Top 7 free personal development courses available online

Personal development is an integral part of personal and professional growth. To excel in our lives, we must keep learning and developing new skills that can set us up for success. But what exactly is personal development? And which personal development courses should one take?

Simply put, personal development means investing time and resources in developing one’s skills and worth. It also keeps us relevant in our professional lives and improves the quality of our personal lives. Furthermore, personal development leads to our holistic growth, allowing us to keep up with the rapidly changing world.

Therefore, taking the time out to work towards the best version of ourselves promises success. Moreover, it is critical to building confidence that moves us closer to our dreams and goals.

With the advent of the internet, self-development has become even easier to pursue. Several resources are also available online that help builds essential skills.

So, if you’re looking for ways to improve yourself, we know just where you should start.

Check out our list of the top 7 free online personal development courses offered by top universities around the world.

1. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

Offered by:  McMaster University and University of California, San Diego

Duration: 4 weeks, 3-4 hours per week

Student Rating: 4.8

This course equips you with an understanding of how our brains function during the learning process. In addition, it offers knowledge on how our mind processes complex information. It helps you navigate and grasp complicated subjects.

This is one of the most important personal development courses. It offers tools and strategies to learn various disciplines effectively. For example, it combines the faculties of art, music, science, math, sports, and literature. In fact, it is one of the most popular courses offered by Coursera. Today, it stands proud with around 2 million enrollments.

This course covers the following aspects:

  • The two learning modes used by the brain: focused mode and diffused.
  • How the brain contains information in “chunks.”
  • How your mind fools you with illusions of competence.
  • Memory Techniques.
  • Tackling procrastination.
  • Renaissance Learning.
  • Research-backed practices to effectively master complex subjects.
  • Provides valuable learning techniques used by experts in various disciplines.
  • Teaches how to learn entirely new topics.
  • Counter-intuitive test-taking tips and insights.

Click here to sign up for the course!


2. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

Offered by: University of Michigan

Duration: 16 hours

Student Rating: 4.8

This is one the most highly credible and recommended personal development courses. It helps you acquire the valuable skill of negotiation. It also includes various negotiation exercises and practices to set you up for success in all future encounters. Besides this, negotiation is a skill that comes in handy in both our personal and professional lives.

This course teaches you how to negotiate successfully in four steps, which are as follows:

  • Preparing a negotiation strategy.
  • Using Key tools and tactics for success.
  • Closing the deal by creating a contract.
  • Final performance and evaluation.

Click here to sign up for the course!

3. Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

Offered by: McMaster University

Duration: 10 hours

Student Rating: 4.8

This course is designed to boost your professional and personal life. It uses mindfulness and self-awareness as a tool. Mindshift also teaches you skills that can help you in several learning practices. For instance, you’ll learn how to get the most out of online personal development courses. Above all, it teaches how to seek opportunities, how to pursue mentors, and how to not run into a career block. Additionally, it teaches the value of selective ignorance to prevent you from exhausting your general competence.

This personal development course is a companion course of the first course on our list: Learning how to learn. However, it’s primarily focused on learning for career development and success in professional settings.

It includes:

  • Practical insights from science about how to learn and adapt.
  • How to build on what you already know to maximize results and open new doors to opportunities.
  • Mental tools and insights to help you learn and do more.

Click here to sign up!

4. Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success

Offered by: Imperial College London

Duration: 23 hours

Student Rating: 4.7

Creativity is a valuable asset in today’s rapidly changing world. It’s what separates an average person/product/company from a successful counterpart. It also enables you to communicate new ideas innovatively and engagingly. Moreover, it helps you approach problems from different angles and producing innovative solutions. Creativity can take you a long way in your career and personal life.

This is one of those personal development courses that will provide you with a tool-box to tap into the creative realms of your mind. It focuses on strategies for individual and group settings. 

This course adopts a practical approach to enable you to successfully channel a skill-set that instigates your creativity by:

  • Engaging activities and exercises.
  • Useful lectures and tips.
  • Video representations of the practical implementation of the taught techniques.

This course teaches you to:

  • Select a type of brainstorming tool that will be useful to tackle challenges.
  • Use alphabetical brainstorming.
  • Adopt grid brainstorming.
  • Use morphological charts to develop a solution to a challenge.
  • Incorporate the TRIZ contradiction matrix to identify inventive techniques and principles.
  • Apply SCAMPER.

Click here to sign up!

5. How to Succeed at Interviews

Offered by: The University of Sheffield

Duration: 3 hours per week, 3 weeks

Student Rating: 4.8

This important course is offered by the University of Sheffield’s Careers Service. You can learn useful tips and advice to help you prepare for job interviews. It is a well-designed course that sets you up for success.

This personal development course is particularly essential for those in the early stages of their career, especially graduating students. As a result, it will immensely help those who plan on switching companies or have landed themselves interviews for higher-up positions. 

The course teaches:

  • How to research a job description.
  • Tips for making an excellent first impression.
  • How to excel at tests and presentations.
  • Tips to prepare for interviews conducted over the phone or video chat.

Click here to sign up!

If you’re a young professional who needs mentorship and guidance, you can contact us here for consultancy.

6. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

Offered by: University of California, Irvine

Duration: 5 hours

Student Rating: 4.4

We have all heard the advice at least once in our lives to work smart and not hard. But how does one do that? This course is the perfect resource to learn this valuable skill to maximize professional and personal success.

This personal development course equips you with personal and professional awareness, organization, commitment, and goal setting. It also focuses on time management skills to improve productivity and get the best results in the least time.

This course will teach you to:

  • Plan effectively to achieve your personal and professional goals.
  • Identify and overcome barriers to learn time management.
  • Manage resources efficiently.
  • Prevent and manage crisis.
  • Delegate problem effectively.
  • Manage expectations and say “No” at the right time.

Click here to sign up!

7.    The Science of Well-Being

Offered by: Yale University

Duration: 10 weeks, 2-3 hours per week

Student Rating: 4.9

This course by Yale University is the most popular personal development course to be ever offered in the 317-year long history of the university. In short, this course is a gold mine of life hacks.

Professor Laurie Santos of Yale introduced this course. The primary objective of the course was to help students navigate the rising issues of anxiety, depression, and stress. It was wildly successful amongst the students of the university, and the demand for it kept growing. Therefore, the university decided to offer it online via Coursera.

The course focuses on the following concepts:

  • Misconceptions regarding Happiness.
  • Our expectations.
  • Overcoming our biases.
  • Methods to improve our happiness.
  • How to put strategies into practice?
  • A final “Rewirement” Challenge.

It equips you with the following:

  • Designing your environment to support you in changing your behaviors.
  • Practical tips for incorporating in your daily life.
  • Teachings backed by scientifically-proven theories.
  • Tools to instill better habits and a happier outlook of life.
  • Teaches productive and efficient tips to make a big career, life, and financial decisions.

Click Here to sign up!


Personal development will go a long way in accelerating your journey towards your personal and professional goals in life. Thus, online personal development courses are an excellent way to get started on this journey. We hope you find our selected list of personal development courses useful and incorporate their teachings.

Are you looking for other tips and courses to improve yourself? Check out our website for well-designed self-development courses and tips here.

If you’ve recently started a business, then check out our blog on Business Development Strategies in Digital World for useful tips and strategies.


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