Let’s face it: we all could spend a little less time being know-it-alls and a little more time learning in 2020. Whether you’re interested in arts, language, politics, math, science, or a skill, learning can enrich your personal and professional life and even lead to a career change. According to Stanford University and recent U.S. government surveys, it’s estimated that about 45% of all adults participate in some type of course during a given year. “That’s nearly half of all adults,” writes Stanford professor Rick Reis. “And this counts only enrollments in classes, workshops, training programs, and the like. When you include self-directed learning activities, some estimates suggest that nine out of ten adults take on at least one learning project a year.”
Additionally, research has shown that 70 percent or more of all learning is self-directed—so don’t be scared of downloading a course or enrolling in a webinar. These are great places to learn and can be more viable when it comes to managing an already-busy schedule. So if you want to add to your skill set and knowledge in 2020 (which you most certainly should), check out some of the best self-directed learning platforms out there.
Launched by two former Stanford University computer science professors, Coursera offers accredited courses in traditional academic studies like social sciences, languages, humanities, business, and computer sciences developed by some of the most reputable institutions in the world. Learn introductory Game Theory via Stanford, Modern Art and Ideas from the Museum of Modern Art, or Beginner Chinese from Peking University. For a more career-oriented track, Coursera also offers certificates from tech companies, including an IT Support course from Google and a Data Science certificate from IBM. (Prices vary)
If you’re happy in your current career but looking to improve some specific skill sets (hello, promotions and raises), LinkedIn Learning is a great place to start. Suggested courses are tailored to your résumé and will help you hone the skills you already have—whether you’re looking to brush up on your Photoshop skills, master a new layer of Microsoft Excel, or move from a management to a leadership role within your company. Buy a single course, or pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to learning materials.
If you’re looking for a more creative and entertaining learning experience, MasterClass is the option for you. With courses like Ballet Technique and Artistry with Misty Copeland, Makeup and Beauty with Bobbi Brown, Screenwriting with Aaron Sorkin, and Adventure Photography with Jimmy Chin, you’re bound to find these classes as entertaining as they are educational. ($90 per course, $180/yr for all-access)
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