These are the 50 most popular courses adults have been studying online during lockdown

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Data from Shaw Academy shows a huge rise in the number of people enrolling in 2020 compared to the previous year, as millions looked to kill time or even retrain for a new career during the lockdown.

In 2019, the online platform saw 143,917 people register for courses, but this shot up to 981,260 in 2020 – with women making up 64 per cent of the pupils.

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Photography was the most popular course with more than 103,000 people enrolling in 2020 – up from 30,688 the previous year.

As the lockdown took hold, almost 25,000 signed up to cookery and baking courses, compared to just seven people in 2019.

Interior design also saw a huge increase as Brits looked to make the most of their home and its space after it faced new pressures, going from eight pupils in 2019 to almost 12,000 during the pandemic.

Other courses to feature in the top 50 for the past 12 months included creative writing (16,416), mindfulness (9,944), cryptocurrency (2,511) and even dog care (3,804).

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Professional skills

But while 31 per cent of those who enrolled were simply looking for self-improvement, 21 per cent were using the time to improve their professional skills.

Another one in 10 were looking to retrain to enter a new industry while the same number wanted to start their own business.

A spokesperson for said: “Lockdown has given many people the gift of time – something we often struggled to have enough of previously.

“There has never been a better time to learn more about a hobby that you’ve never quite been able to really get into or learn a new skill altogether.

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“And with many sectors and industries hit hard by the pandemic and the effects of the lockdown, there are many people looking at their current career and wondering if it is still one for them.

“With so many people furloughed or out of work, they have been able to take stock and perhaps learn something else which can open up a new career path for them.”

The data comes after a study of 2,000 adults found 47 per cent have been rethinking their career choice since the start of the lockdown.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) want to improve their current skill set for their job role, with one in five (20 per cent) claiming they are always looking for ways to improve professionally.

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But 39 per cent think the abilities required for their current career have changed a lot, with 96 per cent of those believing it is important to keep up to date with modern skills.

New Hobbies

It also emerged one in five adults took up a new hobby or activity simply to make the best of the extra time they had.

Almost one in four (23 per cent) wanted to improve their physical or mental wellbeing while 11 per cent thought it would be a way of communicating more with other people during the isolated period.

Of those polled via OnePoll who started an online course during lockdown, 35 per cent did so to boost their career prospects once the pandemic is over while 23 per cent just wanted to get something out of the unusual period.

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And 16 per cent simply learned something new to beat the boredom.

A spokesperson for Shaw Academy added: “There are various courses on offer, whether you want to change careers, boost your current skill set or simply learn a new hobby.

“Learning something new can be very rewarding and also great for your wellbeing.”

To see what skill or activity you would be best suited to learning take the quiz at

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Top 50 online courses with number of registrations in 2020

1. Photography 103,6992. Graphic design 96,0913. Nutrition 76,8064. Social media 71,9705. Marketing 67,6336. Project management 58,1317. Leadership 52,5918. Sports nutrition 50,9489. Beauty 44,31010. Excel 37,91211. Health 33,40712. Web Development 28,97213. AFT 27,99114. Business 24,60715. Cooking & baking 24,42016. Creative writing 16,41617. Fashion design 12,14618. Interior design 11,90819. Bookkeeping 10,65620. Mindfulness 9,94421. Painting 8,34122. Photoshop 7,96523. Smartphone 7,20624. Hand crafts 6,61325. Data analytics 6,30526. Alternate therapy 5,93527. Psychology 5,91628. Web design 5,61729. Start a business 5,22530. Digital video 4,08431. Crystal 3,92132. Dog care 3,80433. Mobile app 3,38334. Sales promotion 3,17635. Sound engineering 3,02736. Jewellery design 2,94337. Coach 2,75838. Design 2,73339. Gold 2,66140. Cryptocurrency 2,51141. Guitar 2,33742. Tech coding 1,99543. Blogging 1,94844. Floristry 1,48245. Game development 1,47046. Child development 1,30847. Organisational psychology 1,21248. Python 1,18449. Wine 1,11350. Tarot 940

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