Fiscal Responsibility: Choose Among The Courses That 3 Popular eLearning Platforms Offer
Anyone who has spent some time on social media has likely encountered at least one of the three most popular eLearning platforms designed to teach a wide range of skills and topics: LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda), Skillshare, and Khan Academy. From promoted posts to sponsorships on YouTube channels, these services seem to be ubiquitous.
Among these offerings are a wide range of courses focused on teaching financial literacy — including the basics of budgeting, entrepreneurship, and investments, in addition to more advanced topics. Individuals who are interested in becoming more knowledgeable about financial best practices can learn a lot from these eLearning platforms.
But which is right for you? Depending on your area of interest, different platforms may better suit your specific needs. Let’s take a look at how these three popular platforms address the topics of personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investments.
The Basics Of Budgeting
From high school students to recent college grads, a wide range of teens and young adults are in need of training in the basics of creating a personal budget; calculating fixed expenses, tracking spending, adjusting spending habits, setting a savings goal, and continually monitoring income and expenses. Users may also be interested in learning about corporate budgeting, which includes more advanced topics like creating project plans and forecasting organizational costs.
What options are there on Lynda, Skillshare, and Khan Academy for learning about this topic?
In terms of educational material based on personal financing, LinkedIn Learning ($29.99 a month or $299.88 annually) offers a small number of courses and videos on the subject. Topics covered include building your finances, assessing your financial wellness, being prepared for major life events (such as getting married or having a child), doing taxes, and preparing for retirement.
The information provided is certainly helpful, but the courses and videos seem to be intended to provide a broad overview of the subjects without delving too deeply into specifics. Personal finance topics are covered in brief courses that can be completed in one to two hours, while the relevant videos available are only a few minutes each. Users looking for guidance in budgeting can likely complete all relevant courses in the free month trial period, even if taken at a leisurely pace.
Skillshare ($15 a month or $99 annually, though some classes are free) provides helpful courses for those interested in personal accounting or finances. There are plenty of courses that cover the basics, including popular modules covering the basics of financial statements, bookkeeping basics, understanding cash flow management, and preparing tax returns.
While many courses are only an hour or so in length, a good number of them are much longer, going quite in-depth, so learners will want to set aside time for some dedicated study. Some stand-out classes are Budgeting 101: A System That Works and Financial Accounting - Debits & Credits. While the quality of courses can vary depending on the instructor, leading to some consistency problems, users can follow favorite teachers. Users will likely need to subscribe for at least a few months to absorb the basics of personal finance, but you’ll want to be picky about which courses you choose.
While this platform is known for its focus on a wide range of topics, certain courses in math and economics have applications in personal finance and budgeting. In fact, users can find helpful educational material, including videos, related to:
• Housing, including home equity, mortgages, and the home-buying process
• Personal taxes
• Money, banking, and central banks
• Current economics, including tips on dealing with financial crises and paying off debt
There’s no doubt that the offerings are more surface-level that its competitors, but given the price (it’s free to use, as it is supported by donors), it’s worth exploring what Khan Academy has to offer.
From innovators with revolutionary ideas to those who have found a need in their local market that they can fill, there are many reasons why someone might want to become an entrepreneur. Becoming an expert in market research, understanding legal requirements, comparing business insurance offers, and balancing risks and rewards may only come with practice, but learning the fundamentals can set you up for a successful future.
So, how do the big three eLearning platforms appeal to potential entrepreneurs?
Compared to the relatively paltry offerings in personal finance, this platform provides a substantially more robust variety of helpful courses and videos for prospective entrepreneurs. LinkedIn Learning offers over 1,000 courses and over 3,000 mostly short-form videos across these areas of interest:
• Small business and entrepreneurship
• Project management
• Marketing, including branding, PR, SEO, analytics, social media, and email marketing
• Business leadership and management
• Customer service
This material is excellent guidance for prospective business owners. Each step — from determining the viability of a business idea, to finding funding opportunities, to managing the daily requirements of entrepreneurship — is explored in-depth on this platform. Some courses even qualify for continuing education units. If you’re interested in starting your own business, you can find a lot to love in LinkedIn Learning.
This platform also offers a good amount of content for those interested in the basics of entrepreneurship, as well as management and marketing skills. The breadth and depth of content on offer will likely appeal to aspiring “traditional entrepreneurs” (with many of the covered topics overlapping those covered on LinkedIn Learning) as well as those who are making the most of the gig economy. Budding freelancers and online influencers will find plenty of advice for growing and monetizing their personal brand, from tutorials on growing your YouTube channel to developing your professional voice on social media.
Skillshare is a fair option for those looking to learn more about entrepreneurship. Take some time to browse their available courses to see if their offerings suit your specific needs, particularly if you want to focus on a nontraditional route.
Khan Academy also provides some instruction for potential entrepreneurs, though it is also limited to some basic foundational concepts. The available tutorials on business management and corporate taxation, while sparse, are welcome, but there is no dedicated section for content based on entrepreneurship, unlike the other two platforms listed here. There are sections for macro- and micro-economics (including info on basic economic concepts, the business cycle, supply and demand, and international trade), though this instruction will likely appeal to those in academics, rather than those looking for practical advice.
Nevertheless, learning about these concepts can help potential entrepreneurs understand best practices. While you’ll likely want to invest in another platform to supplement your learning, it’s worth exploring what is available here.
Making Smart Investments
Becoming an effective, fruitful investor requires a lot more than starting capital. As noted by founding father Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Before you can achieve success in even your first hour of trading, you need to learn about key concepts like assessing the quality of investments, understanding investment volatility measures, and diversifying/rebalancing your portfolio.
How do the biggest eLearning providers address the basics of investments?
This platform covers the basics of evaluating investments, fundamental concepts involved with trading stocks (such as algorithmic trading) and real estate, managing personal investments, and best practices when investing in public markets. There is not much in the way of advanced topics for those who want to explore more in-depth or cutting-edge developments in this topic.
If you’re interested in the world of investments, you may want to explore what LinkedIn Learning has to offer — though, like their coverage of budgeting and personal finance, there may not be enough to justify paying for a subscription.
A large percentage of finance-related content on Skillshare is focused on investments. Many of these are introductory in nature, covering practical advice to help new investors avoid investment losses, assessing (and predicting) the financial climate through understanding economic indicators, making stock market investments, and understanding the risks and potential benefits of investing in cryptocurrencies. There is a fair amount of intermediate and even advanced content delving deeper into this content.
Again, considering the fact that there is a relatively low barrier of entry to become a teacher on the platform, users will want to be picky when it comes to choosing which modules to complete. Nevertheless, given the fairly comprehensive amount of content on offer, potential investors will likely be satisfied subscribing to Skillshare.
If you want to become a smart investor, you’ll want to learn how to interpret company statements, how to evaluate potential investments in the market, and understand basic terminology used in the stocks and bonds market. Through some educational videos, Khan Academy will help you begin to learn about these topics.
As with the other financial topics discussed in this article, this platform offers some helpful information on foundational concepts, but doesn’t delve much beyond the basics. Starting here will give potential investors the vocabulary needed to engage with more advanced courses on other platforms.
Are you interested in learning more about finances? Have you had any experiences with these platforms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!