5 Ways to Best Use a Pluralsight Free Pass

Did you get a Pluralsight free pass? This could be a 30 day pass Pluralsight Authors can sometimes give out, or a free weekend (keep your eyes open for those!). I just noticed on the Pluralsight homepage they are offering another Free Weekend. This one is from today, Friday, through Sunday.

NOTE and UPDATE: The free weekend may have expired. I’m keeping this post up so you can get tips of how to optimize any free time you have on Pluralsight.

Pluralsight free pass

I also have on good authority that Pluralsight Authors (aka, content creators) might have 30 day passes you can take advantage of (just ask an Author you know if they have one).

Disclaimer: I have 36 courses in the Pluralsight library. See them here (they are mostly on soft skills, careers, and professional development)… here are 6 job search courses I recommend a lot.

I wanted to share some thoughts on how you can get the most out of any free access to Pluralsight when your time, and the access, is limited.

1: Make a Plan

Pluralsight has over 7,000 courses (and more than 40 interactive, hands-on courses). That number continues to grow. The problem is SEVEN THOUSAND. You could literally spend hours… days just going through the library to see what you might want to learn. You don’t have time to do that during your Pluralsight free pass period.

If you just learned about the Pluralsight free pass and haven’t had time to make your plan, it’s kind of too late to spend much time on it. The clock is ticking.

If you were to get your hands on a Pluralsight free pass for 30 days, I’d say to spend two or three days figuring out what you wanted to learn and watch, make a list, and then work your way through that list over the 30 days.

Pluralsight has the most comprehensive technical library you’ll find. One of the easiest ways to find courses that are really appealing to you is to look at the Learning Paths.

Pluralsight free pass and Learning Paths

On that Learning Paths page you’ll see tons of techie content. If you are looking to enhances any technical skills go find the write courses for you. Weather you are into security, graphics, machine learning, web development, front end, back end, databases, etc. you’ll find plenty of awesome courses. There are what I call HIDDEN GEMS in Pluralsight, which include:

All the courses you need for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification prep courses (14 courses, 37 hours), which you would otherwise pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars for. This is a certification that can definitely help you in your career.

Also, the PMI-PBA Business Analysis certification prepartion (5 courses, 14 hours). If you want to be a PMI-PBA you could binge-watch this all weekend, for free.

I was honored to be able to do a course on emotional intelligence. Here’s a learning path called Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers (7 courses, 10 hours). I can only hope that our world becomes more emotionally intelligent… can you imagine what a difference that would make for your career?

Embracing and Managing Change (8 courses, 7 hours) would have been an excellent path to watch in February 2020, am I right? My heavens, if anything is constant it is change. This is a must-watch learning path to help your adjust your mindset on how change can help propel your career, and even add more satisfaction to your job.

The Graphic Design (21 courses, 30 hours) learning path shows there is a lot more to Pluralsight than developer courses. This is a great learning path to upskill your graphics chops.

The Upgrading Your Technology Career (33 courses, 65 hours) has a bunch of my courses. You know I’m passionate about career management, and I hope you are too. These courses help you rethink your future, and your role in driving your future.

The Learning Paths section of Pluralsight take some of the prep guesswork out of your plan. Once you get started you might find there are favorite authors you want to hear more from. On the top-right of an course page you’ll see a link to the Author’s page, where you can see all of their courses. Find an author you like? See what else they have you’ll be interested in!

Here’s my author page – check out my courses and hit the follow button there.

Make your list, check it twice, Then get watching. You only have three days this weekend to take advantage of your Pluralsight free pass!

IF YOU GET A Pluralsight free pass for 30 DAYS, I recommend you spend a few days creating your list, and schedule when you’ll watch the courses, and then redeem your pass.

2: Choose Your View Speed

The default speed that you watch your Pluralsight videos is 1x. You can easily change that, and many people do. On the Pluralsight player, click the 1 in the box, and you’ll see the option to change your speed to slower or faster.

Pluralsight free pass - speed

I’ve heard from plenty of people that their favorite way to watch courses is to change to 1.2x or 1.3x. I usually can’t do 1.4+ because that gets too distracting, but increasing by .2 or .3 can get you through a course faster, which means you can watch more courses.

3: But Slow Down

The purpose of watching these courses aren’t to “get through them” or “cram them in.” You really want to skill up, to learn, to grow. Sure, increase your speed, but make sure you are really learning and internalizing. Perhaps this means you pause the course every once in a while to write down some thoughts on what you are learning.

You should be taking notes anyway, but this strategy to pause and write down your thoughts should really help you learn the content more. Note taking is a learning skill, and doing a personal debrief, where you go over what you have learned and put it into your own words, can be immensely beneficial.

If you are going to invest the time into yourself, and learning, slow down and really think about what you are learning.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to write a comment in the Discussion area of the course telling the author what you got from the course. Not everything, not all your notes, but perhaps the top three things you are taking away, and will work on.

4: Implement What You Learned

In all of my courses I share many, perhaps dozens, of actionable things you can work on. I invite you to choose one or two things to work on, and when you feel you are somewhat proficient, add another one or two things to work on.

For example, in my course on becoming a better listener, I talk about taking notes, or just being quiet, or listening to understand and not thinking about how you’ll react, or having better eye contact… these are specific things you can practice over the next few months.

When you watch a course, include what you will do in your notes. I do this with a checkbox or an underline so I can easily browse through my notes and see actionable things.

In the learning world people talk about Bloom’s Taxonomy, a popular model on how we actually learn. Higher learning happens when you “apply”… which is practicing what you have learned. Also, “analyzing” is part of higher learning, which happens when you have better notes and do a debrief.

5: Teach What You Have Learned to Someone Else

Okay, let’s go to a much higher level of learning… as you take the course, take notes and think about things as if you were going to sit down with someone else, or perhaps your team at work, and teach them what you have learned. You know teachers get a lot more out of a lesson than a student does, right?

Back to Bloom, the steps are remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. In order to do a 40 minute session with your team, and teach them what you have learned, you will spend hours doing each of those steps. During those hours of understanding and analyzing and evaluating you will really learn this stuff much better than if you just watch a course and walk away.

Even if you just sit down with your bestie and say “hey, let me share what I just learned from this course I watched,” you’ll have a higher level of learning. Articulating the concepts and ideas, and choosing what to share or not share, will help you critically analyze the content.

I dare you to try this. You’ll only increase your proficiency.

The End

You may know that Pluralsight Authors get compensated when you watch our courses. I want you to watch all of my courses, all day long :p I will get more money.

Actually, I’m a lot more interested in your learning and progression. If you only watch one of my courses, but it changes your life and career, I’m fulfilled. I want you to have more peace and happiness because you are taking career management seriously. Whether that means you improve your hard skills or your soft skills, it makes no difference to me. Everything you do will improve your career.

Being intentional, doing this on purpose, and getting something out of it, is all I can ask of you.

The first step is to get your Pluralsight account… here.