How do Alison courses work?
Updated over a week ago

Alison has over 4,000 courses and learning verticals across nine core subject categories, at Certificate and Diploma levels. There is no time limit for completing a course. All courses are accredited by CPD UK, the continuing professional development institution in the United Kingdom.

What is the difference between a Certificate course and a Diploma course?

The different course types can be defined as follows:

Certificate Courses

Average duration: 2 - 3 hours

There are times when you may wish to specialise in a whole subject area, and there are times where you may prefer to gain critical knowledge of individual concepts within a subject area. Alison’s Certificate courses will help you focus your learning on distinct topics. Our Certificate courses include an abundance of subjects, such as: languages, media studies, journalism and public relations, health and fitness, business studies, computer programming and networking, and many more!

Not all our Certificate courses have a Diploma equivalent.

Diploma Courses

Average duration: 8 - 10 hours

Diploma courses are specifically designed to give you a more extensive understanding of a subject area, by helping you master multiple concepts within a subject. Our Diploma courses span a variety of professional subjects, such as: workplace safety and health, business management and entrepreneurship, food safety, nursing and patient care, customer service, and many more! However, before you start learning, it's helpful to check if there's a Diploma version of your chosen topic to avoid any repetition in your learning journey. If you complete a Certificate course that's also part of a Diploma course, you will have to take it again within the Diploma programme. The completion from the Certificate course doesn't automatically count for the Diploma course.

To summarise, the Certificate courses are meant for light study. The Diploma courses are more extensive, helping you broaden your knowledge on a particular topic.

When will my lesson start?

Alison courses are designed to be self-paced and self-taught. You can begin a course when you're ready and study whenever you have the chance. The duration of your study is entirely your decision.

What is the course duration?

You can complete our skills-based Certificate courses in under 3 hours. They are designed to focus your learning on specific topics in your field or industry.

You can graduate from our Diploma Courses in around 6-15 hours. These courses cover a range of topics and are great if you wish to broaden your knowledge on a particular subject area.

How are Alison courses structured?

All Alison courses follow the basic structure of Course - Module - Topic - Assessment.

Typically, Certificate courses have one assessment at the end of the course and Diploma courses have multiple assessments throughout.

Assessments are designed to test your understanding of the content. They may include single or multiple-choice questions. You need to complete all modules and topics, and achieve at least 80% in your assessment in order to pass. The good news is that you can retake the assessment as many times as you like.

Are there videos in all courses?

Not all courses contain videos. Some courses include video slides of text and some have animations or pre-recorded lectures.

Can I have tutor support while studying an Alison course?

Alison courses are designed to be self-paced and self-taught, so we do not offer tutoring assistance on course content.

Does Alison offer Undergraduate/Postgraduate courses?

We don’t currently offer undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses, nor do we plan to in the future.

We are one of the world’s largest certifying organisations, with over 6 million graduates. We offer Certificate and Diploma courses across a wide range of subjects, at almost any level, for free.

Why not take a look at our course options and see if there's one that is right for you?

Are Alison courses under Creative Commons?

About half of the content on Alison is under a Creative Commons licence. We always credit the publisher, so that if you want to find the content and download it yourself, we provide a means of locating it. No content is directly downloadable from our site.

The licences that are not Creative Commons or Public Domain are private. That means that we are allowed to provide the courses for free study, but only on the Alison website. They cannot be downloaded elsewhere. Often, these courses are commercially owned and Alison is the only way to access them freely. Then there are courses we own ourselves, and while free to use, they are not available off our site. This is because we have to monetise the traffic on our website through advertising and premium services to cover our expenses and continue growing our mission of providing free online learning.

Non-Institutional Skills Training for Free

Alison’s goal is to offer online courses on every subject, at every level. Our view is that access to knowledge and skills should be available to everyone, regardless of nationality. That’s why Alison is a non-institutional platform that directly bridges the gap between those with skills and those looking to gain skills.

It’s simple. Alison works with subject matter experts and experienced professionals who use their applied knowledge to create courses on our platform. We then open up these courses to the world for free. With over 4000 courses on our site, we are able to offer free access to skills-based training to anyone who wishes to learn.

High Pedagogic Standards

The Alison publishing team, led by a team of traditionally qualified pedagogic specialists, evaluate all courses published on the Alison platform to make sure they adhere to an appropriate high standard. They ensure the online courses are well-structured, easy to follow, and clearly communicate valuable information to the learner.

‘Here and Now’ Competency Based Testing

The proof of the currency of Alison courses is with the employers who recognise the value of the knowledge and skills of learners who pass our assessments. Alison’s system of accreditation allows any employer, anywhere, at any time, to verify what someone knows or does not know at Certificate or Diploma levels. With Alison, employers can instantly review the level of the course someone has done, or even review the entire course. This ‘here and now’ testing enables employers to take the tests that employees have taken, or to watch employees take these same tests again to show the knowledge and skills they have acquired.

This instantly demonstrates that someone who has an Alison certificate has the skills and knowledge that should come with such a Certificate. What this ultimately means is that an Alison Certificate represents current and up-to-date competency. An Alison Certificate is always current because it can always be challenged by an employer who wishes to test the Certificate holder. As such, an Alison Certificate serves as a representation of skills and knowledge that the user currently holds.

Did this answer your question?