Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 3, 2021

8 Free Online Courses for People Who Love to Learn

8 Free Online Courses for People Who Love to Learn

Learning new skills and knowledge is a great way to advance your career, increase your income, and make sense of the world. Today, you have access to a large number of online courses to help you learn skills in many areas, including preparing for exams, the basics of science, and many business topics. In this article, you will learn about a variety of free online courses and how you can benefit from them.

As you learn through an online course, keep in mind that free online courses require focus. There is no professor, teacher or anybody else expecting you to pay attention or complete homework. That said, you can achieve a great amount through a self-study learning experience.

1. Develop Your Math Skills With Khan Academy

We all know that math skills and reasoning are valuable and well worth developing. Yet, you may feel embarrassed to ask for help or sign up with a tutor. That’s why the Khan Academy free online courses are so helpful.

Advertising

You can watch the videos multiple times. Even better, there is an online platform where you can practice your math skills with quizzes and get feedback. The best part of Khan Academy courses: each video lesson is short (5-10 minutes), so it is a great approach if you have limited time and want to brush up on the basics.

2. Mastering Data Analysis in Excel (Duke University)

In the corporate world, Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular and powerful business productivity applications. In fact, Excel is so popular that there are dozens of books and courses available on how to make the most of the application. This online Duke University course shows how to generate insights with Excel.

3. Project Management Basics on Coursera

Project management is a great process to turn your ideas into products, services, and other ways to make the world a better place. This free online course will give you an introduction to project management concepts such as planning, scheduling, and leadership.

Advertising

Tip: To take your project management skills to a professional level, earn the Project Management Professional certification.

4. Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature by Harvard University

While coding, science, and business are the typical go-to courses, don’t underestimate the power of studying culture through literature. In this free online course, you’ll learn how to critically analyze literature and understand the significance of major technological advances in writing. All of this will upgrade your critical thinking and analysis skills, which are incredibly useful in any personal or professional setting.

5. Achieve More in Less Time Using SMART Goals by Udemy

Raw knowledge and skills become truly powerful when you apply those ideas toward important goals. For example, your project management skills may support your goal to be earn more money and get promoted. In this course, you will learn the basic principles of creating effective goals from Dr. Richard Feenstra.

Advertising

6. Learning How to Learn

Did you know that some study strategies are more effective than others? Finding study methods that suit your goals matter, especially when you are working through free online courses.

This University of California – San Diego course is taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski. For example, this course will teach you manage your memory and break down course material with chunking.

7. Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles by Harvard University

If you’re looking to become a leader in your field, this free online course is for you. Here, you’ll learn how to identify and analyze complex challenges, what role authority places in various environments, how to build trust, and how to approach conflict.

Advertising

Anyone interested in getting a leg up on their competition will find something useful in this course by Harvard University.

8. Introduction to Programming in Java by MIT

Java is one of the world’s most popular and flexible programming languages. In this free online course from MIT, you will learn how to develop programs using Java. The course includes lecture notes on topics such as loops, arrays, and debugging.

If you find this course structure helpful and valuable, MIT has a wealth of science, engineering and technology courses online at the MIT OpenCourseWare website.

Final Thoughts

Self-education has never been easier with the wealth of information available through free online courses and top universities. Whether you want to learn literature, business, psychology, or computer science, there is a course for you. Any of these will boost your resume and give you an advantage in your career development and personal life.

More Self-Learning Resources

Featured photo credit: MayoFi via unsplash.com

More by this author

Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

8 Free Online Courses for People Who Love to Learn 10 Ways Successful People Achieve Their Goals 10 Signs You Have Created a Good Work-Life Balance Young Woman Reading Book 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not Miss 20 Life Hacks Put To The Test 20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

Trending in Learning

1 How To Ask the Right Questions For Effective Learning 2 9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective 3 How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone 4 How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ 5 How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 20, 2021

How To Ask the Right Questions For Effective Learning

How To Ask the Right Questions For Effective Learning

Asking the right questions is basically the magic key to any kind of personal or professional development. Sounds pretty awesome, huh? Unfortunately, many people are afraid to ask questions at all. They often think that they look stupid if they ask too many questions.

Well, funny enough, it’s impossible to move forward without asking questions. How are you supposed to learn anything new if you’re never wondering, “how can I do that?” or “what is required to achieve my desired result?”

But it’s not only about asking others. You must also master the art of asking yourself the right questions. Yes, you read that right. The kind of questions you ask yourself can have a huge impact on your results. And they can, in fact, make the difference between hitting your goals and not moving forward at all.

Alright, so in this article, I’ll cover the question (you see what I mean?): how do I ask the right questions for effective learning?

Why Is Asking the Right Questions Important for Effective Learning?

Before we look at the “how,” let’s first talk about why it’s so important to ask the right questions for effective learning.

1. Questions Lead to Answers

As mentioned before, you can’t learn or move forward without asking questions. Just imagine if you start a new job and you never asked anything at all. Would you ever be able to do a good job?

Sure, you might be lucky and get all your instructions delivered on a silver platter. But even if that’s the case, what will you do with very specific situations that weren’t covered in the instructions? Or what will you do with constructive criticism from your boss?

If you just take that and then only do exactly what your boss said without ever questioning what they really meant, will you really be able to improve your work?

Okay, I think you get the point. You need answers for effective learning and improvement. And the only way to get them is through asking questions.

Advertising

2. Asking the Right Questions Will Help You Be Successful

Asking the right questions will also significantly improve your chances of being successful.

Let’s take another example. Let’s say you want to build your own business. How do you start? That’s right—that’s the first good question to ask yourself. After that, a lot of your success depends on what you’re asking yourself and others.

Now, let’s compare two kinds of questions. Let’s say you get stuck in your business building process. You could ask yourself: “why doesn’t this work for me?” Or you could ask yourself “how can I make this work for me?”

Do you see the difference? The second question is an empowering one that will guide you to success. Of course, you need to be relentless and motivated to actually find a solution. But simply asking yourself this kind of question will significantly improve your chances for success.

The first question, on the other hand, is a rather disempowering one. It puts you in a victim role where you feel sorry for yourself rather than in a position to look for a solution. And have you ever seen someone who’s victimizing themself be successful? I sure haven’t!

3. Communication Is Key for Improvement

Now, let’s quickly look at another important aspect regarding questions addressed to other people.

Good communication is essential for improvement, good relationships, and success. And that can literally be applied to any kind of situation. Be it your job, your business, your marriage, or with your friends, good communication is the foundation for healthy relationships.

Effective communication requires active listening more than anything else. But what does that mean?

It means to ask questions and then actually listen to what the other person has to say. This will not only help you improve your relationship with other people—and, therefore, help you move forward in your professional and personal life—but it will also help you gain a lot of knowledge, which is undoubtedly the most effective kind of learning.

Advertising

People love to talk about themselves. So, you only need to find people who have the answers to your questions and then listen in an active way. And boom, you probably just shortened your learning curve by 50%.

What Is Effective Learning?

Okay, I’d like to quickly touch on one more important thing before we talk about how you can ask the right questions. And that is, “what is effective learning?”

Contrary to common belief, we don’t stop learning after college. In school, we’re basically forced to learn certain topics. But it’s actually after this period that the really interesting learning period starts. Once you’re out of school, you can completely choose what things you want to learn yourself, and this is where effective learning really starts

The best example is laid out in Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. In his book, he explains that the only way you can move forward in today’s economy is to learn hard things at a fast pace. He specifically talks about today’s economy because things are changing faster than ever. You can’t stay stuck with 10-year old technology or you’ll soon be left behind in our fast-paced world.

So, this is basically what effective learning means—learning hard and relevant things at a fast pace.

How to Ask the Right Questions for Effective Learning

Alright, so now that you understand the importance of asking the right questions and what effective learning means, let’s put it all together.

So, here’s how to ask the right questions for effective learning.

1. Start by Asking Yourself

As mentioned before, the most important aspect is to actually start by asking yourself the right kind of questions. Pay attention to always ask empowering questions—meaning, questions that are solution-oriented.

These are often “how” questions. For instance:

Advertising

  • “How can I achieve my goal?”
  • “How can I make a better job?”
  • “How can I best use this resource?”

Avoid disempowering, victimizing questions. It’s sometimes hard to even detect those because we’re often asking ourselves these kinds of questions without even noticing.

This usually happens when we’re frustrated with a situation. These kinds of questions focus on why you’re in such a bad situation and absolutely ignore the possibility of a solution. These are often “why” questions. Here are a few examples:

  • “Why did this happen to me?”
  • “Why is everyone else successful except me?”
  • “Why can’t I be lucky for once?”

2. Ask the Right People

Once you’ve managed to ask yourself the right questions, it’s time to focus on what to ask other people. But it’s not only about what to ask. It’s also about whom to address it to.

To promote effective learning, you need to ask the right people. These are people who have gone before you and who have achieved what you want to achieve. It doesn’t even need to be in person. Reading their books and wondering “what made them successful?” is a great way to start. If you can, totally opt in for asking those people in person, though. These can become your mentors or role models who will make effective learning significantly easier.

To find the right people to ask, first determine your goal for this conversation. What do you want to learn? What do you want to achieve with that knowledge? Then, find people who have already achieved that.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Once you have found the right people, it’s important to also phrase your questions the right way. That means asking open-ended questions.

As mentioned before, people love talking about themselves and their achievements. And by asking open-ended questions, you allow them to share as much as possible. This is especially great to start a conversation as it will get you a lot of information right from the get-go. Later down the road, you can ask more specific questions to get the amount of detail you need.

Great open-ended questions are: “how did you achieve (a milestone)?”; “what are the best tools to be successful?” “what helped you be so successful?”

Make sure to enter your specific goal or their success in those questions. For instance, you could ask your boss, “what helped you get promoted after only working for the company for a year?”

Advertising

4. Practice Active Listening

Active listening is an insanely powerful skill. You can “extract” all of a person’s knowledge simply by listening and asking more open-ended questions that allow them to share even more of their experience and knowledge.

Practice it with your friends or spouse. Set an intention of just listening for 10 minutes. During this time, only ask questions that allow them to talk about themselves. Don’t interrupt them and only ask deeper questions after they finished answering.

After that, think about how much you just learned about the other person. Plus, you probably made the other person feel really good and flattered. This in turn will make it easier to get even more answers from them in the future.

Once you feel comfortable, try this with one of your mentors. Believe me, they’ll love you for it, and you’ll get your answers much faster that way.

5. Focus on the Solution

One last point: always focus on the solution when asking any kind of question. This goes for asking yourself but also when asking other people.

Your subconscious will automatically guide you towards what you’re focusing on.[1] If you’re focusing on the risks or on what could go wrong, guess where you’ll end up? Right there!

If you focus on solutions and see struggles as opportunities to learn more, you’ll always end up finding solutions for any kind of problem or issue. So, asking the right questions is all about being solution-oriented and focusing on the opportunities rather than the risks.

Conclusion

Asking the right questions is not only essential for effective learning—aka learning hard things at a fast pace—but it’s also key to improving in any personal or professional area of your life.

There are two important aspects of asking the right questions. The first is about what kind of questions you ask yourself. Make sure to keep them empowering and solution-oriented. This will help guide you to success instead of keeping you stuck with a problem.

The second aspect is to ask the right kind of people to get answers that will help you achieve your goals. Make sure to find people who have gone before you. Then, ask them open-ended questions and practice active listening to learn as much as possible from them.

More Tips on Asking Questions

Featured photo credit: Product School via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next