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Free Online Courses for Self-guided Study

Free online courses that you can do to upskill or simply learn something new.

We’re never too old or too busy to learn something new, especially when there are so many online courses that now allow you to learn anytime, anywhere. Best of all, many from reputable institutions are offered for free, so it’s easier than ever to take your career, cooking or creative skills to the next level. Here is our edit of the free online courses that are available now.

Kelly Sikkema
Kelly Sikkema

Free Online Courses: Creative

Life-changing Music with the University of Melbourne

This delightfully engaging free online course explores the six principles behind music’s influence on our health and wellbeing. Across fitness, relationships and academic achievement, you’ll learn how music can be used to enact positive change via our bodies and brains. The course provides video, audio and journal resources that you can access anytime as you progress through the four-week syllabus.

Creative Skills wth Skillshare

Online education platform Skillshare generally operates on a subscription basis, but they also offer a range of short courses you can access free of charge. Some of the fun, creative workshops available include watercolour painting, fine art photography, fashion drawing and cinematography 101 – all broken down into bite-sized chapters you can digest on a coffee break.

Kevin Mccutcheon
Kevin Mccutcheon

Free Online Courses: Food and Cooking

Food and Mood with Deakin University

Keep hearing about the gut microbiome but not quite sure what the fuss is about? Make food your superpower with this illuminating free online course that’ll teach you how to optimise your mental health through nutrition. The course first helps you understand the biological mechanisms connecting our stomachs and our brains before providing practical examples, skill development and strategies to keep your diet (and mood) tip top.

Ultimate Cookery with Gordon Ramsey

Steer clear of kitchen nightmares with Gordon Ramsey’s free cookery classes on Youtube. The Michelin-starred celeb chef (who we last saw guest judging on Masterchef Australia) takes you through, step-by-step, the preparation of delicious meals that please a crowd. The themes of this free online course include slow cooking, street food, using spices, better baking and cooking on a budget will have you levelling up your cheffing chops in no time.

Cooking with Maggie Beer 

The grand dame of Australian cooking, Maggie Beer, is now imparting her cooking wisdom not with a book or TV show, but via Instagram. Shot on the phone from her beautiful Barossa Valley home, Cooking with Maggie decodes classic, rustic dishes so that even a kitchen newbie can succeed. Driven by audience requests, the themes are simple, familiar and evergreen – think warm apple crumble, pumpkin-speckled goats cheese tarts and comforting chicken barley soup.

Green Chameleon
Green Chameleon

Free Online Courses: Languages

Duolingo

Plunge into that language you’ve always wanted to learn with Duolingo, this free online course is a fun app that takes a game-like approach to learning. Quick, bite-sized lessons will help you practise speaking, reading, listening and writing skills while building your vocabulary. The app makes it easy to track progress and is great if you’re keen on learning less common languages (Scottish Gaelic, anyone?)

Memrise 
Language app Memrise won’t subject you to boring vocab drills and 80s style recordings. Instead, they invite you to learn with real locals via fun video clips. You’ll follow them to bucket-list destinations as they teach you both the fundamentals and conversational banter, before backing up your new knowledge with quizzes and games.

Coursera
If you’re serious about learning a new language, check out some of the free online courses offered by Coursera, where syllabi packed with readings, videos and quizzes are delivered direct from tertiary institutions from around the world. That means you can study Chinese at Peking University, Korean at Yonsei University or French at École Polytechnique, all from the comfort of your own home.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Free Online Courses: Career

Professional Resilience with Deakin University 

This free online short course delivered by Deakin University will empower you with the resilience skills that are essential for thriving in stressful situations at work (and in life in general). In weekly classes, the university’s pro vice-chancellor of teaching will guide you through building resilient capabilities, values and self-care practices to use in everyday life. 

Digital Marketing with Google 

Who better to learn the fundamentals of digital marketing from than the behemoth itself. Whether you’re looking to grow your business or further your career, this extensive, 26-module course will help you gain your footing in the world of SEM and SEO, search campaigns, social media, email marketing, analytics, e-commerce and more. The Interactive Advertising Bureau-accredited course is packed with practical and real-world examples to help you turn knowledge into action. That is one hell of a free online course.

Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity from the University of California

Chronic procrastinator? Struggling to focus while working from home? We feel you. Supercharge your productivity with this four-week course on how to work smarter, not harder. Developed by the University of California Irvine, free online classes will teach you tools and techniques to use in goal setting, prioritisation, scheduling, delegation and the art of saying ‘no’, so you can manage your time effectively avoid crises in the making.

Loved our round-up of free online courses and still hungry for more knowledge? Strap yourself in for illuminating documentaries  listen to thought-provoking podcasts or devour the cookbooks we trust to steer us to dinner party greatness.