As the lockdown and quarantine slowly take over our lives, many of us are considering using this downtime to upskill. A lot of people have been asking me about going back to university, and the main concern they raise is the costs involved. Personally, I’m not convinced that formal educational institutions are the only way to learn and grow, so I’ve rounded up some affordable, new-media platforms for learning and development.

  1. Webinars

Here is a way for you to learn from an expert, wherever in the world you are, at rates much lower than that of a university or school. There are webinars on every topic under the sun, and the value that you get out of learning from a speaker who is experienced and successful is incredible. I love attending webinars and even hosting them, and my peers and students always praise the format for its ease and affordability.

  • Podcasts

If you don’t have a list of podcasts you follow faithfully, you’re already far behind. Podcasts are the EASIEST way to learn. You can play one on your way to work (trying to remember what that was like), while you’re whipping up a meal, when you’re on the beach – the format is so versatile and extremely affordable. Great minds, motivational speakers and subject matter experts are all sharing their knowledge and views with the world through podcasts – don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity.

In fact, not only podcast listeners stand to benefit. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have interviewed and learnt from some fantastic guests like Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Gary Vee, Grant Cardone, Nick Vujicic, Tai Lopez and others on The Spencer Lodge Podcast. So consider if starting a podcast yourself is a good way to get noticed while learning first-hand from great guests and in-depth research.

  • Books

They never get old! Books are a great way to work on developing yourself. Some classics are ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ by Stephen R. Covey, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie and ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. The best thing about learning from a book is that you can highlight, mark, take notes and go back to specific passages.

  • Online courses

With the lockdown, a lot of online courses are slashing prices or even becoming free of cost to anyone who wants to take them. The advantage of these short courses is that they are up-to-date in terms of subjects and content, and are usually taught by people who are actually practising in their respective fields. Right now, Harvard is offering all of its short online courses for free to anyone who wants to learn during the lockdown. When you choose a course, make sure the source is reliable and use the opportunity to network with like-minded people as well.

Sometimes, even just the social media accounts of leaders you look up to can hold a wealth of information. If you are eager to learn but struggling with the thought of expensive and lengthy university courses, consider these options that are great for your budget but also a lot more in-tune with the realities of the world we live in and the professions we pursue.