If you’re like me, you work really hard and sometimes your brain needs a break from work. Instead of the usual walk around the block or having lunch with a friend, you may want to try learning about other topics or subjects that interest you. We have access to more information than ever in our everyday lives, so how can we harness our focus on interesting topics to help increase our productivity and overall knowledge?
Here is a list of top great MOOC (massive online open course) resources and some great classes you can take advantage of taking for minimal cost or even for free!
Coursera is an education platform that partners with universities and organizations worldwide. They also offer scholarships for all of their courses for those who cannot pay. Coursera has a whole personal development category of courses, making it a great option for those of you looking to continue professional development.
Use if: You’re curious about changing careers or are just plain curious.
Recommended course: Career Success Specialization
EdEx was started by collaboration between MIT and Harvard back in 2012. MIT already offered its popular online MITopencourseware, which has been around for 15 years. They now have 90 global partners and a vast array of courses, most of which can be audited for free. For those invested in the ideas around MIT’s Opencourseware, EdEx is non-profit and open source.
Use if: The ideas around open source excite you, and if you love learning.
Recommended course: Innovation Generation: How to Be Creative
FutureLearn was founded and is owned by The Open University across the pond. For those particularly interested in online learning with a more European perspective, FutureLearn is a great place to go. They have 95 partners from around the world, and also they partner with the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum, and the National Film and Television School. You can audit most of Future Learns’ courses for free.Use if: You're working in anything international.
Recommended Course: Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing
Khan Academy offers practice exercises, courses, and more. They’ve partnered with NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT, and they are also known as a great place for children to learn online—the founder even started a school in California.
Udacity was founded after Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered their "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" course online to anyone for free while they were teaching at Stanford. Over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled in that course. Udacity focuses more on technology courseware, which is great for some of you looking to jumpstart a new career.
Use if: You want to become a developer.
Recommended Course: Android Development for Beginners
Did you know Lynda.com is offered through many libraries for free? Lynda.com is great for learning about software programs you may need to know for your work.
Use if: You need to get up to date on the latest software releases.
Recommended Course: Getting Started with Premiere Pro CC (2015)