Online course details



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3 units, up to 8 hours of study per unit

CPD hours

20 CPD hours


Self-guided online learning



Online course description

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) is the global gold standard in the protection and management of data. This free short GDPR Data Protection Officer (DPO) Skills online course offers a basic, practical understanding of the law, policy, and practice of GDPR. The course consists of three units, concerning the legal, behavioural, and technical aspects of data protection.

Although this course was written pre-Brexit, this free online course is still relevant today. This is due to the UK now adopting the EU GDPR regulation.

Who is this course for?

Though this course is open to anyone who wants to better understand the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR), it is ideally suited to those in a variety of job roles including:

97%agree that the course is relevant to personal / professional development**GDPR: Data Protection Officer Skills, Student Experience Survey 2021
96%of learners are satisfied with the quality of the course**GDPR: Data Protection Officer Skills, Student Experience Survey 2021

This course will help you to understand:

"It was a great course and I really benefited, it has also improved and broadened my knowledge on effective data management, hence improve my job performance. Thank you."

GDPR Data Protection Officer (DPO) Skills, Online Learner

Structure, certificates and assessment

This massive open online course is a great way to understand more about GDPR, however it does not hold any credits and can not be used as a top-up for your University credits.

Throughout the learning process you will be awarded a Digital Open Badge for completing each unit. These are internationally recognised by many employers and educational institutions and will allow you to display your study achievements, even if you only wish to complete a specific unit.

Upon finishing the course, you will be issued an E-Certificate featuring all earned badges and stating that you have completed the full course, so that you can add it to your CV or education portfolio.

If you're interested in exploring what else University of Derby Online Learning has to offer, browse our online courses.

High quality free online learning experience

In 2016, the University of Derby received the OpenupEd quality label. This means that the University of Derby is recognised as operating in a continuous process of improving their MOOC offerings. By achieving this label the University of Derby demonstrates that it offers quality controlled MOOCs in compliance with benchmarks tailored to both online and open education and keeps up to date with the latest developments. Furthermore, that it uses the OpenupEd quality instrument for benchmarked self-assessment on MOOCs and takes measures of improvement accordingly.

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An accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office

We are proud to be an accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office for our online short courses and free courses, demonstrating that they conform to CPD best practice and are appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

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Course units

The course is made up of 3 units, each will require up to 8 hours of study.

The legal module has a focus on providing knowledge about the legal framework for data protection

  • The legal basis of data protection
  • The role of Data Processors and Controllers
  • Personal data and data subjects
  • Special categories of personal data
  • Exceptions and derogations
  • Data processing
  • Data protection principles
  • Conditions for lawful processing of data
  • Privacy notices and policies
  • Retention and destruction of data
  • Data security
  • Data protection by design and default
  • Accountability and governance
  • Subject access requests
  • Rectification and erasure
  • Breaches, fines and enforcement
  • Applications in professional roles in big and small organisations
  • Case studies and assessments

The Behavioural and Security module is aimed at allowing participants to understand the impact of data in the behaviour of a given organisation and to acquire the ability to manage the security-related aspects involved.

  • Potential data security risks for an organisation related to employee behaviour
  • Organisational culture and security
  • Improving organisational behaviour
  • Authentication of system users
  • Social media security risks
  • Human error
  • Compliance, obedience and human motivation
  • Personality theory and implications for GDPR
  • Characteristics of data breaches
  • Case studies

The Technical, Organisational and Impact Assessment module covers technical aspects of data creation, management and storing, as well as the ability to devise data management strategies and evaluate the impact of policies.

  • Technical aspects of data protection
  • Key principles
  • Internet of things
  • Cloud computing
  • Profiling technologies
  • Privacy by design
  • Block chain technologies
  • Security protocols
  • Data protection impact assessment

Course requirements

How to enrol

All of our free courses are delivered through an easy-to-use online learning platform, which you can enrol from directly.

Course Requirements

The course is free and widely available for anyone to take part in regardless of age, location or education status.

However, there are some basic requirements. You will need access to the internet whether it is on your PC, tablet, mobile or other electronic devices, as well as a valid email address to register with our online learning environment in order to take part in the course.

You will need to agree to the terms and conditions before you start the course which will be available when you enrol.

Project team

Brian was Head of Employment Law at Denison Till solicitors for 15 years where he also headed up the firm's training department. He is an ILM-accredited (Institute of Leadership and Management) trainer and was an Associate Tutor at the University of York, teaching employment law in their corporate training division. He became a director and head of employment at the York office of Lupton Fawcett solicitors in 2013 and, as well as heading the firm's training department (where he built the biggest set of ILM-accredited lawyers/trainers in the region), he was a member of their management board.

Brian now focuses on employment and GDPR training as well as running his own specialist employment and law firm. He focuses on all areas of employment and data protection, with a particular expertise in data protection and its interface with employment law and practice. 

Andrew graduated from York University in 1988 in Psychology and holds postgraduate qualifications from the University of Birmingham, including a masters degree in Ergonomics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He is Professor of Human Factors in Transport Safety and leads the Behavioural Safety Research and Injury Prevention Research Group. He is Director of Internationalisation for the Loughborough Design School and holds a position as a Visiting Professor at Hasselt University in Belgium. He is experienced in human issues related to computer systems.

Martin has a background in computer studies and ergonomics. His interests are in the usability and accessibility of interactive system, the use of IT in health, information and intelligence within interactive systems. He has been involved in several EU projects to develop human factors tools, methods and guidelines to promote usability within European IT programmes. Within the Design School at Loughborough University, he teaches HCI, user-centred design and user-experience design. He has knowledge of human factors related to IT systems.

Dr Taiwo Oriola is a lecturer in law and course Director for LLM Commercial Law Programme at Magee campus. Taiwo has previously taught at Cardiff University School of Law. He holds a PhD degree from Cardiff University; an MA degree in Applied Ethics from Utrecht University; an LLM in Information Technology Law, from Stockholm University; an LLM in European Intellectual Property Law, from Stockholm University; an LLB degree with honours from Ife University; and a Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching & Learning from Cardiff University.

Hakeem has done extensive research on the role of the judiciary in transitional societies which has attracted international recognition. In 2011, Hakeem was appointed and served as a Commissioner of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Osun State (South-West Nigeria). He has consulted for the United States Department of Justice, Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva among others.

Hakeem's research interests lie at the intersections of human rights, law and governance focusing on accountability for power

This project has received funding from the European Union's Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme under Grant Agreement No. 769191.

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