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17 Free Online Learning Sites that Provide High Quality Opportunities

17 Free Online Learning Sites that Provide High Quality Opportunities

One thing that you should never stop doing is learning, even if you are no longer in school. With the Internet, our opportunities to learn have never been so great, and there is no excuse for you to not be learning at least one new thing every day. Check out these 17 awesome free online learning sites.

1. ALISON

Alison

    This site is partnered with some of the top publishers to provide courses on just about anything you can think of. From HR practices to nursing, there is bound to be something that you are interested in learning. This site makes the best learning materials available to everyone.

    2. EdX

    edx

      If you want to take university classes online, this is the place to do it. You can enjoy classes from the top universities, including Harvard and UC Berkley, and you can search for courses by school, subject, or topic. You will be amazed at the amount of great courses that are available on this site, and they are all free to take.

      3. Microsoft Virtual Academy

      microsoft

        This is a great way to learn all about IT, cloud computing, and everything else that people do every day on the Internet. There are even live events such as tutorials, and there are courses for students of every level.

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        4. E-Learning for Kids

        elearning kids

          This is a great site for kids that is loaded with elementary courses. Kids ages 5-12 can take courses in math, science, health, language, and more, and they will end up with much better grades in school.

          5. MIT OpenCourseware

          MIT

            When you want coursework from MIT that is very concentrated, this is the site to check out. You will find most of the most popular MIT courses here, including animal behavior, statistics and probability, and a whole lot more.

            6. Udemy

            udemy

              This site offers more paid video tutorials than anything, but there are some freebies, and the paid ones are also worth looking into. Topics include personal development, marketing, lifestyle, photography, and more.

              7. CodeAcademy

              codeacademy

                This is for anyone who wants to learn about software programming and data science. Most of the courses are web-related, and there are courses for all age groups. There is even an in-browser coding console for some courses. This marketable, money-making skill is easy to learn with this useful online resource.

                8. Ed2Go

                ed2go

                  These courses aren’t free, but they are affordable, and there are courses from more than 2,100 colleges and universities. The training is virtual, but led by instructors, and there are loads of categories.You get the opportunity to interact with your classmates which allows you to make connections and get further course recommendations from them for the future.

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                  9. Open Culture

                  Capture

                    This site is great because it divides free online courses into various disciplines and connects you to resources relating to those topics. If you like history, this site connects you to hundreds of history resources relating to your interests.

                    10. HubSpot Academy

                    Hubspot

                      This site offers courses and e-books about content marketing, and you can even get certifications. This is going to make you stand out when you are on the hunt for a new job in marketing. Most people add their earned certifications to their resumes!

                      11. iTunesU

                      iTunesU

                        Not everything here is free, but there are enough free courses that you can load onto your phone or computer at no charge that it is worth checking out. You can even learn on your daily commute to work!

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                        12. NovoEd

                        Novoed

                          Most of the courses here are free, and come from professors from some of the top universities in the world. This social learning platform connects you with other learners.

                          13. Stanford Engineering Everywhere

                          stanford

                            Engineering courses are free to both students and educators, including all of the materials you need to complete each course, from syllabi to videos to exams and more.

                            14. Coursera

                            Coursera

                              There are more than 1000 courses here from the top learning institutions, including Stanford and Duke. You should have no problem finding loads of great courses that you will want to take for free. Coursera is great because you can take quick classes to learn about programs like Excel, Photoshop, and more.

                              15. Moz

                              moz

                                Here is a site that offers loads of resources about everything to do with search engine and content marketing. You will find guides to link building, social media, SEO, and a whole lot more.

                                16. Scratch-Imagine, Program, Share

                                scratch

                                  This is a program from MIT that allows children to learn about science. They will learn about the solar system, music synths, the science behind paper planes, and a whole lot more.

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                                  17. HippoCampus

                                  hippo

                                    Find loads of free video collections for 13 subjects for students in middle school all the way to college. Teachers can get free accounts, and courses are from such schools as Khan Academy, NM State Learn Games Lab, and STEMbite.

                                    Featured photo credit: philosophygeek via flickr.com

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                                    Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                                    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                    Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                                    In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                                    For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                                    For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                                    Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                                    Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                                    Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                                    How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                                    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                                    1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                                    Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                                    For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                                    2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                                    Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                                    Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                                    Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                                    3. Create a System

                                    Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                                    This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                                    You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                                    Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                                    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                                    4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                                    We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                                    If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                                    Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                                    Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                                    5. Use a Ratings Scale

                                    Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                                    Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                                    It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                                    6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                                    This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                                    You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                                    You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                                    7. Offer Feedback Forms

                                    Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                                    First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                                    Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                                    You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                    8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                                    This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                                    Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                                    Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                                    9. Use Self-Evaluations

                                    Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                                    Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                                    10. Monitor Time Management

                                    This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                                    Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                                      The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                                      While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                      11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                                      We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                                      Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                                      For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                                      Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                                      Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                                      From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                                      12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                                      This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                                      Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                                      Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                                      It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                                      13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                                      When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                                      Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                                      Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                                      14. Use an External Evaluator

                                      Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                                      They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                                      While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                                      The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                                      The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                                      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

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