Turn that dream into a reality today
Last week we spoke about why continual learning is important both from a business point of view and for your own personal development. On the career front, upskilling makes you a more valuable employee for your employer, leading to better work, increased career longevity, and higher productivity. Personally speaking, taking a MOOC or learning a new skill helps you remain sharp and stay connected with
Learning something new can feel daunting, however. How many of us have always wanted to learn a new language to prep for that backpacking trip across Europe or build a kickass website to showcase the photography from said dream vacation or just give it all up to retire to the countryside and become eccentric recluses who write best-selling novel after best-selling novel? Most of us get stuck at this dream stage. It’s always nice to fantasize about a new life, but reality has a way of interfering and these interests remain hobbies to mention on a Tinder profile, rather than a skill we develop.
What we need is easy access, some structure, and a little bit of motivation. Today, open courses, MOOCs and learning management systems make it easier than ever to ensure that fantasy doesn’t just remain a pipe dream, but turns into a valuable and marketable skill. Here are four things you could easily begin to learn online today:
Crash Course – From physics to philosophy, Crash Course’s short videos are fun and informative, making it a great 101 resource for anyone waiting to get started. Built by the Green Brothers (John is an award winning writer, and Hank is an internet behemoth), these videos are great at piquing your interest enough to make you want to dive a little deeper. Or if you know you already want to know everything there is to know about the human body, it’s a great place to refresh your knowledge until at least the high school level. We particularly like John’s series on Literature!
CodeAcademy – Every uncle and aunty seems to want you to learn computers. While “just do computers in college, beta” for the umpteenth time is infuriating at best, there is some logic to this cut-and-paste piece of advice. Coding Is an invaluable skill, whether you intend to pursue this as a career or not. Even for the non-technically inclined, the usefulness of being able to throw together a simple website to host your portfolio, or to just be able to communicate your requirements and assess whether you’re getting the best bang for your buck can’t be denied.
750words – There’s a non-tech version of the “just learn to code” advice we talked about above. It’s when writers get told to “just write”. Beyond the basic rules of spelling, grammar and composition, writing honestly just comes down to practice. And consistency. Talking about writing is easy, but doing it is hard. This is where 750 Words comes in – the bar is set low, the interface is clean, and it encourages writing to become a habit, and with time, a skill. Start today!
Coursera – No list on upskilling would be complete without a nod to the granddaddy of all online learning, Coursera. It started out offering a few MOOCs largely focused on machine learning (the founders’ field of expertise) and now offers courses on practically everything one could dream of. Seriously, you can learn how to care for a horse if you want. The great part is that it has tied up with renowned universities to offer official certifications for a portion of these courses, which means that you can actually use it to boost your resume. I’m already fantasizing new career as a horse whisperer.
Our curiosity to learn new things has never flagged, and MOOCs and learning management systems have made it easier to satiate this curiosity than ever before. All it needs is for you to take the leap. So, what skill will you begin building today?