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Students of the school of life don’t need to enroll in obscure online universities and unaccredited diploma mills to level up on new skills. When it comes to the best online courses for personal development, there’s no shortage of expert-led, e-learning platforms geared towards helping you reach your potential. And if you’re planning on kicking of the year with more social distancing, why not fill your time with virtual lessons that can help you find a new career (or climb the ladder at your current one), improve romantic relationships, and other aspects of your life?
These days, you can soak up knowledge from the likes of David Lynch, Anna Wintour, professors from the Berklee College of Music, respected authors and thought leaders, and other industry insiders and heavyweights. Most (if not all) of these platforms are also compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, and Microsoft devices, so you can stream video lessons and download content to your phone or computer. The fact that they feature pre-recorded classes means that you can pick up from where you left off anywhere — and at any time. Many instructors also provide supplemental worksheets and other materials, and some companies also allow you to download videos or watch content when you’re offline.
What Are the Best Online Classes for Personal Development?
Personal development is the process of analyzing your goals and desired traits, and then strengthening existing skills or building new ones to meet those ambitions. Whether you’re aiming to improve the quality of your personal or professional life, you can learn to boost your confidence or be a better partner (to name a few) through skills such as problem-solving, communication, organization, versatility, and leadership, among other qualities.
Looking for the best personal development courses to take online? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite self-growth classes on popular e-learning sites including LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, MasterClass, and more. Check out our top picks below.
1. A Modern-Day Guide to Stop Procrastinating
Reading this article because you’re dodging a deadline? In just one hour, Udemy’s guide will help you learn how to focus in any environment, create a better daily structure for increasing productivity, and build momentum once you’re on a roll.
Udemy’s online classes can be taken on your own time, and unlike real school, there are no marks to stress over or assignments to complete. You can view the easy-to-follow classes on your phone or laptop, and download notes and helpful reminders to use off-line as well. Purchase this class once and get unlimited access for life.
2. The Science of Well-Being
Learn to have a more productive and positive mindset in this course taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos. You’ll explore why the mind works the way it does, the most common misconceptions about happiness, and research-guided actions to change your habits for the better. Try it out for free with a 7-day free trial to Coursera, one of our favorite online learning sites.
3. Inspiration and Motivation with Scout Bassett
Given that Paralympic track and field athlete Scout Bassett has earned two world championship bronze medals, four international triathlon medals, and four U.S. national championship medals, you can assume she knows a thing or two about finding motivation. In her Inspiration and Motivation course for athletics-focused learning platform, The Skills, the athlete shares what she’s learned from overcoming hardships in her life, from growing in up an orphanage in China to teaching herself to walk in a makeshift prosthetic leg.
4. Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a job application or an email to a colleague, proper grammar and sentence structure can ensure you’re writing exactly what you intend to communicate. Writing expert Mignon Fogarty (better known as Grammar Girl) shares her top tips on weaving rhythm and active voice into your words, using commas like an expert, avoiding run-on sentences, and more.
Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing, unlimited access starts at $20 per month; sign up at LinkedIn Learning
5. The Ultimate Stress Management Guide with Robin Berzin, MD
Functional medicine physician and Parsley Health founder Robin Berzin, MD leads MindBodyGreen’s 38-video course on managing stress. It’s great for anyone who struggles with anxiety or feels that they’re run out of steam, to name a few symptoms of stress. The holistic health series covers how to decrease those feelings through lifestyle changes, stress-relieving movements and breath exercises, and which foods to eat and avoid. You’ll also get a one-page guide to incorporating a plant-based paleo diet into your life, and recipes for healthy snacks and meals to support your stress-free habits.
6. The Science of Better Sleep with Matthew Walker
Getting quality shut-eye can do wonders for nearly every aspect of your life, including your creativity. In his “Science of Better Sleep” series on MasterClass, UC Berkeley neuroscience and psychology professor Matthew Walker outlines all of the elements sleep — including rapid eye moment (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep — and how this essential activity affects your health, from your immune system to your fight-or-flight response.
You’ll also learn how pulling an all-nighter can affect your ability to solve problems, soak up new information, and be creative. Walker then shares practical tips for sleeping better so that you can be more creative, happier, and productive.