intellectual impact“
- Introduction to Photography: A course on practical instruction in black and white photography, digital and analog, camera operation, etc. Also, it's a critical view on the effect of photos in our culture.
Not only did the MIT provide their own content, but they also collaborated with Harvard to found edX in 2012. The portal offers courses from universities around the world, so you can enroll in courses from home and in your own time. Most of them are for free, and for a little charge, you can even get a certificate if you need it for your job or a future application. It’s open-source and non-profit. The courses come together from all fields of study, like architecture, law, communication, business, etc.
So feel free to feed all your interest!
Our favorite courses are:
- Becoming a successful leader (Inclusive leadership training): With one hour per week for 4 weeks, you’ll learn what it needs to be a successful leader nowadays.
- Online Marketing Strategies: An introduction to the possible marketing uses of the internet.
- Get Beyond Work-Life Balance: „Do you ever struggle to manage work and the rest of your life? You are not alone. Men and women all over the world are trying to figure out the impossible work-life “balance” and instead achieve success in all parts of their lives“
"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family." - Kofi Annan
The Digital Garage
A platform by Google about Online Marketing? That’s got to be a guarantee for digital skills! And it is. The digital garage’s online courses guide you through the function of search engines, social media, analytics, and more. It’s a great way to spice up your CV and score a career entry in Online Marketing.
We recommend taking all courses, one after another, to get into the field of Online Marketing.
Iversity is a special online platform that focuses on higher education for professional purposes. Their courses are provided by business experts who formed courses in their professional's fields for you to learn. Like most platforms, it offers free courses as well as paid ones. For the free ones, filter for „MOOCs“ in the course catalog.
Three of our favorites are:
- Discover yourself: Build a Career and make an impact: A course about self-discovery and self-improvement for a successful career.
- New Business Models: Working Together on Value Creation: "Learn how to build your own sustainable New Business Model, based on your own ideas."
- Social Innovation: „Social Innovations change the rules by which people live together. Learn what social innovations are and how they can be developed. Because the way we live, work and do business could actually be quite different!“