Spare time? Enroll in these online courses for free
I still remember the denim library bag mum made me as a kid. It had this little iron on squirrel and my name embroidered boldly on the front. I'd wander through the aisles of the library, wondering if I should pick something new, or just re-read a firm favourite—Babysitters Club or Goosebumps?
At the time, I could never understand why anyone would want to read non-fiction books for pleasure. It seemed weird to want to learn about facts when you could read something just for fun.
But now? I can’t bring myself to waste an audible credit on a fiction book when I could be learning more about business or personal development.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good fiction book, but since starting our business I have a slightly unhealthy addiction to learning. My weapons of choice? Podcasts, youtube videos, TED talks, books and of course, the holy grail—online courses.
So lately, with more of my time spent indoors, I’ve been binging on online learning. And with many top universities offering courses free to the public, there’s never been a better time to skill up.
So whether you’re a bit of a nerd like yours truly, or you’re looking for something productive to do, make sure you check out these incredible, totally free courses.
1. The Science of Wellbeing | Yale University
Yale’s most popular class ever is now available online for anyone to take for free. The Science of Wellbeing delivers a ‘series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits’. It was originally created in response to concerning levels of student depression, anxiety, and stress, but has since been turned into an online course and made available to the general public free of charge.
Recently, Kane and I have been putting a bigger focus on our own mental health as we navigate changes in our business and at home, just like everyone else. I’ve already started diving into this course and I’m excited to build new habits to help weather whatever lies ahead!
2. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content | University of Pennsylvania
If you’ve got dreams to reach millions with your product, service or message, you might be curious about why some content goes viral, while other content fizzles and flops.
In this course, Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, teaches you how to build stickier, more shareable messages that can increase your influence and get your important ideas to catch on.
3. The Strategy of Content Marketing | University of California, Davis
If you’ve been thinking about creating your own blog, youtube channel or podcast but aren’t sure where to begin, this course might be the perfect starting point!
In this collab between UC Davis and Copyblogger, you’ll learn how to create your own content marketing strategy to build authority and attract new customers to your business. Over 5 juicy weeks it covers how to create an editorial calendar, capture attention with your headlines and measure the effectiveness of your content.
4. Visual Presentation | Rochester Institute of Technology
While it might seem like the visuals in your slide deck are just there to make it look prettier, they can actually make or break your audience’s ability to understand thought processes, retain concepts, and recall important information. And sometimes, a well placed visual can communicate a complex idea in a single glance, rather than in paragraphs of text.
In this free course from RIT, you’ll learn how to use visuals within your presentations and documents to deliver more impactful speeches, webinars, proposals or pitches.
5. Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator | Yale University
I always thought the goal of a negotiation was compromise. That was, until I took a negotiation class at uni and the instructor told me I had lost the negotiation because I met the other side halfway. So, I’m ready to channel my inner Samuel L. Jackson and get my persuasion on with this highly rated course from Yale.
The instructor covers preparing for a negotiation, making ultimatums, avoiding regret and dealing with different worldviews. So, whether you want to win more negotiations at work, or in your personal life this free class will help you get there.
6. Reputation Management in a Digital World | Curtin University
Thanks to the 24/7 news cycle, participatory culture and social media it doesn’t take long for news to spread. And, even if it’s ‘fake news’ it can still be taxing on your brand rep—just ask Taylor Swift. In this course, you’ll learn how to build, manage and protect your reputation authentically, even in times of crisis.
7. How to Build a Startup | The Lean Launchpad
In the early stages of building your startup? This free training will show you how to gather massive amounts of customer feedback early on so you can avoid spending big on a product no one wants.
You’ll also learn how to identify the costs for your new product as well as the resources you’ll need to take your idea from concept to reality.
8. Becoming an Effective Leader | University of Queensland
No matter the size or structure of your business, there's a good chance you'll need to step into a leadership role at some point in your career.
And whether you're heading up a massive corporation or leading a small or virtual team, the strength of your leadership skills can directly impact your team's turnover, morale, and productivity.
But, so often, leaders are expected to take command without being taught how to build trust and credibility with their crew.
If you want to be a more effective leader, this course from the University of Queensland covers a lot of ground‚ from fostering equity and inclusion to building empathy and relationships with your team.
These are just some of the interesting courses available online via Coursera, Udemy, edx and Udacity. And, I’m sure there are many more gems (both free and paid) available online for you to sink your teeth into too.
So if you’re feeling inspired to learn something new, there’s never been a better time than right now.
If you think your community, friends or family would be interested in signing up for some of these programs, please feel free to share this article with them too.
Now, tell me in the comments— what are you learning right now? I’d love to know!