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Best online classes to learn from

All your life, you are curious and want to learn things. With the arrival of the powerful tool that the Internet is, we have started to share more and more information and today it’s even possible to be fully trained on the Web.

What is there to learn? How relevant are these lessons, and how do they fit within your Canadian project?

What form do you want to learn in?

Online classes can allow you to stay tuned to evolution in your industry. They can also help you discover new fields or go deeper in one you’re already acquainted with. The first step is to choose the knowledge you want to acquire and its purpose: why do you want to learn this?

  1. Let’s read best tips and advice from local Blogs

Blogs are free-access, but a useful wealth of information, written by passionate professionals or individuals who asked themselves the question before and shared the result of their research to help you.

On our BC Talents blog, you will find lots of tips for understanding Canadian Work Culture and integrating into BC’s professional environment.

  1. Improve your English on your own

You can improve your English through everyday life, as we have told you in our tips to improve your English on your own. Don’t forget that, as a member of BC Talents, you can get perks specifically related to this!

  1. MOOC: massive open online course

From courses about business management to sustainable tourism through English for the Workplace and Getting started with Python (language), MOOCs offer knowledge on unlimited subjects. Some of them are free with, optionally, a paid service for homework correction and/or certification at the end of the courses. You can subscribe and follow the online class; you can also ask some questions, in chat boxes, for example.  As for the ones that are subject to a fee, it can range from 25 to 300$USD (about 400$CAD)... up to 25,000$USD (about 33,000$CAD)!

Depending on the course, some are directly available online, while others are scheduled on a precise date: subscribe to get notified when the session is open for registration!

You’ll find a great selection of these English spoken MOOC in the following online catalogues:

  • LinkedIn Learning: created in 1995 and bought in 2015 by LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft since 2016), this website aims at offering up to 6,000 courses from experts (industry, business, software…), with end course certification;
  • Class Central: This website lists more than 50 free MOOC from Universities including Ivy League Institutions;
  • Coursera: lots of their courses are expensive, however you can find some interesting ones for free, like “English for Business and Entrepreneurship” or “Six Sigma Principles“;
  • Udemy: more than 80,000 videos online, with courses on subjects such as development, marketing, design, business photography. From 13 to 300$CAD;
  • Future Learn: 57 partners from the UK, including the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum…
  1. Let’s go to the Library!

The Vancouver Libraries offer online education on their website, and some courses are available from home by logging in with your library card number. The LinkedIn learning database is available here for free.

Standard office software like Photoshop or Microsoft Office are also available on a first-come-first-served basis: try to arrive during off-peak hours to get the best spots on their computers.

  1. University degree

Though many universities nowadays share parts of their courses, you can’t graduate after attending the free course, unless you pass the exams. Such a course is good for your general knowledge, but it is only for your own purposes.

It’s more and more common to attend a university with online distance training to complete an official degree: from a Bachelor to a Masters, as long as there is an internet connection, you can study from anywhere in the world! If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact universities to get more information.

Also, for some work visa holder, who are not allowed to attend the standard university’s schooling from a Canadian university during their permit, it can be a way to keep learning by applying to a foreign one. In France, the FIED  can help you find the school that suits you best and how to apply. In the USA, Studyusa or Bachelorstudies may help you as well.

Choose, subscribe, and go all the way!

Once you have selected and registered for the online class you want to attend, the hardest part begins: as you are working on your own on your new target, and have to organize yourself to make the working class fit your schedule, it’s easy to attend the first courses, but you may find it harder to keep attending after a few days, as your motivation drops, or as more exciting events happen, such as a sunny day (especially true in Vancouver!) or a drink with friends.

Here are 4 points to help you work through!

  1. Don’t be too greedy

When you are visiting the MOOC Websites, it is tempting to subscribe to many MOOC, especially if they are free.

Unfortunately, if you bite off more than you can chew, you take the risk of missing all of them by trying but not being able to attend the whole series! Subscribe to one, maybe two courses, and finish them before you start a new one.

  1. Schedule it on your Google calendar

Wouldn’t you schedule an appointment with a doctor or a professional meeting? Even if it’s free, this course should get the same importance in your program. Also, even if these pieces of training are quite flexible for working hours, do not let yourself get too many steps behind the current episode!

  1. Do not hesitate to ask your online teachers questions!

Staying with a misunderstood concept or example can freeze all the content and make you feel like you’re failing, while asking your question would have unlocked the puzzle! There is no foolish question. Actually, behind a computer, there is no need for fear of being teased.

  1. Subscribe with a friend

In school, it was more fun when you were not alone with your homework… You can do the same with online and continuing education. So, if you can find somebody with the same interest for the subject, do not hesitate to share you MOOC with her or him: you’ll keep each other interested.

  1. Need a co-student?

Meeting people in your sector can be an excellent way to find the one who could be interested in the courses you are preparing to attend. Maybe someone from your network could go with you!

BC Talents is a great way to start networking! We organize CONNECTWorking events each month where you can meet people in the same situation as you, or who have settled for several months and can introduce you to their network… One of them could be your next co-student!

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Curious and cheese addict, Magali Robert-Spaggiari grew up between the south-east of the France and Paris, and she's passionate about Nature and New technologies. She worked six years as an engineer in renewable energies and one year as an IT product manager before coming to Canada.