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The Best Online Courses To Upgrade Your Skills Today

The Best Online Courses To Upgrade Your Skills Today

Australia’s economic future remains uncertain with a second coronavirus outbreak in Victoria and growing hotspots in other states.

The latest data from the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) shows the unemployment rate has jumped from 6.4 % to 7.1% in a month. Nearly a million Australians have now lost their jobs because of the pandemic. More will follow as a result of the harsh second wave restrictions that the Victorian Government has introduced.

If you want to stay employed (and employable) you may need new skills.


The benefits of acquiring new skills during a lockdown

There is a range of online courses you can take to upgrade your skills while you self-isolate.

Everyone’s got free time on our hands these days. There’s only so much Netflix you can binge on before you say: ‘Enough is enough’. Instead of vegetating on your couch, why not use the additional time to improve your mind and develop some skills that can help you become more employable? Engaging your mind keeps you productively occupied. You will have less time to indulge in worry and anxiety. When you complete the course, you will feel a sense of satisfaction, gain new knowledge, and develop confidence.


What to study online in a lockdown

In my line of work, I deal with employers all the time. Believe me when I say the pandemic has altered the way employers are choosing candidates today.


The top skills every employer is looking for now: 





Employers want managers who can recognise and respond to change and still maintain a positive outlook that can motivate others to stay engaged and be productive in their roles. Do you fit that role?





Communication – COVID-19 work from home demands excellent communication skills in the digital sphere. Employers are looking for candidates who know how to use technology smartly. New skills in demand today include a good video presence and strong writing skills.

Candidates with good emotional intelligence are in high demand today. Remote working means staff are not physically in the office for managers to manage and control. The manager of the future must be able to demonstrate the ability to empathise with others’ behaviours and feelings. How strong are your communication skills? Do you look awkward on camera?





Employers are looking for staff who can easily adapt to change. A good candidate is someone who can pivot between office work and remote working from home if lockdowns become commonplace. Are you afraid of change? Can you multitask?





Changing working conditions mean employees must be organised with good time management skills. Remote working suits workers who can work independently with minimum supervision and those who can find the right balance between professional responsibilities and domestic commitments. Do you procrastinate? Are you productive?





There is nothing predictable about the coronavirus. Employers want candidates who can look at things from a different perspective and contribute innovative ideas and concepts that can help the business grow. Do you have ideas?





The ability to solve problems remotely is in demand during a pandemic crisis. Effective problem-solving skills mean a candidate can easily grasp a situation and produce strategies to solve problems. It is also about having an entrepreneurial spirit to identify opportunities in difficult situations. Do you like challenges? Can you think out of the box?




The best online courses to upgrade your skills

The global pandemic crisis has seen an uptake in online learning platforms. Learners have a wide range of courses to choose from. Many of these courses are MOOCS (Massively Open Online Courses) and are affiliated with universities and/or industry leaders.

Depending on the provider, courses can vary in lengths – from a few hours a day to weekly commitments over several months. Most platforms will use some form of video lectures, texts, and regular assessments to test progress. Some of the courses are free but others may require a tuition fee.


Choosing a course can be daunting because of the wide choices available. The summary below can help you make a better decision on the best course to enrol in: 

1. edX

Harvard Business School and MIT collaboration that has grown to include 140 other universities and partners. The platform offers over 2,500 online courses. Most courses provide a certification on completion but not all the courses are run by Harvard.


Some Harvard courses I think may interest you: 

Professional development: 

  • Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles
  • Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster
  • Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

Personal interest: 

  • ChinaX: Five Authors, Five Books, Five Views of China
  • Tangible Things: Discovering History Through Artworks, Artifacts, Scientific Specimens, and the Stuff Around You
  • Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (Physics)


Browse Harvard edX


2. Coursera

An American-based online learning platform that offers free and paid courses.  Coursera has partnered with the world’s top universities and brands to offer high-quality content that is suitable for vocational training, professional development, and skills acquisition.

I browsed the website recently to find their top online courses in lockdown and here is what I found:

AI for everyone

  • Foundations of Everyday Leadership
  • The Science of Wellbeing
  • Managing Innovation and Design Thinking
  • Learning How to Learn


Browse Coursera


3. FutureLearning

A popular online learning platform that uses content created by top universities and industry leaders.

I examined the platform’s Australian contributors. Here are some interesting courses I think you will like:

Professional development:

  • Monash University – Mindedness and Wellbeing for Peak Performance
  • The University of Newcastle – Transitioning from Friend to Leader
  • Deakin University – Becoming Career Smart: How to Sell Yourself

Boredom busters

  • The Open University – Start Writing Fiction
  • Wollongong University – The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling
  • The Open University – Moons


Browse FutureLearning


4. Udemy

A distance learning platform that contains content that is created by partners as well as private individuals who are practitioners and specialists in their fields. The platform is useful for individuals who are looking for niche development and specific skills.

If you are an expert in your field, this is a good platform to increase your internet reach.


5. Others

Last on my top five list are two digital platforms. The first is a top-tier international university and the second is a local Melbourne executive leadership and coaching specialist. Both have specific and niche programmes that can help you gain skills to become more employable.

Udacity –Stanford University’s not-for-profit online learning platform delivers superior quality teaching and learning for IT professionals. Subjects taught include AI. Blockchain, Digital Marketing, Robotics, Programming, and Information Technology.

Careerists Academy – A Melbourne-based leadership and coaching specialist running online courses that are highly relevant to current working from home environments. Their workshops include career coaching, resume building, video presence and others. 


Life after COVID-19 is not going to look like what it is today. Deloitte Access Economic Report suggests the future workforce will comprise of soft-skill-intensive jobs. Are you ready to meet this challenge?

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