Free Online Course on Introduction to Animal Behaviour

Wageningen University is offering free online course on Introduction to Animal Behaviour. This course is aimed at anyone looking to broaden their understanding of animal behaviour beyond nature documentaries or a typical high school education.

Over three weeks applicants will explore the amazing range and complexity of wild animal behaviour. Discover how animals learn, communicate, find food, avoid predators, and interact socially. The course will start on August 9, 2016.

Course At A Glance

Length: 6 weeks
Effort: 4-6 hours pw
Subject: Biology & Life Sciences
Institution: Wageningen University and edx
Languages: English
Price: Free. Add a Verified Certificate for $49
Session: Course Starts on August 9, 2016

Providers’ Details

The rapidly increasing demand for nutritious food and its future consequences for the environment call for a much greater understanding of the global food system. WageningenX, by mobilizing a large and international community, addresses this needs effectively by offering different massive online open courses (MOOCs) within its domain.

About This Course

Do you want to understand how and why animals behave the way they do, and how we test hypotheses about behaviour scientifically? This biology and life sciences course provides an introduction to the complexities of wild animal behaviour, and how it is studied.

Over six weeks, learners will explore the various behaviours animals adopt in order to meet the challenges of their daily lives. We begin with how animals learn and communicate with each other, then move on to discuss how they find food, avoid predators, choose their mates, and rear their offspring.

Why Take This Course?

This is a free online course. This MOOC will be offered with Video Transcripts in English.  Applicants can get a verified certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  • Key concepts to understand animal behavior
  • The fascinating range and complexity of behaviour in animals
  • How scientific hypotheses are developed and tested
  • How animals learn and communicate
  • Animals’ reproductive behavior
  • How animals function socially


Prof. Marc Naguib

Marc is a Professor of Behavioural Ecology and chair of the Behavioural Ecology group at Wageningen University.

Dr. James Savage

James is a postdoctoral researcher within the Behavioural Ecology group at Wageningen University.

Dr. Lysanne Snijders

Lysanne received her PhD in 2016 from Wageningen University, and now works as postdoctoral researcher within the Behavioural Ecology group.


No previous knowledge is required, only curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject.

Course Format

Week 1: The science of animal behaviour
Week 2: Learning, cognition and development
Week 3: Communication
Week 4: Finding food and avoiding predators
Week 5: Mating systems and parental care
Week 6: Living in groups

How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link
  • Create an edX account to SignUp
  • Choose “Register Now” to get started.
  • EdX offers honor code certificates of achievement, verified certificates of achievement, and XSeries certificates of achievement. Currently, verified certificates are only available in some courses.
  • Once applicant sign up for a course and activate their account, click on the Log In button on the homepage and type in their email address and edX password. This will take them to the dashboard, with access to each of their active courses. (Before a course begins, it will be listed on their dashboard but will not yet have a “view course” option.)

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