28 Jun 2022

When you get bored learn a new skill for free

When you get bored learn a new skill for free

Sent home? Self-isolating? It's a truly sh*t situation currently, so the least you deserve is to come out the other end with at least one new skill that benefits you or your business.

It might seem daunting, you might think it's expensive, I can assure you from personal experience, it's both easy and free.

Admission, I used to be the world's worst at delegating responsibility, I didn't trust anyone to do anything. I was absolutely in the "If you want something doing properly, do it yourself" camp. I've since recovered, I now understand that the right person given the freedom and the authority to lead will generally do a better job than me - mostly because they are the actual right person, while I'm just the person that thinks he's right. Anyway, blah, delegation is important, but I digress...

It was during that phase of wanting to do everything myself that I first started doing online training courses. Admission two, I stole most of the training resources from P2P networks like Pirate Bay. What? Knowledge should be free!

I taught myself to build websites, I built the first version of LFR myself in fact, learned how to use CorelDRAW, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, HTML, PHP, CPanel and more. Back in 2008 I even discovered enough about SEO to put LFR on the top of Google before being on top of Google was even a thing.

The good news is, these days you don't need to steal these training resources as many are now available for free.

Myself, I now pay real money for a subscription to Lynda.com - sometimes I go months without opening the site, but hey it's recompense because it was their stuff I mostly used to steal!


So what do you fancy learning?

Social media to turbo-charge your lead generation? Website building so you can create a fancy new site for your fledgling interior decor and wallpaper printing side-line? That new accounts package you've been considering as a replacement for the clunky thing you use now? Mailchimp so you can build and manage email lists to stay in touch with your customers? Or just brushing up or improving on your Office, Outlook, Gmail or Google skills? 

Here's 10 websites to visit, some of them completely free. I promise, whatever you want to learn, one of these sites will have exactly what you need...

1. Lynda - https://www.lynda.com (courses now also available as LinkedIn Learning)

Probably the oldest and most popular resource on this list is Lynda. Founded in 1995, Lynda.com features thousands of online courses related to business, technology, design etc. You can also browse through their video tutorials taught by industry experts. What sets Lynda.com a notch up other online learning resources is their hands-on approach to learning, which not only makes it easier to learn anything but also makes it a breeze to implement what you are learning. One department where Lynda.com lags behind its competitors is its mobile app. Lynda.com is mostly a paid platform for learners, which might prove to be a deal breaker for some as they will have to settle for few free courses.

2. Udemy - https://www.udemy.com

Whether you are offering SEO services or working as a web developer or designer for a web design agency, Udemy can help you take your skills to the next level. Quality of courses vary and so do the prices, which can sometimes land on the higher end of the spectrum. However, the great news is that it also offers some free courses. Its extensive language support makes it a great platform for students hailing from around the world. With more than 60,000 courses to choose from, you are spoilt for choices with Udemy. Moreover, you can learn at your own pace, which gives you the freedom that digital learners are yearning for.

3. Coursera - https://www.coursera.org

Boasting more than 1000 courses from the best universities in the world, Coursera is a mecca for digital learners. Coursera is also offering complete specialisations for learners who wish to explore a subject in detail. On successful completion of courses, you get a certificate, which you can share on your LinkedIn profile as well. The only negative is that you cannot learn at your own pace as each course is accompanied by a limited time period.

4. edX - https://www.edx.org

Akin to Coursera, edX also offers some great courses from the best universities around the globe, but they are not self-paced, entailing you to keep an eye on the timeline of your course. To facilitate students from different parts of the world, it incorporates a brilliant translation feature. You can choose from a wide range of subjects, such as biology, business, computer sciences, finance, economics, medicine, music, philosophy, and physics to name a few. You can easily access all the learning material and prepare for the exams.

5. YouTube - https://www.youtube.com

That is not a typo - there is much more to YouTube than simply watching cat videos and music videos. YouTube is a great platform for learning new things - on a Smart TV or Firestick you can even watch it on your TV screen.Easily find tons of great educational videos on YouTube - all you need to do is to type what you want to learn in the search box and it will show you hundreds of pertinent results. Subscribe to some viable educational channels and stay tuned for the latest videos to help you develop a more ingrained comprehension of any subject.

6. Alison - https://alison.com

Be a part of a burgeoning community of more than 11 million learners, and learn from some of the best experts in the industry. Choose from a wide range of disciplines, including business, technology, marketing, health, humanities, mathematics, and science. For those who are interested in exploring the topic in detail, Alison offers comprehensive diplomas that cover each topic in detail and help make you an expert in that particular domain.

7. MIT Open Courseware - https://ocw.mit.edu

MIT Open Courseware is here to help you actualise your geekiest ambitions. More importantly, you don’t have to leave your home to learn from the leading MIT professors, and even better, without spending a penny. Not only is the website a great hit with students who wish to study at MIT, most MIT students also capitalise on this treasure trove of information for supplementing their course materials.

8. Open Yale Courses - https://oyc.yale.edu

The most credible universities from around the globe are increasingly making their course material available for the benefit of the general public. Now, you can access all learning material from Yale without leaving the comforts of your room, thanks to the Open Yale Courses. These free courses from Yale can deliver a repertoire of knowledge that you will be grateful for.

9. Open Culture - http://www.openculture.com

The scruffiness of their website may leave you befuddled, but gratefully, it more than makes up for it with a number of useful resources. From online courses to audiobooks, movies, and eBooks, it is a repository of valuable knowledge. It also keeps students in the loop about the forthcoming courses and touts enough content to keep you busy for years. All resources are neatly arranged into categories, making it easier to access the information you are looking for.

10. Khan Academy - https://www.khanacademy.org

Khan Academy is a great platform for school and college students as it focuses on nurturing a strong foundation that they can build on and advance their careers. You can learn computing, science, mathematics, economics, and humanities at your own pace, thanks to its wide array of video tutorials. Binge on videos and attempt quizzes to gain an in-depth knowledge of a topic. Backed by Google, and Bill, and Melinda Gates, Khan Academy has now become one of the greatest learning platforms that many young students look up to.

There you go. Anything you want to learn, it's right there for you. Hint: learn bio-chemistry, save the world from Covid-19 or one of its future Corona forms and become an actual hero!

Good luck, fare well, learn loads.