Free Online Courses to Boost Career Marketability
By Daisy Wright.
Randstad Canada surveyed employees in 33 countries around the world, and one in three Canadians believe their jobs could vanish in a few years due to the rise of technology. “The jobs of tomorrow are on the drawing boards of today – being aware that innovation is occurring and making the effort to understand and grow with those innovations will help you grow and maintain your career,” says Tom Turpin, president of Randstad Canada.
While the survey focused on technology, if job seekers are not taking advantage of learning opportunities, they, too, will have to worry about becoming obsolete. As career practitioners who work with clients on a daily basis, we have the responsibility to point them toward resources that will help them advance their careers. After all, lifelong learning is an important part of career development, and one does not need to be physically present in a classroom for learning to take place. Thanks to the internet, the world has become a university.
As an example of this, our clients can now complete MBA-level courses without having to attend MBA schools. While this does not mean they will be able to add the MBA designation behind their names, they can learn the fundamentals of business (or improve their business skills) by engaging in online learning. Others might want to gain certification in some essential workplace skills.
Below is a list of universities, other learning institutions, and aggregators of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offering free online courses. Some offer certificates; others don’t.
- Udemy offers over 7,000 free, short courses, making it easy for people to gain real-world skills.
- Coursera, one of the most well-known provider of MOOCs, is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer online courses that anyone can take for free. Taking a course for free does not confer a certificate upon completion, but, if you wish, you can purchase the accreditation for a reasonable fee.
- Khan Academy is a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere.
- edX is a popular non-profit learning platform created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. Like Coursera, the site has links to many courses that you can study for free, just for the good of your brain. If you prefer, there is the option of paying a fee for a verified certificate upon successful completion of a course.
- Alison is a global online learning community, offering free, high-quality resources to help develop essential workplace and personal interest skills. The site offers over 1100 free courses.
- Open Culture brings together 1500 high-quality cultural and educational courses from top universities for those interested in lifelong learning, and it’s all free.
- University of Toronto offers free courses that can be accessed via Coursera.
- Yale University provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn. Yale also offers free courses via the Coursera website.
- Skillshare was launched in 2011 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and offers a wide variety of classes in animation, design, illustration, writing, business, photography, filmmaking, and general lifestyle subjects taught by people who are experts in those fields. Although Skillshare offers a paid premium membership, there are also many interesting short courses available for free.
- FutureLearn gives learners the opportunity to take courses for free, but also offers paid premium levels of membership with additional benefits.
There are many more institutions that offer free online courses in a variety of disciplines. The above list is just the tip of the iceberg. Encourage your clients to explore these and more and boost their marketability.
Disclaimer: As a service to my clients, I have made these resources available to them. I suggest you research each of the links/institutions to determine if the course offerings may be applicable and of interest to your own client base – Daisy Wright.