10 Great Free Online Courses for Senior Citizens

As a senior citizen, it can be easy to excuse yourself from going after new and unfamiliar activities. This is especially true if you feel it’s too late to head back to school or take up a new hobby. However, this is not the case at all! There are so many passions, pastimes, and skills that senior citizens can pursue no matter where they’re at in their lives. Since many seniors become less mobile or spend more time indoors, signing up for an online course for fun and leisure may be the perfect option. 

Seniors deserve the freedom to learn and try whatever they want just as younger people do, which is why free online courses are so important. As long as you have access to a smartphone, computer, or tablet, these courses are accessible to you. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different classes and activities that senior citizens may find enjoyable, so it was hard to narrow them down to just a few. But using our exclusive methodology, we’ve settled on ten excellent free courses for seniors. If you’re at a stage in life where you want to learn something new, keep reading to check out these options.

RANKING TEN FREE ONLINE COURSES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

1. The Path to Happiness and Good Quality of Life 

Provided by Future Learn

As you grow older, you may find that some of the things you enjoyed earlier in life are no longer accessible. Even if this isn’t the case for you, it is always important to take control of your happiness and understand your feelings. This course from Future Learn does just that and is completely free to take for members or non-members. Future Learn is an online website that offers a variety of educational resources for people of all ages, with a rotating list of courses that is ever-changing so you never know just what you will get. 

This best free online course, instructed by Graciela H. Tonon from the Universidad de Palermo, goes over the concepts of happiness and quality of life for people through different stages in their life. You will discuss the quality of life for children, adults, and senior citizens, all while identifying the different characteristics of your quality of life and happiness. Considering all of the stress that has surrounded the year 2020, evaluating your personal quality of life and happiness could be cathartic. 

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes (with $59 fee)

Time to Complete: Approximately 4 weeks

Curriculum: Beginner 

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

  • Start anytime and go at your own pace
  • Delve deep into the concepts of happiness and the quality of life
  • Especially relevant for senior citizens  

Cons:

  • Certificate does not come free with the course 

2. Art Essentials: Learn Watercolor Painting Basics

Provided by SkillShare

Watercolor painting is an incredibly easy and accessible way for senior citizens to learn a new form of art. Watercolor paints are fairly self-explanatory, plus they are cheap and easy to find at most craft stores or online. This simple watercolor class provided by SkillShare has all the tools you need to use painting to pass the time! This is one of what SkillShare considers to be their premium classes, meaning you would normally need a paid premium membership to access it. However, the site is currently offering a two-week free trial period for new users, which is plenty of time to complete this short course. 

This great free course for senior citizens covers all of the basics of watercolor painting, including how to use watercolor paints on both wet and dry paper, how to mix a color using primary-colored paints, and how to create texture using different brushes and tools. For practice, the instructor uses the example of shoes, which is incredibly fun and whimsical. By the end of the course, you will learn how much water to use, how to use different brushes, and how to use a basic color chart. 

Cost: Free (with SkillShare Premium free trial)

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Approximately 1 hour

Curriculum: Beginner 

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

  • Start anytime and go at your own pace
  • Learn watercolor paints from the absolute basics 
  • Learn how to use different brushes and tools 

Cons:

  • Certificate does not come with the course 

3. Music Theory: Instruments and Rhythm

For some senior citizens, music is an interest or hobby that has followed them throughout their lives, even from the time they were very young. Learning about music theory is just another way to appreciate music more deeply, especially music that is now considered classic. This course comes from Alison, which is an educational website aimed at the more business-minded individual. Alison is free to join and while many of its courses have a more professional purpose, there are many lifestyle courses that are perfect for senior citizens. 

Throughout this free online course, you will learn how to actively listen to music and identify the different instruments, sounds, and rhythms in a song. Listening is something that takes constant practice, and if you already listen to a lot of music this course can help you become a more knowledgeable listener. The course goes over basic musical rules and theory, instruments, beats, rhythm, and different sounds you might find in a song and how to identify them. The course only takes between one and a half and three hours to complete, so you can start becoming a more active listener right away!

Cost: Free 

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Approximately 1.5 to 3 hours 

Curriculum: Beginner 

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

  • Start anytime and go at your own pace
  • Teaches you about sounds and instruments you have likely already heard 
  • Shows you how to become a more active listener

Cons:

  • Certificate does not come with the course 

4. Introduction to Philosophy

Provided by the University of Edinburgh via Coursera

If you are a senior citizen who is looking to learn a skill that is a little more intellectual or academic, look no further than this Introduction to Philosophy class from Coursera. Nearly half a million students have already enrolled in this free course, which aims to cover a wide variety of contemporary philosophers and their thoughts. Coursera is an educational platform designed to help students and professionals get ahead or jump start their careers with free and paid courses and specializations, and it’s widely regarded as one of the premier learning websites. 

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