It feels like kids these days are born knowing how technology works. For the rest of us, we have to learn as we go. And when you have stuff to get done at work, it can feel like there’s no time to catch up.
Don’t feel like you’re slipping behind your tech-savvy peers. Whether you prefer to learn with others or by yourself, these seven resources can fit around your schedule to take your job performance to the next level.
For Social Learners
Crave the structure of school and homework? Some of us learn best when we have deadlines to meet. If that’s you, there are alternative classes that don’t have to interfere with your work schedule, and can even get you additional certificates and degrees.
- Community College Classes
Many community colleges offer night classes and specialized continuing education classes. Alternatively, ask your local universities if they will let you sit in and be an observer on their regular classes for a reduced price.
- Online University Classes
Learn at your own pace and interact with your teacher and classmates via online forums. You can enroll in your local university’s online courses or take advantage of free online classes provided by universities like MIT, Carnegie Melon, and Stanford.
- Weekend Certification Classes
Want to know more about a specialized subject? Look for weekend certification classes that condense trainings into only a few days. If you have some vacation time to spare, there are 4-day and weeklong events to look into as well.
- In-Store Training
Microsoft and Apple both have free training programs on how to use their technology - everything from the very basics of messaging to in-depth talks about video and photo editing.
Ask if your employer will help you continue your education. Some employers are willing to pitch in with cash or be flexible with schedules to help you attend classes that relate to your job.
For Solitary Learners
Do you prefer to study at your own pace? If you are comfortable with creating your own schedule or would like to broaden your knowledge in general (rather than on a specific topic), there are many resources for you to peruse.
- Podcasts. Rather than listening to the radio, put on a podcast to turn commute time into learning time. You are unlikely to get step-by-step instructions on a podcast, but they are great at deepening your knowledge about a variety of topics.
- Massive Online Open Courses. Top universities and online education websites offer free online classes in almost every subject. They are available online and at your own pace. Popular options include: Khan Academy, Lynda, Alison, Codecademy, and AcademyBridge.
- Youtube tutorials. Youtube is a vast resource. You can find reputable creators with complete classes as well as so-called “edutainment” channels with entertaining yet educational videos. Have a specific question you need answered? Youtube is excellent for short, to-the-point answers.
If you are not a natural self-learner, you will find learning easier if you set yourself a schedule. That includes what lessons you are going to do when and yes, assigning yourself homework.
It is easy to do what we’ve always done. But it is also a great way to get left behind. To keep yourself competitive, you need to stay up to date. In today’s world, staying tech-savvy doesn’t have to mean time-intensive schooling. You can stay in-the-know with these 7 supplementary education choices and a just little time on the side.
Tracy Layden is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Tracy leads the marketing efforts at Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm dedicated to helping seniors live safely and independently. Tracy holds a degree in mathematics from Scripps College and is an accomplished ballroom dancer and equestrian.