These Are the Most Useful Online Courses You Can Take, According to Reddit

published Apr 14, 2020
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There’s no shortage of online learning sites that list courses on every topic imaginable. But going through each and every one of them in the hopes of finding a course that appeals and is actually worth doing can take forever. 

Why not save hours of your time and get to the good stuff immediately? We scoured dozens of Reddit threads in search of the most useful courses, so you don’t have to.  From getting better at excel to learning how to power search, here’s a list of some of the most potentially life-changing online courses out there.

First things first, do you even know how to learn? If you’re unsure, check out the Learning How to Learn course on Coursera that will introduce you to the learning techniques used by experts in various fields. Reddit user dhawal says that the course, which is divided into four weeks and takes about 15 hours to complete from start to finish, is “useful even if you are not a student […] It has helped with my productivity tremendously.” As someone who procrastinates a lot, I’ve already enrolled in this one.

“Learn all you can about Excel,” says a Redditor that has since been deleted. “Chances are, most of your co-workers are only good at the very basic Excel. […] You may just become your boss’s right-hand man/woman.” If you’re completely clueless in Excel (it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to add a new row to an Excel worksheet), take the Useful Excel for Beginners course on Udemy (for free). As another Reddit user says, “if you learn how to Excel, you’ll Excel at life.” 

You might never become a programmer. You mightn’t even want to. But that doesn’t mean that taking a course in computer science is pointless. According to one Redditor, “just learning the basics of how coding works helps you with all things computer-related. It’s like I’m better at understanding how computers think.” This computer science course by Harvard is straightforward enough for complete beginners but also detailed enough for those with some experience. It’s free (you can get a verified certificate for less than $100) and takes just 12 weeks to complete.

If you’re really bad at arguing, take this course on how to reason and argue, says Reddit user iateyourdinner. The course is taught by two professors at Duke University who not only show you how to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments made by others but also reveal how to construct your own solid arguments. You can complete this course in about 10 hours.

Want to start your own business but don’t know where (or how) to start? Do yourself a favor and take How to Start a Startup course put together by the entrepreneur Sam Altman at Stanford in 2014. The course, which, according to Reddit user bradhankins is “priceless for entrepreneurs,” is made up of 20 lectures that go over everything you need to start a startup, including how to raise money and build a product people love. Most of the lectures are taught by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, like Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. 

If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps lately (and honestly, with the way things are going, who isn’t?), consider taking the Science of Happiness course taught at UC Berkeley. Redditor mr_priapism says, “I was not in a good place before. At least try to get to the 6th week, which is on mindfulness. I feel so much better about my life and situation now.” It’s not all just theory, either. The course, which can be completed in 11 weeks (as long as you put in four to five hours a week), teaches practical strategies to nurture your happiness.

If you’re going to complete just one course from this list, take a deleted Reddit user’s advice and do a basic first aid course. You never know—your first aid skills could someday save someone’s life. The first aid course at First Aid for Free covers everything you need to know, including infection control, minor wounds, and major bleeding. The site also offers courses on advanced first aid, CPR, asthma, and more—all free of charge.

We use Google search every day. But most of us are not very good at finding relevant information on Google quickly. That’s why Redditor Rj4001 recommends that everyone take Google Power Searching and Advanced Power Searching courses. The “courses blew me away and totally changed the way I search for anything online,” he says. Who knew that being able to use Google properly is an actual skill—and one that most people lack.