Skills – disability and health courses

There are a number of free online courses available on disability and health related topics and, as a taster of what is available, we have found a number that you may find useful — though they won’t necessarily suit everyone’s style of learning.

Some of these courses will have already taken place, but the course material is often archived and many courses repeat.

If you think any of these courses might be of interest, have a look at the provider links (eg FutureLearn) and see what courses they are currently offering.

Free online courses offered through FutureLearn

FutureLearn is owned by the Open University and offers free online courses in conjunction with well known universities.

The courses are totally free and don’t need to have any particular qualifications to apply, just an interest in the subject, access to a computer and the internet, and a bit of free time.

FutureLearn courses are very flexible. There is new content each week, and it is an advantage to follow the course and discussions on a weekly basis, but if you fall behind you can catch up later and there are no set times in the week to study: you can fit it in flexibly around other commitments.


Thinking through disability

University of New South Wales Australia/FutureLearn. Free

The course aims are to enable you to:

  • identify how understandings of people with disabilities have changed over time
  • critically reflect on changing understandings of disability
  • identify core concepts in the social understanding of disability
  • appreciate the intersections between individual, social, political and cultural aspects of disability
  • understand what a good life might mean for a diversity of people, including people with disabilities.

The course is suitable for both beginners and experts and people with disabilities and their family members, friends and allies as well as others (see the course description for more details). The course is provided by the University of New South Wales Australia through the UK’s FutureLearn, so will include a global perspective.

Disability and a good life: Working with disability

University of New South Wales Australia/FutureLearn. Free

This is the follow on course to Thinking through disability and starts on 1 August 2016 — don’t worry though if you are on holiday, you can join at a later date. Read the full course description here.


Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well

Newcastle University/FutureLearn. Free

This course is aimed at carers — this means anyone with any caring responsibilities, you don’t have to be a full-time or live-in carer.

The current courses started on 23 May 2016, but they envisage running the course again on other dates.

More information and to enrol on future courses: FutureLearn Dementia Care 1 

The Many Faces of Dementia

University College London/FutureLearn. Free

The course starts on 11 July 2016 and again on 3 October 2016.

The course covers some of the key issues in dementia care and research by exploring four less common forms of dementia. It shows how research into the signs, stages, symptoms and causes of less common forms can bring us closer to the aim of defeating dementia.

More information and to enrol on future courses: FutureLearn Faces of Dementia

Dementia: Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour

University of Birmingham/FutureLearn. Free

The course started on 9 May 2016 but further dates in the future are expected.

This free online course will help you learn more about managing challenging behaviour in people with dementia.

More information and to enrol on future courses: Dementia: Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour

Health and wellbeing courses

These are examples, check the FutureLearn website for exact details of which courses are currently running or will be again in the future.

Website: FutureLearn

Other providers

OpenLearn (Open University)

Website: OpenLearn

University of Derby/Canvas Network

Website: Canvas Network

Courses for carers

Suffolk Family Carers runs courses for carers at various locations in Suffolk.