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Unconscious Bias tops the list of LinkedIn’s 4th annual Most Popular Courses, which are designed to help professionals focus on learning the right skills to enhance their careers.

The Unconscious Bias course, along with others, let professionals “have conversations to impact micro and macro change toward equity in the workplace,” LinkedIn said. Their popularity “shows that last year’s protests in support of Black Lives Matter spurred unprecedented action and introspection among professionals and that companies across the globe value employees and leaders who have the skills to impact equitable change now more than ever.”

The courses can be watched free until Oct. 15, 2021, the company said.

Over 5 million professionals watched the 20 Most Popular Courses this year, and there was a 53% increase in global hours spent learning over last year, LinkedIn said.

SEE: 600 million LinkedIn members scraped, data offered up for sale on hacker forum (TechRepublic)

The 15 most popular LinkedIn learning courses in 2021

Here are the top 15 courses with a synopsis provided by LinkedIn.

1. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon

What you’ll learn: Our unperceived biases and past experiences can have a negative effect on how we communicate with others, or perform our jobs, and can even impact overall productivity in the workplace. Join diversity expert Stacey Gordon to identify some of the most common forms bias can take and uncover strategies for identifying and overcoming those personal or even organizational biases.

2. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark

What you’ll learn: As you work to ascend any company ladder, thinking on big and small scales today and with the future in mind, is essential. This course teaches managers and leaders how to use strategic thinking to guide teams and develop solutions to key business problems. Follow Dorie Clark as she shares ways to carve out time to gather data, review past decisions, create a vision for the future, and implement strategic thinking within your team.

3. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor

What you’ll learn: Across companies and industries worldwide, Excel is an organizational lynchpin for managing, calculating, and analyzing data. The more knowledgeable you are in it, the more valuable you’ll be. Excel expert Dennis Taylor helps accelerate your learning curve in functions like PivotTables and chart building. You’ll discover techniques to navigate multiple worksheets, and formatting shortcuts across the platform to help save time.

4. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansel

What you’ll learn: Whether you’re afraid to speak in public or desire to hone your skills to be more effective at it, better communication is a vital business skill that can open doors and advance careers. In this course, you’ll learn how to organize your thoughts, breathe properly, use your body and words to express ideas, and understand how to overcome anxiety.

5. Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis

What you’ll learn: Adapted from the podcast How to Be Awesome at Your Job, Pete Mockaitis hosts professional speaker Diane DiResta to help you learn how to give your audience what they need to know—not everything you know. Discover ways to control your focus, ensure consistency in your delivery, and establish recovery methods in the face of difficult situations.

6. Confronting Bias: Thriving Across Our Differences with Vernā Myers and Arianna Huffington

What you’ll learn: As Verna Myers states in this course, “It’s not about perfection, it’s about connection.” Discover how to create inclusive environments where everyone can thrive, and how to overcome saying the wrong thing—or nothing at all — and counter unconscious bias in our words and actions.

7. Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging with Pat Wadors

What you’ll learn: Managers and executives, in particular, are invited to join HR expert Pat Wadors as she explains how to drive the conversation on DIBs — Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging — to include the third element to an important conversation and understand the best path to hire and retain diverse talent, listen to employees, and integrate DIBs into your employee experience.

8. Learning Excel 2019 with David Rivers

What you’ll learn: The most essential functions to start using the world’s most popular and powerful spreadsheet program. Instructor David Rivers walks you through the features and capabilities of Excel to begin creating and opening workbooks, entering text and numbers, working with formulas, basic formatting, inserting charts, and sharing and printing workbooks. If you’re new to the application, this is the one course that will get you on the right track fast.

9. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo

What you’ll learn: Both a mindset and the application of simple tools to think reflectively and independently, critical thinking helps you solve problems systematically — not by intuition. Leadership trainer and expert Mike Figliuolo outlines a series of techniques to define the problem and a number of tools to begin solving for the solution. He also provides guidance on how to help develop this skill across your team.

10. Time Management Fundamentals with Dave Crenshaw

What you’ll learn: How to manage your time simply and effectively and become more productive in the process. Best-selling author and business coach Dave Crenshaw gives practical strategies in developing habits to be more organized and reduce clutter in your workspace; stay mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and develop a time budget to focus on your most valuable activities.

11. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman

What you’ll learn: Valuable working knowledge of this most common language for database wrangling with tech advocate and programming expert Bill Weinman. Learn key functions like creating tables, defining relationships, manipulating strings, numbers, and dates; using triggers to automate actions; and using subselects and views. Also included in the final chapter is a real-world example of building a simple application using SQL.

12. Learning Personal Branding with Chelsea Krost

What you’ll learn: Your personal brand is your most powerful asset. Face-to-face or online, the brand of “you” matters most. For ways to create consistency in your routine to promote yourself, and opportunities to monetize your brand, join Chelsea Krost to explore how you can develop your story, craft your messaging, and define the audience you want to reach the most.

13. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose

What you’ll learn: Embrace an agile mindset can help you prioritize customers over shareholders and create a more horizontal team framework that welcomes input from all. Join Doug Rose as he covers the values and principles in the agile manifesto, explores communication with user stories and cross-functional teams, and shares exercises to boost your team’s agility.

14. Communicating about Culturally Sensitive Issues with Daisy Lovelace

What you’ll learn: To be more confident in relating to all of your co-workers and speaking without fear of offending others. It’s okay to disagree, but you don’t want to be disagreeable. Join PhD Daisy Lovelace in this course to learn techniques in setting boundaries and ground rules for potentially sensitive conversations. Gather insights on how to ask better questions, respond with more empathy, and extend a meaningful apology.

15. Customer Service Foundations with Jeff Toister

What you’ll learn: Three fundamental skill sets of creating stronger customer relationships. Ideal if you’re just starting out in customer service or you’re looking for a refresher, this course helps you learn how to help your customers feel more valued to keep them coming back, provide the right help at just the right time, and use customer feedback to improve the experience for everyone on both sides of the transaction.

Other popular courses include Interpersonal Communication and Python Essential Training. By category, there are courses offered in DEI and allyship, communication and confidence, essential hard skills and essential soft skills.