A massive online learning platform, edX brings together free (or cheap) short courses from many of the world’s leading tertiary education institutions.

Delivery of the courses is flexible and many are self-paced, allowing even the busiest of executives to fit in some upskilling whenever they can. Here are seven options tailor-made for leaders who love to learn.

Leaders of Learning – Harvard University

Learning is central to any dynamic organisation and this module considers the topic from a range of perspectives, including organisational structure, neuroscience, design, digital technology and how leadership shapes learning environments.

Richard Elmore, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, says the course can be useful for anyone involved in learning in the broadest sense.

“Leaders of Learning…asks you to consider the type of organisation you would like to lead,” he comments.

Leading Change in Times of Disruption – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

This short course introduces students to Theory U, an approach which has been influential in leadership and management circles.
The principles outlined in the theory can help develop leadership capacity and improve decision making. It is offered by MIT, recently ranked the world’s top university.

Soft Skills – Rochester Institute of Technology

As workplaces become increasingly collaborative in nature and incorporate new technologies at a breakneck pace, leaders who have the flexibility and interpersonal skills to guide their employees through changing environments will be immensely valuable.

Recent research has suggested there is a major shortage of soft skills across a number of industries. This course teaches a range of highly transferable skills, including communicating with different personality types, team-based problem solving and best practice leadership.

Digital Transformation Strategy – Boston University

As traditional businesses are increasingly disrupted by more agile start-ups, it is vital that leaders have a strong grasp on digital strategy.

Led by N Venkat Venkatraman, a leading thinker on management, this course looks at the three phases a company will journey through on its way to a successful digital transformation.

Industry 4.0 – How to Revolutionise your Business – The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

For leaders looking to learn more about the big picture trends which will shape business in the coming decades, this course offers a primer on the next phase of the digital revolution.

Covering topics such as automation, cryptocurrency, big data and cloud computing, it aims to gives students tools to deal with the hugely disruptive technologies that will dramatically affect the workplaces of the future.

Innovation Leadership – Georgia Tech

Taught by former Medtronic CEO Bill George, this course seeks to create leaders who can inspire and harness innovative thinking.

It looks at case studies from those who have successfully empowered innovators, while giving students practical tools to help guide creative and groundbreaking thinking in their own work lives.

The Foundations of Happiness at Work – Berkeley University of California

Exploring how to measure and increase happiness in the workplace, this course can offer insights to leaders of all stripes. It builds on Emiliana Simon-Thomas’ previous course, The Science of Happiness, which was studied by more than half a million students.

It offers a scientific approach to boosting workplace satisfaction and touches on concepts such as gratitude, purpose and connection.