Whether you’re browsing Idealist Careers, connecting with your mentor over coffee, or chatting with colleagues around the water cooler, there’s one bit of career advice that you’ll hear from just about everyone: Don’t stop learning!
In fact, this invaluable job-search tip can be applied to nearly every other aspect of your life, too.
Want a raise or a promotion? Trying to establish a healthier work-life-balance? Need to work on your communication skills to better understand your spouse or your children? Traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language? Been meaning to brush up on all those books you only sort of read in high school? A little self-guided learning can be an important first step on your way finding a resolution to any of the above.
If your next thought is something along the lines of, “But where do I begin? I don’t exactly have the time—or the funds—to get another degree, and the sheer number of articles and books available on the topic I’m interested in, is kind of overwhelming!” then you’re in luck.
Here are six of the best places you can go for online learning, most of which offer least some free resources (some are entirely free!).
Their mission is simple: “To provide a free, world‑class education for anyone, anywhere.” Whether you’re interested in test prep, trigonometry, computer science, cosmology, or just about anything else that falls under the subjects of math, science, economics, computing, or the arts, you can learn it for free with Khan Academy.
Pro Tip: Anecdotally, the computer programming offerings on Khan Academy and pretty impressive and come complete with brief, but thorough lessons and a hi-tech space to practice your newfound HTML and CSS skills.
It's not free, but we think the fee is worth it. With courses taught by the world’s top instructors, and culminating with anything from a course certificate to a master’s degree, Coursera offers recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.
Looking for more of a one-off lesson? Perhaps you’re in search of the latest Google Chrome hacks, some expert assistance on making the perfect homemade pizza, or maybe all you’ve ever wanted to do in life is learn to juggle. No judgment. Learn it (for free) on YouTube.
Skillshare members enjoy unlimited access to 14,000+ classes and get to learn by doing. All classes include a project for students to complete, and from there, teachers provide feedback on the projects themselves, as well as in the "Community" board.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of Skillshare’s promo exclusively for Idealist Careers readers and redeem your two months of free online learning.
iTunes U is an absolute goldmine as far as online and e-learning are concerned. Boasting an incredible library of mostly free content, if you haven’t already heard of iTunes U, get excited. Hop on over to your iTunes stores to access iTunes U’s rich variety of audio and video course content from top universities like Harvard, MIT, and Yale.
The free “Lessons Worth Sharing” found on TED-Ed can be easily sorted by content type, student level, duration, and subtitles and includes a variety of lesson topics that is just as diverse and deep-diving as its lecture-series namesake, the talks that need no introduction; that’s right, TED Talks.
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As the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at Idealist and a lifelong nonprofit professional, Alexis offers job seekers, game changers, and do gooders actionable tips, career resources, and social-impact advice.