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The Wonders of Free Online Learning

November 2020

Learning online, especially during our current climate, is a huge opportunity for growth and enjoyment. You can access education at a pace that suits you, in an environment that suits you. You can complete these courses from the comfort of your own home which can be done alongside work and can accommodate any busy schedule.

Image of a woman using her computer to access online learning

If you are between jobs, online learning also poses an excellent opportunity to keep your mind occupied while you search for work. It could also give you something to talk about in an interview!

Whatever your situation, there are plenty of options to take up new hobbies, learn new skills, diversify your career options or sharpen your knowledge in a given industry. With thousands of free online courses available at your fingertips, we have researched some excellent websites and training bodies that can offer you opportunities to learn and grow.

The majority of these sources are partnered with universities and professional training bodies, so you don’t need to worry about wasting your time on a course that isn’t well-developed or of a low quality.

Top 4 Websites for Online Learning:

1. OpenLearn

Offered by The Open University, you can choose an OpenLearn course from a range of 1,000+ subjects. These free courses are available immediately and do not have a start and end date. You can start right away or at a time that suits you.

You can also try out what’s on offer from The Open University. If you’re interested in taking an Open University course but are not sure what to study or if distance learning is right for you, then OpenLearn lets you get a feel for what’s on offer.

OpenLearn has 3 levels of study for courses:

2. Future Learn

Just like The Open University, Future Learn offer a variety of online short courses (the majority of which are free), micro-credentials, and online degrees.

FutureLearn partners with universities, specialist organisations and centres of excellence, who in turn offer online courses and degrees; so you know you are getting a good quality education.

Their top 3 areas are in Business and Management, Healthcare, and Teaching. However, they also run hundreds of courses in Creative Arts and Media, History, IT, Law, Language, Literature, Environment, and Politics and Sciences.

3. Reed

Reed’s courses are more business-focused, what with their company focusing on recruitment. Some courses are free, although many come at a cost. The more expensive ones are often targeted towards employers, so if you run a business and believe that you or your employees may benefit from a professional course, take a look on their website.

They offer professional online courses in Teaching, Health and Social Care, Construction, IT, Accounting and Finance, Engineering, HR, Marketing, Nursing, Project Management, and Sports and Fitness. 

4. Alison

Alison is one of the world’s largest free learning platforms for education and skills training, with over 2,000 courses available, all completely free to complete. It is a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to making it possible for anyone, to study anything, anywhere, at any time, for free online, at any subject level. 

Their courses are specifically good for finding courses for specific jobs and has an online tool to suggest the most relevant course for your industry. 

Their courses run in the following categories: Technology, Language, Science, Health, Humanities, Business, Math, Marketing and Lifestyle.

Here at Aston Shaw, a principal focus of ours is training and investing in people so that they can flourish in their business. That’s why we enjoy sharing resources that are accessible to all, and we hope that you find these resources useful!

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