Free online courses you can do at home

Aqilah Rahman

Staying at home has become the norm since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and many people all over the world have opted to use their free time to pick up new skills.

Online learning, in particular, has gained a surge of interest.

While staying at home to keep each other safe, here are some free online courses you can do to keep yourself productive.

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE

There are many language learning websites out there, but one of the most popular by far is Duolingo with its signature green owl logo, used by millions across the globe.

Duolingo makes language learning fun with its gamified design. As you master new words, phrases and grammar, you’ll earn virtual points called XP. When you get enough points, your level goes up, just like in a video game.

While it teaches practical phrases like “Where is the bathroom?” the website sometimes tosses a handful of wacky phrases like “Pardon, ik ben een appel,” which means “Excuse me, I am an apple” in Dutch to keep things fun and memorable.

Duolingo offers over 90 languages including Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Arabic and Chinese.

A HUGE COLLECTION OF LESSONS

Founded by Harvard and MIT, EdX is one of the most trusted online learning platforms, housing a massive collection of lessons delivered by reputable universities and companies around the world.

EdX covers every topic there is, from data science and engineering to language, literature, social studies, arts and humanities, as well as leadership and communication skills.

While the courses are free, paid certificates are also available.

Some of the courses are archived, which means there’s no paid certificate available when an individual completes their course.

However, users can still access archived courses, so if you see any one that catches your eye, it might be worth enrolling for your personal enjoyment or future reference.

TOOLS FOR ANALYSIS

Google Analytics is a powerful tool if you have a website or are in charge of one. It lets you know what users do on your website, which pages generate the most views, how your visitors find your website, what your user demographics are, what pages need to be revised to retain your site visitors, and more — all for free.

For newcomers, Google Analytics Academy offers free online lessons on how to get started with Google Analytics.

The videos are short and packed with easy-to-digest information, and explore the applications of the tool in real life. You’ll also get the chance to try out Google Analytics firsthand with a demo account.

PROGRAMMING

If you’ve ever googled “learn programming”, chances are, you’ve seen Codeacademy as the top result in the first page.

Codecademy offers free coding classes in a wide range of programming languages including Python, Java, JavaScript, Ruby and C++ as well as markup languages HTML and CSS. Some features are exclusive to premium members.

Programming is best learnt hands-on, and Codeacademy understands this. Within minutes after signing up for the first lesson, you’ll learn how to write your first “hello, world” just like how millions of programmers started out.

From there, you’ll climb your way up and have the ability to work on personal projects. The world of programming is vast and endless with possibilities, from automating menial tasks like filling in an online form to building a customised website or app and analysing data.

DATABASE MANAGEMENT

At first glance, SQL seems like a programming language such as Python and Java — but it isn’t. SQL works differently than programming languages and is used to retrieve, update and modify databases.

Most of us are familiar with the pain of scrolling through seemingly endless rows of data in Excel, looking for a particular record, because sometimes, the Find and Filter functions just don’t cut it.

This is where SQL helps. With it, you can simply specify what you want to look for, and SQL will do rest, saving you hours of work.

W3Schools offers free interactive SQL lessons for beginners. There is no need to install any software and users can directly input SQL commands on the website as they follow the lessons along.