One of the many services we provide at COMMUNIQUE is continuing education for health professionals. Collectively, we feel pretty good knowing that the people responsible for our health are required to take continuing education to keep their skills sharp. Though the importance of continuing education for health professionals is apparent, what about continuing education for the rest of us? Certainly we all have new skills we can learn, and the rapid pace of change in the communications field can be a challenge to match. Online classes are a great way to stay ahead of the game and boost the credentials for you and your organization. Here are a few options for communications professionals:
CreateLive is a personal favorite of mine. It focuses very specifically on creative pursuits, both professional and personal. This includes photography, video, graphic design, web, and crafts. (As a writer, I don’t see why writing isn’t included. Maybe it isn’t visual enough for a webinar.)
Topics can be fairly broad, such as an overview on how to use Photoshop, to very specific, such as how to pose new-born babies for photographs. Broadcasts are free, if you can catch them live, or you can pay for on-demand access if you missed a class or want to re-watch it.
Lynda is probably the most well-know and well-established service on this list. The subject list is broader than CreateLive’s and includes business, creative, and technology categories. Lynda is based on monthly subscriptions from $19.99 – $29.99, which may be a bargain if you intend to use the service on a regular basis. If you don’t have $19.99 to spend, check with your local library. Many libraries have Lynda in their databases, which means free access if you have a library card. If you don’t have a library card, I think we have some other educational issues to discuss before you jump into these classes.
I recently passed my first class on Coursera! Please see the contact page of our website for information on where to send graduation presents. Coursera offers online classes from universities around the country, from Stanford to Yale. These class offerings are similar to the offerings of a typical university, though the content isn’t quite as in-depth. Some, like engineering, might not benefit a communications professional, but there are plenty that would, like graphic design, web development, and marketing strategy. Individual classes are available, or users can find specializations, which are a series of classes in a certain topic that take several months to complete. The results is a certificate in that area of specialization. Classes through Coursera are paid, around $70-$90 for an individual class or $350-$450 for a specialization, but the result is a more in-depth class and, perhaps, a little more cache than a CreateLive class. If time is tight, however, Coursera might not be for you.
EdX is very similar to Coursera, though with different universities participating. I get the sense that EdX might lean more toward the technical than Coursera. For example, I searched for “graphic design” on Coursera, and over 400 results popped up, though I’m sure some are more helpful than others. I couldn’t find any results on EdX. If you have an area of study in mind, though, I’d recommend searching both sites to find which has the right class for you.
If you spend a few minutes perusing the comment section of your favorite website, you’ll probably come away thinking that the internet is causing that collapse of civilization, but the reality is that educational opportunities are everywhere online. Even my TV came with a TEDx app built in!1 If you’re looking to boost a very specific skill, look for organizations that specialize in that area. Google offers AdWords certification. Hootsuite offers social media certification, and there are endless options for social media training, including COMMUNIQUE’s training program. There is bound to be a class out there for you.
1I can’t help but think Edx chose its name to draw on the popularity TEDx, and I wonder how FedEx feels about all of this.