In Leaders Lab: 66 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skill, Strategy, and Style, I call learning “the #1 skill for 21st century success.”
“Lifelong learning” is no longer just a trendy aspiration, but a mandatory strategy. At today’s pace, it’s important to build learning into your everyday routines.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for efficient, convenient learning:
Through Coursera, you can join students throughout the world attending courses taught by faculty at top universities. Many courses offer a free audit option. Fee options allow you to submit assignments, receive a grade, and earn a Course Certificate, Specialization Certificate or Online Degree. Courses typically include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, supplemental resources, and community discussion forums. To give you an idea of the range of excellent learning opportunities available through Coursera, I’ve enjoyed free courses in business from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, in psychology from Duke University, in media from Northwestern University, in design thinking from the University of Virginia, in music from Yale University and Berklee, and more.
Udemy offers more than 45,000 online courses in areas such as Business, IT & Software, Design, Marketing, Web, App & Game Development, Personal Development, Office Productivity, Music, Health & Fitness. Courses typically teach practical skills through a series of videos and supplemental materials. I’ve enjoyed learning about Social Media, Graphics, Publishing and Web Development through Udemy.
Tip: The site often runs special promotions that offer particularly good values. Check back here for current deals.
Khan Academy offers free courses in math, the sciences, computing, economics, test prep and more. While Khan Academy became known mainly for K-12 curriculum, it provides some courses appropriate for adult learners as well. For instance, It gave me the courage to try learning a little coding.
ed2go offers affordable, convenient online continuing education courses delivered through a network of more than 2,100 colleges, universities, and other organizations. You can earn continuing education credit, work towards practical certifications, or just enjoy picking up new skills. For instance, I took ed2go courses that allowed me to conveniently upgrade my writing and editing skills.
Love to learn, but short on time? I keep up with the latest business books through a subscription to Soundview Executive Summaries, which provides 8-page summaries of current business books, along with webinars and current reviews. I also like listening to audiobooks on Audible while I walk or drive.
Are you a booklover? You’re invited to browse through my recommended reading lists on these topics: Leadership, Teams & Talent, Productivity, Influence & Negotiation, Communication, Creativity & Innovation, Change, Collaboration & Meetings, Trends, and Women at Work.
If you like to learn in a group setting, consider starting or joining a Leadership or Business Book Club. Get started with these articles on How to Start a Business Book Club and Business Book Club Facilitator Tips.
Put Your Learning Into Practice
For best results, combine two learning methods and be sure to include at least one that is active. For instance, read and then test yourself on your newly acquired knowledge or teach it to someone else. Take a course and then volunteer for a project that puts your new skills into practice right away.
© New Century Leadership LLC 2017