Do you want to learn the latest marketing techniques, how to expand your business, or even how to start your business? If you are like the nearly one-third (31%) of business owners from this April, 2014 Gallup poll that rely on a second job for the majority of their income this year, you probably don’t have the time to get a formal education on the skills to further your small business.
So what’s the easiest way to get the education you want while still running your budding enterprise? Massive Open Online Courses , or MOOCs, not only give you the flexibility to learn at your own pace, but also cover topics at the institute level as well as courses that use real-life examples and tutorials.
Why Use Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)?
- Access to FREE, quality online education
- Learn the latest business practices from home or office
- Help employees acquire new business skills
- Continually refine your business processes
- A better understanding of new marketing tools and concepts
- Verify your business with online certifications and degrees
MOOCs are rapidly gaining popularity across the world with several universities offering short-term courses that include video based sessions, interactive questions, lectures and simulators. These tools give you access to quality, real world learning at your doorstep. For example, Coursera has partnered with top universities like Stanford and MIT to offer more than 400 world-class courses for free. Coursera Course Topics include: Networking, Web Apps, Research and Data, Operations Management, Entrepreneurship, Food Business, and more. With so many course options, you can find material from educators in exactly your area of interest; but which organizations provide the best course catalogs for business owners?
Best Online Course Providers
This is your chance to get into Stanford - virtually! Stanford University has collaborated with OpenEdX to provide a global learning platform. With the latest tools and the flexibility to design courses and learning modules, Stanford Online has created a collaborative learning environment for those looking to study innovation and entrepreneurship, professional development, and business management.
- Free online courses by Stanford faculty
- Innovative instructional strategies, course design, and delivery
- Sharing of course material with other universities / open-source platforms
- Technology Entrepreneurship Part 1
- Technology Entrepreneurship Part 2
- Entrepreneurship through the lens of Venture Capital
MIT has more than 2,000 courses online in various languages. This virtual, web-based publication encourages independent learners to expand their knowledge and use it to face real-life business challenges. MIT OpenCourseWare can truly enrich your education.
- Makes MIT’s prestigious education available worldwide
- Wide and deep variety of courses on innumerable topics
- Courses are designed to help you pave a better path for your business through supplementary courses on Finance, Operations, and Law etc.
- Media Education and the Marketplace
- Introduction to Technical Communications: Ethics in Science and Technology
- How to Develop “Breakthrough” Products and Services
- Technology-Based Business Transformation
iTunes U Courses
Designed by Apple in collaboration with Stanford, MIT, Harvard and other top universities, iTunes U courses are customizable. The iTunes U Course Manager helps teachers manage their courses by bringing everything to a single platform. You can access video materials, assignments and other study materials with a tap of your iDevice. Stay connected anytime, from anywhere.
- Immense compilation of courses from hundreds of universities
- Course customization with iTunes U Course Manager web-based app
- Easy access to materials through iPad or iPhone
- Receive push notifications on lesson updates, posts and current assignments
- Organizes notes and engages students through real-time learning
- Integrates various media such as videos, news articles, and hand-outs
Recommended Course Providers
Unlike the others in this list, Udemy does not utilize content directly from Ivy League Universities. Instead, their courses focus on real-world problems, addressed by real-world experts. Udemy is unique in that it does not carry much by way of theory. Courses are related to most any practical, applicable skill that you have ever wanted but didn’t know where to find it.
- Courses address real-world, tangible problems
- Courses are taught by tried-and-true masters of their domains
- Immense collection of courses addressing almost every life skill
- Course modules are designed for busy professionals – small bites
- Peer review mechanism ensures that the excellent courses stand out
- Many free courses as well as free intros to paid courses (try before you buy)
- Building An Online Business From Scratch In 30 Easy Steps
- Creating a Business Website
- Basics of Business Finance
- Raising Startup Capital
- Build a Mobile App for your Small Business in 1 hour
- How to Make Money Online
- Email Marketing: How to Build an Email List of Customers
If you don’t want to search each Online Course Catalog individually, SlideRule is the eLearning search-engine of the future. Their new “Learning Path” feature creates a course structure comprised of educational material and courses pulled from many of the listed course providers. Think of it as the “Bricolage” of the eLearning world; appropriating various works from all over the net into a custom course for you!
Whether you are looking to expand your business acumen or need to learn how to create your company’s first website, MOOCs help you run your business from a well-educated perspective and give you the additional skills you desire.
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