The world is changing faster than ever, so learning is actually just getting started when you graduate from school to the “real world.” If you want to succeed in business for yourself or just stay at the top of your current career game, strategic indulgence of your curiosity is the ticket. Continuous learning can take many different forms; attending conferences or lectures relevant to your occupation, spending some time engaging in online courses, or finding a reason to interview people you admire.
Tight schedules and strapped resources make online courses a very desirable option for learning. Fortunately, online courses are no longer just the realm of for-profit colleges and mediocre trainings. World class universities are offering courses online, for free. From Computer Science to Law, if you want to learn about a subject, the class is probably out on the Internet. Some specific courses that may be of interest to small business owners include:
- Health Policy and Affordable Care Act from the University of Pennsylvania (3-6 hours/wk)
- Corporate Finance from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
- An experimental course from Harvard Law on Copyright.
Whether you need a marketing refresher, to figure out how to write your first Android app or understand the latest national legislation that may impact your business, here are some resources to help you find quality, university-level online classes.
Academic Earth curates video seminars and classes from some of the world’s greatest minds, innovators, and leaders. Topics include science, mathematics, politics, public policy, art, history, and more.
Coursera offers a broad selection of free courses in-session or starting soon offered for academic credit (requires enrollment) or just a certificate of completion. Course topics vary from science and technology to social science and humanities.
edX features free courses from leading universities like the University of California, Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard. Options are a bit limited, but all courses are free, open to the public, and change frequently.
The Khan Academy administers free YouTube-based video classes in math, science, technology, humanities, and test/study skills. If you want to take a few video classes in your spare time, this is a great place to start.
The Open Courseware Consortium is a group of colleges and universities that use a similar platform to offer seminars and full classes. All courses are complete with notes, memos, examinations, and other documentation.
The Saylor Foundation offers a wide array of courses and entire course programs on topics from economics to political science and professional development. Interested in a crash course in mechanical engineering? The Saylor Foundation can help you with that.
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks have made a name for themselves for being interesting, intelligent, inspiring and informative. If a seminars or briefing on a subject is what you are looking for, TED is worth checking out.
Udacity offers a smaller number of courses, but those offered typically for-credit, and instructor led; geared towards specific goals. Skilled instructors guide you through everything from building a startup to programming a robotic car.