Regardless of where you are in your career, it is important to continue learning and improving your skills. Whether you are still trying to land your first job, or you are a seasoned professional, you want to keep your skills current and remain attractive to future employers.
Fortunately there are plenty of ways (both free and paid) to continue learning and growing. Here are a few.
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/
Is there anything you can’t learn on YouTube? Yes, not everyone presenting information will be an expert, but there are plenty who are. This platform is always my first stop when I want to learn something new.
Coursera – https://www.coursera.org/
There are tons of classes on this platform. Many are from highly acclaimed universities. Not all of them are free, but Many are. A lot of the course have different enrollment options, and you may need to find and click this link to see what options are offered. Even if the button does not read “Enroll for free” (though many do), loo for the option to audit the course.
When you audit a course on Coursera, you will have access to most course materials such as videos, readings, and discussion forums. You won’t have access to graded assignments, quizzes, or a course completion certificate, as these are only offered when you choose to purchase the course.
Coursera’s home page also has a section dedicated to promoting their free courses. This is a good place to start if you want to filter your options by those that are free.
Facebook Groups for your industry
I’m in groups for marketing professionals, career coaches, freelancers, and caregivers as well as groups for hobbies like manicures (I love press-on nails!), photography and travel destinations.
I have found the groups for industries to be insanely helpful! People ask questions about their industry, seek advice about challenges they face at work or report on new technology. The answers and feedback that people provide in the comments are very useful. If you are in a group like this, you can ask about the best courses or other resources to enhance your skills. People want to be helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Find groups for your industry by using the search feature on Facebook and then selecting “groups” to see what groups are available.
If you have some extra money to invest in growing your skills, there are many affordable options. Some platforms offer pay-per-course options, while others offer a subscription that allows you to watch as many courses as you want.
LinkedIn Learning – https://www.linkedin.com/learning
This is a subscription site that is included if you have a paid LinkedIn Premium account. The platform has an extensive collection of courses, and new ones are added often. There are stand-alone short courses as well as longer certificate courses. Within the courses, you could choose to watch just a lesson or two, or a whole series of courses on the topic.
Whether you just need to get up to speed quickly on a specific software such as Photoshop, Excel, or Quickbooks, of if you want a detailed deep dive into project management, digital marketing or leadership skills, this platform has you covered. It is my favorite of the paid platforms.
Creative Live – https://www.creativelive.com
This is another website that I love! Their offerings cater mostly to individuals working in creative fields (art, videography, photography, writing, etc.). Most of the classes offered are paid, though the prices are reasonable. But each week, they do offer a schedule of classes that are on-air live at specific times – and these are free.
Here is a snapshot of the classes coming up for the two days following when I checked their website.
You can click the RSVP button and you will get an email reminder about the class. You’ll have to watch it live though, that’s the only way they are offered free.
Udemy – https://www.udemy.com
This platform offers both a subscription plan, or you can buy individual courses and pay as you learn. The subscription plan, currently offered at $16.58 per month, includes access to 8,000+ courses that are curated by Udemy from their catalog of 210,000+ courses. Most individual courses cost around $20-$30 each.
Skillshare – https://www.skillshare.com
This platform advertises itself as online classes for creatives. The screenshot below from their home page shows some of the categories of courses they offer including film, photography, crafts, writing, social media, animation, drawing and more.
Confession: I have never taken a class from Skillshare, but I have a colleague who uses it all the time. He is a graphic artist and often brushes up on new skills or techniques through these courses.
Skillshare offers courses through a subscription plan. The current cost is $13.99 per month (billed annually) with access to unlimited classes.
More Ways to Learn
Professional associations within your industry.
Many professions have associations that offer benefits to members. These organizations typically require a paid membership, though sometimes free or discounted options are available for students. These associations offer a great way to network with others in your industry.
Some even offer certifications, industry conferences, workshops or short on-demand training videos.
Finding someone who is already knowledgeable in what you want to learn is always a good idea. They can guide you to the best learning resources and offer wisdom from their own journey. You can look within your current organization, on LinkedIn, or in Facebook groups as a starting point to find someone you would like to connect with.
Online Webinars or Masterclasses
These vary by profession, and the quality can vary as well, but when I want to learn something new I usually search for courses about it on Google. I’ve often found some great free webinars or other training this way. You will also find paid options. Just be sure to do your research and read reviews to be sure the training fits your needs.
While most of us begin our search for new knowledge and skills online, don’t forget about your local library. Many libraries now have partnerships with some training platforms – some even offer LinkedIn Learning classes to their patrons for free. They also have eBooks or audio books available that can help you get up to speed on new trends in your industry.
It’s never too late to start learning something new! You got this!!