Online Courses To The Rescue!3 years ago Sameeksha Bansal
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Apparently, Ygritte knew what she was talking about. We’ve all gone to school and university and are well educated. But does our learning stop at that? Once we stop school, do we stop learning? Unfortunately for many of us, the answer would be Yes, even if we refuse to acknowledge it. Blame it on life. We get so caught up in our work and mundane activities that learning something new tends to go down the list. Thankfully, technology and some smart minds make this a tad bit easier and therefore harder to ignore. Harder come up with excuses! The magic word? Online Courses, for FREE. Well, most of them anyway.
There are quite a few services that offer top notch courses for free, online. These courses cover a vast array of interests and subjects. From learning how to play a musical instrument, to the nutrition value in the food you eat, to the different types of movements in snakes. Think of a topic and you’ll most likely be able to do a course in it. Most of these courses offer a completion certificate and can be done at your pace, within a reasonable limit. It wouldn’t make sense to take 3 months to finish a 3 week course.
Coursera. Founded in 2012 by a couple of Stanford professors, Coursera offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) in about 28 countries globally. The actual courses offered are a little over 1500. Thats an impressive number. Coursera partners with universities and institutions to provide some of their courses online. Interestingly, India is one of Coursera’s biggest Markets outside the United States of America. China, bagging the top slot, at a million or so registered users. Coursera is currently in the middle of a technical strategy change: migrating to a new platform, that allows better pacing of the courses.
FutureLearn. Also founded in 2012, FutureLearn is UK based and is owned by an open university. Unlike Coursera, FutureLearn also partners with non-university entities like the British Museum, the British Council and many others. I’ve done a couple of fun courses from FutureLearn and quite enjoyed it!
Udacity. What started out as free computer classes through Stanford University, went on to become Udacity. Like Coursera, Udacity also started out with providing university style course, but has now moved to providing vocational courses for employment. What this means is, they do not give free certificates. For certification, users have to register for a paid test. Udacity, wants their course credibility recognised and approved by employers.
Udemy. So, Udemy is not exactly like the above counterparts. It’s more like a marketplace for online learning. Udemy does not partner with universities or learning institutions. Anybody proficient in a subject can create and offer courses, either free or paid. Udemy simply provides the tools you might need to create and promote courses.
For someone working in a corporate job or in a startup, taking some of these courses would be a great idea. The benefits are many fold. For starters, you learn something new, that is always cool. You add specific skills to your domain, that help you do what you do, better. These courses are also a great stress buster. Learning something completely unrelated can help you relieve stress in your otherwise busy life.
There are many more avenues to do courses and learn skills online. If you have a specific one that you like, but is not listed here, write in to us and tell us what you like best about it.