We are living through exceptional times, thanks (actually, no thanks) to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We know that many of you are currently confined to your homes, so we’ve put together some information we hope will help you access e-learning and entertainment opportunities allowing you to continue your studies, have fun – and perhaps learn a new skill.
You might not be able to take part in face-to-face studies or group work right now, but many providers of virtual learning and activities have risen to the challenge presented by COVID-19 to help you to carry on with ongoing courses or training, start from scratch, keep fit, learn something new to enhance your skills base – or just have fun and keep yourself amused in isolation.
SPECIFICALLY FOR SERVICE PERSONNEL
Defence Academy Business Skills College
The Defence Academy’s Business Skills College offers a number of courses via e-learning. These are either stand-alone or integrated within its blended learning programmes. To apply for a Business Skills College e-learning course, you need to access the Defence Learning Environment via the Defence Gateway: click here then on the DLE link.
FREE ONLINE COURSES
To give them their full name, massive open online courses are free online courses that anyone can enrol in. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences. Visit the website to choose from almost 3,000 courses.
From 1 to 100 hours of learning, discover hundreds of free courses to inspire and inform you. Everything on the Open University’s multi-award-winning OpenLearn website is free to everyone. Search more than 1,000 free online courses, interactives, videos and more. Why not get inspired and learn something new?
Online learning platform Coursera offers MOOCs, specialisations and degrees, including a wide range of free online courses backed by well-known universities, useful for upskilling and certification in a huge range of fields – from Python and SEO to languages, teaching and psychology.
Alison offers more than 1,000 high-quality courses, all absolutely free to complete. All are self-paced and have been designed by subject matter experts, to give you an interactive and enriched learning experience. Use its search facility to find a specific category, or browse through all the courses and start learning.
There are many other providers offering free courses at this time – just enter ‘study free courses online’ in a search engine and browse away!
LOW-PRICED ONLINE LEARNING
Use your downtime wisely with Udemy, which offers 100,000 courses allowing you, it says, to ‘Study any topic, anytime.’ Explore a huge range of courses, on topics from coding to cryptocurrency. There’s even an ‘MBA in a box’. Prices start at £10.
MEET UP/TAKE PART … VIRTUALLY
Whether for work meetings, chatting to distant family members or joining in exercise classes remotely, Zoom has perhaps been the biggest ‘corona success story’ to date, with a whole new audience downloading it to stay in touch with friends, classmates and colleagues. Join them … if you haven’t already.
Learn to code
Codecademy offers computer skills, data analysis and website-building courses – all skills that are extremely likely to enhance your CV. It offers a free trial of its Pro membership, so why not use this opportunity to check it out and see if it’s for you?
Study a language free
Although the BBC’s languages site has been archived, it can still be used to learn the basics of 30 languages via audio and video, activities and tests. There are many, many other free language courses and free-to-download apps, so search online and take your pick.
The above are just two examples of online learning opportunities. Use a search engine to find free courses in something you’ve always been meaning to learn. Thanks to providers stepping up to help the public make it through the coronavirus challenge better-skilled, you’ll find a lot on offer out there online.
FOR FUN AND FITNESS
Joe Wicks’ free daily fitness blasts, via his Body Coach TV YouTube channel, have attracted the most media attention, but of course there are many other fitness instructors and organisations offering virtual classes – free or with a discount on the usual price. A quick Google search should soon see you ‘find your fit’.
Virtual online quizzes have become another Big Thing in the isolation era. Enjoy all the usual fun without having to queue at the bar for a drink. Money Saving Expert has thoughtfully provided a useful round-up of quizzes to keep your evenings trivia-focused and your brain cells buzzing.
Get the best seat at the theatre
Just like all entertainment outlets, theatres have had to close their doors as per government guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the National Theatre is bringing stage to screen by streaming iconic plays every Thursday at 7 pm BST on its official YouTube channel, after which the performances will remain available for a week.
We might not be able to get out for the full-on crowd experience right now, and many of us will have had gigs and shows we were looking forward to cancelled, but fear not! Ents 24 is broadcasting live streams of gigs and stand-up from a host of big names. So why not mix it up with Metallica and Sarah Millican live in your living room? Visit its What’s On page to view the impressive line-up waiting in the virtual backstage area.