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Free Online Professional Development Opportunities for Educators

Living in 2019 has many benefits, and the one that helps us educators is online learning. We can learn or teach online for the comforts of our homes for free – and every teacher deserves something free.

Professional development is a major aspect of my teaching practice. Learning about new research or interesting innovative teaching methods empowers me to keep improving.

I am very keen on planing my professional development. I am interested in inclusion, ICT in education, environmental education, and innovative teaching methodology. When it comes to free webinars and courses, I always choose them based on certain criteria.

  1. All of them offer free certification – a certificate or a badge.
  2. All of them are based on scientific research and offer academic references for further learning.
  3. All of them are created by established universities or educational organizations.
  4. The presenters must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Inclusion, Pedagogy, Psychology, or related fields.

It may seem that I am asking too much from a free course, but I don’t want to read and complete courses that are not based on scientific research or which do not offer a certificate since I want to showcase my efforts in my portfolio. The education of the presenters is also crucial since that defines the quality of the presentation in many ways.

After completing a double master’s degree, I started expecting professional development presentations to be supported by academic research. I don’t always enjoy presentations that are based only on an educator’s experience. Almost every seminar in my country is based on personal experience, and I don’t want to attend similar conferences or webinars online.

I am not interested in earning CPD credit (my primary goal is learning and showcasing my efforts in my portfolio), so if that’s what you are looking for in a free course, you will have to check with every website if they offer such credits.

Before you start your professional development journey, visit this link, and identify your areas of improvement – Cambridge Framework Competency Standards for Teachers. You can also use the British Council Self Assessment, which will point you towards the aspects of your practice you should develop.

If you are not a native English speaker and you teach English, EF offers free language test certification, which is the only valid free level test, and many organizations accept it. You can do your test HERE.

National Geographic Educator Certification is a 20-hour course with practical lessons you have to teach, and video reflection in a digital storytelling format. This is the best course in the world, and I will write about it in detail in another post. The course is moderated by mentors, and it is open twice a year. National Geographic also offers three additional courses other than this certification.

National Geographic – 5 free online courses

They recently opened two more new courses, so now they have six moderated online courses. All the courses offer outstanding content, an amazing community, free certification, and a chance to purchase university credits.

I completed the Teaching Global Climate Change in Your Classroom and Connecting the Geo-Inquiry Process to Your Teaching Practice.

I plan to complete the last 3 courses in the next 2 years.

  1. Collecting Data to Explore Plastic Pollution in Our Communities
  2. Mapping as a Visualization and Communication Tool in Your Classroom
  3. Integrating Service with Learning Goals

Anti-bullying Alliance from the UK offers free courses about bullying prevention. They have many videos and illustrations, and the courses can be used as teacher training material at your schools as well. Truly outstanding – I enjoyed every single page.

Microsoft for Education offers brilliant free courses related to ed tech. They currently have mare more than 100 courses with many different topics connected to ICT in education. They also have a Skype classroom where you can collaborate with classrooms all around the world. I completed these courses so far:


OpenUniversity offers courses for educators on many interesting topics. They are usually long, so take your time completing them. Here is a list of my favorite courses:

EdWeb offers many free webinars, and you can also watch old webinars and complete a test to get your certificate. They have webinars almost every day. Make sure to check the qualification of the presenter – sometimes I like the topic of the webinar, but I end up skipping it. It may sound harsh, but trainers and coaches are titles anyone can give to themselves nowadays.

British Council has two free courses, and a special discount for paid courses every month. If you join the Official British Council Teacher Group, you will get a different code every month, and you can purchase their featured course for just 3 pounds. Here are the two courses which are always free:

Canvas offers many MOOC courses presented by various universities, and you can actively participate in discussions with other participants. Interesting educator-related courses are:

Free Webinars | EF Teacher Zone

EF offers six teacher development webinars, after which you will get an EF teacher development certificate. Their free webinars take place twice a year, and you can answer the questions after the webinars to get the certificate. You will get the certificate after you watch all six webinars, not for each webinar. The topics of the webinars are:

  • Games for skill building
  • Apps for the classroom and self-study
  • Optimizing classroom time
  • Differentiation for language and special needs
  • Formative assessments
  • How to encourage risk taking in the classroom

Free educator-related courses with certificates on Undemy:

Organizations which often offer free webinars hosted by experienced and educated educators: 

Make sure to subscribe to their newsletter to get information about their upcoming webinars. They usually host a group of webinars twice a year, and the quality of the content and the presenters is outstanding.

I am presenting at EdmodoCon in November, and you can register to watch a live broadcast on the website. The attendance is free, and you can also purchase university credits for your PD.

Although October is almost over, there are still web conferences you can attend and start your new school year with an academic boost.

Click on THIS link to see my digital portfolio and current online professional development certifications.

What do you think about this list of free courses and webinars? What is the most important thing for you when you search for a free online course? Share your experience in the comments or via the contact page.

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Alice is a 27 years old preschool teacher (Pre-K) with a B.Ed. She is currently enrolled in her Master studies, with a double major, one of them being English teaching methodology. She is also an online ESL teacher and blog writer for British Council. Last but not least, she is a mother of a very energetic toddler.

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