What are you learning

Happy Labor Day – Time for School!

Labor Day Weekend marks a milestone and transition from Summer to Fall (though Fall officially starts September 22).  It also means school has started in some locations or going to start this week.  While your kids may be headed back to school, what about you? Technology and the marketplace are constantly changing and evolving; are you keeping up and learning about the changes?

There is a tremendous amount of quality classes available online and a lot of those can be taken for free.  Additionally, some are self-paced so you can take them whenever you want; first thing Monday morning or Saturday afternoon.  And there are a wide range of topics, from computer science, to history, to marketing to product management.

Some sites, like EdX and Coursera, offer classes taught by college professors from well known institutions, such as MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Dartmouth and others.  Then there are other sites such as Udemy who offer classes created by professionals not necessarily associated with a college.

If you don’t like the “formality” of classes, then you can check out YouTube and search on whatever topic is of interest.  For instance, if you’re looking to learn more about online or content marketing, check out Miles Beckler’s YouTube channel.  He offers tons of free, quality content.

Another place to look for classes is at startup incubators or accelerators websites.  Y-Combinator offers a free 10-week Startup School (which I just started last week).  Some of the Techstars Board Members created Venture Deals, a free online class for Founders looking to learn more about the whole fundraising process.

Electronic, physical or audio books are a “classic” way to learn something new.  Amazon is the “go-to” resource for books (and offers Prime programs for reading).  And Apple has an app for podcasts.  Lots of quality content coming out regularly.

One “downside” with both books and YouTube is there isn’t any “learning loop”, meaning there are no quizzes to test your retention of what you’ve read.  Most online courses will have quizzes to test your knowledge.

As you can see, there are a lot of different online options to learn something new.  Learning is a lifelong journey and is important for your personal growth and success.  You can also discover some new knowledge that can give your company a boost in growth.  Because a lot of quality content is available for free, learning is an investment in basically just your time – but the return can be huge.   On this Labor Day, take a look at learning something new over the next few weeks.

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