A man with a watch typing on a laptop

 

Written by Samantha Watson

 

Even the busiest funeral directors know that it’s important to keep learning and improving their skills.

 

That’s why each year, thousands of funeral directors attend the National Funeral Directors Association’s International Convention & Expo. It’s also why funeral directors read trade magazines, blogs, and funeral news throughout the year. And it’s why some attend seminars or watch webinars in what little free time they have.

 

One resource that funeral directors have — that many are unaware of — is the free online classes that have become popular and are taught by university professors, lecturers, entrepreneurs, and more. Massive online open courses, or MOOCs, have really taken off in the last five years all over the world.

 

In 2015, the number of students enrolled in MOOCs doubled to nearly 35 million people and the number of courses increased by 1,800 to 4,200 from 550 different universities. Each course offers additional knowledge in a subject, some offer certificates, and others count toward credits for specific universities.

 

We did some searching and discovered a few unorthodox MOOCs that might be useful for you, your funeral home, and your families:

 

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Design Thinking for Innovation

Description: In today’s business world, everyone is expected to get lean — to do better with less — and that is why we need design thinking. At every level in every kind of organization, design thinking provides the tools you need to become an innovative thinker and uncover creative opportunities.

 

Time commitment: Five weeks of study, one to two hours per week. Next course begins July 4, 2016.

 

Found on Coursera.

 

Introduction to Marketing

Description: Marketing is a crucial function in all businesses and organizations. This course, regardless of your industry background, will teach you core concepts and tools to help you better understand and excel in marketing. A similar course also is available in French.

 

Time commitment: Six weeks of study, three to four hours per week. Next course begins any time.

 

Found on edX.

What Is Social?

Description: A course for business owners, executives, and marketing professionals who want to significantly improve their abilities to grow their social strategy using effective, proven methodologies.

 

Time commitment: Four weeks of study, one to three hours per week. Next course start date is unknown.

 

Found on Coursera.

Bonus: If you’d rather get a basic understanding of social media without the time commitment, you can download our eBook, An Introduction to Social Media for Funeral Homes.

 

Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Description: Learn skills and listen to examples from world-renown entrepreneurs and innovators as they discuss the parallels between the creative and entrepreneurial journeys, and why entrepreneurship, much like music or creativity, is something we all possess.

 

Time commitment: Four weeks of study, five hours per week. Next course begins July 25, 2016.

 

Found on edX.

 

Search Engine Optimization

Description: Discover the content marketing and social media ecosystems and how these interconnected channels drive search results to a website. Leverage content marketing and social media as part of your SEO strategy, and how to use influence marketing to establish a website’s authority.

 

Time commitment: Four weeks of study, one to three hours per week. Next course start date is unknown.

 

Found on Coursera.

 

MOOCs offer a ton of free information that’s useful not only to you personally but to your funeral home as well. If you want to check out other offerings, head to Khan Academy, Coursera, edX, Stanford Online, or some of the other notable MOOCs. You also can check out our extensive library of free eBooks on the funeral profession, good business practices, and ways to improve what your funeral home offers.