Six of the best free online training courses

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Six of the best free online training courses

Want to learn how to program or improve your writing? We reveal the best free Udemy courses for these skills and more.

For those not familiar with Udemy, it’s a huge online platform which allows you to learn a vast array of skills online – from the fundamentals of business or coding, to things like personal development and parenting tips.

The site’s main attraction, however, is the professional development it offers to people who want to improve their various skillsets. There’s also Udemy for Business for employers looking to introduce a training program for employees .

Founded in 2010, Udemy now boasts 55,000 courses. The site is known for holding flash sales to attract new users, with many best-selling courses dropping from around $200 to $15 or so. 

There are also plenty of free courses – some of which have been rated highly by users. Here are our picks of the best free courses for learning to program, using Photoshop, creating a successful YouTube channel, improving your writing and more.

Learn programming

Python is regularly cited by employers as one of the most useful programming languages – it’s used for a wide range of applications and web frameworks – but it’s notoriously difficult to navigate without a seasoned guide.

That’s where Learn Python, it’s CAKE (Beginners) steps in. While this course’s branding isn’t the most ostensibly professional, it’s got higher than a four-star rating, with nearly 2,000 individuals offering feedback on the program. Comprising 42 lectures and lasting seven hours in total, it’s a fantastic all-encompassing introduction to coding Python.

How to create a Wordpress site

Another staple skill for many businesses is a knowledge of websites: from creation to design to management. Wordpress, which you will likely have heard of – it’s everywhere – is a free, open-source content management system (CMS). But to a total newbie, it can prove quite daunting. Anyone who’s attempted to launch a blog will be familiar with these pitfalls.

How to Create a Wordpress Website 2017 instructs watchers on how to create a Wordpress website from scratch and maintain it, in addition to mastering Divi, the world’s top-selling Wordpress theme. No requirement is necessary, you receive a certificate of achievement, and there are eight articles and three and a half hours of video to dive into. There’s never been a better reason to get your blog off the ground.

Photoshop for beginners

Knowing your way around Photoshop isn’t just an excellent asset to have in the workplace. It can be used for creating memes, honing selfies and so on.

Photoshop for Web Design Beginners is a great way to get started with the application. The benefit of this course is that it’s not going to eat away at all your time; coming in at two hours, with mobile and TV viewing capacity. That’s not to say it’s not comprehensive, covering all the major cornerstones of Photoshop, from mastering the software’s host of brushes, to the core business of layering and groups, to the notoriously frustrating text insertion. With more than 85,000 students already enrolled, its popularity speaks volumes.

Improve your writing

Billed as a “short and sweet” jump start for novices and those suffering from writer’s block, On Writing is on the shorter side, offering 35 minutes of on-demand video. The course teaches valuable trade lessons, like the importance of knowing the “why” behind your writing, and why all writing is advertising.

Prerequisites for users include being up to speed on the latest digital tools for writers, although this, the blurb stipulates, can be done by Googling “top online tools for writers”. It promises neither “complex theories” nor “long-winded concepts”, but rather “big ideas and tools that make it easy for you to start writing right after you finish”. If you’re looking to imbue your writing with a fresh dose of inspiration, as well as galvanise your own personal motivation to write, this course is the one for you.

Create a successful YouTube channel

The YouTube community is burgeoning right now, with video production and vlogging quickly becoming viable career options. If you’re mulling over taking the plunge but don’t know where to start, YouTube 101: Keys to a Successful Channel is an excellent option. All you’ll need is a computer, an internet connection, and a YouTube account.

The course is run by Andy Slye, whose YouTube strategies garnered him more than one million views in 2014 alone. It comprises an hour and a half of on-demand video and aims to impart information including the best video equipment for any budget, the best software for creating videos (from beginners to experts), optimisation tips and tricks, and bolstering views on YouTube.

Enrol to learn how to maximise your influence on the world’s biggest video sharing platform, not to mention its second largest search engine. Whether you’re a newbie, a current YouTuber, or a small business owner looking to expand marketing outlets, YouTube mastery is a fantastic suite of skills to be in possession of.

Achieve your dreams

We’ve saved this one for last, as it’ll no doubt elicit some dubious reactions, but if you think this is just a load of mawkish nonsense, over 18,000 students have enrolled in A Mini Course on Achieving Your Dreams, which has earned a four-star rating upon judgement from over 1,200 students.

Created by Brandon Hakim, the course provides users with 42 minutes of video, consisting of eight lectures on “achieving your dreams”, drawing on principles from “some of the world’s smartest people”.

Nuggets of wisdom include the difference between a purpose and a goal, harnessing “dark emotions” and turning them into a drive for improvement, and making goal attainment an automatic process.

You may have reservations about this one, and its array of personal development counterparts – “isn’t this just the internet spouting truisms?” – but it’s a hugely popular course with a devout and effusive following. Plus you have to remember, it’s free, which is a small (read: non-existent) price to pay for, ahem, achieving your dreams.

This feature is based on an article originally appeared at

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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