A decade ago, online courses were a rarity. Today, according to online education clearinghouse Class Central, 900 universities have launched 13,500 online courses, which have been taken by 110 million learners. It's a bonanza out there. These days you can learn just about anything with a high-quality, low-cost online course.
But such bounty can be overwhelming. With so many courses to choose from, which will actually help you be successful? One good way to judge is to look at how many folks a course has helped before, and, handily, each year Class Central releases its list of the most popular courses of the preceding 12 months.
I've combed through the 2019 list for classes that will benefit most professionals (though if you're looking for more niche subjects, especially in tech, check out the complete rundown for lots of interesting offerings). I've chosen classes in everything from exercise to data analysis that will help you be more motivated, productive, and successful this year. Happy learning.
Improving Your Study Techniques from the University of Groningen. Learn to be better at learning with this class from a Dutch university.
Happier Employees and Return-on-Investment Course from the University of Texas at Austin. Co-taught by famed CEO coach and author Marshall Goldsmith, this class aims to show how happiness can make you more successful.
Fundamentals of Statistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Statistics is the science of turning data into insights and ultimately decisions," says the class description, and this course will give you the basics to get started.
Hacking Exercise for Health. The Surprising New Science of Fitness from McMaster University. This one promises "hacks to get fit and strong (and healthy!) in less time than you ever thought possible."
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) from IBM. A primer on one of the hottest topics around for the complete beginner.
The Language of Design: Form and Meaning from the California Institute of the Arts. Designed to give novices the vocabulary and concepts necessary to talk effectively and offer feedback about design.
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking from Harvard University. Learn how to change minds with your words from instructors at one of the world's best universities.
The Future of Work: Preparing for Disruption from the World Bank. Technology is replacing more and more jobs. How can you thrive in this new world? The World Bank offers some ideas to help you think through change and prepare.
Mindfulness and Resilience to Stress at Work from the University of California, Berkeley. "80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, and nearly half say they need help learning how to manage it," says the course description. "This course offers research-based strategies for building resilience to stress."
Managing People: Understanding Individual Differences from the University of Reading. Bone up on personality and learning differences so you can get the most out of all of your people.
Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills from the University of Michigan. "We all negotiate on a daily basis," points out the course description. "Discover and practice the four steps to successful negotiation, and learn strategies to do it better."
Ethical Hacking from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Learn to think like a hacker so you can better protect yourself and your company.
Data Analysis: A Practical Introduction for Absolute Beginners from Microsoft. Know nothing about data but want to learn more? This course might be for you.
Critical Thinking: Reasoned Decision Making from Tecnológico de Monterrey. Learn to think clearly and without bias (or at least with less bias) in a complex world.
Agile Leadership Principles from the University System of Maryland. Command-and-control leadership is going the way of the dinosaurs. This class will bring you up to speed on what's replacing it.
The Neuromarketing Toolbox from Copenhagen Business School. Just asking consumers what they like is so last century. This course will introduce you to more advanced ways of determining what motivates the people who buy your products.
Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World from the State University of New York. Clearly (and sadly) self-recommending in our current world.
Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An Approach to Motivation, Development and Wellness from the University of Rochester. Self-determination theory "is an empirically based theory of motivation and psychological development that is especially focused on the basic psychological needs that promote high quality motivation and wellness," explains the course description. Sounds fascinating.
Developing a Systems Mindset from the University of Colorado Boulder. Working on a complicated project with many stakeholders and interlocking factors? This course aims to help you make sense of it all.
Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition from Deakin University. Learn how to eat better to feel better, not just physically, but mentally too.