When I took online courses at Sessions.edu, my friends and family looked at me cross eyed like they couldn’t understand how that could work. They also couldn’t understand how I could pay money for classes at a school with no actual physical location. Well, Sessions does have a corporate office, just no classrooms or faculty lounges. Fortunately I learned a long time ago to ignore the neigh sayers and do what I need to do to get where I need to go. I also learned that times have changed, and our methods of learning should change too. Plus, it’s not like I had a clone of myself lying around to take courses for me in the afternoons while I worked. Though online schools and courses are offered on every corner of the Internet, it still raises eyebrows and contorts faces. And even though, I can readily admit that being in a class room is preferable, I really benefited from taking courses online through Sessions and later, Academy of Art in San Francisco. You’re forced to pay attention, and heaven forbid, read! You’re forced to take initiative. And, you set your own pace, for the most part.
Anyway, there’s a new breed of online learning that swept in with the Web 2.0 wave. These are online tutorials. Though many online tutorials are still text based such as the ever so wonderful www.htmlgoodies.com (you must visit!), a new crop of free online tutorials are popping up for the visual learners, like myself. But, whether through text, video or images (and screenshots for learning web programming and many software programs), you can learn almost anything from how to hand code HTML and CSS to copy writing to how to write a business plan. Even schools are starting to offer free online visual tutorials. I discovered a great one recently called PeraltaTV run on a Drupal CMS and utilizing Quick Time video. Definitely check it out. PeraltaTV even has a schedule of show times so, like a the TV Guide, just check the schedule and turn it on. Their telecourses cover a whole range of topics from travel, to business to nutrition to live board meetings of the Peralta school system. In addition, if you sign up (free) you get your own little account and the ability to blog. Damn, I love the Internet!
Free online tutorials are also a good way for you as a professional, artist or individual with a good skill set to market yourself. It shows how knowledgeable you are. If you’re intimidated by creating video for online consumption (camera shy) there are tutorials for that too. Also, you can just create text based tutorials with visual guides. I love free sh…um, free “stuff”. I especially love free stuff that helps me become a better and more well rounded individual, writer, blog and website designer and developer and business woman.
The world has evolved but has come back around in history. Remember when craftspeople were the individuals you’d go to, to learn from and buy from because they were the experts? Web 2.0 (and soon Web 3.0) is the craftperson’s, amateur’s and expert’s playground for teaching and showing off. It’s also everyone else’s playground for learning all things personal and all things business. Take advantage!
Here are a few of many FREE online tutorials I think you should take advantage of:
Web Programming / Coding / Design
- GCF Learn Free
- About.com Computer tutorials by email
- WordPress Video tutorials at Tubetorials
- Basic Search Engine Optimization at SEOmoz
- Visual Tutorials
- FlashKit Flash tutorials
- SBA.gov Small Business Planner
- About.com’s How to Create a Video Blog
- Sitepoint’s Software Tutorials
- Pixel Art Tutorial
- Drawing Resources
There are tons more, but that’s a good start, right? If you find any that you’d like to add to this list, please let us know.