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With no set timeline as to when the government-ordered COVID-19 quarantine will lift, more and more people are facing the reality of spending weeks — if not months — at home. But experts say staying in could actually be good thing, not only for your health, but for your mental muscles as well.
“This is a critical time to maintain your edge,” says Jen Mattiola, an LA-based mindset and leadership coach for entrepreneurs and executives. “Crisis often presents an opportunity to create a competitive advantage, improve your business, or fix important issues with the company.”
With a rising number of people staying home from work these days, a number of online learning sites are offering up special courses and promotions, for those looking to learn a new skill during their self-isolation, or people who simply want a cure for boredom.
Sites like Hulu and Amazon Prime are ripe with binge-worthy content, but Mattiola says it’s important to seek out some active learning as well. “Interest and intrigue is the antidote to boredom and often times, can spark a new adventure and increased confidence,” she says.
Her suggestion: “Don’t waste time deluding yourself or hoping for the best. Plan for what the company or your skill-set will look like when the crisis is over. The people and the companies that plan will be the ones who survive and quite possibly see unprecedented growth after the crisis is over,” she says. “There is nobody to rescue your career or company but you.”
The key is putting your time — and your mind — into something productive during the pandemic. We’ve found four of the best e-learning platforms that offer on-demand classes on everything from cooking to career advancement. From celeb-approved tutorials to college degrees you can earn online, all of the sites offer streaming audio and video lessons, interactive workshops and downloadable course materials. Many also offer the ability to connect with peers and instructors. What we like: take each course from any device, at your own pace, and on your own time, all from the convenience of home.
MasterClass is an online education platform that taps celebrities from the worlds of food, fashion, music, television, film and politics for exclusive on-demand classes. The videos, hosted by everyone from Serena Williams to Martin Scorcese, can all be streamed (and paused and re-started) whenever you want, and every course includes a downloadable workbook. Some classes let you email the celebrity instructor too, for an online-take on professor “office hours.”
RuPaul is the latest instructor to join the MasterClass ranks, with a class on “self-expression and authenticity” that launched last month. Through a series of 16 video lessons — about 10-15 minutes each — RuPaul speaks about everything from how to own a room, to how to find and cultivate your “tribe.” For fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the TV host and personality sits down with his long-time costume collaborator, Zaldy, to deconstruct some of his most iconic looks. RuPaul also offers a bonus makeup lesson with his makeup artist David Petruschin.
Other MasterClass instructors include Anna Wintour, teaching a course on creativity and leadership, Neil deGrasse Tyson, teaching scientific thinking and communication, and David Lynch, speaking about creativity and filmmaking. Aaron Sorkin, David Sedaris, Werner Herzog and Shonda Rhimes are among some of the other bold-face names lending their talents to the online classes.
Pricing: MasterClass pricing starts at $15/month ($180/year) which gets you unlimited access to 80+ classes through the All-Access Pass (the company says new classes are added year-round). A single class is $90. Take the classes in the comfort of your home via Apple TV, your laptop or tablet, or watch via their mobile app.
See a full list of classes and get sign-up details here.
Udemy has been in the online learning marketplace since 2010, and it’s one of the more affordable sites for learning a new skill or upgrading an existing skill-set. With the large number of people staying at home right now, Udemy is offering hundreds of its most popular courses for just $10.99. The deal includes everything from graphic design and video editing courses, to classes on personal growth and development.
One of the best values is their “MBA In 1 Course,” which includes 15+ hours of on-demand video lectures, articles, downloadable resources and a certificate of completion. The course, themed around launching a business into the marketplace, is usually $199.99 but it’s part of Udemy’s $10.99 deal right now.
More than 90,000 students have also taken this “Ultimate Photoshop Training” course, which currently has a 4.6-star review (out of five). And Udemy offers a bunch of courses to help upgrade your skills in digital marketing, social media strategy and at-home entrepreneurship (I.e. how to make money while working from home) as well.
As with MasterClass, you can take Udemy classes online at your own pace and schedule.
Pricing: Udemy classes start at $10.99 with hundreds of classes priced under $20. Once you purchase a course, you get lifetime access to it, so you can go back to it whenever you want.
3. LinkedIn Learning
You know LinkedIn as the online networking site (or where you go to search for jobs in a pandemic-induced panic), but the company has expanded its offerings to a new online learning platform dubbed, “LinkedIn Learning.” Members get access to more than 15,000 courses, with expert instructors (think CEOs, professors, etc.) tackling everything from leadership and management, to software tools and more.
Connect your subscription to your LinkedIn profile page, and you’ll get course recommendations tailored to your industry. The goal: to update your skills — or learn some new ones — to improve your visibility to potential recruiters, or to earn that promotion at work.
Like the other sites on our list, LinkedIn Learning courses come with downloadable workbooks and online quizzes that you can take to gauge your progress (don’t worry — no marks are handed out). View the courses anytime on your computer or phone.
A bonus: you could be able to write off your online classes. LinkedIn says “many employers find LinkedIn Learning so valuable that they’ll pay for their employees’ subscriptions.”
Pricing: Pricing for LinkedIn Learning starts at $19.99/month. The site is currently offering a 30-day free trial here.
See a full list of courses at linkedIn.com/learning.
While MasterClass is counting on its celebrity cache to attract students, Coursera offers courses taught by certified instructors from renowned universities and educational institutions from around the world. The site also offers actual accredited online degree programs in business, computer science, and data science, while working with professors from schools like Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke and Stanford.
For aspiring musicians, Coursera offers a number of songwriting and production classes in conjunction with the renowned Berklee College of Music. Choose from one-off classes, a certificate program or full degrees.
Right now, the site is offering its “Coursera for Campus” program at no cost to any university impacted by COVID-19. Up to 5000 licenses are available for students whose studies have been affected by the pandemic, with Coursera providing free access to more than 3800 courses from accredited colleges and universities. Find out more about the program here.
Pricing: Individual classes on Coursera start at $29, while a full online degree will run up to $25,000. Coursera does offers financial aid for those who qualify.