Who do you think is the largest supplier of free online learning? MIT? Stanford? Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learn Initiative? iTunesU? The UK’s OpenLearn? The Khan Academy? The University of the People? Coursera? Udemy? XuetangX?

Well, what about ALISON? Who, you may ask, is ALISON? ALISON.com is ‘the world’s leading free online learning resource for basic and essential workplace skills. ALISON provides …. interactive multimedia courseware for certification and standards-based learning.

Alison in 2020 claims to have 19 million registered learners spread across nearly 200 countries worldwide. Although only started in 2007, ALISON had graduated over 50,000 people in Certificate and Diploma courses by 2011.

Alison stands for “Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online”. It is based in Ireland and uses mainly a mix of advertising and sponsored programs from partners and publishers to enable students to take the courses free of charge.

I’d be interested in hearing from people with experience of studying with Alison.


  1. WOW WOW WOW !!! So glad I read this. I was psyched when I first found out and read their site. But then the DIP or CERT cost kicked in and I smelled “Feel good diploma mill” all over the place!!!, having been shafted by would be educational ‘suppliers’ before, which essentially ruined my Twin Daughters getting into college or a job, thanks to careful wording and corp. offices in another country but mailing address in the U S. This would-be educator source just flew into the mountain, I could care less who is smiling and feels good. Caviat emptor; YOU DO GET WHAT YOU DO NOT PAY FOR !!!! sucks but true. Thank I found this site- thanks tonnages Tony!!!

    • Yes! And after reading that and several sites I still don’t have a clue how much their certs cost. They keep that well hidden. The idea must be that you don’t know until you finish. At that point people will pay almost anything after all their hard work. It sounds VERY dodgy to me.

      • You can get pdf forms of your diploma for around 22 each. They have several types, a paper copy for about 30 bucks then the parchment cot I think is $130.

      • @Bob Draper: Just checked. Prices for Diplomas are not hidden. They can be found at this link: https://alison.com/cert/.

        Here they go:
        PDF Certificate: € 21
        Certificate Parchment: € 27
        Framed Certificate Parchment: € 37
        Diploma Parchment: € 96
        Framed Diploma: € 115

        There also are a whole lot of courses with free certifications, which can be found at: https://alison.com/knowledgebase/entry/165/

        All in all I think it looks quite fair. They make no false claims about accreditation, they are a legit EU service provider, they offer the content of the courses for free (so you can study, learn, gain knowledge) and charge a very moderate certification fee. Think what IT courses normally cost – or business training. Or completely fake shit like “Trump University”. Also don’t forget that in much of Europe school and university education is free as well.

        • I agree. I would be more concerned if the certificate or the diploma was free. They need some sort of revenue in order to provide these courses. I don’t mind paying for my certification at all. I just want to make sure these certificates are recognized when applying for jobs.

        • I took a two-year course (Master’s) at Walden which ended up costing me almost 18, 000 dollars. Guess what? They forgot to tell me they weren’t accredited until the last quarter. They informed me I would be grandfathered in when they did get accredited. Took them another few years and they did not grandfather me in. They wanted me to pay for an additional year of school to get my legitimate degree. Basically, my degree isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. So, I commend Alison for being upfront about not being accredited and at least they are offering education free so that you don’t spend years investing in something that you end up disliking.

          • Alison courses are real, it is a great whey to self educate yourself for a greater future professional job. I like it has teach me a lot I recommend it for those out there that would like to have more knowledge in what ever work you choose.

      • The cost is not hidden. There is a link at the bottom of their page that is clearly linked as “Pricing” so it is irresponsible for you to be accusing ALISON of doing that when you actually didn’t bother to look. It’s not dodgy at all. Your user skills, however, seem to be.

  2. I did a google and found out that certs cost between £15 and £50 dependent on how you want the certificate produced.
    Framed and parchment paper etc…

    I am starting one of the diplomas (Project management) and will let you all know.

      • Hi,

        I finished the Project Management Diploma and got 86% rating. I passed but I dont think I can afford to buy their Diploma..


        • Hi all,

          I was just about to start the Project Management cert when I found this feed. It would compliment my masters well but is there any real point if its not accredited? Would employers even care? Are there other accredited sites anyone could recommend?

          Any advice is welcomed.

    • No, it is not an accredited college, therefore,credits cannot be transferred from one college to the other. However, this doesnt mean that the diplomas aren’t recognized in the work field.

  3. Its real its whether or not the employer chooses to recognise the cert or diploma as alison is an online programme but does boost your job capability and proves you have received a diploma in Legal studies but doesn’t mean your the Lawyer lol

    • Browsing through the various comments posted here I thought it might be useful to add my own… I am a retired HR Director. No Diploma or Certificate guarantees that you will get that job offer. Paper attachments to your letter of application (CV plus copies of diplomas) should be aimed at getting you an interview. At the interview(s) your personality and ability to think ‘on the go’ are far more important than the submitted paperwork. So the question to ask about Alison (and other online learning resources) is: will this help me increase my knowledge, conceptualize previously learned skills and help me convert data into business critical useful information. In short, will it help me to ‘think on the go’.

  4. hello, i am really excited about ALISON but for someone who wants to get job experience first, i thought i would study french and german in case i found myself in France, Germany or Canada to do a Masters. Do you think it’s wise to study these on this platform? ability to speak a language is not dependent on where you learned but how well you can speak isn’t it?

    • @AdA: The certifications may be legitimate in the sense that there is some real real work involved, but I would question level and depth: the “Advanced Physics” courses for example are comparable to high school level courses here in Germany for people who do NOT have a physics focus. If you want to study German, for example, I suppose you could utilize the Cambridge courses offered via Alison and at some point take the official Goethe Institute exams. With many of the courses I’d see the certification as an extra and it more counts what you learn and whether or not you can utilize it in your life. I am thinking about going through the risk management course, but I, at almost 50, really don’t need yet another Diploma or certification. On the other hand it doesn’t harm if even at my age I’m able to show some continuing education efforts. Normally I do that through accredited Universities, but if there is a legit Alison certification in between it won’t harm.

  5. By following many courses, I have gained knowledge, skills and wisdom. It does not matter whether the qualifications are recognised or not. I found the courses very useful.

  6. Thanks guys for this sites. I have completed one short course but I am very happy that it has boosted my knowledge in an aspect of daily life. I have gained much knowledge from it. Didnt request for cert yet just found ur reviews .. Its useful for learning as for I understand. Thnx

  7. I’m currently doing three Alinson courses, so far I find them all very useful and informative. I’ve paid for online courses before and they were nowhere near as good. I would recommend Alison to anyone who want to boost their CV or add to their knowledge.

  8. I am a supervisor at a Dementia Care Assisted living. In the U.S. Will these certifications I have earned be recognized by my employer? If i pay for my certificate and give them to my Administrator, will it help me on advancing in my current position, considering these certifications I earned are directly connected to Dementia care? I would really like to know if paying for the certificates will actually be beneficial, or just a waste of money, and my Administrators time?

  9. I found Alison the other day. I’ve been looking to do a nutrition course and of course as soon as ai realised it was free it lost a huge amount of credibility in my mind. But; it was free so I started the first module in any case! I actually did start learning bits and bobs and do think the format and content is useful.

    Given that there are actually tons of nutrition course online that are also unaccredited but cost thousands it’s probably not the worst option. I will continue the course I have started as it’s interesting and I am learning but if I ever want to work in the area professionally I will find something more solid to lean on

    • I have studied lots on ALISON over the last few years. Don’t recall exactly when I first found them but definitely over 3 years ago I think. Their design has improved and they have lots of new courses. They make no secret of the charge for certificates and if you do look they explain what makes perfect sense to me – you learn for free, if you want certificate it is a paid service. What is key to me and why I still use them is the separation of paid and free. I have never bought from them because I do not need any certificate. I just want to learn.

      There are a fair few bad comments above and while I respect everyone has an opinion I feel they are unfair. This is a cool free thing and a fair way they can manage to make it free if you don’t want extra stuff but pay if you do.

  10. I started using Alison just yesterday and I have already finished 1 diploma course (Project Management) and I’m currently in progress with my 3 courses (French Language, Basic Typing and Online Business). It really helps a lot to gain more knowledge and skills and I have been referring it too to my colleagues and friends.

    • Hello. I am also interested in Alison Diploma. Did you buy it for yourself? how is the process going? Could you please inform me the prices, cause i cannot find this information on the page.

  11. I have a few courses with Allison I enjoy learning what I didn’t know .I have a level 3 in business administration and computing coated me heaps in 2009 student loan and its recognized still can’t get a job so either not or credited for its good to get knowledge from Allison. I found for me its about going out and helping other people rather than a job. I passed the mental health studies understanding suicide behaviour and the alcohol affects health there is a lot of people where I am living that’s trying to cope with these stuff and its sad if I can stop suicide with gaining more knowledge I will just understanding been supportive for people and a voice for them so they can lean on cry on and get results in them.

  12. An ALISON Certificate or Diploma is a professional competency-based qualification,
    presented by the UNESCO award winning educator to a graduate who has successfully
    obtained their qualification online via interactive, self-paced, multimedia. The
    qualification verifies that the graduate has completed a course of study published
    on the ALISON free online learning platform.
    Courses published by ALISON are developed by a highly qualified team of learning
    professionals in partnership with leading industry and academic experts, from
    individual subject-matter-experts, to some of the most recognized global brand
    name organisations. so for me is worth it.

  13. I need an Algebra certification for employment. I live in the US do you think they will accept a certificate from ALISON?

  14. I tried their Diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship course and it was very challenging and informative. It covers most of the business concepts I know of and I think it is really worthwhile for anyone to study it earnestly. For me, it was just curiosity and finding info for my company to do job assessments. I am in a managerial position, holds a legit masters degree and been working for more than 25 years. I think potential employers would consider this diploma qualification especially when it is coupled with an interview test.

  15. I am a Cameroonian employed as a social worker. With 5 years working experience. I need to do a bachelor degree in social work online by distance learning. I am a graduate from high school. Can you help me go about it? I need information on tuition and how many years it will take to complete the program.etc

  16. hi i have done alison courses i got 90% in customer service training.I also got 90% on alcohol and its effects as well as mental health studies at 85% suicide violent behaviour and subtance abuse.has anyone done these course and got a job in newzealand is it worth me going forward.

  17. Hi
    I am not interested in a certificate. Just wanted to learn more in microbiology. BUT was turned off by having to accept their web browser as my go to going forward. Is this a problem for anyone?

  18. Does anyone happen to know if there are any other types of websites like this? My first name is Alison and I feel like if I ever show this to an employer they’re gonna think I made it up or something lol. I would love something exactly like this for a photoshop course however the name for me is so… off putting? Is there anything else in the world like this or am I gonna have to settle with a cert with my name on it … twice? lol

    • Hi Alison,
      There is probably some truth in your comment about a certificate from an institution that carries the same name as you. 🙂

      Take a look at The Open University; they’re based out of the UK but offer a variety of undergrad and postgrad distance learning programs. http://www.open.ac.uk/

      There are also a myriad of institutions you can choose from if you search ‘distance learning universities’; and if you’re looking for photoshop courses, then add that to your search.

      Best of luck!

  19. I concur. I would be more concerned if the testament or the confirmation was free. They require a type of income with a specific end goal to give these courses. I wouldn’t fret paying for my accreditation by any means. I simply need to ensure these testaments are perceived while applying for employments.


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