Education has no age preference—learn something new with the 30 best online courses for senior citizens.
Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” couldn’t have been more wrong. The world is changing quickly, and as a senior citizen, you can either watch it from afar or make yourself a part of the change. How? Learn new skills, buy a gym membership, go paragliding. Okay, okay, we may have gone too far. Still, though, as long as you can read this, you can learn a lot more! Restart your education with the 30 best online courses for senior citizens.
- Code Yourself! Intro to Programming
- Greek and Roman Mythology
- Chinese for Beginners
- Miracles of Human Language
- Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks
Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.
Senior citizens can learn anything. When it comes to necessity, though, there are a couple of places where the older demographic sometimes lacks. The first is with computers. Sure, the odd 80-year-old knows how to code, but some of us—and we know this too well—can’t navigate a website. Computer illiteracy used to not be an issue. Now, though, with banks online and the world seemingly digitized, computer literacy is crucial.
So What Are We Going To Learn?
First, we’re going to review some classes that will improve your computer skills. Then, we’re going to list introductory courses to technologies, subject fields, and ideas that weren’t necessarily part of your high school or university curriculum. The goal here is to acquaint you with tools, trends, and ideas that make today’s world unique.
Are You Ready To Learn?
What do you need to begin, then? Well, you’ll need a computer and internet access, but you probably have those two already. Besides those two, all you need is the curiosity, drive, and time to enroll in one of the excellent courses we list below. But no pressure—many of these courses are free, and if you don’t like them, no harm was done!
Getting an education can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor, and we don’t want to waste either resource. That is why we at Online Course Report provide you with a ranking of the best online courses for Senior Citizens based on weighted factors. With the amount of time and money you will be investing in these courses, we want to be as transparent as possible about the criteria with which we rank our courses. Some of the criteria and questions we asked ourselves when formulating our ranking include:
- Price: Is the course reasonably priced for the amount of content taught?
- Content: Is the content of the highest quality and conveyed in an easy to understand way?
- Proven Track Record: Does the course have a proven track record of producing competent students?
- Learner Satisfaction: Are the students who take this course satisfied with the type of education they received?
What Are the Best 30 Best Online Courses for Senior Citizens?
While it’s difficult to find classes that cater to senior citizens, there are a few areas where senior citizens show the most interest. In this course review, we’re going to focus on those fields.
Thus, the first ten courses will focus on computer skills, and the rest will focus on other classes that may interest you. In both categories, we’re reviewing relatively new, accessible, and captivating courses that can help you learn and keep your mind sharp.
#1. Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization by the University of Michigan
Behind every website you access and interact with sits a team of web developers and coders. They meticulously design each page, enabling you to navigate the internet comfortably. Coding is a fascinating puzzle-world that allows you to create whatever website you’d like. Does that sound interesting?
Senior citizens are a largely untapped repository of knowledge, wisdom, and storytelling. Sure, your grandchildren may hear what you have to say, but what about the world? The world wants to hear your stories—it needs to hear them. It needs to hear your stories, wisdom, advice, and recipes. And the best way to share your voice is through a blog.
This blogging class focuses on how to build a blog, add content, monetize it, develop a system to plan new content, and share it with the world. For $189.99, you’ll develop an understanding of effective writing and blog building, and you’ll be able to share it with the world.
Let us make something clear: coding is something you can learn, but it’s difficult. It’s a foreign language that grants you communication abilities with computers and humans, but you don’t speak it. It’s a puzzle, but there aren’t always answer keys. Hence, coding is challenging and abstract. Before learning how to code, it may be a good idea to learn about what coding is.
This $124.99 online class will teach you the fundamentals of how programming works. Additionally, it will give you a rundown of different types of programming languages. That way, you’ll be able to narrow down which language is for you.
Creating a game? It’s difficult enough to understand and play a game! Well, some of us love games. They challenge us and keep our minds occupied. What if we told you that you could learn how to create a challenging, captivating game in a couple of months? Really—it’s possible! If you want to create a simple game, this $199.99 course is your answer.
This Udemy class will teach you how to create 2D/3D games and applications, how to build and publish your own games and apps, and how to develop games for different platforms. With this course, you can invent something new, or digitize a game you played as a child.
So programming is a massive world, right? It has piqued your interest maybe, but where do you fit in? Some of us learn how to program by jumping into the most difficult language and challenging ourselves until we learn it. This method, of course, isn’t for everybody. In this free online class, you’ll learn to code using Scratch, one of the easiest programming languages.
This course will help you build your first computer program, make you think about the requirements and the design of your program, and reuse your code. Along the way, you’ll create games and extend other coders’ games, providing you an intermediate understanding of Scratch.
Want to get a step ahead of Millenials? The younger generations use the internet and, sure, they know what they’re doing to some extent. They can browse the web effortlessly, some know how to code, and most of them can teach a few things to their senior citizen companies. What do they know about internet history and infrastructure, though?
Consider this class a history course on one of the most innovative inventions of our time. In this course, you can learn about the history of the internet, the first network, the technological ins-and-outs of the internet, and a rundown on internet security.
Do you have a lot of time on your hands that you want to put to good use? If you want to learn about Computer Science just like a university student, this specialization is for you. Over 140 hours and seven courses, you will learn about Python, Object-Oriented Programming, Logic Programming, the principles of programming, and more.
Does that sound like gibberish to you? If so, don’t worry—this is a beginner-level class. Whether you’re 75 or 20, these subjects can seem inaccessible and complicated. This course is excellent, though, and after 140 hours, you’ll be able to explain these courses to your friends and family.
User Experience (UX) design is critical to the internet. Here’s what UX is: To be brief, the web and its infrastructure are complex. It takes backbreaking coding, seasoned designers, and innovative ideas to make each webpage that we access. How do we simplify everything? How do we make everything as accessible as possible for the internet user? That’s the essence of UX.
In this course, you’ll learn about the key steps that UX experts take to design a webpage. These steps include UX design, requirement gathering, designing alternatives, prototyping, and evaluation. If you want to understand how websites operate, enroll in this course.
From billboards to company logos to websites, graphic design dictates how we see the world and how we interact with it. Graphic design is intricate, but any dedicated student can understand its core fundamentals: image-making, typography, composition, and working with color and shape.
In this course, you’ll learn graphic design as a student and as a designer. You will learn how to use scale, weight, direction, texture, and space in a composition before creating images using your newfound techniques. Whether you’re interested in the digital arts or you want to try something new, this class is excellent and accessible for all students.
To us, internet web pages are simple. They load quickly, they look nice, and they’re interactive. And that’s how they should be. Web pages can be anything and everything as long as they’re accessible. Getting there, though, is more of a struggle than you would ever guess. This online course focuses on the essential tools required to design a functional web page.
Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. Fifty years ago, that didn’t mean too much—we were largely out of reach of other countries and cultures. Today, though, that has clearly changed. Globalization has changed how we do business, live, and interact with others. It has also changed who we interact with.
How amazing would it be to talk to your Chinese friends and neighbors in their own language? This online class will teach you the basics of the language, with key vocabulary and grammar. Chinese is difficult, but this class focuses on everything besides Chinese characters, so you can focus on learning conversational Chinese.
There are hundreds of languages around the world. Some languages share similar roots; others are completely different. Yet, everybody, in every corner of the world, has some form of language. To this day, though, the creation of language remains a mystery. We’re not sure when the first language was spoken or how it evolved. Still, we know a few things about language.
This free Coursera class will orient you to the study of sound, the study of words and sentences, and the study of meaning. You’ll also learn the science of language in the brain and language in everyday society.
South Korea is regarded as an excellent destination for senior travelers. It’s clean, accessible, and beautiful in every way. From outstanding food to a complex cultural heritage, South Korea will satisfy your travel needs. While many South Koreans can speak some level of English, there’s nothing better than speaking the language of the country you’re in.
This online Korean class will teach you the elementary essentials like greetings, ordering food, talking about your daily life, and introducing yourself. To hone your skills, you’ll practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing in each unit. That way, you’ll gain fluency quickly and easily memorize each subject.
Spanish is the most widely spoken second language in almost every state in America. By learning some Spanish, we can access that culture that lives within and alongside ours. Think about all you can do with some Spanish knowledge: You can order in Spanish, speak to your neighbors in Spanish, and travel to the immense Spanish-speaking world.
Duolingo is a fantastic and free website structured around mini-games, quizzes, and other learning materials that are captivating and well-designed. First, you’ll put your Spanish skills to the test, then Duolingo will put you in the Spanish class appropriate for you. After that, you’ll work in many units, testing your existing skills and learning new vocabulary.
Whether you know it or not, Greek and Roman mythology have shaped our arts and life. The books we read follow arcs inspired by the great Greek authors; our political system is shaped by the first democracy in Rome. These civilizations’ influence on ours is so profound that it would be impossible to picture what our society would look like if they never existed.
In this online course, you will learn about the technical aspects of myths, examine the great myths of these civilizations, and learn about the challenges we share with one another. Using Homer’s The Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses as a guide, you’ll examine the great works and thoughts that forever changed the world.
Pandemics are something we’re hearing a lot about lately. Coronavirus has swept across the world, killing our citizens, stunting our economy’s growth, and altering our daily lives. How did this virus and similar viruses begin? How do infectious diseases work? How do we prevent similar outbreaks in the future?
This Coursera class looks at all of these questions and more in a four-week class on all things infectious diseases. You’ll learn about global health security infrastructure—why diseases spread so quickly in our globalized world and how we can slow that growth. If you’re interested in learning more about infectious diseases, this course is for you.
Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been focusing solely on economic gain. We didn’t realize that thousands of factories could affect our climate; we didn’t seem to mind that we were leaving many of our citizens in the dust. Now, we don’t have that option. The climate is in dire straits, and investors focus on companies who care about the environment and all social classes.
This class examines the theories of sustainable development, inequality around the world, the history of economic development, the history of inequality, and more. Some of these subjects, we’ll admit, aren’t the happiest. Sometimes, though, we must draw our attention to people who are less fortunate and our environment, which needs us to halt dangerous environmental practices.
Sustainability is a buzzword, no matter what sphere you’re in. From business to politics to science, sustainability is critical. Without it, our world in 50 years won’t be good for anyone—not even oil barons. This free, online course focuses on how humans can understand and confront global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations.
This online class comprises eight units: Introduction, Population, Ecosystems and Climate Change, Energy, Water and Agriculture, Environmental Policy, Measuring Sustainability, and Conclusion. Over the eight-week course, you’ll gain an understanding of sustainable practices and learn how you can play a part in a positive change. Ready? If so, you can begin today!
Many of us know that climate change negatively affects the economy, the world, and flora and fauna. How many of us know, though, that climate change negatively affects our health? This online Coursera specialization costs $49 per month, but it’s entirely worth it for its high-quality lessons and Ivy League reputation.
In this class, you’ll learn why and how the climate is changing and how it impacts human health. This course teaches you not only to have an understanding of climate change, but to be an advocate toward more green, sustainable policies. As part of your coursework, you will design an activity that increases a community’s resilience to the health effects of climate change.
Most senior citizens didn’t learn about evolution in school. Many of them are still acquainting themselves with the theory today. Evolution is of critical importance; it’s why we’re here. And evolution will continue, regardless of whether we understand the technical side of it. Believe us though: evolution is fascinating.
Evolution Today is a six-unit class, comprising an introduction, Do We Change?, How Do We Change?, Who Is This “We” Anyway, How Have We (And Haven’t We) Changed?, and How Will We Change? This class is fascinating—it focuses on how organisms affect us and how we affect other organisms. To catch up with the latest discoveries in evolutionary science, try this course.
Retirement comes with a lot of downtime. As you already know, downtime is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it gives you the opportunity to fill up your day however you wish; it’s a curse because filling up your day can be an uphill battle. Here’s an idea: Instead of zoning out, what if you instead looked up toward the sky?
This Coursera class will teach you about modern astronomy. You’ll learn about the natural world, concepts of space and time, maps of the night sky, telescopes and other astronomical tools, the solar system, and more. Astronomy is a fascinating field because, much like the night sky, the study is in constant change.
The first part of a two-part course on world literature, this segment focuses on literature that has shaped our cultures, political systems, arts, and the way we tell stories. From The Epic of Gilgamesh to The Odyssey to The Tale of Genji, this class focuses on how stories, myth, and history shape our world.
Taught by two Harvard literature professors, you can be sure that this is one of the highest quality world literature courses on the internet today. Throughout this course, you’ll learn how we interpret old works, find global audiences for cultural stories, and discover how these texts were transformative in their heyday.
Besides learning, reading books may be the most productive way to spend your time. In this online class, you can fuse the two together. This course, designed by Harvard University, examines how global writers create successful works within and beyond their culture. This class focuses on eight units, each accompanied by works from Jorge Luis Borges to Eileen Chang to Goethe.
Throughout this class, you’ll gain an understanding of the recent history of world literature. You’ll also learn how literary works are transformed by cultural transmission. Beyond that, you’ll learn how to analyze critical works and present those thoughts to others.
Classical music is beautiful. You couldn’t overestimate its influence in music enough. From pop music to R&B to folk, the music we listen to and play is directly inspired by classical music. What is music, though? How did Beethoven learn to organize notes so beautifully? How can a 12-note music notation system lead to so many different sounds?
This free, online class by Yale University will first teach you about how music moves us and how it works before analyzing different eras of classical music. From the Classical era to the Romantic and Baroque eras, you will chart the progression of classical music until arriving to the present day.
You can learn an instrument at any age. Recently, a news story featured a 96 year-old who is learning how to play guitar. The guitar is a relatively accessible instrument—it will take hundreds of hours, but you’ll be able to chart your progression each step of the way. From your first note to your first scale, learning the guitar will give you satisfaction and results.
This online guitar class will focus on the essential details: a guitar’s six strings, the twelve half steps of your guitar, music notation, chords, scales, and more. Does this sound overwhelming? Don’t worry—bit by bit, you’ll become an expert.
Whether you recognize it or not, music heals. A happy song betters your good days; a sentimental song can be cathartic. While we’ve known these facts for years, music as a healing device hasn’t been a focus of research until the relatively recent past. Music can enhance your well being and your health.
In this online music class, you’ll learn about music’s effects on the body and the brain. You’ll also learn esoteric Eastern practices that you can integrate with your music listening. Lastly, you’ll learn how and why music can help you lead a happier and healthier life.
Disasters and tragedies happen. Weather events, terrorist attacks, diseases, deaths of our loved ones: We are too familiar with disaster. No matter who you are, how much money you have, or where you’re from, you probably cope with disaster. This class focuses on resilience, a powerful mechanism we can use to cope with unfortunate situations.
In this course, you’ll learn about resilience and its role in disasters, improving resilience, grief, the effects of disasters on individuals, helping the helpers, factors of community resilience, and more. This course can make you a more resistant, happy human who will be emotionally prepared the next time tragedy strikes.
These days, we’re hearing more about world cultures and news than ever before. We read about them in books, watch them in movies, and learn about them in documentaries. Through an anthropological lens, we can examine the nuances of cultures and talk about them in a politically correct, academic manner.
This class will provide you the basic skills of the anthropological toolkit. Through those tools, you’ll be able to understand cultural differences and similarities, learn how to engage in cultural comparison, understand anthropological concepts, and see the world from many points of view. If you want to gain a more worldly understanding and perspective, try this course.
Cancer is a relentless killer. It’s one of the top causes of death in every country, especially in the older demographic. While there are no singular cures for cancer yet, there are some ways to decrease your risk of getting it, and the food we eat can drastically lower or raise our cancer risk.
In this online course, you’ll learn about the relationship between nutrition and cancer. Additionally, you’ll be briefed on the diet and lifestyle-related risk factors for cancer development and survival. By the end of this course, you’ll gain an understanding of the risks of a poor diet, and you’ll have the tools necessary to convert your diet.
Physical health is crucial, no matter your age. Physical health is linked with your mental and your emotional health. Together, your quality of health can either improve or reduce your lifespan and quality of life. In this free online class, you’ll learn about the benefits of physical therapy and exercise on your body.
In this course, you will learn about how physical exercise relates to cardiovascular disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer. You will also learn how to prevent physical injury during your exercise. If you want to learn about the importance of physical exercise, this excellent class is for you.
Bonus: Check out these MasterClass courses
- Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
- Gary Kasparov Teaches Chess
- Doris Kearns Goodwin Teaches US President History
- Penn and Teller Teach The Art of Magic
- Gordon Ramsey Teaches Cooking
How Can I Learn to Code Without Being Overly Familiar With Computers?
Many senior citizens are less acquainted with computers than other demographics. Some are as adept as any millennial. If you’re less familiar with computers, though, you may wonder how you can learn to code if you can hardly navigate the internet. So, you may ask, is it worth trying to code?
The answer is yes. Coding is complex, and it can tax your mind quite a bit. Sometimes, coding may frustrate you, and you’ll be on the brink of giving up. We’ll admit it: coding is difficult. Still, it’s a useful skill that’s captivating and time-consuming for your duller days. With the knowledge of a programming language or two, you can build websites, create programs, and design games. You can show off to your senior friends and one-up your grandchildren with your impressive new skill.
Here’s another thing: Coding was new to everybody when they began learning it. Sure, some of those people may have been more tech-savvy than you, but coding is its own, unique task. Tech-savviness hardly translates to coding, and your lack of familiarity with coding will hardly hinder your efforts. The point of this post is to give you captivating, educating, time-consuming new skills, and coding is one of the best skills you can obtain.
There Are a Few Languages Offered in This Listing. Which One Should I Learn?
Languages are notoriously difficult to learn. It takes hundreds of hours of study and consistent practice to gain fluency in a language. Thus, choosing a language to learn shouldn’t be taken lightly. So, then, what language is right for you? Of course, there is no language that’s right for everyone. To decide which language is right for you, consider two things: what language most interests you and the difficulty of that language.
The first category seems obvious, and it is. But we really mean it. Learning a language is challenging, and without finding some enjoyment in that learning, you’re most likely going to give up your language learning efforts. Thus, you should pick a language that interests you. It can depend on the area of the world you’d like to travel, the people you want to talk to, or the book you want to read in its native language.
You should also weigh the difficulty of learning each language. The easiest languages to learn are Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish. The most difficult languages to learn are Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. While this difficulty index shouldn’t dictate your decision, you should consider how much you’re willing to give when you’re learning a language. Either way, if you’re willing to invest time to study and practice a language, you’ll learn it in no time.
There Are Many Different Categories of Classes Recommended Here. Which One Should I Take?
It’s up to you. Our goal was to compile a list of classes that teach new, relevant, and entertaining material to senior citizens. Coding isn’t inherently more useful than learning a spoken language; sustainability isn’t necessarily a better option than learning about physical health. We decided on these courses based on our rigorous methodology and feedback from the older demographic.
Coding is an excellent option for computer lovers and people who want to solve puzzles. It can serve greater purposes like websites, applications, and programs. Coding can create everything from simple logos to complex web applications. If you like languages but you’re not so tech-savvy, consider learning a foreign language. With the world more connected than ever before, you can practice languages with native speakers online.
Sustainability and the other science classes listed above cater to the investigative minds who want to learn about the latest theories, discoveries, and research. Astronomy will teach you about the world around us, from stars to planets. Sustainability will teach you about the dire needs of our world, and how we can play a part in improving its conditions. No matter what you decide to learn, the important detail here is that you’re learning. Learning anything will keep your mind sharp and your body occupied.
List of Courses:
- Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization by the University of Michigan
- Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2020 by Udemy
- Pre-Programming: Everything You Need to Know Before You Code by Udemy
- Become a Game Designer: The Complete Series, From Coding to Design by Udemy
- Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming by the University of Edinburgh
- Internet History, Technology, and Security by the University of Michigan
- Fundamentals of Computing Specialization by Rice University
- Introduction to User Experience Design by Georgia Tech
- Fundamentals of Graphic Design by Cal Arts
- Chinese for Beginners by Peking University
- Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics by the University of Leiden
- Learn Korean by Yonsei University
- Learn Spanish by Duolingo
- Greek and Roman Mythology by the University of Pennsylvania
- Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks by the University of Pittsburgh
- The Age of Sustainable Development by Columbia University
- Introduction to Sustainability by the University of Illinois
- Climate Change and Health: From Science to Action Specialization by Yale University
- Evolution Today by Leiden University
- Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space by The University of Arizona
- Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature by Harvard University
- Modern Masterpieces of World Literature by Harvard University
- Introduction to Classical Music by Yale University
- Guitar for Beginners by Berklee College of Music
- Music For Wellness by Berklee College of Music
- Resilience: The Art of Coping With Disasters by IsraelX
- Anthropology of Current World Issues by the University of Queensland
- Nutrition and Cancer by Wageningen University
- Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise by the University of Toronto