Using Free Websites for Learning

cover art for episode 22 on Using Free Websites for Learning

Nowadays, we have an abundance of ways that we can learn and develop new skills. You can listen to a podcast, find a guide online, watch a video. It’s also possible to do an exchange, for example to build language skills, volunteer or do an apprenticeship. In last week’s episode, Maria suggested that if you want to learn something, you need to find a way to do that thing. Offer to help a friend, or find someone who you can learn from. To me. the best courses are ones that are not just about thinking, but also doing!

Today I’m going to share three courses that I think you may be interested in. I’ll also share three general sites and a list of other resources where you can take online courses. I’ve focused on free courses. I’ve focused on free courses but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think you should ever pay for online courses. I think it makes sense to pay for classes sometimes.

I’ve bought courses on Skillshare over the years. To me, it is worth it to pay for online courses that are reputable and of high caliber. These courses often focus on efficiency. For example, I paid to participate in the Podcasting Fellowshing, an Akimbo workshop, and it was worth it. The clear timeline and mentorship from coaches, as well as having the community of learners where we were in the same cohort and we helped each other, it really led me to launch this podcast quite quickly. In fact, one of my favorite ways to learn online is in a cohort because I find it provides a community where you can discuss things and where you can also get ideas from. You can help each other. I’ve also paid to take an online nutrition course, because I want to follow a particular philosophy and approach. If you’re looking for a course for a particular skill or outcome, I do recommend doing some research online for recommendations. If possible, speak to people who’ve taken the class to get an idea of whether it’s a right match for you.

Let’s get into the three classes that will help you make a change in your life. I chose these classes because they are quite broad. They will help you develop a mindset and focus to accomplish your dreams. Remember, start small, so maybe start with one course :).

Mindset Reset

Mindset Reset is a course offered by Mel Robbins. I shared a podcast where she was interviewed in episode 10. It’s a 35 days course to help with anxiety, stress and overwhelm. The course is no longer live, but all the videos are available to go through at your own pace. Along with the videos, there are also guides and workbooks to help you accomplish three things:

  • reflect on next year and set goals for yourself
  • make your morning great with a journaling routine
  • help kids with anxiety

In Mel Robbins’ own words:

Let’s make this the year you quit those limiting beliefs, stop beating yourself up, and learn how to manage stress, overwhelm, and anxiety so you change your life for good.

Mel Robbins

What I really like about this program is the focus on mindset. I believe that’s key in being successful in change. You can sign up here to receive access by email.

Learning How to Learn

Learning How to Learn is a course on Coursera. In this course, you can learn techniques to help improve learning. It goes into the science of how the brain captures information and what we can do to help it. It’s available in Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese and French.

This is one of the first courses that I took when I left my teaching job. I’d mostly done well at school as a student, but I didn’t think that school and learning were the same. I wanted to be a better learner. I also have a side interest in wanting to forestall Alzheimers which is more common in women than men. So to me, learning something new is always valuable. I was starting to learn Czech, and I hoped that I could get some good tips to help me learn better, learn faster.

What I like about this course is that it broadly applicable. Also, Dr. Oakley, one of the two professions, is speaking from first hand experiencing, changing her focus of study and work. And you can take the course for free, or you can pay to get a certificate of completion.

The Science of Well-being

The Science of Well-being is a course on Coursera, offered by Yale, with videos and activities from one of their most popular courses. This course presents research about what affects our happiness and productivity, and provides some concrete ways to change them. In the last few weeks, you will embark on challenges to rewire your brain. This is what I am working on right now, focusing on meditation. The course is available to start at any time, and you’ll work at your own pace. It takes about 20 hours to complete, with 3 hours recommended this week.


Three Sites with Free Online Courses

There are many places where you can learn online. Some of those resources are free, while some of them are paid. I’m going to profile three free sites today.

1. Coursera

screenshot of Coursera topics

Coursera lets you take courses for free. There are a wide range of courses and certificate programs. You won’t receive university credit, but that has nothing to do with learning. You can choose to pay to receive a certificate for the courses or programs you complete. In that case, you could use it as part of your professional portfolio.

2. edX

screenshot of number of edX courses

edX lets you take courses for free and earn professional certificates or badges. The courses are developed by different universities, including Stanford, and are either self-paced, or scheduled.

There are paid courses available from Arizona State University for college credit. You can even pay and receive a full college degree or microdegree from various other universities.

I took a Launching Innovation in Schools course a few years back. I remember that it was a thought-provoking course. It helped me realize that all teachers can lead and have broad impact in a school.

3. The Friday Institute

screenshot of courses from the Friday Institute

Friday Institute provides free online courses for educators. The courses are developed by experts in intructional technology, maths education and literacy education. I took the course on Coaching Digital Learning and think it is a good course for someone early in their digital coaching career. A benefit of these course, for teachers, is that you can receive continuing education credits, which are needed for recertification in many places.

General Resources for Learning Online

Suggestions from Social Media


Credits