Where Can I Find Free Online Child Development Courses?

You can use knowledge about child development in several careers, including teaching, nursing and child care. You don't have to pay to study child development - you can find free courses online through accredited colleges and universities. Schools offering Child & Adolescent Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Free non-credit courses in child development may cover the topic from a behavioral or neurological perspective, and they may be available at the undergraduate or graduate level. You'll be introduced to theories regarding a child's cognitive development and learn to apply these theories to areas such as child socialization and education. Courses may include optional projects in which you may, for example, create a presentation on a specific topic such as social cognition or moral judgment. Optional quizzes and readings may be available as well.


1. Intellectual Development at Tufts University

Tufts University's Intellectual Development course is an OpenCourseWare (OCW) course that was originally a for-credit course taught to graduate students at the school's campus. You will not receive credit for the course or communicate with instructors and other students, but you can access course materials, exams and assignments for free and study at your convenience.

What Will I Learn?

The course covers research and theories on human intellectual development between infancy and adolescence. You will study the impact of cognitive development on the learning and socializing abilities of children.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Recommended with the course lectures is the Metahobby Project. For the Metahobby Project, you will begin a new hobby and keep a journal that describes what you learned and your emotional reactions to it. You may also write a paper analyzing your learning process and how you felt about it.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course includes lecture notes on topics such as psychometrics, IQ and multiple intelligences. You may also access a list of emotions and instructions on describing and charting your feelings about the metahobby.

2. Play, Learning and the Brain at Open University

The Open University is an online school based in England that offers OCW courses through its OpenLearn program. You can access all course content for free and study at your own pace, but you will not receive credit.

What Will I Learn?

You will study brain function and development in young children. The course also covers the impact of sensory deprivation on brain development, play and learning.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Along with the course you have available to you five activities that involve child play, learning and development. For example, you could write a description of a child at play and complete an interactive quiz on the brain with solutions. You aren't required to complete assignments because you will not receive feedback from instructors.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course includes animations and diagrams of the brain. You will also access links to documents on theories and research of learning, play and brain development.

3. The Brain and Cognitive Sciences II at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Brain and Cognitive Sciences II course is an OCW course based on a course that three instructors taught to graduate students on the school's campus. You can access the course for free.

What Will I Learn?

The course covers brain functions such as learning, language and visual perception. You will study the relationships between brain functions, behavior and neural pathways.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

You could complete a paper on an aspect of brain cognition and prepare a 90-minute presentation based on your writing. You may include slides in the presentation.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course provides links to resources such as textbooks, journal articles and papers on cognitive science and related topics. You may also access four student presentations on brain cognition.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
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  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

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  • Concordia University Portland

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    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

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  • New England College

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  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

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  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

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  • American InterContinental University

    American InterContinental University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American InterContinental University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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