One of the biggest benefits of the Internet is the huge amount of information we all have available at our fingertips.
Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. Before you dive in, you should know that there are even easier ways of making money online if you know where to look.
To start your search, we’ve compiled 10 online programs that are completely free of charge.
Coursera.org is one of the leading providers of MOOCs – massive open online courses. It is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world to bring a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.
Some Coursera courses provide certificates of completion to recognize that you passed the class. If you enjoy learning in a structured classroom-style environment and want to do this at home, Coursera is a great place to start.
Another great option for free online education is edX. It offers full online courses with teachers, discussion boards, quizzes, and so on, but it tends to focus on (and excel at) courses in math, the sciences and engineering. Bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone.
3. Khan Academy
Partnering with many post-secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects. The lectures are short and share a handful of information at a time, but build on each other as you progress.
Udemy is an online institution that offers courses taught by leading experts. Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons. Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.
A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app. The tool offers online courses with full lectures, the ability to take notes on those lectures and assignments to continue learning outside of the lecture environment. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.
MIT OpenCourseWare is a treasure trove of course material from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; it provides lectures, lecture notes, homework assignments, sample tests and many other materials from the actual courses at MIT. MIT OpenCourseWare stands out from the pack if you’re looking to learn more about science, computer and engineering topics, as MIT is among the top universities for those subjects.
Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.
Stanford Online is a great site for world-class courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.
Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.
If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories.
This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.
Another great destination for more general online learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.
Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.
Bonus: 8 sites offering free online courses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
If you're looking to keep busy while you're social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, here are ten bonus sites offering free online learning experiences right now.
- Take free online courses at EdX
- Explore resources from top universities on Alison
- Get started with some coursework on Academic Earth
- Discover free online courses at Class Central
- Learn to cook with Milk Street Cooking School's online lessons
- Take cooking lessons with a top Italian chef
- Learn about wine with Lyon Wine Tastings
- Visit a museum for free with Google Arts & Culture