When we last featured some of the great free online courses available, we got such an overwhelming response, we felt the need to revisit the topic. The internet is an infinite source of know-how. Whether you’re looking to finesse your presentation skills, groom a schnauzer or brew mead in your living room, you can find it all with a few short taps on your keyboard. We have found 5 of the best that will help you to grow professionally, become more confident and unlock the secrets of drone building.
Want to push the ejector button on your corporate role, but aren’t quite sure how to do it? Then you need to check out Udacity’s course on How to build a start-up. The course is held by Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who has founded or co-founded 8 start-ups during his career. He also has taught courses at Stanford, Columbia and NYU, so you couldn’t ask for someone more qualified, or knowledgeable.
The course covers everything from idea conception to the business launch and includes useful topics such as: revenue models, distribution channels, the customer experience and attracting partners. It runs for a month and the material is based on interactive tests and video.
In fact, Udacity have a range of amazing free courses, on everything from VR technology to data analysis and Android basics. You can definitely lose a couple of hours plotting your next course of action!
For those who want to take their coding skills to the next level, Google has created an advanced HTML5 course. Accessible for mobile, the site constantly updates its resources to provide the latest information in the field. The site forum also has loads of articles and contributors that offer guidance and advice.
Having an amazing idea is one thing. Being able to convey that idea to investors is an entirely different skillset, yet necessary if you want your idea to blossom into an actual product. Luckily, there is The Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, a course run by Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran. A series of 10 videos take the participant through the entire process, culminating in creating a 1-minute ‘elevator pitch.’ It’s not only a great method to develop your pitching skills, it's a valuable way to hone your idea and really think about all the elements that wil allow your business to flourish.
And while we’re on the subject, being able to generally communicate, whether it’s giving a presentation, sitting through an interview or liaising with a tricky stakeholder, is a vital professional skill. If the thought of standing up and giving a talk makes your palms go sweaty, a free course can be the stepping stone towards being more confident and articulate. While there a loads of fantastic resources out there, we particularly love The University of Houston’s Fundamentals of Public Speaking series. Designed as a beginners course, Professor Deborah Bridges takes you through everything you need to know to become a confident, articulate and dynamic public speaker. The course takes the viewer through verbal and nonverbal communication methods. There is also an opportunity to post your presentations for peer critique.
And lastly we’re going to end on a bit of fun. Build your own drone! As the course notes state: 'The applications are endless. Why spend all that money on a store-bought drone when you can enjoy creating your own?' It takes you through the key components of getting a drone up and running, has a forum of like-minded students and the series won the TUM Teaching Best Lecture Award in 2012 and 2013. And it’s not hard to see why. There are heaps of slides, videos, pdfs available and the lecturer, Dr Jürgen Sturm is very engaging. The only drawback is that a degree in computer science, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering is highly recommended.
Learning is a lifelong pursuit
As the above courses demonstrate, learning doesn’t have to be costly, time-consuming or in a classroom. You can learn everything you need to in your spare time. If you are interested in enhancing your entrepreneurial skills, you should check out our ebook How to launch a start-up which will help give you all the steps to transform your idea into a business.