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12 Free online courses for adults to learn new skills

We’ve selected 10 free online courses for adults that can help you grow professionally and, at the same time, improve the quality of your personal life. Some of the learning courses and topics covered include developing true influence with the people around you, demonstrating a positive attitude, overcoming anxiety and depression, and more. Explore each course in detail below.

edapp free online courses for adults - true influence
Free Online Course for Adults #1

True Influence - Developing Enduring Impact by EdApp

Living in a more connected and complex world, more organizations are now embracing a diverse workforce for them to continue thriving. With EdApp's True Influence - Developing Enduring Impact microlearning course, you'll discover how to collaborate effectively with a diverse team and truly influence them to go above and beyond their limits. This course introduces the concept of true influence, as well as the criteria that characterize this trait. It will also explore the 5Cs of True Influence—Credibility, Connections, Concern, Creativity, and Constructiveness—which are essential for having successful, long-lasting relationships and driving ethical influences on people from different cultures. 

For this course, expect a total of six lessons, structured into micro modules so that they’re easier to comprehend. Perfect for every busy individual, completing this course will only take a few minutes, not hours or days. 

Cost: Free 

Scope: The concept of True Influence, the 5C’s of True Influence and how to develop them

Created by: EdApp

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edapp free online courses for adults - helping others develop
Free Online Course for Adults #2

Helping Others to Develop by EdApp

As an active team player, it’s not enough to simply improve your own skills and talents to do well in your team. Helping your colleagues to also grow and expand their capabilities can help set the entire organization for greater, long-term success, rather than simply focusing on your own improvement. EdApp’s Helping Others to Develop course highlights the what’s, why’s, and how’s of helping other people, and how you can motivate them to become stronger and more passionate members of your team. This course will guide you on how to give developmental feedback and feedforward using the S.T.A.R.S technique—Situation/Time, Action, Result, and Suggestions. It will also introduce you to the 4D model, or the four steps of leading a creative and inspiring conversation. 

This free online course for adults is self-paced and can be taken anytime and anywhere using your laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

Cost: Free 

Scope: How to help others to develop, giving developmental feedback and feedwork, S.T.A.R.S technique, the 4D model for developmental conversation 

Created by: EdApp

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coursera free online courses for adults - work smarter not harder
Free Online Course for Adults #3 

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity by Coursera

This free online course for adults is designed by University of California, Irvine, and deployed through Coursera. It explores the various hindrances to effective time management and how to overcome them through proper time and work planning, prioritizing tasks, and mapping progress. It also discusses and debunks the myth of multitasking through an easy-to-understand example of how assembly lines work vs. the old way of assembling products. It also tackles how time tracking can help in maintaining a work/life balance. This course takes some time to complete which is around 10 hours and you’ll need the paid subscription to earn a certificate.

Cost: Free

Created by: Coursera

Scope: Time planning, hindrances to effective time management, time and work planning, prioritizing tasks, mapping progress, the myths of multitasking, time tracking

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edx free online courses for adults - the science of happiness
Free Online Course for Adults #4

The Science of Happiness by edX

As one of the groundbreaking online classes for adults, The Science of Happiness shares the secrets on how to lead a fulfilling life. In this engaging online class, you'll dive into the latest and most practical insights from positive psychology, discovering how cutting-edge research can transform your own life. This course focuses on a pivotal discovery: happiness thrives when you build strong connections with others and contribute to a greater purpose—the greater good. You'll explore the wealth of research that backs this idea, drawing from psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and more.

Cost: Free

Created by: edX

Scope: What is happiness, how to increase your happiness, why social connections are key to happiness, how mindfulness can help you be happy

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harvard free online courses for adults - cs50 introduction to computer science
Free Online Course for Adults #5

CS50: Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University

This course serves as a gateway to the world of computer science and the art of programming, brought to you by Harvard University. Whether you're a computer science enthusiast or a complete beginner, this course will suit any level of experience. What sets this one apart from other online courses for adults is that it will empower you to tackle problems efficiently with real-world examples from various fields of study. You'll also dive into a wide range of computer science topics while working with languages like C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, as well as CSS and HTML.

Cost: Free

Created by: Harvard University

Scope: Computer science concepts, problem-solving, programming languages

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edapp free online courses for adults - how to demonstrate a can do attitude
Free Online Course for Adults #6

How to Demonstrate a 'Can Do' Attitude by EdApp

Maintaining a can-do attitude at work will not only help you perform better on your job, but it will also motivate everyone on your team to take on any complicated scenario with passion and enthusiasm. In this EdApp course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the 'Can Do' attitude, alongside life lessons and practices to live by to keep your thoughts and spirits positive all the time. As you go through the course, you will also learn how to approach complex and ambiguous problems, and overcome frustrations before they affect your emotions and decisions. This mini training was designed with a lot of engaging elements such as gifs, animations, and short clips that will help you further understand the key concepts of the can-do attitude. It also contains gamified quizzes between lessons to improve your learning retention. 

Cost: Free 

Scope: Introduction to ‘Can Do’ Attitude, tackling ambiguous problems, diffusing frustration, positive can-do practices

Created by: EdApp

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futurelearn free online courses for adults - integrating care
Free Online Course for Adults #7

Integrating Care: Depression, Anxiety and Physical Illness by FutureLearn

This FutureLearn course explores the relationship between depression, anxiety, and physical illness, and why having an in-depth understanding of this connection matters in your everyday life. Here, you’ll learn more about the key risk factors, signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety, and where you can find the right help to manage and overcome them before they lead to suicide risk. It also explores different self-care techniques, treatment options like talking therapies and medication, and sources of support for depression and anxiety. 

The lessons in this course are split into weeks of lectures and activities, which you can take as quickly or slowly as you like. 

Cost: Free for only 5 weeks; upgrade to $89 USD for unlimited access

Scope: Connection between depression, anxiety, and physical illness and their impact to the quality of life, key risk factors, signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety, treatment options, self-care techniques and support

Created by: FutureLearn

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alison free online courses for adults - practical stress management for life and work
Free Online Course for Adults #8

Practical Stress Management for Life & Work by Alison

Alison’s course on Practical Stress Management for Life & Work is focused on helping adults manage stress positively, both in personal and professional settings. In this course, you’ll find an introductory discussion about stress, including its symptoms and causes, and how it affects your daily performance and lifestyle. It also lists down a wide range of practical stress management tips and strategies, which you can adopt to effectively reduce and manage your personal and work stress.

This course wraps up with a course assessment to check your learning progress. Once you’ve passed the test, you may opt for a paid certificate, which you can include in your CV or job applications.

Cost: Free

Scope: Introduction to stress, symptoms and causes of stress, practical stress management tips and strategies

Created by: Alison

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edapp free online courses for adults - stepping into team leadership
Free Online Course for Adults #9

Stepping into Team Leadership by EdApp

Stepping into Team Leadership by EdApp aims to help improve the skills and confidence of adults aspiring to become team leaders or managers. As one of the free online courses for adults, it illustrates the expectations of a team leader to prepare them for the role. It then demonstrates the relevance of scoping work and setting expectations. It also includes best practices on team time management and communication with teams. By stepping into a new role with the right knowledge, you’re able to successfully perform your role as a driving force among your team and inspire them as a leader.

Cost: Free

Scope: Expectations of a team leader, scoping work and setting expectations, team time management, communication with teams

Created by: EdApp

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skillshare free online courses for adults - productivity masterclass
Free Online Course for Adults #10

Productivity Masterclass - Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity by SkillShare

If you’re aiming to boost your personal and professional productivity and enhance the way you manage your everyday life, then you’re at the right place. This SkillShare course touches on the productivity equation and how you can optimize and apply them into practice. It will also walk you through the common myths and issues hindering productivity, and the key laws that you can usefully adapt, so you can work towards living a happier, healthier life. This course comes with a series of pre-recorded video learning lessons that last over an hour. At the end of each video clip, there will be quick activities and practices that will help you further understand the fundamental concepts of productivity.

Cost: Free for only 7 days

Scope: The productivity equation, myths and laws surrounding productivity

Created by: SkillShare

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highbrow free online courses for adults - how to create a productivity system
Free Online Course for Adults #11

How To Create A Productivity System by Highbrow

Highbrow's How To Create A Productivity System course is also a great resource for better time management and getting more done with less stress. In this course, you will learn how to create a productivity system, like setting your goals, arranging and organizing tasks, prioritizing work, and planning your time to combat procrastination. This course will also guide you step-by-step on using different tools and apps to help you manage your time more efficiently and effectively. 

Not your usual online course, Highbrow’s lessons will be sent to your inbox one by one, every morning for 10 days. Each course is also followed by fun quizzes, which will only take at least 5 minutes to complete.

Cost: Free for only 30 days

Scope: Productivity system, goal setting, setting up and organizing tasks, prioritizing work, planning your time, tools and apps for better productivity

Created by: Highbrow

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edapp free online courses for adults - the ultimate guide to personal productivity
Free Online Course for Adults #12

The Ultimate Guide to Personal Productivity by EdApp

We all aspire to become the best version of ourselves so we can work towards our goals and accomplish even more. But where do we begin? This free online course for adults by EdApp teaches us that productivity starts by recognizing our personal work style and habits and using them to our advantage. This interactive course also puts importance in developing your time management skills and paying attention to detail, which helps you identify the techniques you should use to help get more things done. 

This free course contains 3 lessons and uses a microlearning design model that ensures learner engagement so it’s guaranteed to be easy to follow and finish. 

Cost: Free

Scope: Personal work productivity, style and habits and how to use them to your advantage

Created by: EdApp

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Taking free online classes as an adult comes with so many benefits. These courses offer a flexible and accessible way to acquire new skills and knowledge, allowing you to balance learning with your work and family commitments.

They often cover a wide range of subjects that let you explore personal interests or boost your career without the financial burden of traditional education. Also, online classes foster self-discipline and time management, which are crucial skills in today's fast-paced world.

They even give you a chance to connect with a global community of learners, sharing experiences and insights. Ultimately, free online classes will empower you to continue your lifelong learning journey, enhancing personal growth and professional development.

What are the best sites to find free online courses for adults?

Several fantastic websites offer a treasure trove of free classes online for adults. EdApp has over 1,000 courses dedicated to developing skills and knowledge for work and daily living. Coursera offers courses from top universities and institutions worldwide, while edX provides access to a wide array of subjects. If you’re interested in lifelong learning to enhance your personal and professional life, these platforms are great places to start. They can guide your journey to acquiring new skills and knowledge without breaking the bank.

What skills can adults learn for free online?

Adults can learn a wide range of skills for free online, from the comfort of their homes. You can dive into subjects like coding and programming languages such as Python and JavaScript, develop digital marketing expertise, or master graphic design. If you're interested in improving your language skills, websites like Duolingo offer courses in multiple languages.

You can also explore subjects like data analysis, financial literacy, cooking, and even mindfulness and meditation techniques. Whether you're looking to boost your career or simply pursue a personal passion, the internet offers a wealth of free resources to help you acquire valuable skills.

Grow personally and professionally with free online courses for adults

Gone are the days when people had to visit the library to access knowledge or pay for face-to-face seminars to learn a new skill. Thanks to the advancement of technology, learning is now at your fingertips. The best part? Hundreds of powerful platforms are even offering free online courses for adults, helping anyone who wants to nurture their capabilities and grow personally and professionally, without the need to pay for a college or workshop fee. In this article, we’ve chosen 10 free online courses that we believe can further improve your life and work skills, and help you reach your full potential. Whether you want to advance or start a new career, or simply better yourself for your personal fulfillment, these courses can lend you a helping hand in the most meaningful way. 

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