10 Creative Online Courses You Can Take for Free Online | Artsy (2024)

Creativity serves everyone, from artists and scientists to entrepreneurs. And now, along with the wide range of free art classes accessible through the internet, you can also take a creative online course that aim to boost cognitive functions and hone problem-solving and thinking skills. Here, we share 10 such classes—tackling topics from biohacking the brain to the importance of play—to help you embrace and enhance your creativity.

Biohacking Your Brain’s Health

Time commitment: 4 weeks, 2–3 hours a week (self-paced)

The human brain consumes more energy than any other organ in the human body. It’s the powerhouse of ideas, and we count on it to be constantly up and running, so it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that in order to function properly and perform creative tasks, brains require care.

In this course, Emory University professor Dr. Karima Benameur shares her four-pronged approach to caring for your brain, taking into consideration how it’s affected by nutrition, exercise, medication, and sleep. Dr. Benameur teaches students practical ways to improve brain function, based on evidence found in recent research studies, and debunks popular myths to show how the human brain really works.

You can audit this course for free, and you’ll have access to all of the materials (except for tests and quizzes). At the end of each lesson, Dr. Benameur gives out a “prescription” of tips to help you improve your brain’s health.

Psychology of Art and Creativity

Time commitment: 8 weeks, 4 hours a week (self-paced)

This creative online course explores creativity at the intersection between art and psychology and seeks to answer a multitude of questions, like: What is creativity? Can we create under pressure? Are certain personalities drawn to certain artworks? Professor Shannon Whitten discusses everything from what an artwork tells us about the artist’s creative process to the problem with linking creativity to mental illness.

Professor Whitten also delves into the transformative power of art in terms of both human health and societal well-being. This course will introduce the latest research in art therapy and creativity—like studies that have shown that looking at art can help improve observation skills and reduce anxiety—and concludes with an exploration into the mutually influential relationship between society and art.

Creative Problem Solving

Time commitment: 4–6 hours a week (self-paced)

In the first lesson of this course, students are taught that creative problem-solving is a skill that can be learned. Through a series of simple-yet-transformative prompts, it aims to challenge our old patterns and ways of thinking. For example, by asking us to eat something different, it encourages us to push the limits of our own ways of thinking and step out onto newer more fertile territory. With a focus on divergent thinking—the ability to come up with as many ideas and solutions as possible—the course emphasizes the importance of stepping outside of our usual habits and behavior.

Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life

Time commitment: 7 weeks, 3 hours a week, starting February 18th

Play offers valuable benefits at every age, from helping children hone their imagination to aiding adults in thinking outside of the box—in other words, to think more creatively. This creative online course will introduce students to various forms of play that people experience throughout life. Virtual tours of institutions that investigate play, like the V&A Museum of Childhood in London and the Weston Park Museum in Sheffield, will introduce the history of play. Students will also learn practical methods for promoting and enabling productive play in their own environments, and the course promises to explain “why the future is playful.”

Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success

Time commitment: 7 weeks, 2–4 hours a week (self-paced)

Course instructors from Imperial College London make a very important distinction in introducing this course: “The greatest innovators aren’t necessarily the people who have the most original idea.” Instead, it’s often those who use their creativity to look at things differently and communicate effectively who are the most effective innovators.

This course is a virtual buffet of creativity skills for you to add to your “toolbox.” The instructors encourage students to pick and choose the techniques and lessons that best serve their needs. You can learn about the “SCAMPER” method of innovation and the “TRIZ” theory for more confidence and inventive problem-solving, as well as a host of brainstorming techniques. You’ll walk away with your own system for generating ideas.

Design Thinking and Creativity for Innovation

Time commitment: 10 weeks, 8–10 hours a week (self-paced)

This course offers an introduction to design thinking, a problem-solving methodology that involves setting aside assumptions in order to develop solutions. The approach involves considering every possible solution to a problem, and then testing out each one.

The lessons begin with a meditation on creativity, while dispelling common misconceptions about it that may hinder innovation. Its lessons aim to help students hone problem-solving skills through exercises involving real-world scenarios. Its focus is geared towards creativity in an entrepreneurial context, with lessons on building creative and innovative organizations.

Visual Perception and the Brain

Time commitment: 4 weeks, 3–4 hours a week (self-paced)

Visual artists stand to gain a great deal from learning about how the brain processes what we see. That topic is at the core of this course presented by Duke University, which combines neuroscience, history, philosophy, and psychology.

Dr. Dale Purves starts off by explaining the basics of the anatomy of the eye and the visual cortex of the brain. Then, he explains how our eyes and brains process light and color, and addresses questions such as: How do our eyes and brain work together to perceive depth? How do we perceive speed? It may sound rather technical, but it is geared towards novices. “We see the physical world in a strange way,” the course description reads, “and our goal is to understand why.”

Healing with the Arts

Time commitment: 6 weeks, 3–5 hours a week (self-paced)

Painting, drawing, dancing, writing, and music are all part of this creative online course, employed as tools for students to restore their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The lessons encourage students to make the time and space to let art into their lives, and to ignore the inner critic that often turns a pleasant artistic endeavor into a stressful storm of self-criticism. Students keep a journal throughout, and are given the tools to make art a restorative part of their lives.

Defining the Concept of Culture

Time commitment: 2 weeks, 5 hours a week, starting January 28th

Recent studies have found that dating someone from another culture and living abroad can benefit your creativity. This course opens up discussions of what culture is, how cultures interact, and how it all affects our way of thinking. Lessons will help you understand your own biases and give you the tools you need to get the most out of your next intercultural experience. So when you do decide to travel to a country that is entirely new to you, you are prepared to be immersed.

Ignite Your Everyday Creativity

Time commitment: 6 weeks, 3 hours a week

Consider creativity to be an essential 21st-century skill. It’s increasingly considered to be essential to a well-rounded employee and at the core of a sector in our economy. Each lesson in this course explores a different facet of what it means to be creative and introduces a new skill into your creative thinking repertoire.

Instructors Dr. Cyndi Burnett and Dr. John F. Cabra, both professors of creative studies from the State University of New York Buffalo State, argue that creativity is a universal and innate ability. Drawing on psychological and creativity research, they bring you a series of exercises that will impart a new skill for developing your creativity.

For example, students are prompted to do a visualization exercise that engages all of their senses and imagination. When thinking of a flower, for example, the professors ask you to think of the feel of its petals and the sounds they evoke. The goal of the creative online course, they say, “is to help you recognize, develop, and act upon the creativity that you already possess.”

10 Creative Online Courses You Can Take for Free Online | Artsy (2024)


10 Creative Online Courses You Can Take for Free Online | Artsy? ›

MOOCs are free, but they may charge for certain features, like certificates of completion. For example, while edX users can audit courses for free, verified track participants pay about $50 to $300 per course.

What is the best website for free online courses? ›

Top 7 Free Online Course Providers
  • EdX – Best Overall.
  • Coursera – Best Language Variety.
  • FutureLearn – Best for STEM Courses.
  • Codecademy – Best for Coding Courses.
  • Udacity – Best for IT Courses.
  • Memrise – Best for Foreign Language Courses.
  • Udemy – Best for Business Courses.
Nov 10, 2022

What is the best art course online? ›

Here are our top picks
Course HighlightWorkload
Best Free Human Anatomy Drawing Course for Artists (Proko)23 hours
Best Free Perspective Drawing Course (Dan Beardshaw)2-3 hours
Best Free Doodling Art Course for Beginners (Shayda Campbell)3 hours
Best Free Manga Drawing Course (Whyt Manga)2-3 hours
7 more rows

What is the most popular online course website? ›

  • Udemy. Best For | Affordable classes for professional skills. ...
  • Coursera. Best For | On-demand higher education degrees, university certificates, and credits. ...
  • Masterclass. Best For | On-demand classes from industry experts across fields. ...
  • edX. ...
  • Skillshare. ...
  • LinkedIn Learning. ...
  • Alison. ...
  • Udacity.
Jan 22, 2024

Are free online courses actually free? ›

MOOCs are free, but they may charge for certain features, like certificates of completion. For example, while edX users can audit courses for free, verified track participants pay about $50 to $300 per course.

Is Coursera no longer free? ›

Is Coursera Still Free? Yes and no. A few courses on Coursera are paid only.

Is there money in online courses? ›

An average course creator can make a few thousand dollars per month selling online courses full-time. If you are starting out part time, you can expect a few hundred dollars initially, but this depends on a lot of factors like the price of your course, your audience, and your marketing & selling skills.

What art course pays the most? ›

9 Highest Paying Art Careers
  • #1 Art Director. Median Salary: $94,220. ...
  • #2 Producer & Director. Median Salary: $74,420. ...
  • #3 Landscape Architect. Median Salary: $69,360. ...
  • #4 Video Editor. Median Salary: $63,780. ...
  • #5 Graphic Designer. Median Salary: $52,110. ...
  • #6 Drafter. Median Salary: $56,830. ...
  • #7 Art Curator. ...
  • #8 Interior Designer.

What is the easiest digital art program to learn? ›

Procreate has many digital features, such as brush customization, perspective rulers, clipping masks, text tools, and animation. Not only is it rich in features, but it also has a clean interface that's easy for beginners to understand.

What do most online artists use? ›

If you're taking the professional route, Photoshop is the most recommended, especially for paintings and two-dimensional drawings. But if you're looking for more affordable alternatives, you can try CorelDRAW, Krita and many others. Meanwhile, many artists recommend Clip Studio Paint for classic comic book art.

What online course makes the most money? ›

The top 7 most profitable niches for your online course range from focusing on teaching business-related skills to entertainment, hobbies and lifestyle:
  • Entrepreneurship and Business.
  • Entertainment.
  • Digital Marketing.
  • Computer and IT.
  • Health and Wellness.
  • Career Coaching.
  • Arts and Crafts.

How do I find a good online course? ›

Here are some questions to explore when selecting a good online course or program:
  1. Is the school accredited? Individuals' goals may vary, but accreditation is often a key consideration. ...
  2. How qualified are the professors? ...
  3. What degree will you be eligible for? ...
  4. How flexible is the course?

What are the most trending courses today? ›

Many interests and professional choices are catered for in the following courses.
  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. ...
  2. Data Science and Analytics. ...
  3. Cybersecurity. ...
  4. Digital Marketing. ...
  5. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. ...
  6. Healthcare Entrepreneurship and Management. ...
  7. Project Management. ...
  8. Business Finance.

Is Google certification free? ›

How much do the Google Career Certificates cost? Google Career Certificates cost $49 per month on Coursera after an initial 7-day free trial period. All Google Career Certificates are completely self-paced. At about 10 hours of study per week, many learners complete a Google Career Certificate in three to six months.

What is a free course? ›

Free courses are educational programs that are available online at no cost. These courses cover a wide range of subjects and are typically offered by universities, educational institutions, or online learning platforms.

Are free certifications worth it? ›

For those seeking career advancement or resume enhancement, free online courses, certificate programs, and certifications are worth considering. Many are self-paced, allowing for greater flexibility.

Which is better, Udemy or Coursera? ›

In summary, Coursera offers a range of certificates, from single courses to full degrees, many of which carry academic weight and accreditation. Udemy, meanwhile, provides completion certificates that are great for personal growth and demonstrating your learning journey, though they lack formal accreditation.

Is Coursera owned by Google? ›

Is Google associated with Coursera? Although our Certificates are housed on Coursera, an international online learning platform that provides access to online courses, neither Google nor Alphabet own Coursera. Is Coursera owned by Google?

Is Khan Academy free? ›

Created by experts, Khan Academy's library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more. It's all free for learners and teachers.

How much does Coursera cost? ›

How much does an online certificate program on Coursera cost? Professional Certificate program costs range from $39-$99 USD per month. You can start with a 7 day free trial. MasterTrack Certificate program costs typically range from $2,000-$5,000.


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