Free Course Providers
The number of free online course providers continues to grow rapidly as more students move towards this flexible type of learning. The companies listed below offer a substantial choice of courses to a significant number of students.
Alison (Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online)
Based in the republic of Ireland, Alison offers over 750 free online courses to eight million students from 250 different countries. Courses are not accredited to the Education framework but include English, Business, Languages, Health and Safety, Nursing, Photography, IT, Management, Hospitality and many more. Most ‘Certificate’ courses can be completed within two hours whilst the ‘Diploma’ courses should take around 12 hours. In order to qualify for a certificate, you must complete the course modules and score at least 80% in the assessments. There may be a nominal cost to download your completion certificate.
OpenLearn (Open University)
The Open University’s OpenLearn project was launched in 2010 following the merger of LearningSpace and Open2.net. It offers in excess of 800 free courses in a wide range of different subjects with various courses lengths. Many courses are an introduction to a longer Open University course. The courses are graded to show the difficulty (introductory, intermediate, advanced and masters). None of the free courses offer a qualification but you can earn a digital badge to show you have completed the course.
With over five million students and hundreds of different courses, FutureLearn teamed up with a number of universities and training partners to offer free online courses since 2013. New free courses start each week with most requiring two hours per week study time. Successful completion of some courses may count towards CPD (continuous professional development) requirements or as part of coursework for an accredited qualification.
Open2Study offers a choice of 48 free courses. Each course consists of four modules with each module taking one week to complete. At the end of each module you can take an assessment. Providing you score an average of 60% or higher over the four assessments, you will qualify for a Certificate of Achievement. There is also the option to take paid for accredited courses.
Vison2learn.net offers a range of accredited level 1 and level 2 courses which are funded by the Government’s Skills Funding Agency (SFA). To qualify for a free place on most courses, you need to be aged 19 or over, a resident of England or a UK or European Union resident for at least three years. Non EU nationals must have proof of settled status in the UK. Those who are not eligible have the option to pay for their course.
The BBC online adult learning section has been archived but most courses are still available. There are a wide range of short courses including English, Maths, languages and general interest subjects.