This is a post that will summarize the best online courses to take if you want to learn statistics. There’s really no need to take all of them but they’re graded in terms of difficulty and I think that it’s wise to take a course from each block if you’re just starting out. If you’ve had a couple of runs at this already you can just pick up where you left off.
What is statistics you ask?
The definition is:
” The practice or science of collecting and analysing numerical data in large quantities, especially for the purpose of inferring proportions in a whole from those in a representative sample. “
“No… I mean really.”
Ah! Consider these quotes:
“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
― Mark Twain
Or how about
“Statistics do not convey emotion. They shock us for a minute or two, and then we click again.” ―Madeleine M. Kunin
Imagine yourself going to your favorite website for daily news. There you see a headline from yesterday’s survey the newspaper did: “80% of the population want lower taxes”. You consider the headline and think to yourself: “Wait, that means I am in the 20% that does not want lower taxes…” After closer consideration you realize that the newspaper who did the survey has a majority of right-wing readers. The headline should really be: 80% of all our readers, who are right-wing oriented, wants to see lower taxes” – But that’s not sensational or engage readers.
A childish example perhaps, but the point is: Statistics can be bent to your will if you know how to manipulate it and if you study the field of statistics you will be more likely to 1) criticize the source of what you read and 2) be able to construct fair and real case statistics that will actually help your case. But maybe most importantly: You will be able to READ statistics and understand how to use it to your advantage, whether it’s in your business or at work.
Why do you need to know statistics to get savvy online?
There are a couple of reasons that I see as why statistics is important for anyone who wants to upgrade their online game:
- You can read statistics and
- You will be able to calculate and understand concepts
- You can develop your own data tables, visualize data to some extent and derive conclusions based on hypotheses you’ve setup.
- Understanding analytics data from sources like Google Analytics, Google Ads, news sites, etc. will be a lot easier.
- See patterns, and be able to call out pitfalls you may otherwise encounter
- Make better decision based on correct data, and use concepts of statistics to verify if the data set you’re using is indeed correct
Top 10 courses to learn Statistics
It’s important to understand statistics because what you do online will inevitably have a quantitative element to it at some point or another. Important topics are statistical significance, confidence intervals, mean/median and other averages, distribution, regression, correlation and causality, quality of selection and how to use a couple of the models as well as how to plot and read large data sets.
If you’re new to statistics, this is where I recommend you to start. It’s pretty quick to get up to speed. If you’re not that into stats overall, you can just take a basic course and your knowledge will be enough to at least understand and work with the basic concepts.
Don’t be afraid to move ahead in a fast pace, these courses are a bit more intermediate but will still be easily understood by anyone with the basic understanding.
Advanced (or more Intermediate)
If you want to, statistics can become really advanced and tangent the fields of pure math. But it’s also when you get a bit more advanced that you can start to niche down within the field itself. So data visualization becomes a niche and programming is available to speed up your workflow or create more complex calculations.
Self-learning around the web for the curious
If you just want to dip your toes into the subject or would like to look up certain topics, you can go to any of these places to learn more about it at your own pace and order.
This is a place where you can get knowledge on a variety of topics. If you just want to beef up your statistical know-how, this is a great site to pay a visit.
I found this document online and it was quite useful for looking up stuff and statistical topics.
statisticsfun channel was started to help student pass statistics classes. Channel includes video lessons on regression, z scores, t statistics, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Chi Square, SPSS, Excel and most topics taught in statistics. The channel’s goal is to use 21st century tools to deliver education and learning for statistics.
Jeremy Balka’s statistics channel, contains some introductory statistics videos. These are concise and uses real data in vast majority of cases. Jeremy claims that these videos are not replacements to lectures.
So that’s about it for learning statistics. Now, don’t get in over your head and take on all courses at the same time, or even all courses at all! You might need 1 beginner course and to look at a handful of YouTube videos to really grasp the foundation of statistics. After that, the topic get’s narrow and will teach you things you might not need if your goal is to just be a knowledgeable about statistics or looking to keep up with a conversation and the like.