The Top 10 FREE Professional & Personal Development Classes

Let's grow together with this collection of learning opportunities from the 2022 Essential Summer Playbook.

Summer is a season of growth, so get ready to sprout some new skills and germinate some fresh ideas with these top 10 FREE professional and personal development courses!

1. Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success. FREE. In today’s ever-changing world, being able to think creatively and innovatively are essential skills. Making sense of or communicating new ideas in an innovative and engaging way, approaching problems from fresh angles, and producing novel solutions are all traits that are highly sought after by employers. This course will equip you with a ‘tool-box’, introducing you to a selection of behaviours and techniques that will augment your innate creativity.

2. Strategic Planning Skills. FREE. This online strategic planning skills training course will provide you with the skills you need to develop a clear understanding of your organization’s current and desired state, its operations and market position. Learn how to create a mission and vision statement for your company, after gathering the information that influences your business, from operational data to assessing factors.

3. Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making. FREE. The pace of change and volume of information we encounter in daily life can make it hard to think through decisions. Instead, people often rely on biases and rules of thumb, which can trap them into drawing faulty conclusions. The most successful teams use critical thinking—objective and rational analysis—to illuminate the wisest conclusions. This course prepares leaders to hone the critical thinking skills of their entire organization. Learn how to upgrade critical thinking to avoid deceiving fallacies, spot misleading cognitive biases, craft better arguments, sharpen judgment and improve decision-making.

4. How to Listen. FREE. Active listening is the key to increasing leadership equity, unlocking employee retention, increasing workplace efficiency and so much more! In today’s fast-paced, always-on world we have become a generation of distracted people. This course will teach you the Four Elements to Active Listening using a clever memory device. In addition, the course offers practical steps and tips to help you change the way people perceive your listening skills. This fun, fast-moving, information-packed course will move the needle in your business (and personal) relationships!

5. Foundations of Project Management. FREE. This course is the first in a series of six to equip you with the skills you need to apply to introductory-level roles in project management. Project managers play a key role in leading, planning and implementing critical projects to help their organizations’ succeed. In this course, you’ll discover foundational project management terminology and gain a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a project manager. Throughout the program, you’ll learn from current Google project managers, who can provide you with a multi-dimensional educational experience that will help you build your skills for on-the-job application.

6. Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age. FREE. Communication has changed! The traditional rules for speaking and presenting, meeting coordination, influencing people, negotiating and selling ideas no longer apply in a world of Zoom, online messengers, video and teleconference. This course will provide tips you can practice and perfect on your own.

7. Leading Diverse Teams and Organizations. FREE. Gain evidence-based knowledge and practical tools to help you design and lead diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) teams and organizations. This program is specifically designed to accommodate learners from different backgrounds (gender, race, country of origin, etc.) as well as different starting knowledge points (new to the topic or social justice warriors). In the course, you’ll learn to better understand your personal identity in the workplace and gain new skills to identify privilege, implicit bias and microaggressions in your organization. You’ll also learn how to take action as an active ally and change advocate. Finally, you’ll learn about best practices for organizational DEI strategy, including the role of metrics in DEI work. At the end of the course, you’ll create a DEI action plan that you can apply to your own life and workplace.

8. Google Data Analytics Professional Certification. FREE. Data analytics involves the collection, transformation, and organization of data to draw conclusions, make predictions and drive informed decision-making. Over eight courses, you’ll gain in-demand skills that prepare you for an entry-level job in this field. You’ll learn from Google employees whose foundations in data analytics served as launchpads for their careers. At under 10 hours per week, you can complete the certificate in less than six months.

9. The Science of Well-Being. FREE. In this course, you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. Professor Laurie Santos will reveal misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and research that can help us change. At the end, you will be empowered to successfully incorporate specific wellness activities into your life.

10. Get Beyond Work Life Balance (Inclusive Leadership Training). FREE. Do you ever struggle to manage work and the rest of your life? Join Catalyst experts to learn the importance of inclusive leadership in creating flexible—and productive—work environments. Through research and real-world examples from a variety of situations, you will learn strategies for managing workplace flexibility. Plus, you will learn how you have the power to make positive change as an individual, a team member or a leader.

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