10 Best Online Courses for 2020
Universities and organizations are looking for applicants with a certain skill-set. But the education system does not teach you everything. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best online courses that will help you acquire the skills you need.
Did you know that 5 years from now, we’ll lose more than 5 million jobs to computers? Well, at least the World Economic Forum says so. But they also say that technological advancements will create different kinds of jobs. And these jobs will change the skills organizations are looking for, in the future. So, if you want to build your profile, gain an edge professionally, and learn how to ace interviews, read this blog. It talks about the skills that the jobs of the future will need, and suggests the best online courses that you should take to improve your skills!
Complex problem solving, LinkedIn Learning
Put simply, complex problem-solving means the ability to solve problems you’ve never seen before. Consider Climate Change, Discrimination, or Terrorism for example. These problems have so many different sides to them, it becomes difficult to find a permanent solution.
There’s a free course on Problem Solving Techniques that should help. This beginner-level course will teach you how to identify problems, generate solutions, and selecting the best one. It’ll give you tools – like mind mapping and decision trees – to help you use logic and creativity while solving problems. This one and a half hour course ends with 3 quizzes and even offers a completion certificate!
Critical thinking, Udemy
Critical thinking is your ability to use logic and reasoning when solving a problem. You see, each problem has more than one solution, and each solution has its pros and cons. So, if you’re able to see them before arriving at a final decision, you are a good critical thinker.
To learn how to think critically, check out this course from the Essential Critical Thinking Academy at Udemy. It will teach you the basics of argument analysis, logic, and reasoning. You’ll see that our biases affect our ability to think critically and learn how to overcome them. Agreed, it’s a 19-hour course. But it’s worth every minute of your time.
You don’t have to be an artist to say that you’re creative. Creativity means coming up with unusual (and clever) ideas around a topic. If you can connect different ideas and find new ways to look at a situation, you can call yourself creative.
There’s this amazing, free course that’ll Ignite Your Everyday Creativity. Conducted by 2 professors of Creative Studies from the State University of New York Buffalo State, it’s one of the best online courses available for creativity. Every lesson in the course explores different aspects of creativity, adding several tools – like perspective, visualization, and pushing boundaries – to your skillset. What’s more, it will take only a day to complete.
People management, Udemy
Even though AI is replacing a lot of jobs, it cannot do what humans can. We’re more creative, thoughtful, and empathetic. But we need to stay motivated. This is where leaders come in. People who know how to motivate, help, and direct others, have a skill that is beyond valuable.
To learn more, check out this Udemy course on How to Manage People and Projects. The three and a half-hour long course is good for beginners. It will teach you the difference between leadership and management. You’ll learn how to identify which people to groom, get the best out of your team, and how to help your group function better.
Coordinating with others, LinkedIn Learning
You guessed it right. This is a measure of your ability to compromise. People are looking for someone who understands others, responds accordingly, and is easy to work with. This means that you should not let your personal interests interfere with a meaningful, collaborative effort.
It’s not easy to be a part of a team that has a range of different people, but there’s a free, half-an-hour course on Being an Effective Team Member that should help. It’ll teach you how to put the needs of your team before your own, explain what it means to be proactive, and show you how to be reliable. Anyone from a beginner to an intermediate student can take this course.
Emotional intelligence, edX
A few years back, this was perhaps the most underrated skill. It’s important to be aware of your emotions, thoughts, and how they affect you. It gives you insights into how others might be thinking. Your ability to empathize with others affects your behavior, choices & social networks.
To help students learn this skill, the University of California, Berkeley, collaborated with edX and designed an online course for students on Empathy & Emotional Intelligence. This course will help you understand the roots of trust and teach research-based techniques that’ll strengthen your empathy. It’s a comprehensive, eight-hour course designed to help you lead with social intelligence.
Judgment and decision making, Google
This situation is becoming common by the day – you have a problem and a lot of data in hand to solve it. But can you go through a hoard of numbers and stats? Can you understand them? Can you recognize actionable insights and make the decisions that will benefit you the most?
Well, here’s a personal suggestion – do this free, beginner-level course on Analytics from the Google Analytics Academy. One of the best online courses with certificates, it has 4 units, and it should not take more than 5 hours to complete. It’ll teach you how to design and organize reports. You’ll also learn how to analyze statistics and derive actionable insights from them. After you’ve finished a quiz at the end, Google will award you with a certificate!
Service orientation, Coursera
When you want to help others, you can understand their problems better. This makes your insights and suggestions more helpful, and also keeps your peers happy. Yes, going out of our way to help others is not exactly in our DNA. But it’s a quality that can be easily cultivated.
Peter Singer, a professor of Bioethics at Princeton, leads a course on Effective Altruism that you can check out. It will help you understand how people restructured their lives by helping others. You’ll also learn techniques to practice altruism – the nature of actively helping others – in your own life. Being one of the online courses for free, it will take only half a day to complete!
If there’s one thing machines can’t do (yet), it’s resolving conflicts between people. It’s not easy, even for the best of seniors and leaders, to reconcile differences and bring people together. This is why year after year, Negotiation has stayed high up in the list of desirable skills.
And who else could teach it to better than an FBI hostage negotiator? This course on the Art of Negotiation teaches you to exercise tools – like mirroring, bargaining, and labeling – for negotiation. The three-hour class will prove helpful to anyone looking for insights into human nature and wanting to leverage that knowledge.
Cognitive flexibility, edX
This one is perhaps the most important skill on this list. Cognitive Flexibility shows how efficiently you can switch between different ways of thinking. As your thoughts move from creative to mathematical to critical, can you recognize patterns and associate different ideas?
There are several ways to improve your cognitive flexibility, like doing something new, meeting strangers, changing your routine, or taking the hard road. There are no specific courses that will teach you how to stretch your brain, but I certainly know one – Introduction to Python by edX & Microsoft. It’s for beginners, but it will teach you the basics of Python and decision making. And that should be enough to get your mind rolling.
We know that self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing are not things of fiction anymore. Technology is catching up, and we have to evolve with it. The best way to do this is to keep learning. If you think we’ve missed anything out on our list of best online courses, or if you’ve already done one of the courses mentioned in this blog, feel free to share. If you’re looking for more, you can check out this course by one of our peers on Medium.
We, at iSchoolConnect, are here to help find the right universities and courses for students. In case you’re looking to study more, you can take a look at some of our other blogs, like Inspirational Speeches for Students, Influential Women who Studied Abroad, and Life-Changing Quotes for Success.