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Online learning: how you can acquire new skills during lockdown

Personal growth is more rewarding than scrolling through social media.

For many of us, life in self-isolation can feel like the coronavirus has put the world on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment. But increasing numbers of people are using the time to build their skillset as we look to stimulate our brains and keep active, rather than hours of endless scrolling.

Devoting some of our quarantine time to self-education makes sense. Besides helping to bolster your career during this economic uncertainty, learning a new skill can give you a sense of control that will help cope with anxiety engendered by the pandemic.

As James Wallman says in his book Time and How to Spend It, personal growth is central to many psychological theories of long-term happiness. So although an hour listening to a lecture may not be as enticing as the instant gratification of TV or social media, it will lead to greater life-satisfaction in the long term. “You could say that humans are like bicycles: if you’re not heading towards something you fall over,” Wallman says. And when we are social distancing, online courses are one of the best ways to do that.

How can I stay motivated?

Even if you have chosen a course that is perfectly suited to your goals, you may find your initial enthusiasm evaporates and your discipline trails off. Lack of routine and time is often the biggest hurdle. Try to set up a schedule and treat it like a physical class you’ve signed up for. Show up when you say you will, make an effort with the class exercises and homework and complete the course in full.

Another good strategy is to find a study buddy or form a bigger learning group, so that they can motivate each other and enjoy the course together. You might make a pact with people you already know, or you could connect with people from the discussion forums that accompany the course. Like your classmates at a traditional school or university, you can help each other to understand the difficult material, and the feeling of accountability might spur you on when you find distractions drawing you away from your goal.

What do I do after completing the course?

For some, this may be just the start of the journey – furnishing you with a greater confidence to learn and the motivation to take it further. If you find that you’re hooked, many of the platforms also provide accredited bachelors and master’s degrees from selected universities, though this will be more expensive.

For others, the completion of a single course will be enough. But whatever your goals, the quest to learn a new skill or discipline may be the perfect distraction from the frustrations of self-isolation – allowing you to connect with new people and transforming this period into a time of enlightenment and self-discovery.

Skills you can learn online

From Emotional Intelligence to interviewing skills, public speaking and selling, we’ve got a wide range of interactive webinars and online courses facilitated by industry experts to help you advance your personal growth during lockdown.

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