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Top 25 online courses in South Africa – September 2021

Check out our list of the top 25 online courses in South Africa. We look at what’s popular among our learners in the rainbow nation.

South Africa

E-learning is becoming increasingly popular with the people of South Africa. The country is home to the largest open distance e-learning university, and it’s hoped that digital learning can address some of the inequalities in education. Taking an online course can also help with personal and professional development. As such, we’ve outlined the 25 most popular online courses in South Africa among FutureLearn learners.


 1. Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

If you’re interested in project planning and project management, this course will be perfect for you to get started. From project planning and execution methods, to risk assessments and utilising resources, you’ll discover the importance of detailed and efficient planning. You’ll finish the course feeling confident with planning projects at work or in daily life, and you even have the chance to earn professional development units that are approved by the Project Management Institute.

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2. Forensic Facial Reconstruction: Finding Mr. X

Do you fancy yourself a detective or forensic scientist? On this exciting course by the University of Sheffield, you’ll delve into the forensic technique of facial reconstruction with experts who’ve been involved in real criminal cases. With help from the experts, you’ll use facial reconstruction techniques to determine the identity of Mr. X., and to understand the circumstances in which their death took place.

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3. Becoming a Better Music Teacher

Vocal coaches and music teachers have an important role in improving their students’ ability to sing or play an instrument. You’ll improve your teaching strategies and skills as a music teacher or vocal coach with this ABRSM online course. Learn how to assess your current strategies, engage your students and plan broader music lessons.

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4. Development and Planning in African Cities: Exploring theories, policies and practices from Sierra Leone

If city development is of interest to you, this course by UCL focusing on development and planning in African cities will help you to understand how different processes shape the development of a city. In the next 35 years, Africa will need to accommodate almost 900 million new urban dwellers, so it is essential that we learn how to develop African cities. You will explore topics such as spatial justice and social diversity, and challenge your existing assumptions about urban development.

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5. Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action

If you want to make a difference in people’s lives and learn how to take an active approach to improving health, this course could be for you. You’ll learn from the world’s leading experts with direct experience improving the health of women, children and adolescents across the globe, and go on a journey where you’ll investigate the latest research and evidence in the field.

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6. Understanding the GDPR

Making sure that your organisation is compliant with data protection laws is an essential part of running a company. If you want to learn more about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this course by the University of Groningen will teach you about data subject rights, data controller and processor obligations, and enforcement and compliance notions.

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7. Starting a Business 2: People and Networks

In our series on starting a business from the University of Leeds, you’ll learn all of the tools that will enable you to start a successful business of your own. On this one, you’ll be learning about working with people and exploring networks. Whether you have an idea for a future venture or you already have a side-line business whilst studying, this course will help you to recognise the people who can help you take your business forward in both formal and informal business networks.

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8. Starting a Business 3: Customers and Competitors

Another in our series on starting a business from the University of Leeds, but on this one you’ll learn all about customers and competitors when setting up a new business. This course is the third in the series and will teach you to recognise and understand your target market. Understanding and reaching your customers is essential for any business, so if you’re starting out, this is the course for you.

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9. The Genomics Era: the Future of Genetics in Medicine

The future of genetics is a revolutionary place, and on this course by St George’s University of London, you’ll learn about exciting new genomic technologies. This online course is particularly useful for healthcare professionals, as it provides a basic grounding in genomic medicine and teaches you how genomics could inform patient diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention in the future.

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10. Teaching English Online

Teaching English brings an array of work opportunities. It’s a skill that’s always in demand, and online teachers are especially sought-after at the moment. Our course from Cambridge Assessment English is designed to help teachers transfer their skills to an online context. You’ll study the skills and knowledge required to adapt your teaching methods and learn about the tools you can use to help you.

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11. The Right to Education: Breaking Down the Barriers

Discover the importance of education for everyone around the world, and learn how to break down barriers to education on this online course by the University of Glasgow. One of the UN’s sustainable development goals is to “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”, but we’re currently far off this target. On this course, you’ll ask why so many children aren’t receiving an education, and hopefully, you’ll join the fight in helping every child across the globe to reach their full potential.

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12. Good Practice in Autism Education

Whether you’re interested in special educational needs, inclusive teaching, or autism specifically, this 4-week course will introduce you to good practice in autism education. Created by the University of Bath, this course tackles the signs, symptoms, diagnosis and causes of autism, before exploring how special education needs can affect a child’s learning. You’ll learn about the different educational options available for autistic children, including autism-specific schools and autism units in mainstream schools, and come away with a deeper understanding of how to create an inclusive curriculum.

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13. Blended Learning Essentials: Getting Started

Blended learning is all about using a mixture of in-person and digital learning methods, and it has risen in popularity as a result of COVID-19 closing physical spaces and forcing schools to adopt more digital learning strategies. On this course by the University of Leeds, you’ll discover the benefits of blended learning, learn how to use technology to support learning, and connect with blended learning professionals.

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14. Dysphagia: Swallowing Difficulties and Medicines

On this healthcare course by the University of East Anglia (UEA), you’ll learn about the swallowing process, medicine administration, tablet design, and regulations related to the administration of medicines. You’ll network with other learners and learn from healthcare professionals to form a better understanding of dysphagia.

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15. Antimicrobial Stewardship: Managing Antibiotic Resistance

If you’re a healthcare professional seeking to better your understanding of antibiotic resistance, this 6-week course is perfect for you. You’ll study with the University of Dundee and the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy to learn how antimicrobial stewardship can slow down or reduce antibiotic resistance. You’ll also evaluate why the World Economic Forum has listed antibiotic resistance on its global risk register alongside climate change and terrorism.

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16. Introduction to Cyber Security

Discover essential cyber security knowledge and skills, and learn how you can better protect your digital life with this course by the Open University. This course, supported by the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme, will teach you how to recognise online security threats that could harm you and explore the steps you can take to minimise your risk.

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17. The Many Faces of Dementia

Dementia is one of the biggest priorities in global health and is estimated to affect over 44 million people worldwide. This means that dementia care and research are essential, and on this online course by UCL, you’ll learn about the key issues surrounding dementia. This will include learning about the signs, stages, symptoms and causes of different types of dementia, helping you to improve your overall awareness.

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18. Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services

Blindness and visual impairment may not be an issue you hear about all the time, but it actually affects around 285 million people worldwide. As much as 75% of this blindness is avoidable, so it’s important that we improve our understanding of global blindness. On this course, you’ll learn the key facts on the topic and discuss global initiatives to address eye care.

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19. Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree

Genealogy is a fascinating and often rewarding field of study. If you’ve always wanted to research your family history, this course presents the ideal introduction to the subject. It looks at ways to find and analyse sources, and how DNA testing can help you on your search. You’ll also learn about some of the challenges that face genealogical research, as well as how to overcome them.

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20. Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

If you’re interested in research about new drugs and medical treatments, you might find this course by the University of Sheffield interesting. You’ll enhance your understanding of how drugs and treatments are adopted by health services through health technology assessments, and learn how tough decisions are made about which treatments to make widely available.

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21. Health and Wellbeing in the Ancient World

The world has changed dramatically since the rise of empires such as Ancient Rome and Greece, and the realm of health and wellbeing is no different. On this intriguing course by The Open University, you’ll use literary and archaeological evidence to uncover details about how people from ancient times viewed the human body, mental health, sexuality, ageing, and gender.

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22. Starting a Business 4: Business Processes

It’s clear that our series on starting a business has proven popular in South Africa, with another course from the series appearing in the top 25. On this course, you’ll gain an understanding of how business works and performance can be improved so that you can take your business forward and manage growth. Whether you have an idea for a future venture or you already have a side-line business whilst studying at university, this course covers efficient business processes to improve productivity.

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23. Understanding ADHD: Current Research and Practice

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and how do you diagnose it? Find out the answers on this online course from King’s College London. You’ll evaluate the history of ADHD diagnosis, explore how to parent a child with ADHD, and discuss the sometimes controversial issue of ADHD treatment and management.

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24. Achieving Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a UN initiative for international development, aiming to improve the world in areas such as poverty, education, environment and health. On this course, you’ll consider some of the key SDGs, critically analyse them, and explore how development can be truly sustainable for the planet and different communities.

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25. Ultrasound Imaging: What Is Inside?

Explore the main principles behind ultrasound imaging technology on this online course by the University of Twente. You’ll start with a definition of ultrasound before learning about the science and clinical applications of ultrasound scanning. This course will be useful for those interested in ultrasound imaging, those considering sonographer training, and clinical professionals hoping to further their understanding of ultrasound. 

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