Free Tools for Continuing Professional Education
We tend to think of learning as something that happens during school. However, the chance to grasp new ideas and skills is something that never goes away. As a professional, you can easily boost your resume by working on the side to become an expert in a new field of interest, especially thanks to online schools. A recent study found that 6 million US students are currently enrolled in distance learning courses. The best news is, sometimes you can get this opportunity for free or close to free. Lifelong learning is open to all with these online continuing education tools and programs.
Coding may very well be the hottest and most applicable talent today. In 2015, programming jobs grew 12% faster than the market average, leading to 7 million job openings in coding alone. That’s where Code Academy comes in. This site was created to help anyone at any level of understanding learn to develop software code. The Academy teaches a variety of relevant coding languages, including Python, Java, HTML, Ruby on Rails, CSS, and .SQL.
Open University Education
Many top-tier universities offer free resources for learning that are open to the public, though some access might require creating an account. Study chemistry or public health through the courses of Harvard’s Medical School or subjects like basic Chinese and statistics under the brilliant minds at Carnegie-Mellon. Granted, you won’t always have the same one-to-one tutelage as someone enrolled might, but if you’re motivated enough this may be a great opportunity for you. You can always seek a mentor on a local level to discuss your learning with.
With a world that’s becoming more open and multicultural every day, learning a new language has both practical and personal benefits. Studies have shown that the US may not value learning foreign languages as much as Europe or Asia, which means getting started can seem intimidating. But there are plenty of awesome tools to help you master a new world of conversation. For many years, Rosetta Stone has remained the gold standard in learning through language immersion. However, this software does come with a hefty price tag that may be a barrier for some. For the more frugal learner, DuoLingo can help you pick up new foreign vocab and language patterns without any of the cost.
Though one presentation may not teach you a brand-new set of skills, TED Talks are a great place to energize your desire to learn. A nonprofit founded in 1984, TED (Technology, Education, and Design) brings together speakers from all different background and expertise to give short but impactful speeches on a variety of topics. These might include broad subjects like motivation and computing, or even more niche areas like underwater exploration.
Whether you’re looking to jump into the tech game, pick up a new a language, study the works of great teaching minds, or just get reinvigorated and excited about new topics, lifelong learning is one of the best ways to keep life full of momentum and energy. Did we miss any great options you like to use for self-education? Share with us and future readers in the comments below!