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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: MayoFi via unsplash.com

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Bruce Harpham

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

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done
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Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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