This year may have been a nightmare in most ways, but 2020 has been a banner year for online education. Besides millions of students around the world being forced to study remotely, huge numbers of adults have found themselves stuck at home with time on their hands. No wonder online courses have been so popular this year. 

Class Central, a clearinghouse for information on online courses, saw traffic double since the pandemic began. Which classes are all these new students flocking to? 

Class Central just released a roundup of the most popular courses of the year. As you'd expect, the complete list of 100 includes lots of Covid-19 related courses on topics like contact tracing and moving lessons online (as well as perennial favorites like test prep and English as a second language). But it also contained some gems well suited to entrepreneurs and other professionals looking to expand their skills and improve their lives in 2021: 

  1. How to Learn Online from edX. "Learn essential strategies for successful online learning."

  2. Excel/VBA for Creative Problem Solving, Part 1 from University of Colorado Boulder. This course is "aimed at learners who are seeking to augment, expand, optimize, and increase the efficiency of their Excel spreadsheet skills by tapping into the powerful programming, automation, and customization capabilities available with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)," explains the course description. 

  3. Crash Course on Python from Google. "This course is designed to teach you the foundations in order to write simple programs in Python using the most common structures."

  4. Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most from University of Michigan. The course title pretty much says everything you need to know.  

  5. Everyday Excel, Part 1 University of Colorado Boulder. A more basic Excel class for "learners who are seeking to learn Excel from the ground up."

  6. Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles from Harvard University. "Mobilize people to tackle tough problems and build the capacity to thrive through the dangers of change."

  7. Introduction to Business Management from King's College London. "Discover how to manage people, money and information, and gain confidence and insight into your own management style." 

  8. Computer Programming for Everyone from University of Leeds. "Discover the art of computer programming and learn what code can do."

  9. Data Analytics for Decision Making: An Introduction to Using Excel Bond University. Another opportunity to become an Excel master. "It's not enough to gather information; to stand out you must know how to use data to improve real-life decisions," insists the course description. 

  10. AI for Everyone: Master the Basics from IBM. "Learn what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is by understanding its applications and key concepts including machine learning, deep learning and neural networks."

  11. Introduction to Social Media Marketing from Facebook. "This course lays the foundation of social media marketing."

  12. Introduction to Data Science from IBM. "Learn about the world of data science first-hand from real data scientists."

  13. Learn to Code for the Web from University of Leeds. "Ever wondered what's behind your favorite websites and apps? Get to grips with the basics of coding in HTML, CSS and Java Script."

  14. Understanding Medical Research: Your Facebook Friend is Wrong from Yale University. A timely one that answers an important question: "How can you tell if the bold headlines seen on social media are truly touting the next big thing or if the article isn't worth the paper it's printed on?"

  15. Write Your First Novel from Michigan State University. In case you want to unleash your inner author in 2021. 

  16. Project Management: Beyond the Basics The Open University. "Build your existing project management knowledge and develop the skills to manage teams and deliver effective projects."

  17. Writing and Editing: Word Choice and Word Order from University of Michigan. "This course will teach you how to use your written words to become more persuasive." 

  18. Creating a Great User Experience for Mobile Apps University of Leeds. "Discover the essentials of user experience and design and bring your product to life by building your own mobile app."

  19. Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty from University of Pennsylvania. Another timely offering. 

  20. The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches us about the Good Life from Harvard University. "Why should we care about Confucius? Explore ancient Chinese philosophy, ethics, and political theory to challenge your assumptions of what it means to be happy, live a meaningful life, and change the world." 

  21. Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Identify the Patterns Undermining Your Confidence from University of Southern Queensland. "Explore what Imposter Syndrome is, what causes it and strategies you can use to overcome it."

  22. Foundations of Modern Finance I from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "A mathematically rigorous framework to understand financial markets."

  23. Excel Fundamentals for Data Analysis from Macquarie University. "As data becomes the modern currency, so the ability to analyze the data quickly and accurately has become of paramount importance," according to the course description.  

  24. Entrepreneurship: From Business Idea to Action from King's College London. "Improve your knowledge of entrepreneurship and discover how to plan, develop, nurture, and build a successful business." 

  25. Managing Mental Health and Stress from Coventry University. This course aims to help you "thrive at home during the coronavirus outbreak." 

  26. Financial Decision Making from University System of Maryland. "Learn how corporate leaders make effective decisions to maximize profitability and achieve strategic organizational goals."

  27. Introduction to Networking from New York University. Just what it says on the tin, self-paced. 

  28. Foundations of Mindfulness from Rice University. "This course provides a broad overview of the fundamental concepts, principles, and practices of mindfulness." 

  29. Social Media Management from Facebook. "This course equips you with critical content creation and management skills," promises the course description. 

  30. Introduction to Web Development from Raspberry Pi Foundation. "Discover web development and learn to build your own interactive websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Supported by Google." 

What are you hoping to learn in 2021?