person using laptop for online learning

Coronavirus could be a good time to learn some new skills.

While we wait for pubs to reopen, and sports and theatres to start again, why not take the opportunity to do some extra learning?

Here we list some of the places you can find free online courses. You can study for half an hour, or do a course that runs for several weeks.

The Open University offers nearly 1,000 free courses.

You can pick a subject like business, maths, politics, language or sports. Many of them will give you a digital badge or statement, to show you’ve done the course.

It’s easiest to ignore the search bar at the top of the site – it covers the whole site, including paid courses and news stories. Instead, use the search bar within the ‘Free courses’ tabbed section. It will show results as a drop-down for each study area, so you may find it easier to zoom out on your screen to see the results.

person using laptopThe Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS) is focused on the construction industry.

You will need to register for a free account first. It isn’t quick – it will take you about five minutes to go through all the sign-up questions. (Please select ‘VGC Group’ as your company.)

The search function works best if you know the name of the course you want. Otherwise try going to ‘topics’, and then pick a topic that interests you. You may be interested in these elearning courses:

hand typing on laptop keyboard

FutureLearn online courses are free for a specific time.

If you learn best when you have a deadline, these might be good for you. Unlike the Open University and the SCSS, the courses are only available for free from the day you start until the end of the course, plus an extra two weeks. Depending on the course, there are video, audio and also articles to read, and you can ask questions for a tutor to answer.

There is a huge range of courses run by various universities, on nearly every subject you can think of, including construction and engineering. For example:

They encourage you to pay for upgrade – that will allow you to access the course for much longer, and will also give you a certificate when you complete the course.

The National Careers Service Skills Toolkit

The Department for Education has set up the skills toolkit, which has collated a list of free courses in maths and digital skills. The courses are listed under introductory, intermediate and advanced.

There is also a page of links to trainers who normally charge, but who have opened their courses for free during coronavirus.

Know any good learning resources that are not listed here?

If you have suggestions for other courses, please add them to the comments below.

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