Re-careering later in life is a common theme in this modern world. Gone are the days when employees stick with one company for 40-plus years, and even after retiring, 21st -century adults don’t want to spend time in rocking chairs watching the world go by. Children grow up, job situations change, and the stages of life march on. Whatever the reason is for change, the outward search for a new career or a new life’s passion, it often begins with learning more about ourselves.
MOOCs, or massive open online courses, are tailor-made for anyone who is reimagining life. With MOOCs, thousands of online courses are available to explore from the comfort of your home and on your own schedule, without having to invest a lot of money before finding the path that’s right for you.
[Unsure where to start? Try the basics: 12 core classes.]
Of course, you may already know where you’re headed. That’s excellent! You’ve crossed a huge hurdle and can begin diving in by taking a MOOC in the subject that interests you—from computer programming to wedding photography.
If, however, you’re unsure of what your next step should be, here are 5 free and low-cost MOOCs that can help you find a new direction:
1. Documenting Your Experiences for College Credit
Is a college degree in your future? Kaplan Open Learning offers this prior learning assessment course as the first step in the process for determining how your experience can translate into college credit you can put toward a degree at several participating universities. The useful guided process of looking back at your life’s experiences will also help you realize your strengths and interests and give you direction going forward whether you decide to obtain a degree or not.
2. 5 Steps: How to Find Your Purpose In Life
This course from Udemy promises to get you in touch with who you really are and what you want out of life with a 5 step action guide. Once you have that settled, you can look for more MOOCs!
3. Design 101 (or Design Basics)
If you crave some creativity in your future, this iversity course is for you. Designed as a journey through a wide range of topics in contemporary design, this hands-on class assigns 101 exercises covering seven themed areas from kitchen design to city planning to clothing and travel. In the end, you will be able to answer the question, “What kind of designer am I?”
4. Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship
Maybe you’re thinking about going into business for yourself but don’t know how to get started. This Coursera class from the University of Maryland assists “aspiring entrepreneurs in developing great ideas into great companies.” Course subjects include how to create a business plan and how to raise financial capital.
5. How to Build a Startup: The Lean LaunchPad
You’ve got a great idea for a new business, now you need to keep your finger on the pulse of your market to ensure a successful start-up. This Udacity course is based on Steve Blank’s famous Customer Development process of gathering and using customer feedback to effectively keep a new business model evolving for the best chance of success.
Once you take your first MOOC, you might find yourself hooked. MOOCs are great for building résumés, and some are approved for college credit as well. There’s a MOOC out there for every lifelong learner—what’s yours?
Do you have more suggestions for MOOCs to take? Let us know!