Free online training courses to improve your skills

Posted by - Angus Robinson on the 8th January 2018

Learning new skills is a fantastic way to continually improve your own knowledge and your business can reap the benefits too. Skills learnt from online courses will probably end up helping more than you think. There are hundreds of courses and training tutorials available on a wide variety of topics. Here’s just a few that may help marketers in small businesses.

Codecademy

Codecademy is a website that teaches the basics of coding. The most popular course, Basics of HTML and CSS, gives a step by step interactive guide on how to code. Other courses are also available as your skills advance, such as Java script and PHP with more in depth tutorials on how to make a website also available.

Coding is a great skill to learn and over the last few years there has been a big push in the UK to encourage people to learn. Coding is even being introduced as mandatory in some schools. From a business perspective, learning to code allows you to redesign, make changes, or completely redevelop your website (if you become confident enough!) A basic knowledge of coding goes a long way and you may not realise how useful it can really be. Even this blog post requires coding!

The website program itself couldn’t be easier to use. The step by step instructions are clear and easy to understand, separated into bitesize chunks so that the tasks you complete at each step don’t become overwhelming. Codecademy doesn’t let you skip a section until you’ve completed a small task. This is actually a great feature – the temptation of ignoring a question after getting it wrong a few times is often big, but the website forces you to work on rectifying your mistake. With coding, it’s all in the details and so these small tasks you might be tempted to skip over, make a big difference when you put your coding skills into practice. By the end of a course, you have a sound knowledge and understanding of how everything works. A definite bonus to add to your list of skills.

Adobe

How often is it that you simply want to resize an image? Or create a design but just don’t feel like you have the capabilities beyond a poor attempt at an edit in Paint? Businesses are producing professional promotional copy for both online and offline means – flyers, infographics, newspaper adverts and digital adverts to name a few. Usually this requires an expert in Adobe Creative Suite or similar program; but a lot of the skills required can be self-taught through free online training courses.

Programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are great tools. Adobe Help gives a great range of video tutorials to help with specific skills in each program. There are also step by step guides to follow along with, often providing template files to download and complete the task. Lynda.com also provides several free tutorials and a 10 day free trial of access to their huge database of online training videos.

Although becoming a true expert in these programs requires extensive training, it’s possible to gain a basic working knowledge of editing and design. I have watched and completed numerous videos and tasks, primarily on Photoshop and Illustrator and it has helped a lot. From simply cropping an image to exact pixel dimensions, to creating infographics and silly staff photos – these skills were all taught through online training videos.

The videos are easy to understand and for the most part, clear to follow. To really get to grips with the techniques requires practice of your own, which can be a little trickier without examples or set tasks. Unlike Codecademy, you can easily skip past a section, skill or task you don’t fancy or perhaps seems particularly difficult to get to grips with.

Fluency

Fluency is the ultimate guide when it comes to digital marketing. Although actually targeted to graduates, the lessons and skills taught are relevant for anybody in the marketing sector. The website is split into different courses including basics in Google Analytics, SEO, email marketing, AdWords and social media. Each course is a split into sections that source articles from the web, video tutorials, simple explanations, tasks to complete and peer reviews of more lengthy projects.

Fluency’s range of courses is extensive and simple to understand. Unlike the tasks set by Codecademy and Adobe, the tasks set by fluency are rather more detailed and therefore a bit more complicated. They’re good for practicing your new skills and proving your knowledge, but can often be a little tricky in relation to the information you’ve just learnt. There are no helpful hints or tips once you’ve started; it’s hard work and you’re on your own. Although this can seem a bit daunting, sometimes this can be good way to learn.

So whether you’re learning elements of digital marketing that are completely new to you or just want to brush up your knowledge in a particular area, Fluency is a great free website to help you do just that.

YouTube

YouTube is a fantastic free resource to a wealth of information about anything you could possibly want. Don’t know how to do something? You can bet that someone has made a video showing you how to do just that. It may take some scrounging around to find a good quality and clear tutorial, but the content is definitely out there. Not limited to marketing, use YouTube to access a knowledge base that can show you how to do almost anything.