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.

Freelancer using e-learning platforms for professional development

Advantages of E-Learning Platforms

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: 

Registered Users in 2019, 2020 , and Total for Top MOOC Providers

(Source: https://www.classcentral.com/report/mooc-stats-pandemic/)

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: 

  1. Online course platforms allow for convenience: Gig workers are often multi-tasking, working non-traditional hours during any given week. Learning comes best as bite-sized pieces that do not take much time to consume. Slot in time to learn whenever it best fits with your schedul

    Microlearning makes learning 17% more effective according to the Journal of Applied Psychology

  2. E-learning is cost effective: Unstable income is a norm for gig workers but due to the scalability of virtual classes and MOOCs, it eliminates non-essential costs such as travel, physical course material or built-in costs of in-person lectures. The low costs of e-learning increases the ROI for time spent growing your career.
  3. Learn at your own pace: The best online learning sites offers personalization and support for your personal learning needs. Review content, get feedback from online community forums, and choose your own learning path to stay invested in your personal growth.
  4. Diverse learning opportunities for diverse workers: The best online learning platforms also offer 1000s of courses to choose from. Just as you would need a financial safety net, it is important to build an educational safety net to help progress your career. Whether you choose to pursue a language course or a micro-degree in marketing, using these websites to learn new skills can help you become more effective in managing your gig career.
  5. Build a competitive advantage: Not only is e-learning convenient but it is also efficient.

Reports show that e-learning increases knowledge retention by 25-60% compared to 8-10% for in-person training. 

Convinced?

Where to start: Our picks for the best online training platforms for gig workers

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! 

  1. Skillshare

    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!

     

    freelancer engaging in Skillshare hands-on project

  2. Udemy

    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. 

    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. 

    Gig worker using Udemy to expand his knowledge breadth

  3. eDX

    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. 

  4. Coursera

     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.

     

    Coursera e-learning platfor, 

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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