I would also highly encourage you to consider this site too, the platform discussions. This is where the learning really gets accelerated - you can pose a question here and normally get an answer within an hour. Sometimes 3 or 4 answers. And the answers are detailed.
Lastly, I would recommend having @DavidSmith Planual by your side. He summarizes all the best practices in this manual.
Yes, @boconnell can sign up with a personal email or work email. There does not need to be any relationship to a partner.
I would highly recommend, however, that @boconnell sign up with the email ID that will be used when doing any modeling.
Anaplan training and involvement is measured - which is a good thing so you get credit. While it's possible for Anaplan to join multiple email IDs together, it's a lot easier if you just use one.
To do the training @boconnell will need a tenant to work in, especially the certifications, because they require you to build real models. In that case, @boconnell will need to be associated with a customer or partner that has a tenant.
One last point. The training is 100% transparent and thorough - Anaplan makes it so easy to learn. And best of all is the Community Site (where this question was posed). You will get an answer within hours, usually more than one.