Navigating Inner Growth: Top 10 Personal Development Courses to Explore

UPDATED: February 21, 2024
PUBLISHED: September 28, 2023
Young Black woman doing a personal development course and smiling in business attire.

Personal challenges arise daily, and we can’t fix them all. Stress, financial concerns and difficulty in relationships can plague even the most outgoing and dynamic among us. But while we can’t fix everything instantly, we can put in the work to improve ourselves. Personal development courses teach the tools and strategies necessary to find calm in the storm, communicate better with others and build resilience. In fact, online personal development classes can even help us achieve our unique personal goals while increasing happiness and well-being.

But what is a personal development course? And where can you find the best online classes to master your own inner-growth and outer-development skills?

What is a personal development course?

A personal development course for adults provides a guided program to help us facilitate our self-growth and personal improvement journey. Conveniently offered online, they often focus on developing various aspects of emotional intelligence such as self-awareness and inner motivation.

Caring experts guide attendees to foster a deeper understanding of themselves, thereby enriching various aspects of our personal and social lives. Specific personal development topics may vary, providing opportunities to focus on our unique goals. Some may include learning the strategies of better time management, stress relief, greater mindfulness, persuasive communication skills and even maximization of personal finance.

In this process, participants can find opportunities to reflect on their current attitudes and behaviors while learning the best approaches to building positive daily habits both in action and in thought.

Why take personal development courses?

Personal development coaches help us self-regulate emotions and improve our social responses. Like seasoned sea captains, they don’t assume anyone can conquer the ocean. Rather, they provide an understanding of the vessel that is you. By helping us better understand and improve ourselves, personal development classes offer the strategies and skills needed to steer our own lives no matter how off course we feel or how turbulent the waters.

The outcomes are often life-changing. From better time management strategies to greater confidence in making decisions, participants commonly experience a clearer sense of purpose, gratitude, empathy and calm. As we develop a better understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and individual needs for fulfillment, we become better positioned to set and achieve meaningful goals. The cumulative effect is one of empowerment and confidence needed to achieve a successful, happy and more balanced life.

What are the best personal development courses to take online?

Online courses provide professional guidance to help you meet your personal development goals for a stronger, more empowered and fulfilling life. What’s more, they are fun and simple to use, providing various areas of expertise to guide you at your own pace.

Our list of top personal development classes includes 10 of the best offered by top personal development coaches. What’s more, each is either free or very affordable. Don’t wait—seize the day by treating yourself to a better you!

1. The Science of Well-Being

Have you ever wanted to learn the secrets of happiness from an accomplished Yale professor? This 10-part course offered by Coursera provides exactly that opportunity. Using science-backed information and methods, cognitive expert Laurie Santos, Ph.D., guides you to better understand yourself while building the habits of happiness.

2. Win the Day Accelerator

“Winning the day” means learning the skills to unlock your full potential. In this personal development course, bestselling author, entrepreneur and speaker James Whittaker will expertly guide you through his proven methods to build a successful life driven by your passions. In that process, you will gain greater self-awareness, build stronger routines, manage your stress levels and respond to adversity with clarity and calm. Living a winning life begins here.

3. De-Mystifying Mindfulness

This nine-module course will help you better understand what mindfulness means and the misconceptions surrounding it. Led by Chris Goto-Jones, D.Phil., the course will also teach you the various therapeutic approaches toward developing greater mindfulness. With several quizzes and assessments, you’ll even earn a certificate shareable on LinkedIn.

4. The Science of Happiness

Part of finding happiness entails bringing happiness to others. With both free and certificate options, this eight-week course from the University of California, Berkeley, teaches you the science of both and allows you to learn on your own schedule. Build the social connections you deserve by understanding the science of kindness and the mental habits you need to create a happier life all around you.

5. Pyramid of Success

Although he passed away in 2010, legendary UCLA Bruins coach John Wooden still has a great deal to share about making every day of your life a masterpiece. In this 10-module course, you will learn the character qualities it takes to develop your best self as you steer your life toward leadership and personal success.

6. Meditation: A Way to Achieve Your Goals in Life

You may be aware of the benefits of meditation but don’t know where to begin. You’re not alone. Try this six-step course at your own pace to get started on achieving your personal development goals through meditation. Duck-Joo Lee, Ph.D., will guide you through the power of self-reflection, mind cleansing and more.

7. Learning How to Learn

A cornerstone of personal development is the willingness to embrace the growth mindset of never-ending improvement. For some, learning is hard but that doesn’t mean it has to be. In this free, online personal development course, you will learn the techniques used by artists and scientists alike to learn and master even the most difficult subjects.

8. Boost Your Income for Life

Have you ever felt trapped in a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle that leaves you forever treading water just to get by? Personal development and happiness first require financial security. Cashing Out authors Kiersten and Julien Saunders can help get you there with this enlightening five-part course. Ready to boost your income? Start here!

9. One Year Success Plan

Have you wished you could have a personal achievement expert as your own personal mentor? Entrepreneur, author and professional speaker Jim Rohn is one of the most highly regarded and quoted financial experts. And, now, through this 12-month program, you will learn the steps it takes to stay motivated and disciplined and achieve the personal success you deserve.

10. Anger Management and Conflict Resolution

Life comes with conflict. And conflict too often leads to frustration and then to anger or even, in the longer term, substance abuse. Worse, one can feed the other in a cycle. With this four-part personal development class, in just a few hours, you will learn to better understand your anger, resolve conflicts and embrace better mental health for greater well-being.

Photo by – Yuri A/

Bryan Lindenberger

Bryan enjoys the digital space where arts and technology meet. As a writer, he has worked in education, health and wellbeing, and manufacturing. He also assists smaller businesses in web development including accessibility and content development. In his free time, he hikes trails in central Florida.