12 online courses that teach design thinking – a soft skill that can help you find creative solutions and stand out in your career

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E learning Designing Your Life 4x3
  • Design thinking is a creative, human-focused process to problem-solving.
  • It’s about tapping into people’s true needs to create feasible innovations, products, and solutions.
  • Below are 12 design thinking online classes offered by schools like MIT and Stanford.

Design thinking is a concept that’s been gaining popularity over recent years. Broadly, it’s a way of taking a human-focused approach to design and problem-solving. Rather than collecting lots of conflicting data or making predictions without evidence, it encourages people to understand the true motivations of their audience, be it customers, students, or staff members. Design thinking principles can also be useful in your own life, such as figuring out which career you want or how to structure your life.

Below are 12 online design thinking classes, from schools like MIT and Stanford and companies like Microsoft and IDEO. Some are free to audit with an optional, paid certificate; others charge a fee but provide a certificate upon completion. Certificate costs range from $16.99-$599, depending on the class and platform.

Here are 12 online design thinking classes:

Design Thinking Fundamentals

Businessman reviewing project plans on office wall while working on digital tablet

Design Thinking Fundamentals (small)

School: Rochester Institute of Technology

Length: 6 weeks

Cost: Free; $299 for a certificate.  

Part of a longer edX MicroMasters program on Design Thinking, this class covers the basics of design thinking, teaching you how to use design to solve problems. It also debunks the misconception that you have to be artistic to implement design thinking and shows you how to think of it as more of a strategy. 

Stay Competitive Using Design Thinking

Design thinking

Try Stay Competitive Using Design Thinking on LinkedIn Learning here

Instructor: LinkedIn Learning and frog, a global design and strategy firm

Length: 11 hours and 38 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $19.99 or $29.99 per month (depending on subscription) after trial ends

Comprised of short videos, this LinkedIn Learning Path is meant for graphic designers and covers the basics of design thinking as well as provides actionable steps to implementing its principles and mastering the process. You’ll get a certificate at the end of the course to add to your LinkedIn profile as well.

Designing Your Career

Man working from home

Designing Your Career (small)

School: Stanford University

Length: 5 weeks

Cost: Free; $50 for a certificate 

By one of the authors of the bestselling “Designing Your Life,” this course applies design thinking to find the right career path for you. It’s self-paced and offers different exercises to help you sort out what you actually like to do and create tangible goals around that information. 

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Designing Your Life Course Screenshot

Buy Designing Your Life from CreativeLive here

Instructors: Stanford lecturers Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Length: 4 hours and 39 minutes

Cost: $29

“Designing Your Life” authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans teach a broader course that expands on the lessons from their bestselling book — and gives students a more hands-on way to put the ideas into practice through assignments and examples. You can read a full review of the course here.

Design Thinking of Innovation

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Design Thinking for Innovation (small)

School: University of Virginia

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 per month to keep learning after trial ends

In this course, you learn how to use creativity to solve difficult business and organizational problems and come up with bold, new ideas. You follow a model that asks four key questions to prompt design thinking and learn from real-life organizations as examples. You can also take other courses in the Leading the Modern Day Business Specialization

Learning How to Learn

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Learning How to Learn (small)

School: McMaster University and UC San Diego

Length: 4 weeks 

Cost: Free; $49 for certificate

One of the most popular Coursera courses, this class teaches you techniques to break up tough subjects and concepts. By emphasizing ways to make learning design easier and more effective, this class demonstrates the importance of a human-focused approach to learning. 

Gamification: Motivation Psychology & The Art of Engagement

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Gamification: Motivation Psychology & The Art of Engagement (small)

Instructor: Rob Sutcliffe, UI designer

Length: 3 hours and 7 minutes 

Cost: $14.99 (Normally $94.99)

In 46 lectures, you cover a crucial component of design thinking: human behavior. Using psychology, you learn what motivates people to act, using this knowledge to build community and motivate staff, students, or customers. You will get a certificate upon completion of the course.

Human-Centered Design: An Introduction

Use your smart watch to swipe your card to enter the subway station

Human-Centered Design: An Introduction (small)

School: UC San Diego

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 per month to keep learning after trial ends

This class teaches you how to create technologies that people actually like to use, and helps you conduct fieldwork to get a better sense of what people want by asking the right questions in interviews. You can also take other courses in the Interaction Design Specialization

Design Thinking for Leading and Learning

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Design Thinking for Leading and Learning (small)

School: MIT and Microsoft

Length: 6 weeks

Cost: Free; $49 for a certificate

Geared towards classroom learning, this course shows you how to apply design thinking to a variety of K-12 school settings. The end goal is to find innovative, pragmatic solutions to educational challenges, with the hope of improving schools and school systems. 

Design Thinking for the Greater Good

Woman in a video conference with her coworkers while working from home

Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector (small)

School: University of Virginia 

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free; $59 for a certificate 

This course focuses specifically on applying design thinking to nonprofit and volunteer work, using examples from governmental, educational, and healthcare institutions to show you how to create new solutions that can help more people. 

From Ideas to Action

Chinese businessman making display in office

From Ideas to Action (small)

Instructor: IDEO U

Length: 5 weeks 

Cost: $599

IDEO is a leading design thinking firm and IDEO U offers certificate courses on the subject. This one in particular teaches you the steps from designing a plan to implementing and testing it, as well as how to learn from failure. You will get a certificate upon completing the course. This course is part of two longer certificate programs, Foundations of Design Thinking and Advanced Design Thinking.

Design Thinking in 3 Steps

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Design Thinking in 3 Steps (small)

Instructor: Alan Cooper, founder of Designit Strategic Design

Length: 1 hour and 42 minutes

Cost: $189.99

This fairly-quick class focuses on the three pillars of design thinking: understanding your target audience, envisioning an innovative solution, and testing out an idea. Through 55 short lectures, you learn to thoroughly plan out your research methods and storyboard your design ideas. You’ll also get a certificate upon completion of the course.

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10 easy ways to quickly improve your grammar, from affordable online courses to a free Chrome plug-in

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  • Knowledge of grammar is important in the world of professional emails and job applications.
  • Online resources can help you improve your punctuation, writing style, and sentence structure.
  • The list below includes 10 online classes, books, and free apps to sharpen your grammar skills.

Whether your job prospects actively involve a lot of writing or you find English punctuation rules confusing, understanding grammar can make your sentences stand out. It’s an increasingly important skill to have, considering how much our careers usually revolve around written text – be it in cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, emails, or presentations.

While learning more about grammar can seem like a daunting endeavor, there are plenty of accessible ways to do it, whether you take a short online course, consult a reference guide, or install a free grammar-checking app.

10 affordable resources to improve your grammar:


Grammarly 4x3

Cost: Free for basic plan; $11.66 a month for Premium.

If you consider yourself more of a hands-on learner, you can download Grammarly, an AI-powered writing Chrome extension and mobile keyboard. It’s essentially like the spellcheck tool, but gives more detailed feedback so you can learn more about grammar as you go. It’s free to download, but the paid version gives more personalized guidance on style, such as avoiding excess words like “really” or “I think,” using more inclusive language, or tweaking your tone. You can read a review of the free version of Grammarly here.

Available on Grammarly.

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White 4x3

Length: 96 pages

Cost: $2.98 on Kindle; $7.89 paperback

This style manual is a staple of many high school and college classes and is regarded as a must-have by many writing and English instructors. It includes commonly misspelled words and expressions, making it a handy reference guide for when you get stuck on an essay or writing assignment. If you’re planning on expanding your grammar knowledge, you can’t go wrong with this classic.

Available on Amazon.

English Grammar and Style

English Grammar and Style 4x3

Length: 8 weeks

Cost: Free

Offered by the University of Queensland in Australia, this course devotes each week to one section (such as verbs or punctuation) so that you’re not overwhelmed. The class comes with video interviews from grammarians to guide you through the lessons, plus virtual quizzes and writing activities so that you can practice everything you learn right after you learn it.* 

Available on edX.

*This course is archived, but you can still access all the materials

Editing and Proofreading Made Simple

Editing and Proofreading Made Simple 4x3

Length: 39 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $29.99 a month or $19.99 a month (annual fee) after trial ends

Not everyone has the money or time for a personal proofreader, so this speedy course is meant to help you edit your own work quickly and effectively. You go over the five keys of good editing for things like emails, presentations, and blog posts, so that you can apply these lessons to your daily professional life. This course comes with a LinkedIn certificate of completion at the end.

Available on LinkedIn Learning.

Grammar Foundations

Grammar Foundations 4x3

Length: 2 hours and 11 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $29.99 a month or $19.99 a month (annual fee) after trial ends

This relatively short beginner course isn’t about memorizing an endless list of rules that you know you’ll eventually forget. Rather, it’s focused on quickly teaching you the most basic principles you can apply to avoid the most common mistakes. It provides you with tricks for using words that sound alike (like “affect” and “effect”) and understanding parallel sentence structure. As a bonus, you automatically receive a certificate of completion by the end of the course, which you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

Available on LinkedIn Learning.

Tricky English Grammar

Tricky English Grammar 4x3

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 a month to keep learning after trial ends

Designed for both native and nonnative English speakers, this UC Irvine course is built around the things that can trip you up. Through a combination of lectures and practice quizzes, you learn whether to put “a” or “the” in front of certain nouns, or how to navigate confusing rules about infinitives. Completion of the course earns you a certificate to put on your resume or LinkedIn profile. The course is also part of a larger Coursera specialization in Intermediate Grammar.

Available on Coursera.

Writing and Editing: Word Choice and Word Order

Writing and Editing  Word Choice and Word Order 4x3

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $39 a month to keep learning after trial ends

Beyond understanding grammar, knowledge of syntax (or the order of words) can help you make complex information easier to read. On top of covering crucial grammar rules, this engaging University of Michigan course teaches you how to simplify your sentences and consider your word choice, so that you can present your ideas in a more effective way. Completion of the course gets you a certificate to put on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Available on Coursera.

Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab)

Purdue University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) 4x3

Cost: Free

Purdue University’s online writing lab (OWL) offers a wealth of written resources to answer all your grammar and style questions as they come up. It has specific examples as well, like explaining the difference between “that” and “which,” and provides detailed guidance on sentence mechanics, punctuation, and style. 

Available on Purdue University’s OWL.

How to Write an Essay

How to Write an Essay 4x3

Length: 5 weeks

Cost: Free; $169 for a certificate

In a little over a month, this UC Berkeley class teaches you how to structure a convincing essay, with a strong focus on grammar and style. This is great if you want to get better at longer-form writing, such as academic writing, or sharpen a personal statement for a college application. You can take this course free or pay to get a shareable certificate. 

Available on edX.

“Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English” by Patricia T. O’Conner

"Woe Is I  The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English" by Patricia T. O'Conner 4x3

Length: 320 pages

Cost: $9.99 for e-textbook

Written by a former “New York Times” book review editor, this tome is full of funny, light-hearted examples of grammatical errors, with clear (and judgment-free) instructions on how to avoid common mistakes. The tone of the book is geared toward reminding you that everyone — including bestselling authors — can find English grammar confusing. You can order as a book or e-textbook, which lets you annotate the text and create digital flashcards.

Available on Amazon.

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Udemy’s bestselling online courses are on sale right now starting at $12, from Python bootcamps to character drawing classes

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Udemy E learning 4x3
  • Udemy has over 130,000 online courses that range from character drawing to Python and web development bootcamps.
  • Courses usually include hours of video lectures, downloadable resources, and a certificate of completion.
  • Right now, Udemy classes are on sale through March 16, starting as low as $11.99. Find details below, as well as the top 10 Udemy courses.

Whether you’re using your free time to pick up in-demand career skills like programming or just want to learn how to play guitar – you may want to take advantage of Udemy’s offerings.

Right now, as part of its March sale, the site has discounted its courses as low as $11.99 through March 16. You can browse them here, or find 10 of the most popular ones on sale below. Udemy also has over 590 free online classes, which you can find here.

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Udemy courses typically include hours of video lectures, downloadable resources (like additional readings), and a certificate of completion. There aren’t any deadlines set to begin or complete classes either, so you can go at your own pace. Plus, you have lifetime access to the materials, so you can always go back to refresh your memory.

If you’re not sure if a course is right for you, you can start a free preview and watch a handful of lectures the instructor has selected before committing. And if you buy it and aren’t satisfied, every course from Udemy can be refunded within 30 days of purchase.

The 10 best deals from Udemy:

Udemy financial health

  1. Character Art School: Complete Character Drawing Course, $16.99 (originally 129.99) [You save $112]
  2. Complete C# Unity Game Developer 2D, $15.99 (originally $124.99) [You save $108]
  3. Become a Game Designer the Complete Series Coding to Design, $15.99 (originally $124.99) [You save $108]
  4. 2021 Complete Python Bootcamp: From Zero to Hero in Python, $17.99 (originally $139.99) [You save $120]
  5. Machine Learning A-Z: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science, $11.99 (originally 94.99) [You save $82]
  6. Microsoft Excel – Excel from Beginner to Advanced, $18.99 (originally $139.99) [You save $119]
  7. The Complete Digital Marketing Course – 12 Courses in 1, $18.99 (originally $149.99) [You save $129]
  8. The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021, $15.99 (originally $124.99) [You save $108]
  9. The Complete JavaScript Course 2021: From Zero to Expert!, $16.99 (originally 129.99) [You save $112]
  10. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate 2020, $11.99 (originally $94.99) [You save $82]

Shop all Udemy classes that fit your interests or professional goals here

Discover more e-learning classes

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Amazon Prime members have access to tons of cheap online classes on Prime Video. Courses are taught by experts across endless topics, from history to singing, and cost as little as $2.

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In the many, many offerings on Amazon Prime, it can be easy to miss Amazon’s extensive educational collection. Created by The Great Courses, the online video classes span topics from “how to sing“, which breaks voice technique into actionable items, to “America’s Founding Fathers,” taught by historian Allen Guelzo in collaboration with the Smithsonian. You can even pick up Latin without leaving Amazon (or your couch).

Most of these educational series are available to rent or buy by episode (typically $2), or season (usually $60), but Amazon also has $7.99/month The Great Courses Signature Collection subscription with a free, week-long trial – similar to its other channels. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to learn something new, make history exciting to your kids, or balance out the mental “junk food” that is rewatching “The Bachelorette” – this Amazon service could be a great, low-lift place to start.

Like other eligible Amazon Prime videos, The Great Courses also include the option of a “watch party,” where you can remotely stream and chat about the show with other people in real-time.

10 popular educational videos from The Great Courses on Amazon:

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