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Learn something new: our pick of the best online courses

Learn something new: our pick of the best online courses

It’s no surprise that there are now more courses and workshops to take part it online than ever – and more than a few articles suggesting which ones you might like to try. Knowing that you’ve probably heard of some of the best well-known (Masterclass, Learning with Experts and Create Academy are the ones everyone seems to be talking about that we’ve particularly enjoyed), we’ve tried to seek out those that are a little more under the radar. So, whether you’re interested in art, writing, history or gardening, keep reading and you may just discover a course to fill your time and broaden your horizons. 

The Idler Academy

There’s a course for almost anything you could be interested in learning (and some things you didn’t even know you were interested in learning) from The Idler Academy, including lessons on how to build your own utopia, ukulele for beginners and ancient philosophy. Among the courses we’ve added to our shopping cart are Alys Fowler’s guide to growing vegetables and herbs, beekeeping with Bill Anderson, and how to live and eat like an Italian. Founder Tom Hodgkinson’s ‘how to be idle’ – all about his philosophy on how to live the good life – is also one not to be missed. Courses cost £42 each, but you can also subscribe from £69.95 which gives you access to all the courses and six issues of the Idler magazine a year.

London Art Studies

If you’re interested in art and would like to expand your knowledge, these classes are for you. Intelligent and insightful but accessible, each video from London Art Studies is led by an expert lecturer on a particular painting, artist or movement. You can also browse through their curated collections (with series like ‘Women Artists’ and ‘The Art of Colour’) and there are live talks and Q&A sessions to tune into as well. London Art Studies’ videos are available through various subscriptions, which start at £5 for one off access to three videos, or £8.99 a month, and include 30% off books from Phaidon so you can continue reading about your favourite subjects.

University of Oxford online

Did you know that the University of Oxford also run online short courses? A little longer and more expensive (most cost £280 and last for ten sessions) than some of the other courses on our list, they’re certainly not as involved as a degree, but you’ll have the opportunity to go more in-depth on a subject you’re especially interested in with these classes, including taking part in discussions and submitting coursework. All sorts of academic topics are covered too, including architectural history, cultural studies and literature. Some course don’t run until later in the year, but often have recommended reading to keep you going in the meantime – two we’ve bookmarked are ‘The Culture of the English Country House’ and ‘Western Architecture: The Modern Era’.

The Slow Life Good Life Club

This online community was set up just a few weeks ago as a way to bring together lessons and live sessions on all sorts of creative pursuits, like cooking and gardening, as well as on the topic of wellness. You simply sign up for £5 a month and you’ll have access to the videos and online events from people like River Cottage author Steven Lamb and garden designer Anna Wardrop. Looking for even more? Head to sister website Do What You Love for courses on how to be happy and, funnily enough, how to do what you love.

Faber Academy

One for budding writers, world-famous publishing house Faber & Faber have distilled their knowledge into a series of online courses ranging from the short (‘Write a short story in a weekend’) to the lengthy (their twenty-eight-week novel writing courses are their practical answer to a creative writing master’s degree), and from beginner (‘Read like a writer’) to advanced (‘Finish your first draft’). Each one includes video sessions, online discussions, writing prompts and access to an expert tutor for advice. Courses start from £120 and are limited in size so you can get the best from the experience, just like in a real classroom.

More of a reader than a watcher? You’ve come to the right place, as our journal is chock-full of lessons in the art of decorating your home (with a smattering of gardening and cooking thrown in too). 

Tags: Features