Your Digital Self: Five online sites that will make you smarter while you’re in coronavirus lockdown

Your Digital Self

Learn new skills and boost your knowledge as you work from home


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In my last column, I wrote about how you can be more efficient when working from home. I’m a freelancer and entrepreneur who has worked like this for 15 years. To learn skills, I didn’t rely on a formal education. I’ve visited online sites, watched thousands of videos, browsed forums and picked up tips, knowledge and how-tos that launched my career and kept me in the know.

As you spend your days in lockdown, I’d like to share with you some of the resources I’ve used. It is my hope that they could help your career.

Read:A work-from-home strategy from a 15-year veteran: Act like a boss, set strict limits, buy technology (including headphones)

1. Khan Academy

This amazing resource is a free repository of information. Anything from math to world history (and more) is arranged neatly for you to peruse. You can watch videos and follow additional materials on the site without the need to log in or sign up for anything, although creating an account is beneficial because it enables you to track your progress and participate in discussions with other students. With the coronavirus causing mass school closings, demand for Khan Academy classes has spiked, so its creators are asking for donations to keep the servers running. Note that pitching in isn’t obligatory.

2. Skillshare

Skillshare provides courses in the creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, technology and more. This online learning community provides resources that focus on interaction, rather than theory, and learning by practice. Many courses are taught by industry leaders, and although you need to be a subscriber to access most of them, some are free.

3. Udemy

This online learning platform for both students and professionals claims to house the world’s largest selection of courses, with more than 100,000 videos available. Udemy courses are divided into several categories, including business and entrepreneurship, academics, arts, health and fitness, language, music and tech. The platform offers the “Udemy for Business” service, which allows organizations to create custom learning portals for corporate training. This can be useful now that people are working remotely, as it’s important to remain sharp.

4. Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a Q & A website for professional and enthusiast programmers and coders. If you’re thinking of becoming a web or an app designer, you will find this amazing repository invaluable. I was especially fond of the site’s gamification of the entire communication process. Once you create a profile, you will be given reputation points for contributing your own answers and upvoting valuable ones. Reputation points give you more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling; they unlock new privileges you can use on the site, such as voting, commenting and editing other people’s posts.

5. TED-Ed

The same quality of content and wide range of topics that make TED a worthwhile resource of powerful ideas and enriching experiences fuel its educational initiative, TED-Ed. Here you can find animated videos and lectures built by 250,000 educators. Videos can be sorted by topics and subjects, ranging from the arts to thinking and learning. TED-Ed is free.

Other resources

There are many resources available online, and one of the biggest is Alphabet’s
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YouTube. If you know where to look, you can find educational videos on any conceivable topic.

YouTube isn’t on my favorites list because of the variable quality of its content. There’s a lot of wrong or intentionally misleading information. Doing fact-checking is time-consuming and often counterproductive. Still, this shouldn’t dissuade you. If you have some knowledge of a topic, YouTube is a worthwhile resource, so don’t be afraid to explore.

Which learning websites have you been using during the quarantine? Share them in the comment section below.

Jurica Dujmovic is a MarketWatch columnist.

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