16 interesting online courses

There’s no question that the past year has been isolating and frustrating, but one of the positive aspects of spending so much time at home is that it has given us more opportunities to pursue self-development. Many of us have picked up new skills  and hobbies – but what about if you’re interested in delving deeper into a specific topic?

The good news is that whether you’re into counselling or computer science, there are a whole range of courses you can do from home. 

So whether you’re looking to work towards a career change, or you just want to develop your expertise and knowledge, here are 16 courses you can do online.

1. Diet & Nutrition

If you love food and are passionate about improving your health, then why not think about a nutrition course? What we eat and drink affects everything from our physical health and mood to our energy levels and appearance – and this Diet and Nutrition Management Course from the International Open Academy, will teach you how to eat your way to health and vitality. You’ll learn about which foods you should try to remove from your diet, how much omega 3 you really need, which foods improve your skin and hair, whether you should take supplements, and which meals are best to eat in the morning.

Whether you decide to use what you learn to make a career change or just want to live a healthier, happier life, this course will allow you to make positive informed choices about what you put into your body. 

To learn more about nutrition, you may also want to visit the healthy body section of our website.

2. Animal studies

Have you ever wondered whether your pet experiences emotions in the same way you do, or thought about the extent to which animals are able to solve complex problems? If the answer’s yes, this fascinating OpenLearn Living Psychology: Animal Minds course is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of animals.

During this free course you’ll learn how evolutionary theory applies to animal minds, what scientific studies tell us about animal sentience, how animals are able to problem solve, and how studying animal minds can teach us more about human psychology.

Whether you’re thinking of working with animals or would just like to understand your dog or cat better, this free course gives you a deep insight into the workings of both animal and human minds. To learn about volunteering with animals, you might want to have a read of our article on the topic, or alternatively check out our article, 12 interesting roles working with animals.

3. Photography

Over the past decade, the photography industry has seen enormous change, and these days millions of people are taking professional-looking photos using only their mobile phones. If you’d like to learn how to take beautiful and powerful photos on your phone, this International Open Academy Mobile Photography course could be for you.

You’ll learn about the different apps that revolutionize the photography experience, which skills help you get that perfect shot, how you can edit your photos to achieve certain effects, and which accessories can optimise your photography.

This is a great course that will show you how to take artistic and stylish photos using only your mobile phone. For more information on how to use your phone for photography, you might want to have a read of our article on the subject.

4. Beekeeping

If you’ve always wanted to take up beekeeping or think it might make an enjoyable side business, this Udemy Beekeeping for Beginners Course is a great way to learn the ropes – and because beekeeping work starts in the spring, now’s the perfect time to get started!

During this course, you’ll learn everything you need to get going as a beekeeper, including the history of beekeeping, the benefits of bees, types of honey bees, how to obtain your bees, the types of hives, setting up your hives, and what to expect in the first 12 months – as well as how to harvest your honey and beeswax, of course.

Using multiple learning formats, from PowerPoint presentations to video demonstrations, this is a fun and adaptable course, and by the time you finish, you’ll be ready to begin your own exciting beekeeping adventure.

Our introductory guide to beekeeping will explain more about beekeeping and what it entails.

5. Card Making

If you’re a creative person and enjoy giving people personal handmade cards, why not take your skills to the next level and try this IOA Creative Card Making for All Occasions course? Making your own cards isn’t only a great way to celebrate someone’s individuality and show someone that you care – it’s also an enjoyable and relaxing hobby that allows you to unleash your creative streak.

During this fun course you’ll learn about all the basic card making tools, how you can jazz up cards by using stamps, which inks create different effects, and how you can use die cutting machines to create striking effects like 3D images or shadows. After each video module you’ll get stuck into your own project, and by the end of the course you’ll have made a range of beautiful cards that you can send out to family and friends to brighten up their day.

For more card making inspiration and ideas, check out our beginner’s guide here.

6. Counselling

Whether connecting with people has always come naturally to you or you’re simply a good listener, getting involved with counselling is enormously rewarding. While counselling is beneficial for both adults and children, counselling children often uses different approaches and strategies, and this New Skills Academy Introduction to Child Counselling course focuses on the specifics of working with children.

You’ll learn about the different challenges children face, how counselling can help, and which tools and strategies are best to help children handle their emotions. The course also covers how to spot the signs that a child may benefit from counselling, what the goals of counselling are, and some of the most common terms.

If you’re more interested in counselling adults, the New Skills Academy Counselling Certificate is a great place to start. You’ll learn about the different issues that counselling can help solve, counselling for depression, and how talking therapy works. Whether you’re interested in pursuing counselling as a career or want to use what you learn to help people in your own life, this course will teach you the basics.

7. Floristry

If you’ve always loved flowers, the New Skills Academy Floristry Academy Diploma Course is a great way to take your interest to the next level – and while opening a flower shop probably isn’t something you’ll do during the current climate, it can lead to exciting job opportunities in the future. With 21 information packed modules, this online course teaches you everything you need to know to kick start your floristry career – from flower biology and how to maintain plants to making floral arrangements.

As well as the course modules, you’ll also be sent nine videos packed with useful step-by-step instructions. This 15-hour course is available on any device, whether that’s your laptop, iPad, or phone, so you can study anytime and anyplace – and once you’ve passed the multiple choice test, you’ll receive a certificate which will open up many doors within the floristry industry. For more information, you might want to have a read of our article on becoming a florist.

8. Caring for the Elderly

The past year has highlighted just how valuable our healthcare workers are – and the extent to which they help the most vulnerable members of society. If you’re interested in helping out, learning how to care for the elderly is enormously rewarding – and whether you want to use what you learn to volunteer or to care for elderly relatives, you’ll be making a big difference either way.

The New Skills Academy Caring for the Elderly Certificate focuses on how to meet older people’s personal and social needs, including helping with health care and daily activities, helping elderly people adapt to changes in their life, and helping with their emotional wellbeing.

During this course, you’ll learn about living arrangements for the elderly, which daily activities can improve health and happiness, and the different financial care possibilities. You’ll also learn about the best resources and support groups. To find out more, you may want to check out our articles on volunteering to help the elderly and how to care for elderly relatives.

9. Growing Food

Over the past year, many people have developed a keen interest in gardening and growing their own food – but if you’ve always thought your space was too small to grow your own fruit and veg, this IOA Growing Food in Small Gardens course will show you otherwise!

Growing your own food won’t only save you money; it’s also sustainable and a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, cooking something you’ve grown yourself is incredibly rewarding.

Whether you have a tiny garden, a balcony or a window box, this course will show you how to choose the best fruit and veg to suit your small space, how to use each space productively, how to plant to ensure a successful harvest, how to prepare soil, and which containers you should use for different plants. By the end of the course you’ll be able to begin your delicious gardening journey and start growing your own food.

You might also want to have a read of our article, 8 superfoods that you can grow from home.

10. Digital Marketing

Digital skills are one of the most valuable skills to have on your CV these days, and digital marketing encompasses a wide range of skills like search engine marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing. Whether you’re starting your own business, want to give your job applications a boost, or would just like to benefit from understanding the marketing world more, this Future Learn Getting Started with Digital Marketing course will teach you everything you need to know.

Using video presentations and practical learning activities, you’ll learn about the purpose of content marketing, how to connect with customers, what the different inbound and outbound marketing channels are, and the role that Google Analytics plays in driving data-led decisions. You can learn at your own pace, and by the end of the course will be able to execute your own digital marketing strategy.

11. Childcare

If you love spending time with children and want to turn something you enjoy into a new career opportunity, you might want to think about the CPD Childcare course bundle. To work in childcare you need to have Ofsted-approved CPD – but this package ensures you don’t have to worry about a thing, as all the requirements are covered.

Completion of this course approves you to work with children, and is especially popular with day nurseries. During this downloadable 12-month course you’ll gain access to 35 different courses including food hygiene, safeguarding and mental health, and understanding issues like anxiety, bullying and phobias. Once you’ve passed the online multiple choice assessment (which you can attempt as many times as you like), you’ll be able to access a much wider range of childcare courses and open up more doors within the childcare industry.

12. Music

If you love music, you’re probably already well aware of how powerful it is, and how it can be used to stir up certain feelings and emotions. So why not take this awareness to the next level and learn how to improve your own wellbeing using only the power of music? This edX Music for Wellness course will teach you techniques to enrich your mind, body, and spirit through music – and the good news is that you don’t need to have any musical talent to participate in the course…only a passion for music.

Developed by a music-therapist, this course will show you how to unlock your creativity, how to appreciate music in a new way, and how to practice coping techniques that are supported by music. By the end of the course you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned when you’re feeling low or stressed out, and understand how music can significantly boost your health and happiness.

You might also want to check out our article, How to get involved with music from home.

13. Decluttering

Decluttering your home is a great way to clear your mind, feel more organised and stay productive – but it doesn’t come naturally to all of us. If you feel overwhelmed by how much clutter is in your home and would like to learn how to live more minimally, this IOA Decluttering Your Home Masterclass will teach you everything you need to know.

During this course you’ll learn why it’s so difficult to let go of certain things, how clutter affects your daily life and mental health, why minimalism is so beneficial, and how you can keep a clutter-free life. You’ll receive step-by-step guidance on how to keep your space more organised and how to declutter your home room by room, and by the end of the course you’ll feel more motivated, accomplished, calmer, and more in control. 

To learn more about this topic, you may want to read our article How to declutter and reorganise your home.

14. Computer science

If you’ve always wanted to learn more about computers, this edX Introduction to Computer Science and Programming course will teach you all the basics of computer science. As our reliance on the digital world increases, computers have become even more indispensable for solving problems and making accurate predictions, and this free course will introduce you to the idea of computation and data, as well as how things inside a computer work.

Along the way, you’ll learn about advanced topics like encryption and cryptanalysis, how to write your own programs for encryption, and different types of computation that are used in modern society like simulation, artificial intelligence, and data mining.

15. Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Whether you’ve always had a flair for languages or want to open up more opportunities around the world, learning how to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) can mark the beginning of an exciting new adventure.

This IOA 120-Hour TEFL Certificate will teach you how to motivate students, how to use a student’s first language to teach them a new language, and all the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills you need to pick up a language. You’ll also learn the basics of linguistics, which can help you to bridge the gap between the students’ first language and English, and make the learning process easier and more enjoyable.

Once you’ve completed this course, you’ll be able to prove you know how to teach English as a foreign language – and because this course is internationally recognized, it will open up exciting opportunities for you all around the world. To learn more about TEFL, you may want to have a read of our article on the topic.

16. Accounting & Bookkeeping

Whether you’re starting a new business, would like to expand your job opportunities, or just wish you had a better understanding of your own accounts, almost everyone can benefit from learning more about accounting.

This IOA Accounting & Bookkeeping Course will show you the ropes of accounting, from how to keep and balance a business payroll, through to tracking inventory, reporting taxes, keeping track of cash, and understanding profit analysis. You’ll also learn about proper bookkeeping practices, balancing currencies, and how to prepare a business for an audit.

You can work through this course in your own time and at your own pace, and aside from being a great way to progress in your career, it will also show you how you can better prepare and plan for taxes in your own life. Though accounting is often seen as a complex topic, this course will walk you through the basics and leave you feeling confident.

Final thoughts...

Whether you’d like to boost your skill set and move towards a career change, or you just enjoy learning and developing yourself, there’s an online course out there to suit everyone. Most courses are fully flexible these days, which means you can learn at your own pace and on your own terms – and learning from the comfort of your own home just makes it more enjoyable and accessible.

Learning something new is a great way to feel more positive about yourself and your future, and hopefully this list gets you feeling inspired about all the opportunities that are out there. To check out more courses, have a look at the Courses section of the Rest Less site.

Have you done any online courses recently – or are you thinking about signing up for any? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Leave us a comment below or join the conversation over on the learning section of the Rest Less community forum.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.


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