Free Resources (Adult Education and CPD)

This month we have been looking at options for adult education and continuous professional development (CPD). If you missed the first blog or our Newsletter you can view them now by clicking on the respective links. To conclude our coverage of this topic we have taken a look at online resources to support your endeavours. In this article, we focus on sources of free training and eBooks, audiobooks or textbooks.

As discussed previously, finding the time and finances for CPD can be challenging. Perhaps it may be more realistic to take a bitesize approach to your professional development. Scheduling a few minutes every week for reading should be achievable by everyone, it’s all about creating a new habit. And remember, this is not a chore, it is a reward.

Free Online Courses

The following links are for online courses, some of which carry recognised accreditation, or business resources that are all free of charge.

  1. Programming (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) Codecademy – You may already have a webmaster in place however it never hurts to gain some basic skills in coding to allow you to make minor adjustments yourself. Or you may choose to create your own business website from scratch, in which case this resource gives you an opportunity to learn the code you need for free.
  2. Marketing and Sales, HubSpot Academy – This site breaks down available courses into more specific topics, giving you the total time required and lessons involved. Courses range from approximately 1-6 hours.
  3. Business Management, Alison – In addition to business management Alison offers free courses in other topics such as technology, language, science, health, maths and marketing. They currently service 13 million learners from 195 different countries.
  4. Business resources, Open Culture – This site offers 150 free courses specific to business, with free eBooks, audio books, textbooks and films. Many of their courses provide certificates.
  5. Search Engine Optimisation, Moz – This company offers free SEO training for beginners, intermediate and advanced users. Given the significance of a business’s online presence this is an area we can all stand to keep up to date on.
  6. Entrepreneurship, My Own Business InstituteKutztown – Both of these sites provide a wealth of free courses relevant to developing a successful business and include supplementary resources such as video tutorials.
  7. Free lectures from the world’s leading thinkers, TED Talks via YouTube – There is very little that you can’t learn to do on YouTube so it is always worth performing a search. In the meantime, why not listen to one of the very popular TED talks and perhaps learn a new and unexpected skill.
  8. Free to View and Read Entrepreneurship courses, MIT – These courses are not free to take however you can view and read them for free which provides access to valuable information.

Free Books to Download or View Online

The links below provide access to a wide variety of eBooks, audiobooks and textbooks available to download or view online free of charge and often without registration.

  1. Free online library for managers – Free Management Books offer some great resources for entrepreneurs, management techniques, marketing and finance to name but a few.
  2. PDFDRIVE offer literally millions of eBooks for free download with a significant library of business management titles.
  3. BookBoon carry a comprehensive suite of business management eBooks and textbooks which can be downloaded in one zipped file for ease of access. Their titles include Business Strategy and Strategic Planning, the Basics of Business Management, and Project Leadership.

There are many more websites offering free eBooks covering business management and a wide variety of other topics. A few more of note include the Open Library, Project Gutenburg, Barnes & Noble, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Best eBooks World.

A Final Word

With so many excellent free resources available there should be no hurdle to you starting the next stage of your education or professional development. It’s merely a case of deciding what topic you want to start with.

If you haven’t already, we suggest you create a simple table or diary to record your efforts. This will help you to plan out and map your CPD. Any reading that you undertake relevant to your business and specific discipline counts towards your CPD, even if it is 15 minutes at lunchtime when you read up on the latest project management system. Compartmentalising CPD in this way really does helps you achieve your goals, and a CPD record may be requested as part of an accreditation assessment or tender process. It also demonstrates your level of commitment and professionalism to your clients.

We hope that our articles have inspired you find time in your day for CPD and if you have any questions on the content provided here or in related articles please don’t hesitate to get in touch.