7 of the best online courses to develop your skills
Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions to learn a new language, try our hand at coding, understand the intricacies of photography, move into leadership positions, and otherwise develop our skills and talent. This is the perfect time to choose the educational program that is right for you. And there’s an array of great options to choose from, including free offers.
One caveat: before you commit, make sure you know what teaching style is best for you. Some virtual offerings mimic regular “classes” interspersed with teacher-student interactions, and others are series of lectures with no feedback from the educator or student peers. Of course, not all virtual learning is of the same quality. Be sure to read program and course reviews before enrolling.
7 of the Best Skills Learning Options
When you start looking for a way to learn new skills, you want to weigh the pros and cons of each program available. We’ve reviewed some of the most popular programs available to give you a hand. Pricing can be complicated though, so make sure you understand if you’re signing up for a micro-course, single course, multi-course program, or monthly subscription. Also note that many of these programs offer free courses or free trials. Read our top 7 picks below. As always, prices shown may fluctuate over time.
1. Master class
Former President Bill Clinton, photographer Annie Leibovitz, and satirist David Sedaris are just a few well-known instructors who teach virtually through Masterclass. The educational group offers more than 100 pre-recorded lessons, including lecture series, audio only, and a new format that allows students to work on projects and activities in a structured 30-day program. In the new program, teaching assistants and other students provide input.
Most classes have around 20 video lessons that last around 10 minutes. You will also receive an in-depth workbook for various courses. Worried you won’t finish it all in 30 days? You can watch the lessons at any time. Choose one of three class programs: Standard, Plus and Premium. The main difference is the number of devices you can watch from and offline access.
One thing to note: although the lessons are geared towards learning skills, there is a lot of inspirational and philosophical advice mixed in.
Shop at Masterclass from $15.
2. Skills sharing
Do you want to learn creative skills such as drawing flower shapes, writing essays or painting with watercolors? Skillshare has become a go-to learning platform for creatives. Teachers include celebrity instructors including writers Roxanne Gay and Mary Karr and multidisciplinary artist Laci Jordan (Walt Disney Imagineering, ABC, Creative Artists Agency). That’s what sets Skillshare apart: the instructors.
When someone meets their editorial standards, they can upload information and teach classes. Most classes are less than 60 minutes long, with short lessons to suit all schedules. Skillshare is a subscription service where members have unlimited access to thousands of courses on its platform. Prices vary by market.
Try Skillshare for free.
Udemy offers over 175,000 self-paced personal and professional video courses in a wide range of languages. You’ll find self-paced, degree-less offerings on everything from management training and programming to photography and even yoga. Although the offerings are vast, Udemy is best known for Excel, web development, and similar courses. In fact, Udemy offers a range of business training.
There are different ways to access the courses. You can pay for individual lessons or buy a subscription. Udemy also offers professional memberships and programs endorsed by Volkswagen, Aflac, and other companies. Another offering is employee training. Individuals and businesses can take advantage of free offers.
Buy on Udemy from $24.99
You get access to over 5,000 non-credit and credit courses taught by educators at Yale University, Duke University, University of London, and other top schools when you sign up for Coursera. About 1,700 courses are free and you can upgrade them to get a certificate. Students can even work with their current university to take courses through the platform.
There are many educational opportunities, including courses, guided projects, specialized course series, professional certificates, and online modules of master’s programs that you can use as credit toward a degree. You can even use the bachelor’s or master’s degrees from this platform.
Buy from Coursera from $9.99.
Not sure what skills you need? Codecademy offers a sorting quiz so that you can determine which of the skills and the 15 languages offered suit you best. Codecademy has several memberships, including Pro, Business, and Pro Student. When you’re ready to improve your technical skills, don’t miss their free courses either.
Try for free on Codecademy.
When you think of gaining knowledge and skills on creativity, we bet you don’t think of North Indian classical music or French fashion style and strategy. These are just a few of the advanced courses offered by Kadenze.
Platform partners include the Paris College of Art, California Institute of the Arts, and others. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, you’ll find offerings of micro courses, standard courses, and curated programs that Kadenze says will “transform your career.”
Shop at Kadenze from $20
7. Yale Online
If you’ve always wanted to learn from educators at an Ivy League university, you have the opportunity through Yale Online. Yale will likely offer an online course if you want to learn about climate adaptation for human health or US contract law. They don’t offer cogs and bolts courses, but studies in financial economics and other social science topics are ideal for business leaders and executives.
Try it for free at Yale Online.
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