Looking for a CV boost? Or to dip your toe into a new venture? Short courses are the perfect solution – but going to your local University or college tends to be costly and time consuming.

    Below if my roundup of the 5 best places to find valuable online courses, all of which cost absolutely nothing!


    OpenLearn is part of the OpenUniversity, however unlike the OpenUniversity, everything on OpenLearn is 100% free. Courses vary from introductory, intermediate and advanced and you can download the course material as an e-book for easy learning. On completion of the courses you can gain a statement of participation.

    BEST FOR: Health, Sciences, Education, History, Politics, Languages.

    COURSE LENGTHS: Varying from 1 hour, to 80+


    Futurelearn offers loads of short courses which are offered for free by Universities, mostly in the UK. They easily identify how many hours a week you’ll need to spend on the course and cover a huge range of subjects. Courses run on a specific date, so you’l be learning the content with online peers and have ongoing tutor support if needed.

    BEST FOR: Everything

    COURSE LENGTHS: Around 2-8 weeks, with around 1-4 hours per week spent on course.


    edX is similar to Futurelearn in that the courses offered are delivered by Universities, however the courses are offered from primarily American Universities. Originally developed by Harvard and MIT, there are some serious academic players offering courses through edX. Again, the courses are based on a so-many-hours-a-week basis, with course lengths varying in length and intensity.

    BEST FOR: Everything

    COURSE LENGTHS: Mostly 2 – 4 months, 4-12 hrs a week


    ALISON offer an enormous range of free courses offered by various publishers. The courses are, generally, quite short and run over a few hours each. On completion of an assessment you have the option to purchase a certificate for your studies.

    BEST FOR: Everything

    COURSE LENGTHS: Between approx 1- 10 hours


    Coursera operates similarly to edX, with courses being offered by mostly American Universities. You can carry out the study element for free, but similarly to other website in order to obtain certification you need to pay a fee.

    BEST FOR: Business, sciences, math, languages.Β 

    COURSE LENGTHS:Β Average 3-5 hours a week, 2-8 weeks.Β 

    If you have any other suggestions for free, or affordable, courses – please let us know below!


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