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April 23, 2020

Explore Online Learning: New Skills for a New Future

Winston Churchill famously said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.  An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

New skills, tools, and approaches can help us be more dynamic to face an ever-changing future. If you have downtime during this period, why not learn something new?

Below are some areas you might explore and a sampling of resources for online learning.

Expand Knowledge Of Computer Programs

Many times, computer programs are limited by their user’s skills. So, up your game and do more with the computer programs you already have. In the process, you could become even more valuable in the work world.

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and more)

Microsoft offers a wide range of online training and certifications for a variety of levels. This training overview might help you find what’s most relevant to your situation.


More specifically, Learn Excel Now offers live e-training and self-paced online training for Excel. Courses are aimed to help increase productivity and gain new insights from data. If paid learning is not in your budget, they have a library of free content and resources with commonly requested templates.

Build Digital Skills

Being digitally resourceful is a trait most everyone finds useful as more and more of life is online – from Zoom meetings and cocktails to telemedicine. So why not learn about a new app or program, or master a program you already have?

Grow with Google

General digital skills are especially useful. Grow with Google is offering free online workshops to learn and develop skills for staying connected and productive while working remotely. Sign up for any or all of the Grow with Google virtual workshops.

G-Suite, Google Drive and Google Docs

Shared documents are becoming more the norm. Explore how to access and use Google Drive and Google Docs. Google can help with the basics of how to work from home with G-Suite or help you learn by industry what might be the best application of this resource for you.

Develop Website Skills

Having an online presence is more important than ever. Many business experts have stated in one way or another, if you don’t have a website, you’re not in business. Thankfully, building your own site has never been easier. And, after you’ve built your own, you may be surprised how much more savvy you are when it comes to website skills in general.

Programs like Squarespace, Shopify, and Weebly are among some of the most-used and most popular. Format may be better for online portfolios, like photographers. They are very user friendly.

There are more sophisticated offerings like WordPress – its basics are not difficult to learn. If your site or your company’s site uses it, WordPress offers free learning on How to Get the Most from WordPress.

Upgrade Your Social Media

Social media continues to be a key part of how businesses and people connect. Whether you’re getting the word out or getting the scoop, it’s a medium that’s always evolving – existing apps update with new functionality while new apps offer even more ways to deliver communications.

One online course for Social Media Marketing is offered by Learn@Forbes, an alternative to traditional online schools. Forbes Media and a global network of educators and executives are behind the courses offered. Courses can be taken at any time on any schedule. It offers a 14-day trial to access many courses for free.

Improve Seo

No one has THE answer on how to best approach SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But resources and tools like SEMrush can help improve your site and product search. An upcoming free course offered by SEMrush on improving your site’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) can be accessed here.

Industry Specific Educational Opportunities

There are more industry-specific learning resources available, too. Below are just a few:

Interior Design & Architecture

IDS is running a Virtual Educational Series of webinars. Access recorded webinars when the time is right for you. Sample webinars include:

  • eDesign 101
  • Website Essentials to Survive an Economic Recession as an Interior Designer
  • 7 Digital Changes to Help Your Business Survive and Be Better Than Before
  • What You Can Do Now to Stay Focused and Keep Your Business Active
  • Managing Your Players From a Distance

AEC offers many live webinar courses or free self-paced online CEU courses so design professionals can earn credits as time is available. A full list of CEU courses can be found here. Courses can be easily searched by the following categories:

  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Maintenance

Restaurants & Food Service

The Restaurant and Food Group is offering a webinar series: Resetting the Table During the COVID-19 Crisis, in which they webcast discussions on changing leadership strategies and operational solutions for food service.

The National Restaurant Association offers free webinars and free podcasts on a variety of topics, including Practical Health for the Food Service Industry, covering tips and tricks for managing your own mental health as the industry moves through this time.

Graphic Design

Brushing up or expanding your skills with key programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat can only make you more useful and better able to express your vision.

Below are a few places to explore learning:

You know best what areas and skills will help improve your future. If you take some time each day or week to explore and learn something new, when you look back on this period, you will see how far you’ve come.