Lifelong learning and professional development shouldn’t stop for working adults in the fast-changing economy, and this applies even more so for entrepreneurs.
Whether its the new social distancing norms or because of your busy schedule as an entrepreneur, online learning platforms would be your best companion as you pick up new knowledge and skills, and update your existing ones.
Partnering over 190 universities and organisations including Stanford, Imperial College London, Google and IBM, Coursera is one of the most popular online learning platforms, for good reason too.
The educational service was founded in 2012 by two Stanford University computer science professors and offers over 3,000 courses. From business analytics to the foundations of everyday leadership, Coursera’s variety is staggering. That said, Coursera is about quality and quantity, where it works with universities and professors worldwide.
Coursera offers 5 types of learning programmes, the most popular being Courses and Specialisations. They may be the most basic programme, but Courses consist of video lectures, group discussion forums and auto-graded/peer-reviewed assignments.
Featuring a series of courses, Specialisations focus on a specific topic such that users can master a particular skill. For instance, if you’re looking to learn more about data science to help with the analysation of data, you can choose to take a series of courses that cover the different aspects of the topic.
Coursera’s video lessons are accompanied by interactive transcripts and tools for taking notes. Reading materials are provided, with assignments graded (depending on the programme). A fuss-free interface also allows easy navigation of the site, where courses are neatly categorised. More importantly, Coursera is available as an app to facilitate learning for digital nomads.
Pricing: Coursera offers thousands of free online courses. Small business owners can also consider Coursera Business, an arm developed by the organisation to aid business growth and development. Be it for individual or organisational development, Coursera has you covered.
Similar to Coursera, Edx was founded in 2012. The platform is founded by universities Harvard and MIT, and offers a wide variety of quality courses ranging from Python to data analysis to corporate finance.
Edx offers over 2,500 courses under 6 different programmes: one-off courses, MicroMasters Program, Professional Certificates, Global Fresh Academy and XSeries Program.
The first three programmes will be attractive for entrepreneurs and small business owners. One-off courses allow you to pick up skills at your own leisure, while the Professional Certificates is a series of courses that advance existing skills.
Edx’s courses are structured around video lectures and include interactive, peer-to-peer learning tools to facilitate learning. The courses come with detailed descriptions (think course outlines, instructors, price, duration) and prerequisites such that you can learn what to expect before taking up the course.
Pricing: While course materials can be accessed for free, paying for a course brings about perks such as graded assessments, unlimited access to courses and certificates of completion. Graded assessments and quizzes are also useful with solidifying your knowledge of the subject.
A popular online training platform, Udemy offers a wide array of courses that cater to entrepreneurial needs. These include marketing, copywriting, and marketing courses.
Courses are categorised into modules/lessons, and are accompanied by videos, notes, as well as assessment tests. While courses can’t be downloaded, the Udemy mobile app allows users to study offline, with lectures structured around a podcast-like style.
Unlike its counterparts such as Coursera and Edx, anyone is able to create and market their courses on the platform, begging the question – is Udemy legit? Recognised and utilised by household-name companies (e.g. Forbes and Mashable), the short answer is yes. However, it’s recommended to read plenty of reviews and to research the instructors before embarking on a course.
Pricing: Many courses are available for free, though some Udemy courses are individually priced. Prices do vary, even for courses on similar topics. Hence, conduct plenty of research before committing.
A platform folks in the creative industry or those looking to expand their creative skills will love, Skillshare courses are offered in 4 broad categories: Creative, Technology, Business and Lifestyle. Courses range from design to animation to web development.
With most courses conducted between 30 mins to an hour, Skillshare is perfect for users running on tight schedules. Looking for more immersive learning? Skillshare Live Sessions was recently introduced, with hour-long live sessions that allow users to work alongside instructors while asking questions in real-time.
For longer-term and more intensive learning, Skillshare Workshops are courses held over a few weeks for users looking to gain more feedback from instructors. However, this program is only available for premium subscribers (details in pricing below).
Unlike its counterparts, Skillshare courses are not accredited. What makes it stand out are its team-based courses – courses for businesses that seek to improve team-building and efficiency management through team-based projects.
Pricing: Skillshare offers two types of subscriptions – free and premium. Doing away with the pay-per-course, premium subscribers are granted to unlimited access to courses, tutorials and workshops. You can also join groups and participate in discussions. A fuss-free subscription process, perfect for picking up a variety of skills.
#5 Google Digital Garage
A fuss-free platform that paves the way to acquiring fundamental digital skills, Google Digital Garage offers some of the most in-demand skills such as online marketing, advertising and coding. Courses are split across short and accessible modules that are easily consumed.
Like all online learning platforms, courses are structured around videos. What sets Google Digital Garage apart is its knowledge check feature, where users are asked a number of questions to consolidate and ensure their understanding of the lesson. Courses also feature real-life examples – for instance, interviews with business owners across different sectors are used to demonstrate a certain marketing technique.
Pricing: All courses are absolutely free. All you need is a Google account to get started.
Learn What You Want, When You Want To
Beyond providing quality content, these learning platforms offer bite-sized courses and are also available on mobile apps, making them the perfect resources to hone your entrepreneurial skills with – even after social distancing measures.
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