Free e-Learning courses

Hi everyone,

I graduated from my Masters in Educational Technology about 2 years ago. While we had some hands-on experience, I definitely need more current exposure to the field  and more practice in actually designing courses. 

My goal is to eventually work as a  freelancer.

For now, I want to make courses! (to practice and to use on my portfolio) While I'm willing to spend a little out-of-pocket what's proven to be an obstacle is finding reliable and complete content.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can go about this. I'm sure plenty of organizations would greatly benefit from free e-learning course.

Thanks in advance!

7 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Fay, and welcome to the Heroes community.

A few suggestions....

1> Make courses on anything. In fact, build anything at all. People who will hire you as a Freelancer seldom want to see "courses", they want to see your style, your thought process etc. I do not have any complete "courses" at all on my website/portfolio, but I do have examples of what I can do, my thought processes, and how I can do it, and some screenshots from courses.

2> Have a read of this thread - 10 pages of invaluable help if you want to be a freelancer.

3> Then this one - on where to find work.

4> As to your main point - walk into an organisation that you have a contact with, (or even one that you do not), a local charity, hospital, hospice etc. If they have a website - they can run a course that you build. Build one. Set the time and content parameters, and just do it.

Hope that helps, welcome to the community, and keep asking questions here when you need to.


Garry Hargreaves

Hi Fay,

I think when you are a newbee you just don’t have a portfolio and some client are going to want to see something functional in the first instance.  So the below maybe an approach you may consider and it aligns with Bruce’s 4th point.

Pick a topic where there is lots of content freely available and already written. You don’t want to blogged down actually writing prose for a project.  If you pick a larger organisation this means the content probable lives within a powerpoint slide show somewhere in HR or the training department.  You biggest challenge will be cutting the content down the 50 slides ie: instruction design job.

Try to select a topic that everyone within an organisation MUST complete. I’d steer away from a ‘niche areas’ as a newbee unless you are (or know) a Subject Matter Expert (SME). This offers you the broadest exposure to you skills and helps get buy in from the organisation from a holistic perspective.

Don’t pick a topic that is too big – select something that is manageable and that depends on how much time (and money) you have to burn.

So what the best topic to pick? What to do?  Drum roll….

walk into an organisation that you have a contact with and ask if you can revamp their “Corporate Induction” and put it online.  As a Freelancer you’ll need to talk to clients, get briefs, offer advice to IT departments, control scope creep, costing (even if you don’t charge them at cost), and back cost your project and double check you costing assumption (that will help you accurately cost future projects). Why this topic? Simply because EVERY organisation must have one as part of their ‘onboarding’ and ‘compliance regime’. Sothat mean every large organisation represents a potential client.

You can show other large organisations something functional and it does not mean you can’t do concept work also.  Bruce is right, after you have a critical mass of content in your portfolio, clients won’t want to see ever click of the button but you need to build your bona fides.

Attached is a checklist I built a while ago.  It may help you decide what Corporate Induction topics and content needs to be included within your project.  If that is too big a task, choose a cut down version to gain interest from your organisational champion (contact).

Hope it helps



Fay A

Hi Bruce, Hi Gary,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and formulating such informative responses.

You've definitely pointed me in the right direction. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I'm particularly glad I've stumbled upon this community.  This will no doubt be an invaluable resource!

All the best!


Jerson  Campos


Not to long ago I started out where you did, no actual experience building eLearning courses. I downloaded the trial version of Storyline and Captivate, and with the help of this community I was able to obtain a job in the eLearning industry. I'm building up my experience right now and getting a few projects under my belt. I might go the freelance route someday, but for now I'm enjoying somebody paying me to learn and have fun doing it.

Diana Myers

Fay, congratulations on taking the first (and hardest) step toward your goals!

The advice already posted is extremely valuable, but I would also encourage you to consider non-traditional organizations, too.  Perhaps there are a few local non-profits whose missions align with your interests (pet rescue, APA, helping seniors or kids, recycling, photography, etc.) - developing projects for them is such a win-win-win for you, the client and the community.  Organizations like this don't always have the resources to create their own projects, and while they may not need a typical course like How to Do X, they may be able to provide you with a lot of opportunity to be creative.

You might also want to ask in your local schools.  I volunteered to create a trivia game for my son's classroom, and it blossomed into a fun, worthwhile project in which I learned several new skills and gained more experience using the tool. 

I guess my message is try to find something that compells you.  I had to create a sample course for an interview and I based it off strange, outdated laws that are still on the books in states across the country.  It was fun, unexpected and allowed me to show my ID and development skills as well as a bit of my personality, too. 

Best of luck to you - keep us posted on your progess!!!

Heidi Winkel Tierney

Hi Fay,Someone at the DevLearn conference last year had designed a course on how to do laundry. It was a very fun, engaging course, and it was quite a refreshing change when looking at course after course on business practices. Something like that (a simple task that everyone does - outside a work environment) might be a comfortable first step that would be fun to develop.Hope that helps,Heidi