Soft Skills

How Can I Learn Soft Skills Online for Free?

Soft skills are in demand, and improving your soft skills can boost your career prospects and personal wellbeing—best of all, you can learn soft skills online for free through flexible, engaging and self-paced courses.


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At a glance: The best free online soft skills courses

COURSE PROVIDERDESCRIPTIONACCESS
EdX
Empathy and emotional intelligence at workFREE—optional paid certificateLEARN MORE
EdXWorking with personality typesFREE—optional paid certificateLEARN MORE
EdXInnovation and creativityFREE—optional paid certificateLEARN MORE
EdXPublic speakingFREE—optional paid certificateLEARN MORE
CourseraCreative thinkingFREE—optional paid grading & certificateLEARN MORE
CourseraSuccessful negotiationFREE—optional paid grading & certificateLEARN MORE
CourseraConverting challenges into opportunitiesFREE—optional paid grading & certificateLEARN MORE
GoSkillsBody language7-day FREE trialLEARN MORE
GoSkillsLeadership7-day FREE trialLEARN MORE
GoSkillsCustomer service7-day FREE trialLEARN MORE
Top online soft skills courses that you can learn for free

Soft skills are becoming more and more important in today’s workplace as employers recognize the value that they provide.

They’re at the heart of what drives company and personal success—communication, empathy and adaptability—and they play a vital role in the wellbeing of both companies and people.

And it’s not something that’s easy to hide—if your soft skills are weak, it will show

So, how can you go about improving your soft skills to boost your career prospects and bring out your fullest potential?

You can do it by making a decision to learn and practice the soft skills that matter for you!

It’s not always easy though, since soft skills are related to human behavior and differ from the so-called hard skills that you may be more familiar with—math, accounting and grammar, for instance.

But soft skills can be learned. And, fortunately, there are several excellent courses available to help improve your soft skills.

These courses are offered by MOOCs—massive open online course providers—so they have all the benefits of online learning.

They’re also self-paced, flexible and taught by high-caliber institutions.

And best of all, many of them are absolutely free. You can usually pay a small fee, however, for certification if you wish.

In this article, we’ll look at a few of the best free online soft skill courses available today.

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The best free online soft skills courses

EdX

EdX is a highly regarded learning platform that was founded by Harvard and MIT. It has a range of soft skills courses taught by leading institutions.



Top picks include:

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work

Strengthen your empathy, trust and collaboration and create more innovative, productive and satisfying experiences at work.

  • Taught by the University of California, Berkeley
  • Free (optional fee for verified certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • What are the psychological and biological roots of empathy, trust and cooperation?
    • How the skills of emotional and social intelligence support organizational happiness and productivity
    • How to strengthen empathy and resolve conflicts constructively, using research-based strategies
    • Lead with social intelligence
  • Self-paced, 1-2 hours per week for 4 weeks

Let’s Get Personal: Working with Personality Type

Understand personality types, including your own, and use this to your advantage to be more effective in the workplace.

  • Taught by the University of Maryland
  • Free (optional fee for verified certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • What are personality types and why do they matter at work?
    • How to communicate with different personality types and manage conflict and stress
    • Build teams and appreciating diversity amongst personality types
  • Self-paced, 2-3 hours per week for 6 weeks

Innovation and Creativity Management

Turn ideas into successful products and services by learning how to drive innovation and creativity in your company.

  • Taught by RWTH Aachen University
  • Free (optional fee for verified certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • How to successfully manage different types of innovation projects
    • How to harness individual and organizational creativity
    • The importance of soft skills for managing innovation successfully
  • Self-paced, 6-8 hours per week for 6 weeks

Public Speaking

Considered by many to be one of their greatest fears, public speaking can be a powerful form of communication. Build confidence as a speaker, using simple tools and skills to prepare and deliver memorable presentations.

  • Taught by the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Free (optional fee for verified certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • The essential elements of speech communication
    • Methods for controlling public speaking anxiety
    • How to craft a clear and impactful speech
    • How to critique other communicators
  • Self-paced, 4-6 hours per week for 3 weeks

Coursera

Founded by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera is a world-class learning platform that offers a range of learning options.

Coursera logo

The following are some top course picks in soft skills:

Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success

Learn behaviors and techniques to augment your inner creativity, harness new ideas and seize opportunities more effectively.

  • Taught by Imperial College London
  • Free to access course content (optional fee for graded assignments and certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • Understand creative thinking principles and techniques
    • Apply creativity to global challenges as well as everyday problem-solving
    • Match creative thinking techniques appropriately with problems and opportunities
  • Self-paced, approximately 20 hours to complete

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

The practice and process of successful negotiation, both personally and professionally.

  • Taught by the University of Michigan
  • Free to access course content (optional fee for graded assignments and certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • Skills and strategies for successful negotiation
    • Planning and analysis in preparing for negotiation
    • Tools and techniques for an effective negotiation process
  • Self-paced, approximately 17 hours to complete

Converting Challenges into Opportunities

Leverage left- and right-brain thinking to analyze problems, spur creativity and implement innovative solutions to workplace challenges.

  • Taught by the University of California, San Diego
  • Free to access course content (optional fee for graded assignments and certificate)
  • What you’ll learn
    • Design out-of-the-box whole of brain thinking
    • Prioritize and apply quantitative research methods to workplace problems
    • Use creative problem-solving to implement innovative solutions
  • Self-paced, approximately 10 hours to complete

GoSkills

GoSkills is a little different from EdX and Coursera—it’s an online learning platform with no particular university affiliation. It offers a range of acclaimed courses to meet a variety of personal and professional goals.

GoSkills has a subscription-based model, so there are no free courses. But you can sign up for a 7-day free trial with unlimited access to learning content during the trial.

And if you do choose to stay with GoSkills after the free trial, the monthly subscription rates are very reasonable.

An interesting feature of GoSkills is their focus on short, bite-sized lessons to make learning easier—this has been shown to be a very effective learning approach.

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A few of the popular soft skills courses available from GoSkills are:

Body Language

Overcome your nerves and impress your clients with invaluable tips and advice on body language—come across as confident and self-assured in business situations, appear poised and relaxed when meeting clients and deliver interviews and speeches with ease. 

  • 7-day free trial available
  • Certificate on completion
  • 20 engaging video tutorials
  • What you’ll learn
    • Valuable insights on how to use body language to communicate effectively
    • Best practices for delivering a speech and media interviews
    • How to avoid commonly held misconceptions about body language
  • Self-paced learning, approximately 4 hours to complete

Leadership

Strong leadership skills can dramatically increase your performance and employability—discover 7 ways to ensure exceptional leadership that influences and motivates others and fulfills your potential.

  • 7-day free trial available
  • Certificate on completion
  • 21 practical video tutorials
  • What you’ll learn
    • Influence and lead different personality types
    • Set and implement purpose-driven targets and overcome challenges
    • Motivate others and change behaviors through strategies of consequence, reward and reinforcement
  • Self-paced learning, approximately 10 hours to complete

Customer Service

Skills in customer service are highly valued—fast-track your career by knowing how to create and nurture a loyal customer base.

  • 7-day free trial available
  • Certificate on completion
  • 22 practical video tutorials
  • What you’ll learn
    • Understand the role of psychology in delivering excellent customer service
    • Learn how to engage with customers and provide positive interactions
    • Identify and resolve customer problems by providing solutions that exceed expectations
  • Self-paced learning, approximately 11 hours to complete

Conclusion

Soft skills are valuable and can make a real difference for your personal and professional growth. They’re linked to behavior, so learning them isn’t the same as learning skills like math, science or accounting.

Fortunately, there are many excellent online courses available for learning soft skills.

These courses are flexible, interactive and self-paced. They’re taught by leading institutions and experienced professionals. And many of them are absolutely free!

It’s worth investing time and effort in improving your soft skills, and it’s easy to get started with one of the free online courses listed in this article today.

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