The rapid development of modern technology is second to none and because of that, employers are always looking to hire those who show an eager approach to lifelong learning. Whether you are just starting out in the freelancing world or have gained momentum over the past few months, it is never too early or too late to keep sharpening your skills and improving your services.
Regardless if you’re a student or not, e-learning is becoming increasingly prevalent during the 2020 global pandemic. To make the most of their ‘downtime’, people around the world have taken this opportunity to further their education through online learning platforms. This is reflected in the the significant growth in new registered users at most top online learning platforms:
Coursera – an e-learning platform, has seen an 640% increase in enrollment from mid-March to mid-April than during the same period last year, growing from 1.6 to 10.3 million. This surge in registration and enrollment is mirrored across the top e-learning platforms and MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) providers.
In particular, the e-learning platform benefits modern workers who are in need of a modern approach to learning. As gig workers, both life and work comes sporadically. As such, learning on-the-go is the most efficient and optimized approach to further your professional development. To cut to the chase, we’ve listed some of the top advantages of e-learning platforms for gig workers:
Microlearning makes learning 17% more effective according to the Journal of Applied Psychology
Reports show that e-learning increases knowledge retention by 25-60% compared to 8-10% for in-person training.
Here are the 4 best online course platforms to help you reach your lifelong learning goals. For each resource, we will look at how it works, unique offerings, and for whom it might benefit so you can start learning the way you learn best!
Founded in 2010, Skillshare is an online learning community for creative minds. This platform hosts a huge variety of courses from broad topics of creativity and productivity to specific skills such as mastering creative non-fiction. If you have at least a vague idea of what you are interested in learning within the creative realm, Skillshare will have a course for you.
The interesting thing about Skillshare is that alongside the detailed explanations in the videos, students are encouraged to engage in hands-on learning through a class project with every course. The collaborative environment fostered by Skillshare truly makes users on both ends a learning community.
While a free account gives access to all the free courses, upgrading to premium will unlock all courses and even let you watch them offline. For individuals, pricing goes by per month and per year options with the per year option being cheaper in the long run.
As one of the top websites to learn new skills, get your laptop ready and make an account to join this supportive e-learning community! Here are a few writing courses that we’d recommend:
“Want to write a blog, but don’t know where to start?” This is a great free course provided by Skillshare. It will show you different platforms to set up your blog, how to do blog design, social media, and tips to create engaging content. Start with the basics, and if you find that blogging is something you enjoy, you can explore the many other creative writing courses Skillshare has to offer.
How to Make Money as an Artist: Proven ways to Creative Career You Will Love
For some people, gig work is a great way to earn additional income. If you have a creative talent, it’s possible to hone your craft and make money as a side hustle! This course describes 17 different ways in which you can monetize your artistic skills.
Udemy is one of the premier online course platforms that provides thousands of courses across many fields. Whether you are looking for courses on education, design, or technology, Udemy will likely have something that interests you. The great thing about Udemy is that they categorize the classes by levels so that you are not wasting money on content you might already know.
Unlike Skillshare, instead of a subscription that gives you unlimited access, Udemy hosts transactions on a per course basis, meaning that you purchase the online course that you want to take. This goes well with their course publishing policies as anyone with an account can start posting classes. To make sure you are getting quality content worth your money, make sure to look at the reviews before any purchases.
This pricing strategy is ideal for those who may be too busy working during certain weeks to consistently take courses. This way, you can be assured you are not spending money on an unused subscription. Hint: they frequently offer discounts on their content-packed courses, often up to 80-90% off.
If you are still searching for the right platform for your lifelong learning, Udemy also has thousands of free courses to audit so you can get a sense of what the platform is like and see if you enjoy the learning style. Here are our picks to help further your gig career:
Modern Marketing with Seth Godin
Seth Godin runs one of the most popular marketing blogs called Seth’s Blog and has authored 19 bestselling books, including one aptly titled, “This is Marketing”. If you are looking to brush up on your marketing skills, then this course is for you.
The Complete Digital Marketing Course – 12 courses in 1
One of our personal favorite digital marketing courses. This course is the perfect complement to ‘Modern Marketing with Seth Godin’ since it provides the skills and toolkit to further your marketing practice. As the course name displays, it has 12 courses jam-packed in one solid buy. You can expect to find topics ranging from market research to copywriting tricks, SEO, social media marketing, google analytics, and more.
The Complete Web Developer in 2021: Zero to Mastery
The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021
Colt Steele, the author of this course, is well known both inside and outside of the Udemy community. His background lies in running web development bootcamps with many of his graduates working at big tech companies. It promises to be the most comprehensive in the market and is recommended by many students. The course dives into all tools web development related and much more. It is immensely comprehensive and while on sale, sells at a very competitive price.
With the rise of the gig economy and the future of work, universities should be better preparing students for independent work according to Harvard. Given this, if you are looking for a more academic learning style similar to how universities run their classes, eDX may be a platform that can work for you. Instead of individual content creators, eDX promotes the support of over 140 leading academic institutions. Founded in 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (known locally as MIT), these courses are taught by leading professors around the world. Although the variety of topics is not as diverse as previously mentioned platforms, if you are looking to branch into a new field and looking for something in-depth, engaging, and of high quality, this is the platform for you.
Although there are some free courses, there is limited access to the accreditation you may receive without upgrading to verified. For example, with free enrollment, you can only audit the course and therefore you will not be able to participate in the final culminating assessment nor receive the certification proving your completion. By purchasing the course, or upgrading to a verified learner, you have access to all of those add-ons. Depending on what your goal of learning is, it may serve well to purchase the course so you have proof of its completion. However, if you can instead use that knowledge and create a project displaying what you learned, that may be the most helpful to your freelance career.
Managing Stress and Mental Health
Stress can have a negative impact on the daily hustle of gig work. Although gig work can be rewarding, it can sometimes wear you down. Being aware of how to deal with stress can reduce the emotional impacts that come with it.
Professional Certificate in Data Science by Harvard University
Receiving a professional certificate in data science from Harvard will definitely turn some eyes on your resume. It is important to be prepared for the breadth of this course since there is a lot of material to cover. You also have the option to audit this course for free. There are no prerequisites for this course but it might be easier to watch some free coding lessons on R programming from Udacity or YouTube.
Like eDX, Coursera is another e-learning platform that hosts classes with content from leading institutions. However, an extra bonus is that they also have corporate partners providing content including Google, IBM, and Boston Consulting Group just to name a few. This prestigious learning site hosts a wide range of courses depending on your interests as well as a variety of pricing options so lifelong learning can be accessed by everyone. There are thousands of courses where auditing is even free. However, if you want the certificate to share on LinkedIn or formal feedback from hand-on activities, purchasing the course or program may be necessary. They also offer certificate and MasterTrackTM certificate programs all the way to online degrees where pricing can vary significantly.
Gig work-related courses include:
Learning how to Learn:
With over 2 million registered students, there is a reason that this course has been recommended by many articles and podcasts. Learning how to learn is key to self-development. Take a dive into this course to explore your brain chemistry and what makes you tick. It covers memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices to help learning be effective.
Improve your English Communication Skills
Being a good communicator comes with practice and effort. With this course, you can improve your professional communication for successful business interactions. As a gig worker, the moment you have your first interaction with a customer, good communication could be the difference between 5-star level service vs. 4-stars.
The unique feature about LinkedIn Learning is its ability to display courses for the most “in-demand” skills. The platform uses information received from LinkedIn users to determine what skills are trending. With these insights, many business professionals find great value in Lynda.
Hint: Check if your local public library has a partnership with Lynda. For example, the Toronto Public Library (TPL) has partnered with Lynda to provide free access to Lynda’s course material and content.
Some popular courses for gig workers include:
Time Management Fundamentals
While doing gig work, it sometimes could feel like there are just not enough hours during the day. It is important and efficient to be aware of your time management skills. This course will help you stay organized, keep a clear mind, and be more productive – in work and life.
Working with Upset Customers
As we interact and deal with customers or relationships, confrontation on some end is bound to happen. Developing emotional intelligence and the know-how to deal with upset customers is a highly useful skill. It can be used in all walks of life.
If you’re in the e-learning market to learn actionable skills that are recognized by big tech companies, Udacity is the clear choice. It is a Silicon Valley-based online learning portal that focuses on technology skill-building. The areas of emphasis include:
– Programming and Development
– Artificial Intelligence
– Cloud computing
– Data science
– Autonomous Systems
Udacity offers several nanodegrees in these subjects which are industry-recognized with in-course partnerships with high-profile tech companies like Google, IBM, Insight, and more.
There are free courses offered within these subjects to help get you started with the foundational learning behind some of the more in-depth concepts. These free courses are also designed to let you get a taste of how you receive a professional experience when registering for courses or nanodegrees within Udacity.Program prices are more expensive than the previously mentioned e-learning platforms but that doesn’t come without valuable perks. With Udacity, you will be enrolled in an actual 3-5 month program, work on real-world projects designed by industry experts, and have mentor support throughout the program and career services to help you get a job. These could be beneficial for someone who intends to get a job with the course they are choosing to take.
At this time, you are eligible for 50% discounts for all courses with coupons “NEWYEAR50” or “NEWYEAR2021”
Thanks to the world’s rapid technological advances and major institutions’ commitment to education, the goal of lifelong learning has been easier to reach than ever before. Take this opportunity to discover new interests, better your services, and increase your skillset to help you stand out on gig economy platforms. Share with everyone what the result of an active learner can be and never stop working to improve yourself.
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