Improve yourself with these 16 best personal development courses
Making it a lifelong pursuit to continuously increase your own value through education has been proven to yield big returns for the investment you make. This pursuit is encapsulated perfectly in two words: Personal Development. The more you level yourself up, the greater your contribution to the world.
That greater contribution benefits both the recipient and the giver. So, here’s a roundup of 16 of the best personal development courses online that could be pivotal on your journey to steadily improve yourself. You may find one here that can help you change your life.
Personal Development Courses – Overview
Dave Martin perfectly describes the why of personal development when he said “growth today brings success tomorrow.” Whatever is happening in your life right now is a result of choices you have already made, steps you have taken, or something you have neglected.
You are what you did – For example, if you are obese at the moment, that’s due to the dietary choices you made 3-6 months ago. You may currently be making different, healthier dietary choices, but you won’t see results until some point in the future.
Take control – Personal Development can help improve your quality of life for the future. Here are some ways you can achieve this:
- Learning new things or increasing knowledge in specific areas,
- Targeting bad habits and forming more positive ones,
- Increasing productivity and improving time management,
- Improving memory, visualization, leadership and common life skills
- Qualifying for a new job, career or entrepreneurial endeavor, and
- Changing your worldview.
Two strategies – Overall, if you dedicate yourself to consistent personal development, you give yourself a chance to become a better version of yourself. There are two ways you can go about personal development. You can either go all-in on your strengths, taking steps to develop your strongest skills further, or you can target weak areas.
Strengths – Generally, the most successful people in their fields focus on and invest heavily in their strongest skills. That is how they become the best. That said, if you are weak in some fundamental areas, you can improve those to an acceptable level of proficiency so they cease to be hindrances. So, here are the best personal development courses to get started.
Best Personal Development Courses Online – Top 5
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Personal Development Courses – CreativeLive
1. Designing Your Life
Instructors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans will show you “how to build a well-lived, joyful life”. In this unique approach to personal development, you will learn to apply design principles to making big life decisions. Both instructors are Stanford University professors and they bring you this course based on their eponymous #1 New York Times bestselling book.
In one of the first lectures, they give you an overview of design thinking. In subsequent lectures, they help you examine the story of your life to this point, show you how to shift your perspective, align your views on life and work, and target dysfunction.
Reviewers commonly refer to this as one of the best personal development courses on the platform. They say that it was a great supplement to the book and that they got a lot of useful information out of it. Some mentioned the course needed to show more about how to implement the great ideas.
One reviewer said that it was not an ideal course for “creatives”, as it focused more on getting a job. If you feel the need to make some fundamental changes to yourself to land a job or start a new career or business, this course may be right for you.
Instructor: Bill Burnett, Dave Evans
Level: All levels | Lessons: 21 | Video: 4.5 hours
Price: On Demand. Or $11/Month Annual Pass | User Rating: 95% ★★★★★
2. The 4-Hour Life
Taught by Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, this course aims to give you “Solutions To Everyday Problems.” Some of these solutions come through physical body conditioning and sports wisdom that can be metaphorically applied to other areas of life. Tim invited a variety of special guests to present in their areas of expertise.
Based on the reviews, it might be more up to you to figure out if/how you can apply what is being taught to your own life. Also, some of the information is not universally relevant. Numerous female reviewers expressed that some of the content was more for guys, while some entrepreneurs said the business advice was too random.
A careful look through the curriculum will help you decide whether to invest in this personal development course or not. However, if you have a subscription with this platform, you can check it out for free and without obligation.
Instructor: Tim Ferris
Level: All levels | Lessons: 16 | Video: 8.5 hours
Price: On Demand. Or $11/Month Annual Pass | User Rating: 94% ★★★★★
3. Unlocking Your Potential
If you recognize the pain of self-doubt, fear of failure (or success) or self-sabotage, this course could help you out. Author and podcast host Emma Gannon has been there, and she will teach you what she learned that helped her overcome those problems. Ms. Gannon offers learners “5 exercises to build creative confidence”.
She will help you identify patterns and habits that don’t serve you, determine what you really want and target and overcome negative self-talk. Specifically, if you have started a creative work, such as a book or launching a business venture, and find yourself stuck, this course can help you get unstuck.
Reviews found that the course had actionable steps they could put into practice to get out of a creative rut. Generally, Ms. Gannon successfully motivated her learners, and I certainly found it one of the best personal development courses available on Skillshare.
Instructor: Emma Gannon
Level: All | Lectures: 8 | Class Projects: 175
User Review: 4.6 ★★★★☆ | Price: from $8.99/month annually
4. Real Productivity
The subtitle, “How to Build habits that last” gives you some insight as to the focus of this course. Author Thomas Frank teaches his “favorite habit tracking and reflection systems”, as well as goal setting and how to reach the goals you set. He will also teach you how to handle failure and to identify habits and take ownership of them.
Some reviewers said he didn’t offer more than what he shares for free on YouTube and they didn’t like the heavy focus on using apps to assist with productivity improvement. Fans said it had plenty of actionable points and resources that they found useful. Well, I personally loved the impossible goal list that I keep maintaining since taking the course.
Personal Development Courses – Coursera
5. Learning How to Learn
The tagline for this personal development course reads “powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects”. This could be very useful in numerous contexts. In this University of California, San Diego course, instructors Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski endeavor to help you “become better at learning”.
Among the skills you will learn in this course are how to maximize learning, deal with procrastination, and prepare for tests. They also teach the Pomodoro technique, which is useful for time management, and meta-learning, which is related to artificial intelligence. They spend a whole session on “chunking”, which may sound a bit weird but is actually an effective way of processing information in smaller, more manageable “chunks”.
Some reviewers say the course changed their lives for the better. Critics of the course said they walked away not clear about applying what they learned and that there was a lot of obvious information to sift through to get a few useful nuggets. To this latter criticism, one could argue that being reminded of seemingly obvious points can be valuable.
Provider: University of California San Diego. Coursera
Instructor: Dr. Barbara Oakley | Complete in 15 hours.
Pricing: Free. Certificate available for a fee. | User Review: 4.8 ★★★★★
6. The Science of Well-Being
Any opportunity to get a taste of Ivy League education online appeals to me! This Yale University course, taught by Laurie Santos, aims to increase students’ happiness and help them build more productive habits.
The course consists of a series of challenges that are created to increase happiness and “build more productive habits”. You will learn about misconceptions connected to happiness. Some reviewers found the course valuable for learning the insights and science behind well-being, while for others, the quality of the learning did not measure up to their expectations.
With the bar so high, such critiques were to be expected. That said, one could never expect any course to truly improve their happiness. Nonetheless, there certainly is value in increasing productivity and understanding such a science. This could be a stepping stone to a career in life coaching or counseling.
Provider: Yale. Coursera
Instructor: Laurie Santos | Complete in 19 hours.
Pricing: Free. Certificate available for a fee. | User Review: 4.9 ★★★★★
7. Career Success
This 10-course specialization from UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education offers to help you “build essential skills for the workplace.” The instructors will help you add problem-solving, written communication, negotiating, project management, and leadership to your skillset. The goal is to improve students’ employability and advancement in the workforce.
Students can take these personal development courses individually. Choose from Finance for Non-Finance Professionals, Communications in the 21st Century, Hi-Impact Business Writing and more. If you choose to take the whole specialization, the capstone project gives you an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned.
Students appreciated the opportunity to brush up on their management skills. Others found it useful to refresh their memories in some areas they had already learned in the past but have forgotten. Some appeared more critical of the format, but their complaints (hard to get feedback on work, little interaction) were not uncommon in general for online learning.
Provider: UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education. Coursera
Instructor: Rob Stone | Course Duration: 11 months.
Pricing: Free. Certificate available for a fee | User Review: 4.5 ★★★★☆.
Personal Development Courses – Tony Robbins
8. Ultimate Edge
If you find yourself achieving on a higher level than you have before and gaining a greater sense of fulfillment from your endeavors after taking this course, then Tony Robbins delivered as promised. He provides you insights from his conversations with several of the “world’s happiest and most successful people”.
Skills you will attain include improved time management, goal setting and targeting and breaking your negative habits. Reviewers felt that the course was powerful and well worth the expense. He gives you numerous hours of coaching content and workshops that make you feel as though you are in the room with him. You also get a journal with the course.
The only downside I could see with this course is for those who have followed Tony Robbins over much of his career. It is said that the content is largely comprised of the things he has been teaching over the years. If you are new to Tony Robbins’ teaching, and you are a high achiever looking to take your life to the next level, then you will certainly benefit from one of the best personal development courses and coaches available.
Personal Development Courses – Udemy
9. Become a SuperLearner
This is one of the best personal development courses to take and designed to help you read faster and improve memory. Instructors Jonathan Levi, and Lev and Anna Goldentouch will arm you with the skills used by “the world’s fastest readers and memory record holders”.
They will give you memory techniques to help you retain and recall a great deal of information with speed and accuracy, as well as develop “the cognitive infrastructure” you will need to handle the deluge of new things you will now have the capacity to learn.
If nothing else, this course will help you become a better, more efficient student. This could be handy in careers that require continuing education and lots of reading, such as teaching and research. Those who have taken the course have said good information was abundant and it helped them to better understand why they had challenges in learning.
Critics said the course did not show learners how to implement and was therefore impractical. Based on my experience, the course is packed with exercises to actually ingrain what you learn. But I agree, it requires individual initiative to achieve great results.
Instructor: Jonathan Levi
Level: All levels | Lectures: 63 | Video: 5.5 hours
Price: from $11.99 | User Rating: 4.5 ★★★★☆
10. The Secrets of Body Language
The subtitle of this course invites you to “Learn how to interpret the body language of the people around you while perfecting your own nonverbal communication”. Behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards will teach you how to read body language and detect hidden emotions and lies.
Ms Van Edwards writes for the ScienceofPeople.org. Non-verbal communication is her specialty. Interestingly, there are unique segments covering body language for women and body language for men. Many students found this one of the best personal development courses available and useful in recognizing signs and gestures in others and themselves.
However, some reviewers mention the course was too “American”. This is a good point – indeed, different gestures can have different meanings from one culture to the next. If you are from outside the US and are either doing business, engaging in politics or studying with Americans, this course may be a great resource for you!
Instructor: Vanessa Van Edwards
Level: All levels | Lectures: 22 | Video: 2 hours
Price: from $11.99 | User Rating: 4.4 ★★★★☆
11. Investing in Stocks
In this 11 hour course, Steve Ballinger, MBA teaches you practical investing skills. These include placing stock orders and selecting funds and stocks for an investment portfolio. He also teaches students how to use qualitative research and ratios.
The course covers stocks, mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and even shows you how to vet a broker or financial planner. This course will probably not prepare you for a career in the financial services industry, but according to reviews, it is a sound introduction to the field. Many reviewers said some of the material is outdated.
Instructor: Steve Ballinger
Level: All levels | Lectures: 97 | Video: 11 hours
Price: from $11.99 | User Rating: 4.4 ★★★★☆
Personal Development Courses To Improve Work Skills
12. Learning To Type Fast
In the age of voice dictation, many may think that using a keyboard is a very 20th-century technology. It is indeed, but it is also a proven and convenient human-computer interface that will survive or at least stick with us for longer. Hence, knowing to type fast does not only save you time it will also broaden your job opportunities.
One of the best personal development courses that will teach you to increase typing speed and accuracy effectively Typesy and KAZ Typing, which are two of the best typing software tutors out there. Both use scientifically proven methods and track your progress. KAZ is more focused on teaching you the keyboard within 90 minutes while Typesy goes visual and playful with videos and games.
13. Learning to Read Fast
It’s a fact that we cannot read everything or learn everything. But we can adapt our reading style and methods to read more efficiently and extract knowledge, data, information and applicable techniques from books in the fastest way possible.
Hence, learning to read faster is a great skill you can use in your job and work to go through documents effectively or keep up with the ever-expanding knowledge and trends in your industry. 7-Speed-Reading, Rev It Up Reading or Iris Reading are the most renowned providers of speed reading courses here.
14. Improving Your Memory
Founder & CEO of IrisReading.com Paul Nowak teaches you how to memorize. Virtually everybody has, at one point or another, been required to memorize something. In contrast, almost nobody has ever been taught how to memorize effectively. Paul shows you how your memory works and teaches proven techniques for improving your recall.
The techniques include some well-known hacks such as mnemonic devices and alliteration. In addition, he explains which ones to use when for the best results. This is clearly a great tool for students and performers. Also, if you make presentations often in your job or business, this course can help you deliver your material more effectively.
Personal Development Courses – Linkedin Learning
15. Discovering Your Strengths
Do you know what your areas of greatest expertise are? Are you clear about what it is that you do best that can add value to the world? If you need some guidance in this area, then here is one of the best personal development courses that will endeavor to usher you on a journey of self-discovery.
Using a framework and some exercises, instructor Dave Crenshaw will guide you through this course. He will help you identify your natural gifts and passions, and your greatest skills and abilities. Learn how to build upon your strengths and increase your marketplace value.
This information could be valuable to you if you are unsure whether or not your job is the right one for you. The course promises to show you what you can do to “address a mismatch”. If you have a LinkedIn Learning subscription or started a free trial you can check this class out without obligations.
Instructors: Dave Crenshaw | Items: 6 Lessons | Content: 36 Videos
Subscription: $29.99/month or $17.99/month annually
16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence
Those in positions to hire and promote employees heavily favor emotional intelligence as a trait in the candidates they are considering. This skill is important for being able to inspire and nurture collaboration. It is essential in leadership to be able to interact well with others and rally teams to achieve goals.
In this course, chartered psychologist and executive coach Gemma Leigh Roberts helps you develop emotional intelligence and align your intentions and your impact. She also helps students increase their self-awareness. Greater self-awareness can lay bare “triggers that may hijack your performance.”
Are you feeling stuck? Have you have been passed over for promotions or jobs you thought you would be perfect for? This could be one of the best personal development courses to find the right keys and insights on this matter.
Instructors: Gemma Leigh Roberts | Items: 5 Lessons | Content: 15 Videos
Subscription: $29.99/month or $17.99/month annually
How to Choose the Best Personal Development Course
Since you need to invest time in your personal growth, it is imperative that you choose the right and best personal development courses to use your time wisely. Assuming you have set your goals already, here are some things to consider in making this important choice.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
- Among your strengths, decide which ones will get you closer to your goals. Select personal development courses that will help you further develop your strengths.
- Among your weaknesses, see if there are any that could be slowing your progress. Decide what level of proficiency you need to reach. Select courses that will get you to that level.
- Plan out courses based on urgency of need, duration, time commitment and cost.
- Consider the instructor. Review their credentials. Watch the preview to see if you like them. Then look through the syllabus or course outline carefully.
- Execute. Commit by enrolling and scheduling your study.
- Celebrate your successes.
Best Personal Development Courses 2021 – The Verdict
For anyone who wants to live a higher quality life, feel more fulfilled and contribute more to society, continuous personal development is key. Childhood education is supposed to get you to at least a basic level of functioning. It should equip you with literacy and numeracy, along with some rudimentary social skills.
Perhaps you had a richer childhood education than this. Even if you didn’t, it’s all in your hands now. If life is a journey, then the goals you set are important milestones along the way. The personal development you invest yourself in will determine how you will make it to the milestones.
It’s what you pack for the journey, how you orient yourself, who you become along the way and how you prepare for unexpected detours. Every milestone you reach is a victory in your life. Consistent personal growth will help you get those victories consistently and we hope top have assisted you with our list of the best personal development courses.
Best Personal Development Courses 2021Coursera
- Learning How to Learn
- The Science of Well-Being
- Career Success
- Discovering Your Strengths
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence
- Designing Your Life
- The 4-Hour Life
- Become a SuperLearner
- The Secrets of Body Language
- Investing in Stocks
- Unlocking Your Potential
- Real Productivity
- Ultimate Edge
What are the best personal development courses in your opinion? Have you take any? Let us know in the comments.