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Online education has been on the rise for several years now, but the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a huge surge of interest in online training programs in a number of ways. First, because many school districts shut down for the remainder of the school year in March, online K-12 education spiked, and the interest in primary education will likely continue even after the pandemic passes. Interest in online professional training, continuing education, and college courses have also been renewed.
Where are people going for this online training?
Here are 10 of the best platforms for internet-based training and education:
- Udemy – Udemy is one of the most popular online learning platforms with more than 100,000 courses on a variety of topics ranging from business to personal development. Udemy for Business provides services for companies who want to use the platform for professional training for their employees.
- Teachable – Teachable is a platform that allows anyone to create a course and teach the skills they have to others. People looking for courses can do so by searching their catalog. Through Discover, some courses are made available for free on a limited-time basis.
- Coursera – Coursera has carved out a niche for itself by partnering with more than 200 universities and companies to offer college and professional coursework leading to certifications and degrees. Coursera for Business allows companies to upskill employees easily with courses provided by world-class educational institutions.
- Skillshare – Skillshare is a peer-to-peer education platform allowing anyone to create a course and teach others practical skills such as animation and design and writing. They also provide lifestyle and business courses.
- Google Classroom – Google Classroom allows schools, non-profits, and others a way to deliver online education if they have a Google account. Users log in with their Google accounts and can choose to join a class or create a class. To join a class, you need the class code, so it’s a much more controlled environment than other platforms on this list.
- edX – edX is a smaller version of Coursera, allowing anyone to take college courses online. This platform also offers online certification and degree programs, including “Micro” bachelor’s and master’s programs.
- LinkedIn Learning – Formerly called Lynda, LinkedIn Learning allows professionals to upscale their skills online. What’s unique about it is you can join LinkedIn Learning as a standalone or upgrade your LinkedIn membership to gain access to training resources for free.
- Khan Academy – Khan Academy is a nonprofit entity that provides educational resources and online training for K-12 classrooms as well as colleges and universities. One of the benefits of Khan Academy is being able to personalize your child’s learning.
- TED – TED is an acronym that stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Started in 1984, professionals from a variety of backgrounds share their knowledge through short talks. TEDx expands TED’s mission to local communities globally while TEDEd is TED’s youth and education initiative allowing teachers and students to connect in a new way.
- YouTube – Chances are, you’re already familiar with YouTube. Not only can you hear your favorite music from your favorite bands and watch the news on YouTube, but you can also get some of the best how-to videos online. In fact, the breadth of free educational videos on YouTube is incredible.
Specialty Online Training Platforms
There are, of course, specialized platforms that allow prospective students to learn specific skills from subject matter pros. Here are a few specialty online training platforms you can try.
- Guitar Lessons – There are all sorts of places online to learn how to play the guitar. Just Google “guitar lessons” or search for guitar lessons on YouTube. The best training will be paid training, but if you’re just starting out and want to test the waters, guitarlessons.com offers free online guitar lessons.
- Cooking Classes – If you want to learn how to cook, PopSugar has a list of 12 free online cooking classes.
- Nikon School Online – Photography is another skill you can learn for free online. Ther are plenty of places to go if you just Google “online photography lessons.” In this case, camera manufacturer Nikon has a series of free classes in photography and videography.
- Business Training – Learning how to start and manage a business is not easy. Learning on the job is free, but when you consider that most new businesses don’t survive past five years, and many don’t make it beyond the two-year mark, it pays to gain some basic business knowledge before you start. Open Culture lists over 100 free online business courses for would-be entrepreneurs. These range from basic business strategy to financial accounting.
- Investing Classes – One way many companies secure new clients is by teaching those clients how to perform tasks related to the company’s core competency. TD Ameritrade, for instance, has courses for its clients that teach them investing principles. By the same token, investment research and data firm Morningstar offers investing classes.
If there is anything you want to learn, there is likely a way to learn it online. You just have to find the right resource. And much of the training is free.
One category of online training is called Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). These are online training classes that are offered through some of the above platforms, and many of them offer certificates of completion or other proof of training. MOOCs are available to individuals and often to businesses so that employees can upskill. Some industries, such as real estate and accounting, have online training resources available for continuing education. Learn more about MOOCs at Mooc.org.
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