I went to a high school that prided itself on being a place for the individual. We didn’t have a sports team or a core curriculum, and I don’t think I ate in the lunchroom even once during my entire high-school career. Every quarter, we got selected the classes we wanted to be in, with options like photography, journalism and humanities.
With that said, we were still mandated by New York State to take courses for a certain amount of credits in order to graduate and move on to college. Of all the courses required, we only needed to take one music class and one art class. I did that and got it over with as quickly as possible.
I believed creativity was something you’re born with, not something you learned. Clearly the state was in agreement with me because they required very little from me when it came to creativity.
Why isn’t creativity taught in schools like math and science?
In a study by Adobe 88 percent of U.S. professionals believe creativity should be built into the standard curriculum. In the same, study 62 percent felt that creativity is being stifled by education systems. Furthermore, only one in four Americans believe they are living up to their creative potential.
Without creativity in education, we are left to teach ourselves. Autodidacticism or the process or practice of learning a subject without a formal education or teacher, has really taken leaps and bounds in recent years. With people such as Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg to name a few as top autodidacts, we’re in a golden age of self-learning. If you can teach yourself anything, what don't you know?
Everything I’ve learned over the last few years about blogging, graphic design, and writing I’ve learned on my own. Luckily for all of us, the Internet that has made it incredibly easy to teach ourselves things. If you've GOOGLED and YouTubed enough and ready to add some skills to your arsenal, here are 10 useful sites for self-learning:
1. Coursera Coursera.org is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world to consolidate a wide variety of topics and perspectives into one searchable database. Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts.
2. Khan Academy The Khan Academy is on a mission to provide a free, world-class, education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. They’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.
3. Udemy Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but it also allows users to build custom courses from lessons. Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content.
4. Codecademy Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. You can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material. The courses at Codecademy feature a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, organizing lessons into complete modules.
5. TedEd TED-Ed is a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are 10 minutes long or less. Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.
6. edX Another great option for free online education is edX. edX goes beyond offering courses and content. They are committed to research that will allow us to understand how students learn, how technology can transform learning, and the ways teachers teach on campus and beyond. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is governed by MIT and Harvard.
7. Alison Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free educational site that offers certification in some areas. They offer courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.
8. Moz Beyond being one of the most prominent authorities on SEO out there, Moz has exceptional resources to learn anything and everything about search engine and content marketing — for any player in the game. With expert guides to link building, social media, and SEO, Moz is sure to be a priceless resource for refreshing your skills, and bringing the uninitiated on in a snap.
9. HubSpot Academy Not to be outdone, up-and-comer HubSpot has been a leader in producing courses and eBooks on everything content marketing. What’s great about HubSpot is that they’ve taken it one step further: certifications. If you’re really looking to boost your credentials, and stand out amongst the sea of hungry employees and job-seekers, this is a great start. It’s simple, it’s free, and you’ll really learn.
10. Lynda.com For $25 a month, users can get unlimited access to lynda.com’s library of over 1,800 video courses covering a variety of subjects. The site’s software tutorials are particularly useful when trying to brush up on a program you haven’t used in a while or learning the particulars of a newly released version of an old favorite.
As a creative, it doesn’t matter how much education you have or don’t have. You must have the skill for self-educating under your belt. The chances are you haven’t received all the education you need to remain at the top of your game. Not to mention that creative industries are constantly changing and evolving. You have to keep up, these sites can help you do just that.