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10 Online Courses That Professionals Everywhere Can Use

10 Online Courses That Professionals Everywhere Can Use

The Great Recession may be behind us, but years of economic instability have left their mark on the workplace. Now, more Americans are freelancers or working on contract. Meanwhile, managers have yet to hire new employees at the pre-recession rates, leaving current employees with multiple responsibilities and job titles. What does that mean for us worker bees? We have to constantly improve our skillset, develop professionally and stay on top of our game to remain valued and employable. Yet many of us do not have the time or the money to participate in a traditional college or continuing education course.

Online courses are becoming more popular, and what was once seen as a questionable credential is now recognized as quality education. According to this infographic from Vista College, an estimated 25 million students will take at least one online class this year, and 77 percent of academics rate online courses equal or superior to the bricks and mortar classroom. No matter your profession, it’s critical to stay current with best practices, skills and technology. Here are 10 online courses that professionals everywhere should consider:

Intro to Social Media, Constant Contact

social media online course

    Is Facebook a mystery to you? Do you hear colleagues talking about the company’s digital footprint but have no idea what it means? If you were hoping Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media sites were just fads that would quickly disappear, you are mistaken. And everyone from family owned businesses to multinational corporations are working to improve their online presence and reputation through these sites. Social 101, an online course put together by email marketer Constant Contact, explains popular sites, blogging, QR codes, email marketing and more.

    Project Management Course, Vista College Pro

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    project management courses

      Vista College’s online classes are perfect for busy professionals. This course can help enhance the skills needed to be successful in project management, including initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing. This course can also prepare you for the project management professional certification through the Project Management Institute. If your boss has been reluctant to put you in charge of a project, take this course to sharpen your skills.

      Google Analytics Academy, Google

      SEO and analytics

        Website analytics have advanced well beyond merely counting the number of visits. By taking this course, you’ll learn how the data collected by Google about those visiting your website will help you direct advertising dollars, grow your e-commerce, and create in-depth analysis. Just by adding the analytics code to your website, a whole new world of big data will be open to you.

        Time Management Class, Franklin Covey

        Time To Learn

          Franklin Covey is famous for its courses in productivity and business skills. Their Time Management Essentials online course can help busy professionals learn to prioritize responsibilities, think through problems more efficiently and make good decisions. These courses also teach students how to use technology to make life more productive, instead of adding distractions to an already busy schedule.

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          Writing Course, Utah State University

          writing course

            Clear and well thought out writing is hard to find. Even in an age when it seems everyone is a blogger, or at least a microblogger, quality writing is rare. Yet it’s necessary to get ahead in the workplace: presentations, emails, proposals and even employee reviews all depend upon a solid writing foundation. Take this course to help understand and develop writing skills.

            Photography Training and Tutorials, Lynda.com

            photography online course

              Photography is a wonderful personal skill that can take a family photo album from dull to inspiring. But a few photography skills can also help set you apart at work. Facebook posts with photos enjoy a higher level of engagement than those without. The annual financial report is read by more people when a compelling photo is on the cover. The company website is always putting out calls for event photos. By taking photography classes, you can set yourself apart at home and at work.

              Public Speaking, University of Washington via Coursera

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              Communicate Definition Magnifier Showing Dialog Networking Or Speaking

                Do you get knots in your stomach when presenting to the Board of Directors? Does the idea of representing your company at a trade show terrify you? Then it is time to take a public speaking class to get over your fears and advance in the workplace. This course is a partnership between the University of Washington and Coursera, and will help you become more succinct, persuasive and confident in your speech.

                Finance and Capital Markets, Khan Academy

                Finance

                  Even the most artistic among us has to face the reality of a budget and bank balance. So while this coursework may not apply to your job right now, as you move up the corporate ladder you will also be responsible for an office budget one day. Learning about interest, debt, accounting basics and financial statements will set you apart from colleagues who’ve never heard of the word “amortization.”

                  Business Etiquette, The Emily Post Institute

                  business course

                    One poorly handled work lunch or a flubbed interaction with the CEO can set any employee back. On the other hand, when a boss sees you handle a potentially awkward or stressful situation with grace and ease, you’ll be commended. The Emily Post Institute offers classes in business and workplace etiquette, communications for business professionals and dining tips for business dinners or events. Sure, you may know your company inside and out, but do you know how to make the best impression?

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                    Sewing Class, Craftsy.com

                    hobby classes

                      OK, maybe it won’t be sewing for you, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box when looking for an online class. If you talk on the phone all day, it is relaxing to take a sewing class in the evening and work your creative skills. Maybe for you it would be an online course about car repair, an online cooking class, instruction in a foreign language or a DIY home repair course. These outside interests will give you something to talk about at work, and show the boss that you are a well-rounded employee. C’est bon!

                      It may seem like you have no free time during which to take on an additional class, but putting time into your professional or personal development will reap benefits for years to come. If you won’t invest in yourself, who will? Sign up for a professional development course today. What course have you taken to aid in professional development? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

                      Featured photo credit: Aleksi Tappura via unsplash.imgix.net

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                      Last Updated on March 31, 2020

                      How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

                      How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

                      Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

                      But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

                      The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

                      Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

                      But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

                      As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

                      Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

                      There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

                      The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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                      • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
                      • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
                      • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
                      • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

                      But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

                      How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

                      When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

                      I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

                      Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

                      However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

                      Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

                      While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

                      Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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                      By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

                      How to Use Visual Learning for Success

                      Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

                      1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

                      We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

                      While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

                      I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

                      2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

                      Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

                      Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

                      As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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                      And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

                      3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

                      Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

                      With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

                      Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

                      It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

                      Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

                      Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

                      4. Add video streaming to meetings.

                      What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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                      When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

                      For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

                      Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

                      No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

                      You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

                      The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

                      More About Learning Styles

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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