Train to Gain – Learning new skills during the lockdown

Train to Gain – Learning new skills during the lockdown


Speaking with friends and associates, the current situation is starting to get monotonous.  They’ve expressed that the charm of working from home is now wearing out. This is understandable. We are beginning to miss out on the time spent with friends or the micro-interactions with colleagues. And we miss just being around people in general. But you know, life goes on. One way to maximize your time now is by learning new skills amid the crisis.

Whilst working from home is a necessary response to the pandemic it does not have to be a stressful ordeal. Instead, we can pause and alter our perspective of this strange period. We should view this as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and come out on the other side as better versions of ourselves. After all, learning new skills is cool.

The options for doing so are many. You may opt to get a degree, master a new skill or hone soft skills. Or you can boost financial literacy, or learn a new language. How about learning to play a new instrument? Learning new skills does not have to be expensive.

We have listed below a few suggestions on gainfully spending your time learning new skills during the lockdown.

Hone your presentation skills

Presentations play an important role in modern corporate life. In fact, Microsoft PowerPoint has become part of our lives today. Sadly, most of us lack the skills and awareness about PowerPoint’s functionalities that are so essential in creating effective presentation. This can easily be overcome by spending just a few hours a day doing some basic courses in PowerPoint.

powerpoint presentation

Prezi is an alternative to PowerPoint that is fast becoming popular. It is a much more interactive and visual medium.

You can sharpen your presentation skills by doing courses from various online providers like Coursera, GoSkills, Upgrad, etc. They might sound daunting at first but now’s the time to get out of your comfort zone and go for it.

Online Masters and Micro-degrees from various online education providers

Do you always regret not going to college or feel professionally handicapped because you do not have a degree? Well, now is the time to earn your stripes and boost your academic credentials. It’s good for your CV – and might increase the chances of your next job!

Most reputed universities nowadays offer students the option of obtaining online degrees and masters. You could even sign up for an online MBA.

online education providers

Another option that’s fast gaining popularity is micro-degrees offered by a number of universities and online education providers. Micro-degrees, in essence, are courses typically focussing on a specialised field, where a full-time degree’s course work is compressed over a period of 4 to 8 months.

The assumption is that what you have already gained considerable knowledge during your working life thus far, enabling you to pick up the course content quickly. Besides, these courses require you to diligently dedicate time on a daily basis, which is where those extra lockdown hours come in handy. Now, aren’t you glad you don’t have to go to the office?

You could select from a wide array of subjects, ranging from a topic that you had a passion for. Or you can choose a topic that will help your career or some skill that will be in demand in the future.

Almost all reputed universities offer online study programmes, details of which are available on their websites.

Online education providers like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy, etc offer such courses in various fields.

Learn a new language

Espanyol anyone? In this seamless, globalised economy where working in multi-cultural teams is the norm, it is no surprise that learning a second language can be a big career advantage. It could also make you the first choice for trips abroad.

Learning a new language has never been easier, be it for purposes of professional advancement or simply for the pleasure of it.

When it comes to learning languages online, apart from the generic options on Coursera and edX, there are language specialists like Duolingo and Babbel, as well as free tutorials on YouTube.

A cursory google search will open the doors to several options, some of them free.

Open Courseware (OCW) and edX

Besides, all the options enumerated above, OCW is perhaps the most potent online educational tool in today’s world. An outcome of the desire to democratise education and ensure that lack of finance doesn’t become a hurdle in the acquisition of knowledge, OCW refers to some of the world’s top-ranked and most reputed universities making their study material online for free. Anyone with the desire to learn can log on to the University’s website and avail the course study material and learn on their own.


MIT and Carnegie Mellon universities were the early pioneers and have today been followed by other reputed universities like Yale, Utah State University, and the University of California Berkley.

edX is the result of a collaborative effort between MIT and Harvard, which extended the concept by offering more structured courses to online students.

These initiatives have effectively made available to the general public a veritable treasure trove of educational resources, which they can access and study at their convenience, with subjects ranging from engineering to fine arts to accountancy to social sciences.

To check which courses are available, simply google and visit the websites of these universities to register yourself and start your learning journey.

You see, the lockdown can be fun too.