I used to be one of those people who believe that learning is over once college/high school/whatever institution is completed. Luckily, things have happened and I’ve ditched that state of mind, and I firmly believe that everyone should learn as long as they possibly can.
And a smart man once said – never stop learning because life never stops teaching. To help you out on where to start, I want to share with you what works for me the best, and how you can begin to learn anything you want. Enjoy!
It makes me happy to think about first discovering Lynda. I remember LinkedIn buying off Lynda, but I didn’t pay much attention to it, until I started receiving emails about their free trial period. It was June and I was stressing over my thesis, but decided to try it out anyway.
My first Lynda course was Online marketing fundamentals by Brad Batesole, when I have basically just started dabbling in digital marketing world. Since then, I have been going through 4 different playlists I have on my Lynda account: Marketing, SEO, Web and Photography.
So, cutting to the chase: Lynda is an awesome online training center. You can find 3,976 courses in total and learn on beginner, intermediate and advanced level inside a topic you are interested in. The choice is stunning: marketing, web technologies, video, audio & music, developer, design, photography, IT… You can learn ridiculously a lot!
Lynda has a variety of subscriptions: you get to choose between a basic and a premium membership (premium lets you download exercise files and view courses in offline mode), and you can also decide whether you want to pay month after month or a get a yearly subscription all at once (which saves you money long-term).
Don’t be frightened by fees, as they are really basic compared to what you get in return; and they will also give you a trial before you pay anything, so you can get a good look into what you can learn and achieve by joining. The only other thing you’ll need is your power of will!
p.s. Certificates that Lynda gives you after finishing a course are easily shareable to your LinkedIn account 🙂
If you haven’t heard of Coursera yet, you are definitely missing out big time. Providing ‘universal access to the world’s best education‘ is what they are after, and they are awesome. This is where you can access tons of courses from actual universities – for free.
Coursera is currently offering 1,469 courses from 134 partners across 27 countries in areas such as computer science, business, math and logic, personal development, social sciences, engineering and more.
One thing to keep in mind here – access to all the lessons and knowledge in general is absolutely free; however, it is this year’s news when it comes to certificates. Before recent changes, Coursera was offering a free certificate and a verified certificate; as you can probably guess, the latter required to be payed for.
The situation is a bit different now, and to earn a verified certificate, you must still pay, but there is no free version of it or any piece of confirmation that you’ve actually finished a course and passed the tests. The knowledge is still free, so go and use it! You can read more about the recent changes here.
Udemy has taken the whole online courses world a different step further, and with over 32,000 courses available right now, you can learn about areas already listed above, but also about personal development, health and fitness, lifestyle and productivity.
You can also learn languages, social sciences, humanities; there’s even teaching tools and education. However, if you are looking for free courses, you might have to browse a bit longer – but it will pay off. Course prices go from zero to even over €300, but if you sign up to their newsletter, you can avail of some sweet deals – there are always courses on promotion for free or for €11 or something along those lines.
As always, persistence works well, so do your research and make good use of it.
You want to learn foreign languages, but you don’t have money for language schools? Duolingo comes to rescue!
Throughout the past 15 years, besides my native Croatian language, I have also learned (or started learning) English, Italian, French, Polish and German (this doesn’t mean I am even close to being fluent in all of them; but I’ll get there someday!).
I have always wanted to go to one of those cool language schools and get certified in awesome languages and be just really awesome, but I found myself moving a lot in the past two years, so I couldn’t commit, and even when I kind of settled, I couldn’t afford them. But I have been loving languages since I can remember and at this point I am basically living, working and sometimes even dreaming in English, my non-native language.
So I decided to try out Duolingo, and I tried out German (that I’ve never learned or spoken in my life before), which seemed really cool, so I went on with Italian, too (I have learned Italian through primary and secondary school, but have forgotten most of it). And boy was I impressed!
The cool thing about Duolingo is that it lets you learn in a natural way, through sentences and translating both ways. You can repeat the lessons as many times as you wish (they are really nice and short, ‘bite-sized’, as Duolingo says), you can go through skill strengthening, access the list of all the words you’ve learned, and so on. Every language is laid out in the form of a tree, which is exactly how you get to branch out your skills.
And before you ask any further – yes, it’s absolutely free! For the full list of available languages and all other good stuff, visit Duolingo Language Courses.
Before coders jump on me saying that it takes much more than online learning to actually learn how to code – yes, I know that – but those who know nothing about it and want to start somewhere, here’s where to start.
It was never my wish to really get into depths of coding and web development, but I did want to push myself a bit to learn and understand how websites work, how are they structured and how can I understand what I see on them more by understanding its skeleton. And because of my interest in digital marketing and analytics, I wanted to know HTML and CSS, at least around their basics.
Both are very user-friendly, easy to start with, and extremely motivating. You’ll find yourself getting further than you expected and wanting to learn things you didn’t really think you’ll need. They will make you feel fabulous for starting out and finishing their courses, and they will give you many friendly and helpful advice along the way.
It is also worth mentioning that you can also pick courses from math, science, arts and humanities and other fields on Khan Academy. One more reason to love them is because they are big on lifelong learning and making the best out of it!
Networking and webinars
I didn’t realize this until only recently, but you can learn so much from influencers in your field. I have only recently started to attend networking events related to digital marketing and blogging, and it isn’t long ago that I started actively participate in related Twitter discussions, too.
By doing so, I have met some incredible people and found many companies, agencies and individuals that organize some really useful webinars, bringing everyone who participates loads of information, documents and tools, and all this while being incredibly open to answering anyone’s questions.
Let me quickly name just a few examples. I recently attended a webinar by Moz (a ‘mozinar’, to be more precise) on content tracking and success, which was held by Tori Cushing, Moz’s very own customer success engineer, and I connected with her via Twitter later on (she is very friendly and awesome!). I learned a lot and it was some real fun.
I also started following Matthew Barby‘s digital marketing blog some months ago and watched Hubspot’s Marketing Grader seminar where he was one of the speakers. I found both of the resources brilliant for SEO, lead generation and digital marketing in general, and I made sure to let him know how useful it was for me. People are awesome, so make sure you tell them that!
Events such as conferences and networking business events are a great opportunity to meet people you can genuinely learn from, get some great advice from, or find about a new learning resource from. Just a couple of days ago I’ve met Janet and Shauna when I attended Blog Awards Ireland (girls are fabulous, go check out their blogs!). Connecting with such people online might give you some great ideas on where to go next.
And one more thing: a great place to look for events that might be related to you is Eventbrite. I’m not kidding. Go – and happy learning!