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Learning new skills from your home office

3 April 2020

The way we work is changing for a while. Why not arm yourself with some new digital skills? You’ll be prepared to help out colleagues or take on new comms tasks.

Most importantly, learning a new skill is good for keeping the brain healthy. It can release the feel-good chemical dopamine, and it’s a positive distraction – all things we could definitely do with right now.

Here are some online learning resources to get you started:

    •  Google Digital Garage
Google’s online courses are straightforward and up to date. The majority are free and you can do them at your own pace. You can pick individual modules, or take an entire certified course end-to-end.

Why not learn…Digital marketing
While it’s not charity focused, Google’s Fundamentals of digital marketing covers a host of essential basics from SEO, video and mobile marketing and gets you started on analytics. All useful stuff to make sure you’re skilled up to get your charity’s messages out there during this crucial time.

Always wondered about how coding works? If you’ve got an hour to spare, Google’s Understanding the basics of code will help you find out how it works, what it can do, and how it can benefit you.

There’s also…
Intro to digital wellbeing; Communicate your ideas through storytelling and design; and Social Psychology.

    •  Skillshare
Online learning community SkillShare has thousands of courses on offer. Categories include writing, design, photo and video. Lots of classes are free or there’s a 14-day free trial you can use – and there’s nothing like a deadline to keep you focused.

Why not learn… podcasting
If you’re new to the art form, there’s Getting Your Podcast Off the Ground! And if you’re keen to get better at the chat, there’s Improve Your Interviewing Skills for Podcasts, Blogs, Journalism, and Academic Research.

There’s also…
Email marketing essentials; Animation for Illustration; and Brew an amazing cup of coffee.

    •  Alison
Take an Alison course and you’ll be joining 14 million learners in 195 countries – many of whom will be self-isolating too… You’ll have to ignore the adverts if you want the courses for free. Or you can pay a monthly subscription.

Why not learn…Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop CS6 Essential Tools will teach you basic photo-editing techniques so you can touch up photos, crops things out or add text in. You’ll be producing eye-catching images for your website and social channels in no time.

There’s also…
Ultimate time management techniques; and Journalism in the digital age.

More top tips to help you on your remote learning journey

Remember, there’s a YouTube tutorial for just about everything – including how to edit YouTube videos. Spend time practising using the digital tools you already have a basic knowledge of, and refer to YouTube when you get stuck.

Check out the online tutorials offered by software packages and digital products. For example, social media management tool Hootsuite has a step by step guide on how to make an animated gif.

Create a source bank. Collect things that inspire you: clear and clever infographics, images that would work well on your website or social channels, and videos where you like the lighting set up. Refer to your folder next time you’re tasked with creating content.

See what’s already on your computer. Now’s the time to actually read through all the presentations and notes from webinars and seminars you’ve saved. Why not create some top tips lists to share with colleagues?

Use the free guides, presentations, toolkits and blogs aimed at charities. Check out the Media Trust Resource Hub and the NCVO Study Zone – they’ve made member-only resources free to everyone during the current situation. Or you could also try less sector specific resources like Future Learn’s range of free digital skills courses.

Look out for bargains. If you’d like to do some comprehensive training, make sure you seek out the special offers. Certain suppliers will do flash sales on their courses meaning you can pick up great skills for a fraction of the price.

Photo: Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels

If you are looking for more ideas for home learning you could also check out this rundown of more internet tools for distance learning.

Sarah Myers

copywriter and editor, freelance

Sarah Myers is a copywriter, editorial consultant and creative manager, with more than 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector. She has worked in-house for Mencap and Macmillan Cancer Support, and at a charity copywriting agency. Now freelance, her clients include an extensive range of charities, professional bodies and specialist agencies. Her guide to Storytelling for Impact was published by the Directory of Social Change in 2022.