WITH lots of new-found free time on our hands, there’s never been a better time to learn a new skill or start an online course than now.

As Britain settles into its fourth week in lockdown, many people have been furloughed or are working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To help you enjoy your spare time a little more, we’ve rounded up the best free online courses available.

They include:

Future Learn 

For bright and engaging, hands-on courses Future Learn is perfect. Courses are designed with universities across the globe including King’s College London, University of Oslo and Monash University.

The company has more than 400 free short courses for you to get your teeth into including: flight mechanics, understanding ADHD, football: more than a game and sustainable development.

Unlike other sites available, Future Learn is more structured with information from your course becoming available week on week. For example, a three week course would include four hours of material each week. Be sure to check that the course you enter is free when you click the ‘read more’ button.

Open University: Open Learn

With more than 1,000 courses to choose from Open Learn by the Open University has something for everyone.

Topics include history, art, politics, languages and the environment to name a few.

Some courses include Open University material whilst others are written specifically for Open Learn. However, like most free courses the certification awarded carries no formal credit towards a qualification.

Open Learn have three levels to choose from - introductory, intermediate and advanced - allowing you to learn at your own pace.


Alison offers a variety of free course types including certificate, diploma and learning path courses each designed to help inspire you through a new hobby or career path.

They offer 14 different course types from languages, IT and business to software engineering, skilled trades and marketing. Courses start at about two hours long.

With each completed course Alison awards a certificate of completion however they are not externally accredited so are not widely recognised through academia.

Oxford Home Study Centre

The Oxford Home Study Centre offers a wide range of free online courses.

These courses are suited to individuals who aim to gain a deeper and wider knowledge of a topic with many course durations starting at 20 hours.

There are more than 40 courses to choose from including life coaching, fashion design and interior design.


The jobs and recruitment firm Reed have more than 40 courses to help people get into the job market.

Many of the courses last a few weeks with some including a free exam at the end of the course, such as Essential IT Level 2.

Courses include: bookkeeping, administration, HR fundamentals, understanding autism and many more.