Continuing Education Resources: At Home Edition

Training, Education and Skill Development Opportunities from Home

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Continuing Education At Home

The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.

–Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

There has been, given school shutdowns, much focus on our kids and how to learn from home. However, from young adults to those well into their careers, continuing education and training is a vital job function. Education, it turns out, doesn’t stop at the degree’s edge.

Many of us find us having to recreate our work experiences both remotely and in isolation. More importantly, it is amazing how much we learn from each other in day to day interactions; anything from little software tricks to the casual comment “have you read…” followed by some paradigm shifting article that opens our world view.

Staying Sharp and Connected

“For me, the first bit of training I had to do working from home was to become friends with online conferencing,” says Debby Peters, Founder of Connext Nation and author of Tell Me Exactly What to Say. “Even the simplest techniques took some doing. I had to consciously train myself to look at the other person or at my camera, not at my picture on the screen. We would look at the person if we were face to face, but for some reason I

Debby Peters, Author and Founder of Connext Nation

found that little screen of myself terribly distracting.”

These small training opportunities still abound in the work from home environment. “Many of us naturally run into collogues and networking contacts during our weekly routine,” says Peters. “Unfortunately, that isn’t happening right now. So, more than ever, we need to reach out to them. You can’t wait for people to call or a ‘casual’ encounter. In this environment we have to create those encounters. Training ourselves to be comfortable reaching out to contacts and our networks is a great skill to enhance.”

Matriculating from Home

With young adults hanging around and college plans floating in choppy waters, college work can be a problem. Certainly, current enrollees are finishing their classes from home. This doesn’t mean that college level work has to stop at the end of the semester. There are great courses available online from excellent, accredited universities. Even in audit format, they offer a way to continue educational enthusiasm.

Besides progressing degree programs online college course work give all of us a chance to explore subject areas that we may not be able to afford (either by cost or by time). This is an incredible advantage in the expensive world of university educations. Taking a “peak” at subjects via an online format may spark are interest in a major or may push us away from that subject to more fertile learning ground. Now is a great time to experiment.

Homework for Home-Work

Even with our Public Safety stay at home job requirements, much of our careers require us

We learn much from each other through even casual encounters at work

to stay on top of our careers and respective fields. Likewise, many of us are finding that our skill sets in this new virtual environment are…in a word…lacking.

Even if we feel tuned up and ready to face any challenge, down time is the perfect time to expand our knowledge, skills, and certifications. There is always that one skill, that one program, that one bit of training that sticks in the back of our mind. It is that voice that says, “if I had the time, I would learn how to…” Now is the perfect time to answer that voice.

“I consider myself a fairly successful businessperson,” remarks Peters, “and yet I have a high school education. The reason I have had that success stems directly from my desire to learn and stay educated. Learning something new, every day doesn’t just enhance my career, it makes me feel good. Each learning accomplishment is a signpost along a growing career. We shouldn’t give that up just because we are stuck at home.”

Happy exploration!

College and College Prep

Coursera

  • Free for much of the content
  • Provides both streaming and on demand (check by course)
  • Many courses provided by major universities
  • Certifications, course completion certificates and degrees do cost
  • Many classes are industry recognized (training certificates)
  • Many classes are University credit eligible

MOOC/Ed-Ex

  • Lots of free content along with paid classes
  • Many self paced classes (on demand)
  • Many courses offer completion certifications
  • Classes that are regular online courses have varied start times and attendance/homework requirements (like any online degree program)

Open Culture Online Courses

  • Lots of free content
  • Has a great percentage of worldwide universities participating
  • Site contains public access lectures and podcasts
  • Several free audio books, textbooks, business courses and language courses
  • Site acts as a clearing house for other online resources so check carefully requirements, pay certifications, and availability

HippoCampus.org

  • Middle School through Early College and College Prep
  • Free
  • Academic subjects along a standard STEM and H.S. diploma pipeline (13 subject areas in total)
  • Videos and activities are presented in a more traditional, lecture/example style
  • A good site to get students attuned to online learning in a more advanced (college or job skill) setting

Training, Skill Learning, Career Development

Udemy

  • Courses/classes do have a cost
  • Massive course catalogue including technical training, fine arts, music, job training, languages, and general education
  • Leading site for self-paced coursework
  • Some courses have will provide end of course certifications
  • Constantly offers bundles and discounts
  • In general courses are broken up into smaller segments, making them lower cost and affordable
  • As in checking for a new app or program for the phone, check user reviews and course instructors’ credentials prior to buying the course

Alison

  • Some free content but many have certification completion costs. Check each course carefully for full cost structure
  • Mostly focused on business classes, technical training, and health care CEU’s and training
  • Many courses are offered in both “audit” and certified formats. Check carefully what formats suit your continuing education needs
  • Diploma tracks are available. Many links to outside online universities

Digitaldefynd

  • Some free courses but mostly pay by course
  • Wide variety of courses that also brokers other learning hubs
  • Offers a variety of costing deals that may work for those seeking specific skillsets
  • Has an extensive section for test prep (SAT, LSAT, GMAT and others)
  • Includes some course of a general nature, including personal development, science and software related skill courses (Such as MS Office training)

Microsoft Online Courses and Microsoft IT Training Certificates

  • Free to audit many of these courses. Some certifications may require a certification cost
  • Taught directly by the company
  • Graded assignments, interactive examples and demonstrations
  • Wide range of topics including cloud services, mobile development, data services, development services, even game-based development training
  • Many courses are designed for beginners in IT learning (or for those who find themselves in an ever broadening IT world)
  • Hosted by Ed Ex

General and Continuing Education Resources

Ted-Ed and Ted@Home

  • Free
  • Geared toward High School, University, and broad leadership/business motivational training
  • Although not necessarily geared toward specific career or educational goals, these talks with additional questions and exercises are excellent motivators to keep older learners on track and driven during long periods away from coworkers and teachers.

The Muse (43 Class Roundup)

Although many of the sites listed above have coursed listed in this round up from The Muse, what makes the list so captivating and relevant is that most of these courses on the list are things that many of us WANT to know more about but never seem to take the time to learn. Yet, the list has amazing coursework that can add incredible skills to almost anyone’s skillset, including basic programing (for websites and manipulation of existing sites), basic design skills (for photo programs and illustrator programs), online marketing skills and communication skill training. Every single one of these courses is worth considering as continuing education.

The Ohio Digital Library and Michigan eLibrary

Call this Old/New school or New/Old school or just convenient. There are many books, in e-format, available to adult and career-oriented learners that will help advance your knowledge and skills. That’s right, just books. Anything from “Social Media Marketing for Dummies” to step by step calculus solved problems for those who are needing examples for late High School and early college course work. Our libraries are amazing resources for self-development and educational help. They may not have as fancy of platforms but given the wealth of material, they don’t need it.

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