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Self-improvement has been a continuous theme during this period of isolation.

As the population seeks ways to keep distracted while being housebound, self-improvement becomes a viable avenue to stay preoccupied and chase a sense of achievement. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn a new language or improve your hireable skillsets.

Maybe it’s time to come to grips with topics that make you curious, but you’ve never had the time to dig into. It could even be a simple, calming creative pursuit like music or painting. Whatever the medium of self-improvement, a growing number of free online courses have risen to meet every intellectual or pragmatic demand.

Harvard, for example, has a library of free online courses that span topics like epidemiology to religious studies. Udemy, Skillshare, Edx and other learning marketplaces have opened up complimentary courses on uncountable subjects that are transferable to the workplace, be it management, data science or app creation.

No matter your pursuit, we have rounded up a selection of free online courses to help you kickstart that quest.

This feature was first published at Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

1
Harvard University

One of the world’s most notable universities has opened up their digital course library to aid improvement during the lockdown. Over 180 courses are available, ranging from disciplines such as humanities to health and medicine. All can be filtered based on the level of difficulty, and have a commitment timeframe that lets you gauge how consuming the course will be. Not all courses are complimentary, so be sure to toggle the price to ‘free’ if you’d prefer that route.

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2
Skillshare

Skillshare is best known as an online learning site dedicated to expanding creative skills such as video editing, illustration, animation and its lot. If you’re looking to gain tangible essential skills on Adobe platforms, improve your photography skills on your iPhone, or learn watercolour painting, Skillshare is where you ought to register. Currently, the site is offering a two-month free trial for its premium tier membership with registration.

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3
Udemy

Udemy is designed to be a platform that arms the public with workplace-transferable skills. The learning marketplace has over 100,000 online courses, and have offered around 700 of those for free through the isolation window. Most are introductory level and can be taken from any device, at any pace you wish. One key thing about Udemy is that it also offers courses to equip individuals with skills like productivity, time management and communication, both in and out of the workplace, so if you struggle with those, this is a viable starting point.

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4
Nikon

Visual media is almighty right now, and if you want to graduate from basic iPhone photography to actually handling a camera, then Nikon has made its photography school free to access for all. Classes that cater to beginners are aplenty, and deep dive into topics like photographing pets, lighting 101, framing landscapes and more. For intermediate to advanced-level photographers, don’t write this off just yet. Nikon also caters to your needs with classes that deal with the use of specific tools in its range, groundwork on filming music videos and the like.

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5
Edx

Over 100 top universities across the world use Edx as a digital epicentre to host their online courses. With over 2,000 courses in Edx’s library to choose from, this is the platform for you to partake in courses you’ve never gotten a chance to, or to satisfy curiosities that you’ve never been able to address, from topics like political science, gender studies, science, and more.

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6
Coursera

Coursera is home to online educational resources from both universities and global companies such as Google, IBM and the like. The courses it offers are highly targeted to establishing or improving workplace skills, and for the isolation period, it has made a number of these free for all. If you enjoy Coursera and the learning avenues it offers, the website also has degrees (both at a bachelor and a master’s level) and verified courses for you to pay for, and receive certifications to add to your resume after.

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7
Fender

Unleash your inner Jimi Hendrix with Fender’s online school dedicated to picking up the guitar and other musical instruments on its catalogue. The music giant is offering 100,000 players free three-month access to its Play school, filled with step-by-step video courses on bettering your musical capabilities. Registration is still open via the link below.

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8
Rosetta Stone

We’ve covered apps dedicated to learning new languages, but one of most beloved websites for picking up a new tongue is Rosetta Stone. The guided platform is offering free courses to students who are keen to expand their linguistic purview or to enhance existing languages they are speaking. Parents can sign up for their children as well — consider this Rosetta Stone’s community service to keep them out of your hair.

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9
Future Learn

With the intention of making university-level education accessible to all, Future Learn has partnered with a selection of top institutions and universities across the United Kingdom to offer courses. Over 500 courses are available across disciplines, from the intellectual to the pragmatic, for free, and lessons are transferable across digital platforms, from your web browser to your phones.

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10
Creativebug

Keener on developing a new hobby or a craft? Then Creativebug is the stop for you to pursue that. Knitting, cooking, paper-cutting, scrapbooking — all of these are accessible on the platform for you to engage with, whether it is foundational or specific objects you’d like to create. The site is currently offering a two-month free trial to all its services, including its database of 1,000 classes.

Get started here