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    Eight Online Options to Build Your Skills and Learn New Ones

    Whether you want to do it for your career or just to explore your interests, it’s a good idea to continuously learn over the course of your life. Skills need to be sharpened, after all, and new talents developed, and it’s always fun to explore a personal interest.

    No matter what you do, though, it can often seem difficult to get into what you want to do. Between work and family and other obligations, time can be a factor; being able to pay for courses is a typical concern; and there are always issues of scheduling and local availability.

    You can conquer those concerns, though, by looking online for opportunities to skill up. Here are just a few of the platforms that you can turn to for learning:

    • Udemy has become popular for offering a wide range of courses—web and IT skills, business and other office skills, arts, lifestyle and more—for relatively cheaply. The curriculum is completely self-paced, too, with lifetime access once you’re purchased a course.
    • Similar, but with more options around personal interests like culinary and carts and crafts, is Skillshare. Membership opens up a library of 15,000+ courses that’s growing all the time.
    • If you’re interested in courses from some of the world’s finest universities, Coursera is a good place to start that’s also significantly more affordable. It does cost more than other platforms, sometimes, though, but there is financial aid, and you can work toward a recognized degree in the process.
    • Lynda.com is a product of LinkedIn, so it’s primarily focused on professional skills. It also uses a subscription model to make its entire library available.
    • We’ve talked about Codeacademy before, and it remains a great option for learning coding skills for front-end (website) and back-end (management) development. Though it’s more limited in scope, it’s completely free.
    • Khan Academy is also free, and it’s geared more toward the kinds of courses that you might take in high school or community college. It also offers test prep for when you’re ready to take the next step in your life or career.
    • To build highly specialized cutting-edge career skills, or to pursue high-tech interests, you can look into Udacity, which goes so far as to include hiring partnerships with major companies and “nanodegrees” in industry-specific skills.
    • And, of course, there’s always GCFLearnFree, where you can work on personal and career skills at a more basic level and step up as you get more comfortable, always for free and with the connection to more assistance from local Goodwills.

    One other thing to note: While you can work on your skills by taking courses, you can also continuously develop by teaching! Many of these platforms offer you the opportunity to turn back around, as an expert, and lead courses of your own. Doing so will help you to sharpen the skills that you have and even develop more in building lessons and working with groups.

     

    Jonathan Miller
    is GII’s GoodProspects for Credentials to Careers Digital Communications Specialist.
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