Explore online writing courses and programs

Why learn writing skills.

The ability to write well is a foundational skill for communication in both personal and professional settings. Writing allows you to express thoughts, opinions, ideas, and emotions. It facilitates connections between people and allows them to engage in the type of discourse that can lead to discovery and progress. 

Clear and concise writing that conveys information both accurately and precisely can help guide people’s decision making and actions. The style of writing can express the importance and sense of urgency behind a message. The flow of writing can change the emotions that people feel when reading those words.   

Whether you are writing a script for a podcast, crafting an email to your colleagues, or penning a message to a family member, strong writing skills can significantly improve how the communication is delivered and how it is received.

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Browse online writing classes

Stand out in your field, learn at your own pace, earn a valuable credential, online writing course curriculum.

With online writing courses, any learner can master the skills needed to become a strong writer. Start with the fundamentals in an online grammar course, where you can learn about the different parts of speech, punctuation, conjugation, and sentence structure. Or more advanced writers can practice their storytelling and persuasive writing skills with an essay writing course. Develop your own style by reading and analyzing the works of other writers, and explore how to write in different formats and tones in creative writing courses. 

You can even find courses that teach writing for specific contexts. For example, a business writing class may cover how to relay tough feedback or how to adjust your tone to build consensus. 

For learners interested in advancing their knowledge in a variety of subjects, edX offers a range of educational opportunities, including boot camps , as well as bachelor's degree programs, and master’s degree programs. Explore how online education can help you build the critical skills you need and get started learning today.

Explore writing jobs

Clear writing and communication skills are assets in nearly every industry. Regardless of whether you work as a lawyer or a mathematician, you will likely need to be capable of crafting a well-written message. 

But for those who enjoy writing, there are careers that can leverage their talents, including: 

Journalist: Writes news or feature articles for video, online, or print publications. 

Novelist or author: Focuses on storytelling by writing longform fiction and nonfiction. 

Copywriter: Writes marketing-driven copy such as advertisements and emails. 

Communications or public relations specialist: Delivers strategic messages on behalf of a client or an organization. 

Speech writer: Crafts speeches for individuals including leaders or lawmakers.

Screenwriter: Develops scripts for movies, television shows, and other visual media.

Editor: Reviews and revises written materials for accuracy, clarity, and style.  

How to start a career in writing 

Writing takes practice. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the field, it’s important to ensure that you have a mastery of the fundamentals of writing. You can build those skills through instruction and coursework in which you have to apply what you have learned. That means responding to prompts, writing essays, and critically reviewing your work to better understand how you can improve. 

Writing also requires expertise. While you can be a general writer, somebody who wants to pursue a technical writing career, for example, will need background knowledge of that field in order to be able to understand what they are reporting on or writing about. A strong understanding of how to research, interview, and source can also be beneficial for aspiring professionals in this space. 

If you dream of being the next great writer, begin honing your craft with online courses delivered through edX.

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Effective writing is clear and accurate and provides enough context to engage readers and help them understand the message you are trying to deliver. For example, journalists provide context by focusing on the “who, what, when, where, and why” of a situation. 

There are many different types of writing including, but not limited to: persuasive writing, creative writing, poetry, script writing, journalism, nonfiction, academic writing, speech writing, and song writing. 

Learners develop writing skills at their own pace. Developing mastery takes practice and time. 

Sometimes grammatical rules are not universally applicable, which can make them difficult to remember. Everyone has different learning styles and speeds. Memorization can help, but practice is key.

There are online courses that can help you learn how to organize your ideas and develop your voice for a business setting. You can practice writing effective emails, reports, and presentations. 

Aspiring creative writers can develop their skills by taking classes that not only teach them about the essential elements of storytelling, but also give them opportunities to practice writing and critiquing both their own work and the work of other writers. 

Last updated January 2024

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75 Best Free Creative Writing Classes in 2024

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This directory of creative writing courses will help you find the right class for you. Simply filter by genre, price, and location to find the writing class that best fits your needs.

Best of luck! If you run a writing course and would like to get in touch with us about your class, contact us here .

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free online courses on creative writing

May Seaport Free Write

What's more satisfying than leaving work behind on a Friday evening? Rounding out the week with a free writing session of course! Maximize that Friday feeling and kick off your writing weekend with us! In 60 jam-packed minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing!

Location: Boston

Categories: Free

Price: Free

Start date: May, 2024

Website: https://grubstreet.org/findaclass/class/may-seaport-free-...

Writing the First Feature Film Treatment Toolkit

UCLA Extension

Learning to write a screenplay is a process, and to do it well can take years of practice. Boil down your story into a short pitch and then expand that into a complete treatment for a feature-length script.

Location: Online

Website: https://www.uclaextension.edu/writing-journalism/screenwr...

Hard Times Writing Workshop

Jefferson County Public Library

This workshop offers a supportive environment for adults to process life experiences through storytelling. It's a free and open weekly writing workshop.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites

Location: Denver

Class size: Unlimited

Start date: Open all year round

Website: https://jeffcolibrary.bibliocommons.com/events/656ea59208...

free online courses on creative writing

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Personal Writing in Unprecedented Times

Kansas City Public Library

This course invites participants to delve into their unique perspectives and how these can enrich the world of creative writing. Focusing on creative nonfiction, the course covers three genres: prose poem, personal essay, and memoir or micro-memoir, guiding participants in exploring and expressing their individual viewpoints through these formats.

Location: Kansas City

Start date: May, 2023

Website: https://kclibrary.org/blog/library-launches-online-writin...

Adventures in Creative Writing

Tailored for middle and high school students, this course provides a foundational understanding of writing essentials. Students will explore character development, dialogue, imagery, structure, point of view, and the art of language selection. The course includes reading, analysis, discussion, and practical writing exercises to build these core skills.

Start date: June, 2023

Writing Found Poems

In this poetry workshop, participants will engage in the creative exercise of writing a poem each week, using words from an existing source. This method of adapting pre-existing text adds depth and new insight, creating a dynamic interplay between the original source and the newly crafted poem, enriching both with added layers of meaning.

Start date: July, 2023

Writing Mysteries & Thrillers

Writing Adventures

Step into the world of suspense with our "Mysteries and Thrillers" class. Delve into writing mysterious and thrilling narratives, creating enchanting plots, eerie characters, and ingeniously hidden clues.

Location: Las Vegas

Level: Beginner

Class size: 12

Website: https://www.hisawyer.com/writing-adventures/schedules/act...

Improv + Scene Writing

"Improv + Scene Writing" merges comedy, performance, and writing in a dynamic one-hour class. Enhance your skills in plot crafting, character development, pacing, and comedic timing, all while collaborating and performing with peers.

Electrifying Creative Writing

"Electrifying Creative Writing," our standout course, promises to ignite your creative spark like never before. Explore a diversity of themes and genres, embarking on a year-long adventure that empowers you to find and develop your own writing style and talents.

Class size: 10

Advanced Writing Essentials

"Writing Essentials" redefines your approach to essays. Move beyond traditional structures and dull topics, embracing a journey to discover your unique writing talents and style. Write about what truly matters to you within a nurturing and social writing community.

Writers Room Experience

Writers Room

This experiential studio class, led by instructor Lauren Lowe, focuses on developing an understanding of the self in relation to the world. It emphasizes building community and working towards a more equitable world through writing and sharing stories​​.

Location: Philadelphia

Class size: Limited

Website: https://www.writersroomdrexel.org/courses

Blackout Poetry Workshop

Willoughby City Library

This workshop focuses on creating stories and poetry through the technique of blackout poetry, where a page of text is blacked out except for a few select words, creating a new story from the existing text. It's an interactive and fun approach to creative writing. The workshop is held at The Creator Space, Chatswood Library, and materials are provided for participants. The workshop is free of charge and scheduled for a specific date and time.

Location: Sydney

Website: https://libraries.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Eventbrite/Blacko...

How to choose a free creative writing class

Looking to build your writing skillset, learn more about your genre, or finally finish that book you’ve been working on? You’re in the right place. That’s why we built this directory of the best creative writing courses.

However, creative writing classes aren’t one size fit all. If you’re planning to join a free writing class in particular, you’ll want to make sure that it matches what you’re seeking to learn about creative writing.

So make sure to consider the following questions when you’re researching free writing courses:

  • Who is the instructor? How many years of experience do they have in creative writing?
  • Is there something in particular you’d like to learn about creative writing? Does this course include it?
  • How long is the course, and where is it taught?
  • Are there any hidden fees advertised in this free creative writing class?

More free creative writing resources

Whether you’re a new or established author, there are always evergreen resources out there to how to get a headstart on writing a book. 

Free online materials

  • Creative Writing Prompts (resource)
  • How to Self-Publish a Book (blog post)
  • How to Publish a Novel (blog post)
  • How to Edit a Book (blog post)

Recommended books

  • For writers in the UK:  Writers' & Artists' Yearbook  
  • For writers in the US:  Writer’s Market 2020

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7 free online creative writing courses that you can enrol in right now

By Megha Sharma

creative writing write a novel online courses books authors

As a form of expression , a means to escape the reality, and a medium to communicate a larger ideology, the act of writing can serve different purposes. And no matter what your reason to put pen to paper, or keys to screen, these virtual lessons could help you develop the techniques you will require on your creative journey. Here, find out all the free online courses you can join to begin now.

Creative Writing Specialisation

Covering three major creative writing genres—short story, narrative essay and memoir—the course will help you master the techniques of putting your ideas on paper as clearly as possible. So if you’ve been meaning to work some engrossing features in your already existing plot, or better highlight the setting of your story, or simply articulate in a stronger fashion, let this lesson be on your shortlist. In case you’re just starting out, the course is equally rewarding.

Write Your First Novel

Have you been wanting to pen down your thoughts and weave them into a well-written novel? Go for this virtual course where you will learn an end-to-end approach to producing a work of fiction. Through a stepwise process that will culminate in your individual production of a 50,000-word book, the learning course will provide you all the important pointers right from the top.

Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest

Complete with video lectures, online readings, peer reviews and guest appearances from renowned authors, the course will offer an all-inclusive guide to creative writing for students and young aspirers. Apart from that, you will also explore the cultural significance of notable works , analyse the ways in which art and words interact, and become familiar with standard elements of a narrative, that include dialogue, point of view, theme, plot and so on.  

Write A Feature Length Screenplay for Film or Television

Whether your point of interest is serious dramas, romantic comedies or thrillers , the free virtual course will zoom in on every aspect of screenplay writing so you’re able to pursue the genre you want. Following in a well-structured process, you will have produced a pitch-ready script by the time the four-week programme is over. Along with learning how to create a basic idea and write loglines, you will be studying the Three Act Story Arc, and much more.

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Memoir and Personal Essay: Write About Yourself Specialisation

Here, four published memoirists and essayists let you in on the tricks and tools of writing about yourself. Be prepared for professional tips, prompts, reading challenges and exercises among other interactive activities. Unlike many other courses where you will be producing a large body of work at the completion of the programme, here, you will be constructing a portfolio of work to use as valuable components later.

Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

These lessons support the school of thought that poetry isn’t just a means of expression. Rather, using it for just that, is like “using the internet just for email”. If you too are willing to think beyond that, and take up the art to bring about a change in people’s thought and ideologies, the course is for you. Learn to use the several tools of poetic composition, study the works of contemporary poets and, of course, try your own hand at the skill.

Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative worlds, emerging technologies, and global audiences

In a world that believes in not just up-skilling, but also cross-skilling, this transmedia course serves to be an extremely well-rounded one. The description on the website states, “Transmedia storytelling is the practice of designing , sharing, and participating in a cohesive story experience across multiple traditional and digital delivery platforms - for entertainment, advertising and marketing, or social change.” So learn to develop expansive narratives and optimise your writing for mobile devices, social media communities, virtual and augmented realities and more.

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Start writing fiction

Start writing fiction

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Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and setting s. You will also be able to look at the different genre s for fiction.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify strengths and weaknesses as a writer of fiction
  • demonstrate a general awareness of fiction writing
  • discuss fiction using basic vocabulary.

First Published: 09/08/2012

Updated: 14/05/2018

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10 Free Creative Writing Courses Online with a Certificate 

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Anyone can take creative writing courses online. These courses are meant for beginners who want to give a chance to their creative flair. After completing a creative writing course, students can find career opportunities in journalism , editorial, copywriting , blogging, advertising , proofreading, ghostwriting, screenwriting , and book writing. Most of the creative writing courses can be completed in a day or a few weeks. Moreover, they are available free of cost. The virtual lessons cover tips and tricks that can be useful in the creative journey of an individual. Keep reading to learn more about free creative writing courses online. 

This Blog Includes:

Sharpened visions: a poetry workshop, creative writing specialization, national centre for writing online courses , the craft of storytelling, how to write a novel: structure & outline, script writing: write a pilot episode for a tv or web series , skillshare online creative writing classes, oxford online courses in creative writing, start writing fiction, free online creative writing courses, top 10 free creative writing courses online.

Here is a list of the 10 free creative writing courses online. Some of these courses come with certifications and others do not. We have provided the fee details, course level, etc for your reference.

CalArts is offering one of the leading creative writing courses online. This Poetry Workshop covers a total of 6 modules in which students will learn about metaphor and other formulas of difference, abstraction, image, rhyme, rhythm, poetic lines, and revision strategies. The course is meant for beginners and can be completed within 8 hours. A certificate is available. However, payment has to be made for the same.

Website: https://www.coursera.org/learn/poetry-workshop

Check out the top universities for creative writing courses 

Wesleyan University ’s Creative writing course is one of the top creative writing courses online. This is a 5 module series that consists of topics such as Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot, The Craft of Character: The Craft of Setting and Description, Craft of Style, etc. The course ends with a capstone project that students must complete. The course is meant for beginners. The drawback? The certificate is only available post-payment.

Website: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/creative-writing

The National Centre for Writing is offering one of the finest creative writing course online. All of these courses are self-paced and can be completed within a short period. Some of the free courses available on this platform are First Steps in Short Form Poetry, New Ways with Short Form Poetry, How to Write Unreliable Narrators, How to Write Young Adult Fiction: Characters and Conflicts, and Writing Science Fiction: World Building. The drawback? These courses do not come with a certificate.

Website: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/

The University of Alaska is offering another excellent free creative writing course online. This a 4-week course that helps a student learn to tell stories that the audience wants. The curriculum includes topics such as Finding good stories, Using The “Ice Road Trucker” effect, Building the dramatic arc, Designing story structures, Strategizing delivery, ending the story, etc. The course is self-paced and its audit is available for free.

Website: https://www.edx.org/learn/storytelling

Check Out These Book Writing Courses that Will Make Your Imagination Flow! 

The University of British Columbia is offering the course ‘How to Write a Novel: Structure & Outline’ The program is best for those who want to learn the fundamentals of story structure. The curriculum includes topics such as Character and World-Building, The Big Architecture: Story and Structure,  Three-Act Structure and Scene Design, Troubleshooting Common Problems, and Transition to Writing. The program includes a writing assignment and a final task that students must complete.

Website: https://www.edx.org/learn/novels/

Michigan State University is also offering a free creative writing course online. The course is best for those who want to learn scriptwriting skills for a TV or web series. A total of 5 modules are available in this course. Students will learn everything from developing a TV concept and writing the pilot episode to polishing their script. Any basic word processor is sufficient to take this course. Students will need to dedicate 1-2 hours of study, and  30+ hours of active project work.

Website: https://www.coursera.org/learn/script-writing

Skillshare is another great platform offering free creative writing course online. People can choose a creative writing class based on their interests. All of these courses are taught by experts in the field. Some of the available courses include Copywriting For Beginners: How To Write Web Copy That Sells Without Being Cheesy, Character-Driven Story Development for Your Novel or Screenplay, and Storytelling 101: Character, Conflict, Context & Craft, among others. No certificate is available after course completion. 

Website: https://www.skillshare.com/en/browse/creative-writing?sort=popular&page=1

Want to learn business writing skills? Read About the 7 Free Online Business Writing Courses with Certifications 

The Oxford University Department of Continuing Education is offering one of the best free creative writing course online. Students can choose from a short online course in creative writing and a Diploma in Creative Writing. The short courses have live-time weekly classes. The credit earned from this course is transferable toward the  Certificate of Higher Education – a part-time undergraduate course. On the other hand, the Diploma in Creative Writing can be completed in 2 years. It covers 4 areas of literary activity. For example, prose, drama, etc. 

Website: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/online-courses-in-creative-writing

The Open University Start Writing Fiction course is a free creative writing course online. The program is meant for those who want to learn the strategies for writing fiction. The curriculum includes topics such as character development, setting, and genre. This is an introductory course that requires 12 hours of study. A certificate of participation is available post-completion of the course.

Website: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/creative-writing/start-writing-fiction/

Alison is one of the top websites offering free creative writing course online. These courses are meant for beginners and can be completed in a few hours. Some of the creative writing courses available on this platform include Understanding Poetry Writing, How to Write and Publish a Novel, Creative Nonfiction Writing, Screenwriting, and Writing for Young Readers. The course comes with free certifications.

Website: https://alison.com/tag/creative-writing

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The British Council is offering a course called ‘Creative Writing for Adults – Module I’. This course is completely online and can be completed within 9 weeks. A B2 English level is needed to take this course. The fee is INR 10,000.

There are several free writing courses for beginners. For example, Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop by CalArts, and Wesleyan University’s Creative Writing course. Alison also offers several free writing courses for beginners.

Harvard University only offers 1 free online creative writing course. This is called the ‘Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking’. This is an introductory course that requires the student to dedicate  2 – 3 hours per week. The course audit is free. 

Hope this blog provides you with all the important details, for more information about such courses, visit our online courses page .

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Blessy George works as a Content Marketing Associate at Leverage Edu. She has completed her M.A. in Political Science and has experience working as an Intern with CashKaro.

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10 Free Online Courses To Boost Your Resume

T oday’s job market is more challenging to break into than nearly any other time. While there’s a steady growth of open positions, this availability is slowly tapering off, making it more difficult to get an offer or even an interview. With employers searching for a versatile set of skills, it’s now more important than ever to make sure that your resume stands apart from your competition.

One easy way to do this is by investing time in building new skills. Whether you focus on building your knowledge in data analysis or studying a language you’ve always wanted to learn, bringing new skills to the interview table can not only give you a competitive edge, but also show your commitment to personal and professional growth. Moreover, skills like “fluent in French” can be a fun way to get conversations started and show your potential employer who you are beyond just your resume.

Furthering your education can be expensive. If returning to school or taking expensive online classes isn’t in your budget, don’t fret–there are many online courses available at your fingertips that can enhance your skills without diminishing your funds. We’ve found some of the best free online courses to help you diversify your resume.

Note: While all of these courses are free, access to complete materials or full curriculums may be limited on some platforms. Paid versions of these courses, however, are incredibly affordable.

Google’s Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing

Type : Marketing

Duration : 40 Hours

Whether you want to start your own business or support another, digital marketing is an essential skill to have to thrive in the digital age. Digital marketing also encompasses a wide array of channels and tactics, which can allow you to focus your career on one niche that aligns with your skill set and interests.

One of the best and most highly recommended free online courses, Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing will give you the basic fundamentals of this practice, including tips on utilizing social media for business, how to get noticed with search ads, ways to reach more customers with advertising, measure web traffic, and more. Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll receive an award that can be shared to your LinkedIn profile and other networking platforms. 

CS50'S Introduction To Computer Science

Type : Computer Sciences

Duration : 12 Weeks; 6-18 hours weekly

There’s a high demand for people skilled in computer sciences across every field. Having a computer science certification can create more career opportunities for you, and several positions focused in this skill come with high earning potential. Even if you don’t receive a certification, having a basic understanding of computer science can familiarize yourself with the many ways technology is changing the workplace .

A more involved online certification course from Harvard University, this 12-week lesson will introduce you to computer science and the art of programming. During this course, you’ll study many topics, including, algorithms, data structures, resource management, security, software engineering, web development, and more. Along with these topics, you’ll also learn how to use various programming languages, like C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

As long as you earn a satisfactory score on nine assignments and a final project, you’ll be awarded with a certificate. And, you can take it at your own pace!

DoaneX: Business Communications - The Basics

Type : Business Communications

Duration : 4 Weeks; 5-8 hours weekly

Communication is one of the most challenging skills to master within the workplace; however, it’s one of the most crucial skills to possess. Effective communication can support both the success of yourself and your potential employer .

In this four-week self-paced course, you will learn the fundamentals of business communication, including the principles and the communication model. This course also touches on ways to effectively (and actively) listen, and it helps you to identify your own communication style. 

Useful Excel For Beginners

Type : Office Productivity

Duration : 10 Hours

Be honest–how many times have you included “Microsoft Office” as one of your featured skills on your resume, even though you have a love-hate relationship with Excel? Now, you can add this skill to your resume without cringing when you think of spreadsheets. 

A beneficial tool to understand data visualization and improve your efficiency, this course will teach you the fundamentals of Excel, new formulas to implement into your daily workloads, and turn you into an effective user overall.

Knowing how to use Excel can greatly increase your potential career prospects. From data analysis and financial services to human resources and small businesses, having this skill in your repertoire makes you a more competitive candidate when you’re searching for a job in any field.

Diploma In Project Management

Type : Business Management

Duration : 10-15 Hours

Highly valued across many professions, project management is another versatile skill to have on your resume. This course offers a comprehensive review of all of the factors that go into project management and planning, along with a step-by-step guide that can help you put everything into action. 

Along with studying the project management life cycle, you’ll also learn how to use scheduling tools, including “Gantt” and “Program Evaluation Review Technique” (PERT) charts, making it a valuable course for those looking to improve their skills in the area or for those considering a career in project management. At the end of the course, you’ll receive a diploma to share on your networking profiles, resume, and with future employers.

The Science Of Well-Being

Type : Personal Development

Duration : 19 Hours

Investing in yourself and your health is one of the best choices that you can make. This course focuses on ways that you can boost your own happiness while debunking misconceptions of the emotion. You’ll also learn various ways that you can build productive habits to benefit both your personal and professional life. 

A unique asset to add to your resume, you’ll receive a shareable certificate to include on your LinkedIn profile and resume once you’ve completed this course. While this isn’t a traditional, career-focused lesson, your performance at work can greatly depend on your mood and overall well-being . As you gain a better understanding of altering your mindset to improve your happiness, you may see that your attitude and performance in your career increase, too.

Introduction To Data Analysis Using Excel

Type : Data Analysis & Statistics

Duration : 4 Weeks; 2-3 hours weekly

This four-week course delves into the basics of Excel and how to maximize its features to help you gain insights into data. A self-paced lesson packed with helpful tutorials, this course will teach you the necessities of pivot tables, including how to present data, calculate margins and other ratios, filter data, and create aggregate reports. 

Regardless of what field you’re seeking a position in, every business can benefit from data analysis. This capability can help to analyze trends, make informed decisions, increase revenue, and more. By adding this skill to your resume, you’re making yourself stand out as an asset to any company. 

Comprehensive Guide For Resume Writing

Type : Resume Writing

Duration : 3 Hours

We live in a world where nearly everything is digital–including employers’ scouting processes. Many companies use automated systems to filter resume applications based on keywords and job titles. This means, if you’re not using those buzz words mentioned in the position description, you may not be noticed– despite how qualified you truly are.

This course breaks down every element of a resume, from the font type and format to the language and keywords that you should be using to get noticed. A valuable course for experienced professionals and college students alike, taking time to perfect your resume can help you maximize the amount of calls you get from potential employers .

ImperialX: Creative Thinking: Techniques And Tools For Success

Type : Problem Solving

Duration : 7 Weeks; 2-4 hours weekly

One of the most useful skills for the workplace (and in everyday life) is effective problem solving. This self-paced seven-week course teaches you a new way of problem solving that’s now being taught in classrooms and workplaces all around the globe. This creative-thinking course encourages you to approach problems in innovative ways that often lead to productive outcomes.

Designed to help you build a tool box of behaviors and techniques that inspire creativity, this course includes activities to practice your new skills, lectures and tips to help you navigate this way of thinking, and videos that show this method in use.

UPValenciaX: Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started

Type : Foreign Language

Duration : 7 Weeks; 4-5 hours weekly

This seven-week course from Universitat Politècnica de València teaches you the basics of Spanish at your own pace. Complete with cultural notes, grammar explanations, and other useful resources, this course introduces you to everyday language used among Spanish-speakers and utilizes activities to help you practice reading comprehension, listening, and speaking. Upon completion, you will be able to introduce yourself and have brief conversations.

One of the easiest ways to make your resume stand apart from your peers is by learning a foreign language. So many jobs on the market now list that their ideal candidate will be able to speak another language.

While it’s not required for many positions, knowing another language provides several advantages for you and your future company (but mostly you). Not only can this skill demonstrate commitment, this versatile skill can also allow you to expand your network and it's a valuable asset for roles that involve communication with international partners.

If returning to school or taking expensive classes isn’t in your budget, there are many online courses available at your fingertips that can enhance your skills without diminishing your funds. We’ve found some of the best free online courses to help you diversify your resume.

16 free and paid entrepreneurship courses aspiring founders can take online

Shot of an attractive young businesswoman standing and looking contemplative while holding a cup of coffee in her home office

With layoffs making the news in just about every sector, you might find yourself wondering if you should venture into self-employment. Lucky for you, experts agree even economic downturns provide plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurship.

“It’s always a good time to be an entrepreneur,” says Angela Lee , a professor of entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School and faculty director of the school’s entrepreneurship center. But, the founder of investment network 37 Angels warns, “the bar is higher than before” for startup founders looking for funding thanks to growing competition and emerging technology. 

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Business owners today also have more resources than ever at their disposal, be it artificial intelligence or remote workers. “There’s lots of opportunities and lots of new ways to do things,” says Brandy Aven , an associate professor of entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

But even if you don’t ever want to start a company, having an entrepreneurial mindset can be incredibly valuable. “Entrepreneurial skills teach you how to be agile, they teach you how to be scrappy, they teach you how to make decisions with very limited information—all of which are useful skills in 2024 and beyond,” says Lee. Beyond this, learning like a founder exposes you to useful topics such as business finance, management, and building productive teams.

Online courses are a great way to develop the skill set and confidence of a business owner, and there’s an abundance of options for both self-disciplined learners and those that like more direction.

Below, we’ve compiled 16 free and paid entrepreneurship courses taught by top companies, institutions, and experts.

8 free entrepreneurship courses you can take online

If you’re just starting out or money is tight, consider taking one of these free introduction courses to get your feet wet and figure out where you want to take your entrepreneurial journey next.

1. The Elements of Entrepreneurial Success by Stanford  

Provided by Alison , a free learning platform, The Elements of Entrepreneurial Success pairs Stanford’s reputation with the fundamentals of starting a business. The course covers leadership and hiring, the five types of organizational culture, and managing risk and reward, and ends with a final assessment to lock those learnings in. You’ll also hear advice and stories from experts like Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki .

Length: 4–5 hours

Structure: Self-paced

2. Business Growth: Start-Ups, Investment and Negotiation by Stanford

Business Growth: Start-Ups, Investment and Negotiation differs from Stanford’s other course on Alison in that it focuses on finding meaning as a business owner, as well as for your employees. It’s also mostly targeted at founders interested in partnering with VCs and covers negotiation tactics, product development techniques, and how to go about finding angel investors.

3. Starting a Business by MOBI

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) is a partnership between entrepreneurs Phil and Peggy Holland and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University to offer free online education to aspiring business owners. Its course Starting a Business aims to provide all the basics of entrepreneurship—licenses and permits, financing, and expansion—and focuses especially on the importance of writing a business plan.

Length: 15 sessions/1–4 hours per session

4. Launch Your Online Business by SUNY

Offered by The State University of New York (SUNY), one of the largest higher education institutions in the country, Launch Your Online Business is built for budding entrepreneurs in the ecommerce or web space. Its curriculum includes coming up with a unique product, creating a pitch deck, defining key performance indicators (KPIs) for success, and keeping up marketing and sales after you’ve launched, and ties in learnings from real business owners. You can purchase the certificate course for $49.

Length: 4 modules/14 hours

5. Identifying Entrepreneurial Opportunities by the University System of Maryland

Identifying Entrepreneurial Opportunities is based on The Opportunity Analysis Canvas, created by faculty and director of entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland James Green. The idea pairs together psychology, sociology, and business principles to teach students how to think like an entrepreneur or innovator. You can upgrade to a certification for a small fee.

Length: 4 modules/2–3 hours per week for 4 weeks

6. Grow Your Business with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women

Grow Your Business with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is one of 10 courses Goldman Sachs offers aspiring female entrepreneurs for free online. This specific topic covers business growth plans, which can help guide your product’s growth and development, but other classes include the fundamentals of funding, competition, and business finance.

Length: 4 hours

7. The Entrepreneurial Mindset by Babson

Backed by legacy institution Babson College, The Entrepreneurial Mindset dives into the school’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action method and how it applies to real-world business scenarios and problems. You can upgrade to the certification for $189.

Length: 4–6 hours per week for 6 weeks

8. Side Hustle “From Zero to 100” by City, University of London

Udemy’s Side Hustle “From Zero to 100” is in partnership with the City, University of London’s entrepreneurial arm CityVentures. Side hustles are how some of the most successful entrepreneurs got their start, and this course is a great primer in growing a social media following, networking, and knowing when to go off on your own full time, as it’s taught by real-life business owners who’ve done these things successfully. Upon completion, graduates will receive an official certificate from the institution.

Length: 13 lectures/1 hour and 58 minutes

8 paid entrepreneurship courses you can take online

With a paid online course or certification, you can take your entrepreneurship education deeper through hands-on experience and mentorship, with the backing of a major organization.

1. Entrepreneurship Essentials by Harvard

Backed by Harvard Business School Online, Entrepreneurship Essentials is a great place to start if you have no entrepreneurial experience. It’ll take you through market research and coming up with a business idea, weighing the pros and cons of self-employment, and how to make key financial decisions, all while touching on the MBA program’s popular framework: People, Opportunity, Context, Deal.

Cost: $1,750

Length: 4 modules/6–8 hours per week for 4 weeks

2. Entrepreneurship Specialization by Wharton  

With Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Specialization , you’ll learn how to spot opportunities in your industry, the art of pivoting and scaling, and financial modeling. Your journey will end with a capstone project of creating a pitch deck. If your capstone receives top marks, you may be introduced to investors in Wharton Entrepreneurship’s network.

Cost: $79 a month

Length: 5 courses/2–3 hours per week for 20 weeks

3. Developing New Business Ventures (Online): From Ideation to Successful Launch by Columbia Business School

Columbia’s Business School’s New Business Ventures online education program is for entrepreneurs with a business idea who aren’t sure how to proceed. It’ll teach you how to frame your idea for customers and investors, save on costs associated with development, define metrics for success, and build the right team to support your needs.

Cost: $2,450

Length: 4 live modules and 4 self-paced/2–4 hours per week for 8 weeks

Structure: Hybrid, next course starts April 8, 2024

4. Key Technologies for Business Specialization by IBM

IBM’s Key Technologies for Business Specialization prepares business owners for understanding and being able to work with three of today’s most powerful technologies and trends: cloud computing, AI, and data science. Within each topic, the course covers their definitions, popular models and tools, and business cases and applications.

Cost: $49 a month after a 7-day free trial

Length: 3 courses/10 hours a week for 1 month

5. Attract and Engage Customers with Digital Marketing by Google

How you market your product or service to customers is crucial for success, and Google’s Attract and Engage Customers with Digital Marketing is one of the best courses for picking up such a skill. You’ll learn from the leading search engine topics such as SEO best practices for ranking high in shopping searches and using ads to drive leads, as well as how to create a customer persona.

Length: 4 modules/21 hours

6. Building Your Freelancing Career Specialization by CalArts

Freelancers are also often business owners, and this Building Your Freelance Career Specialization by the California Institute of the Arts aims to teach aspiring contractors everything they need to know to work for themselves: setting goals, creating a business budget, building a portfolio and personal brand, and navigating issues such as taxes or intellectual property.

Length: 5 courses/10 hours a week for 1 month

7. Self-Made Entrepreneurship with Sara Blakely by MasterClass  

Sara Blakely, the founder of successful intimates brand Spanx, teaches self-made entrepreneurship by using her story as proof you can bootstrap yourself to success without an MBA or previous experience. In this course, she’ll touch on defining your purpose, branding and marketing techniques, and other tools that helped her achieve billionaire status.

Cost: Starts at $10 a month

Length: 14 lessons/3 hours and 30 minutes

8. Designing a Business by IDEO University

Designing a Business is run by IDEO, an award-winning global design company, and covers its unique human-centric, design-thinking approach to prototyping, marketing, testing, and business strategy—and is back by real entrepreneur stories.

Length: 4 hours a week for 5 weeks

Structure: Live

5 tips before diving into entrepreneurship  

Entrepreneurship can be highly rewarding (and lucrative) if you have a smart business idea paired with the determination and skills to make it happen. But it also has its risks and downsides. Aven and Lee shared their best tips for entrepreneurs just starting out or professionals curious about going off on their own:

Focus on solving a problem: “People who make good entrepreneurs are people who fiercely want to solve a problem, which is very different from somebody who fiercely wants to start a company,” says Lee. When your primary goal is to help others or solve a common or persistent need, the rest—sales, growth, prestige—more easily follow.

Make sure the lifestyle suits you: Entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out, work unstructured and often long days, and many don’t see income for months or years. Lee suggests taking the time to think through this new work schedule and financial hurdle—and running it by your family for support. “It’s really hard work, lots of risks certainly in the beginning,” she says. “I think that’s important to know.”

Become data-driven: Data underpins everything an entrepreneur does—it’s how they know what kind of product to make, whom to serve, and how to attract an audience. “We’re looking for people who are able to run small experiments, very quickly fail, and then say, ‘Okay, well I’m going to go in this direction because that’s what the market’s telling me to do,’” says Lee. 

Read and listen voraciously: Beyond courses, expert advice can be found anywhere, from books to podcasts. A couple recommendations from Lee include The Lean Startup , Talking to Humans , and Traction .

Ask for help (and be open to feedback): Entrepreneurship isn’t a solo journey, and founders should regularly ask for help when they need it, from the right people—experts with a similar manner, skill set, or business. “That person is going to speak a language and have a similar perspective to help…direct you in the right position,” Aven says, adding that the most resilient founders don’t let advice or harsh feedback deflate them, but rather motivate them. Bringing on a cofounder or two, she adds, can help supplement skills or areas where you’re weaker or less confident.

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