The 10 Best Free Prompt Engineering Courses & Resources for ChatGPT, Midjourney & Co.

Updated Jan-21, 2024: Added a bonus resource.

Maximilian Vogel
Published in
8 min readSep 6, 2023

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A well-crafted prompt is magic.

At least a little bit.

Not the abracadabra kind that makes software glitches disappear, mind you. But with just a subtle tweak of the words in the textual tapestry you can:

  • drastically increase the rate of correct responses
  • turn a bland robot into an entertaining party animal
  • keep the dragon of hallucination at bay with mighty instructions and few-shot-examples
  • Carefully navigate sharp and pointed edge cases such as prompt injection or toxic language

This, my friend, is prompt engineering.

Now, where’s the spellbook — where can I learn it?

There’s no shortage of paid courses, degrees, tutorials, — even complete university programs. Anyone with $10 worth of knowledge is currently trying to resell their techniques for $100.

But fear not! The Internet in reality is an enchanted forest from a video game of the 90s — is full of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. I’ve ventured there to identify the best free prompt engineering resources, from beginner incantations to advanced conjuring for text, code and AI artistry. My quest? To democratize the magic and make prompt craft available to all. Let’s dive in! 🪄✨

  1. OpenAI‘s Prompt Engineering Best Practices (Beginner)
  2. Fast & Free Prompt Engineering Course with Cheat Sheets (45 min) (Beginner, Intermediate)
  3. Guide to Communicating with Artificial Intelligence (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  4. Vanderbilt University: Prompt Engineering Video Course for ChatGPT (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  5. Prompt Engineering Guide (Intermediate, Advanced)
  6. DeepLearning.AI: Prompt Engineering Video Course for Developers (Intermediate, Advanced)
  7. Advanced Course on Prompt Engineering (yes … Advanced)
  8. OpenAI: Cookbook ChatGPT, Dall-E, Whisper (Advanced)
  9. AI Art prompting: The DALL-E 2 prompt book (Beginner, Intermediate)
  10. AI Art prompting for MidJourney (Beginner, Intermediate)

1. OpenAI: Prompt Engineering Best Practices

Straight from the ivory tower of the ChatGPT developers, this beginner prompting tutorial helps to lay a solid foundation for prompt design. Step-by-step, it guides novices through techniques including:

  • Separating instructions from content
  • Learning to use specific, descriptive language
  • Defining the desired output format
  • Zero-shot vs. one-shot, few-shot prompting
  • Say what to DO instead of what NOT to do
  • Using leading words
Image credit: OpenAI

My 50-token take: This prompt course offers a good start covering the absolute basics. Many of you will already know quite a few of these best practices.

🎓: Beginner
⏰: About 10–15 min
📙: Text, examples

2. Maximilian Vogel: (Fast &) Free Prompt Engineering Course

This course is my humble little personal contribution to democratize the art of prompting. It squeezes in the most critical prompt techniques into a 45 minute lesson. I’ve also added two handy cheat-sheets to help you design your own prompts.

Prompt engineering cheat sheet

The ten most important techniques to write prompts:

You’ll learn the 10 most important techniques for crafting effective prompts, such as:

  • Clear instructions
  • Defining the output format
  • Prompt templates
  • Data context
  • Few-shot examples
  • How to deal with “don’t know” / “won’t answer” cases (ie. controlling hallucination / critical topics)
  • Chain-of-thought prompting
  • Conversation history
  • Formatting the prompt: Headlines, labels, delimiters
  • The anatomy of a professional prompt

🎓: Beginner, Intermediate
⏰: 15 min reading, 30 min studying the examples
📙: Text, cheat sheets, examples

3. Learnprompting.org: Your Guide to Communicating with Artificial Intelligence

Many, many & more prompting techniques and examples. Including an introduction to generative AI, ChatGPT and prompt engineering and more.

Lecture from Learnprompting.org

The beginner section alone covers:

  • Basics
  • Introduction to AI
  • Prompting With ChatGPT
  • Prompt Engineering
  • Learning Prompting Embeds
  • Giving Instructions
  • Role Prompting
  • Few-Shot Prompting
  • Combining Techniques
  • Formalizing Prompts
  • Priming Chatbots
  • OpenAI Playground

🎓: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
⏰: 1–2 days for the beginner section, while the rest is better used as reference or source of inspiration.
📙: Text, examples, interactive prompting (bring your own API key)

My 50-token take: This is a great, comprehensive resource compiled with love and many inspirations for your own prompting.

4. Vanderbilt University: Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT

Free Course of 3 weeks. Tests and certificates are USD 49.-
This comprehensive 3-week course led by Jules White starts at square one and methodically builds up prompt engineering expertise.

Jules White teaching

Some topic highlights include:

  • What is a prompt?
  • Prompt patterns
  • The Persona pattern
  • Root prompts
  • Question refinement patterns
  • Cognitive verifier patterns
  • Audience persona patterns
  • ReAct prompting

🎓: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
⏰: 3 weeks with 6 hrs each
📙: Video, examples in ChatGPT playground, scripts, references to research papers

My 50-token take: If you often need to skip a video after 20 words, or are a fan of setting play speed to 200%, this may not be the course for you. These are real university-style lectures with examples that demand focus, but provide deep and thorough coverage ranging from fundamentals to esoterics. I personally really liked the advanced topics where I discovered a number of exciting approaches.

5. Elvis Saravia: Prompt Engineering Guide

This comprehensive guide dives deep into prompt engineering and draws on research papers and tests with openAIs text-davinci-003 models.

Image credit: Elvis Saravia

It covers a wide range of techniques, including:

  • Prompt basics & elements
  • Techniques such as zero-shot, few-shot, chain-of-thought, self-consistency, tree-of-thoughts
  • Applications: program-aided LLMs, generating data & code
  • Model lists and discussions
  • Risks in prompt engineering
  • Relevant research papers

🎓: Intermediate, Advanced
⏰: A few hours for the intro. Weeks for the rest - best used as a reference.
📙: Text, examples

My 50-token take: This prompting guide is super interesting and I managed to get quite a bit of inspiration but beware that it’s not really heavily structured for beginners. Read swiftly while it’s still free, as paid courses are already in the works. 😁

6. DeepLearning.AI & OpenAI: ChatGPT Prompt Engineering for Developers

This set of nine comprehensive and excellent video-based courses teaches prompt engineering for coders, by Isa Fulford and Andrew Ng. Registration is necessary. Although tailored towards software engineers, anyone can use many of the inspirations to directly prompt in playgrounds. A basic knowledge of Python may help to understand the examples. Free for a limited period, but could soon be behind a paywall.

Image credit: DeepLearning.ai

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction
  • Guidelines
  • Iterative Approach
  • Summarizing
  • Inferring
  • Transforming
  • Expanding
  • Chatbots
  • Conclusion

🎓: Intermediate, Advanced
⏰: Around 90 min to watch, a few days to play around with the examples
📙: Video lectures, Jupyter notebook examples

My very personal 50 tokens: Great resource. I love to listen to the brilliant Isa and Andrew. Just smart, humble, accurate and decelerated video courses.

7. Cameron R. Wolfe: Advanced Prompt Engineering

“When few-shot learning is not enough”. This advanced material tackles really interesting approaches and are not for bread-and-butter prompt magicians who need to generate simple answers. It deals with complex prompts that require multi-step processes to generate correct answers.

Cameron R. Wolfe discussing different prompting approaches

Cameron shows us techniques such as:

  • Least-to-most technique
  • Self Consistency
  • Multimodal chain of thought (CoT)
  • Knowledge Augmentation
  • Automatic Prompting

🎓: Advanced
⏰: Text, examples, research paper references
📙: 2 hours

My 50-token take: An extremely interesting dive into the deep end of prompt engineering, and well worth studying even if you won’t use it daily.

8. OpenAI: Cookbook

This expansive cookbook has tons of good examples of prompts used in software engineering tasks. And it’s not only for the language models, but also for Whisper and DALL-E. Sidenote: A basic knowledge of Python is required to understand the code.

OpenAI Cookbook Jupyter Notebook

Content:

  • API Usage
  • GPT
  • Embeddings
  • Apps
  • Finetuning
  • Dall-E
  • Whisper
  • Azure OpenAI

🎓: Advanced
⏰: Weeks — can be used both as a reference and a source of inspiration
📙: Code, repositories, Jupyter notebooks, explanations and introductions

My 50-token take: Wow, that’s really a lot of material. Even master magicians with a doctorate in prompting will still be able to learn a spell or two.

9. DALL-E 2 prompt book

A real digital book with pages to turn! It offers a short introduction to AI art prompting, along with thousands of prompt snippets you can use to define an image. Many of them work with models other than Dall-E as well.

DALL-E 2 prompt book: Inspiration for camera settings and lenses

🎓: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
⏰: Days — can be used as reference and source of inspiration
📙: Explanations, images and prompt examples

My 50-token take: A fantastic source of inspiration.

10. James Bachini: Advanced MidJourney Prompt Engineering

Course with text & images & video course. While other tutorials are more general, here James Bachini delves deep into AI art prompting specifically for MidJourney. This means it contains a lot of commands like “- -ar 3:2“ „- - stylize“, which may not work at all on other models.

James Bachini: Multi-prompt images

James introduces Midjourney prompting with topics such as:

  • Commands
  • Tips and tricks
  • Flags
  • Styles
  • Referencing artists

🎓: Intermediate, Advanced
⏰: 1–2h
📙: Text, prompt & image examples as well as a youtube video.

My 50-token take: Ultra exciting for me. I have used MJ now for 6 month and didn’t know half of the commands.

Bonus track: How I Won Singapore’s GPT-4 Prompt Engineering Competition

It is not a course, but a resource with a lot of insights for advanced prompt engineers: Sheila Teo dives deep into techniques and approaches like the Co-Star framework, which helped her to win the contest:
Sheila’s story on Medium

So my dear fellow magicians, that concludes our journeys through the libraries of prompt craft … I hope you’ve found your spellbook of choice!

I eagerly await your mystical insights and wizardly wisdoms in the comments below. May your wands conjure crazy creations when you cast your newly found spells upon these artificial intelligences!

Many thanks to @TianCooper for helping with the story.

WRITER at MLearning.ai // AI Video // Multimodal Machine Learning

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Maximilian Vogel

Machine learning, generative AI aficionado and speaker. Co-founder BIG PICTURE.