Professional Development Options (Online & Free)

For those interested to gain more skills that are relevant to development and humanitarian activities, this post will list free, online resources. Each includes a brief description. If you have other suggestions of free training options, send me an email and I will add them. I have recommended that you try to make this a habit - completing 2 to 3 courses every year. This will keep expanding your knowledge and skills and convey to potential employers that you are actively upgrading your knowledge and skills as a life-long learner.


​One of the largest collections of online short courses that I know. The courses largely revolve around health, but also include courses on monitoring and evaluation, communications and knowledge management. This project is funded by USAID. Certificates are issued after course completion, by MEASURE Evaluation and USAID. All are available on-demand (not run on specific dates / periods of time).

This course is ​only run periodically. There are two courses, each cover aspects of the Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation approach. This course is longer and more engaged that a typical short course. Highly recommended.

A large listing of online courses. Certificates are not issued for these courses (with a few exceptions), but you could say that you completed these courses on your CV. There is a large listing of topics, many of which are highly relevant to working in the development and humanitarian field. This topics are very broad, from the SDG indicators to food safety and humanitarian coordination.

UNICEF offers a large set of online short-courses. The platform is not as user friendly as the Global Health Learning Center, but has a similarly large offering of short courses. ​

A number of evaluation-related courses are available ​via this platform. The courses are on-demand, you can take them any time. 

Ethics course, research focused, but generally useful and ought to be applied more in practice.

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) course.

A single course on monitoring and evaluation in the context of rural development.​

A limited set of time-specific courses (set start and end dates). Excellent resources for those interested in understanding or using non-violent advocacy, social movements, citizen power. ​

These are courses that are often required before UN deployments. These courses technically are fee based. However, recently these courses were made available to members of CANADEM (https://canadem.ca/). Assuming that is still the case, you can register and then access these courses freely.

Courses relate to peace, peace making and conflict resolution. Not all are available online, and not all are free. However, there are some excellent free, online courses that can be taken here.

Sphere offers online short courses related to humanitarian standards. Note: Not all listings on this page are courses, some are stand-alone videos. 

A selection of courses related to leadership and health.

Is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Topics range widely and expand on an on-going basis. Courses are offered by universities, and certificates (in the "verified" stream" can be offered - at a cost), otherwise you can complete the courses freely without one. Courses include sustainable development, leadership, theory of change, management et cetera.

This is similar to Edx, a platform of MOOCs. A larger offering than Edx. Similar model of being able to complete courses freely, or have them recognized through a relatively small fee. Examples:

    1. Public Health in Humanitarian Crises
    2. Non-Communicable Disease in Humanitarian Settings
    3. Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
    4. Disaster Preparedness
    5. Global Health and Humanitarianism
    6. Confronting Gender-Based Violence


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