Online Construction Courses Overview
Although construction workers usually learn through on-the-job training, they also can take construction classes. If you're interested in becoming a construction worker, there are free online courses and learning materials available through universities, government websites, and instructional videos. However, free construction courses are usually self-study and do not result in credit or certification. If that is desired, construction trade school may be a better option. For those interested in learning, these courses can be used as a way to introduce oneself to the field of construction or enhance skills.
Free Online Construction Courses
Some universities have archives of past courses available for download. Other websites, such as skill-building or government sites, provide instructional videos and valuable information. Since the construction field consists of numerous areas, these courses and learning materials cover a variety of topics, from construction management to building technology and health and safety.
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology archives courses that have previously been taught on campus and makes them available online for download. While the courses are self-paced with no instructors or credit, they can be a great way to gain information. Each course provides a class syllabus, assignments, projects, and suggested materials.
Building Technology I: Materials and Construction
This is a graduate-level course that explores the theory, history, and construction of structural systems. It also explores energy issues in buildings and other energy-related topics, such as psychometrics and thermodynamics. Concepts such as structural behavior, individual analysis of structural elements, and load-carrying strategies are also examined.
Of the available free construction management courses online, this undergraduate course covers topics related to the implementation and management of construction projects. Students learn about management from a project's inception and design to its construction and transition. While the course primarily focuses on infrastructure projects, other concepts such as project finance, organization, and evaluation can apply to construction project management as a whole. This course originally had guest lectures; notes on the lectures are available for individual download.
Alison.com is a website that provides instructional videos for people to learn about a subject or build their skills. Each course lasts a certain number of hours, and upon completion, students take an assessment. If they pass with an 80% or higher, they can earn a certificate or diploma, depending on what the course offers. While the courses are free, the certificate/diploma is not. However, a Learning Achievement Verification is freely accessible.
This course introduces health and safety topics for construction workers. Students will learn how to ensure that a construction site, as well as the finished project, will meet health and safety standards for construction workers and citizens. The course also teaches risk management and the different types of forms and other paperwork that construction managers must deal with when ensuring site safety.
Electricity is one of the many areas involved in construction. This course gives an introduction to electricity applications and safety. Students can first learn about electrical theory, circuits, and safety in residential, industrial, and commercial projects. The course also teaches how to read and understand electrical drawings, including plans and outlines, and how to conduct electrical test equipment.
Carpentry - Introduction to Construction Methods
Carpentry classes can cover a wide range of topics; however, this course teaches carpentry skills that are useful for construction projects. Students can learn about construction and architectural drawings, work with other construction trades, and methods for constructing walls, roof frames, and flooring systems. Students also learn how roofs, walls, and floors are structured.
United States Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides information and videos on construction safety standards and methods.
E-Tools - Preventing Fatalities
This section of the website is known as E-Tools, where individuals can learn about health and safety methods and standards related to their profession. The construction section of E-Tools has information about how to prevent fatalities on a construction site. Information includes electrical incidents, vehicle and equipment struck-bys (when an individual is struck with a construction vehicle or object), falls, and trenching/excavation.
V-Tools - Construction Hazards
This section has videos that relate to construction-related deaths and how to notice and prevent construction hazards. Through digital recreations, the accidental death is shown and then a narrator walks the viewer through what happened, why it happened, and how it can be prevented. A few topics include falls, struck-bys, and electrocutions. Due to the nature of the material, the videos may disturb some viewers, so it is best to watch with caution.