“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” –Benjamin Franklin
One thing that can always make me happier and more confident is to learn a new skill, a new technique, or a new language. Science shows lifelong learning is not only helpful for personal development, but also beneficial to our mind and body in the long run. <Read more: How to Invest in Yourself: 12 Frugal but Effective Ways>
If you are looking to learn something new, but do not have the time, energy, and/or money to go to a classroom and take a course (like me), you have more choices now. Ever thought about taking an online course? I am listing 11 great websites to find best free (or very cheap) online courses.
Khan Academy is an educational website that offers free instructional videos and personalized learning dashboards for learners to learn at their own pace.
You can find courses on math (by grade), science & engineering, computing, arts & humanities, and economics & finance. Students can also take practice tests such as SAT and GMAT or learn about college admissions and scholarships.
edX is an online learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT and provides free courses. Most courses offer an audit track, which is free of charge and include all course materials, but will not provide a certificate when you complete your course. To get a verified certificate, one needs to upgrade the verified track with a fee.
Coursera is founded by two Stanford professors to offer online courses, specializations, and degrees in a variety of subjects, such as social science, business, data science, and more. Most courses have an audit option (a free option) and a paid option (with access to more course materials, assignment submission, and a course certificate).
Some courses offer a free option called “Full Course, No Certificate,” which means even though students will not get a certificate, they can have full access to the course.
Skillshare is an online learning community where expert practitioners can create courses to share their knowledge and skills. The courses are classified into several categories—creative (e.g., photography, graphic design), business (e.g., marketing, freelance), technology (e.g., web development, IT security), lifestyle (e.g., crafts, home business).
There are 15,000 courses on their website. Some courses are free. To unlock all courses on the website, one needs to become a premium member ($10 per month for annual choice).
MIT OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content at undergraduate and graduate level. The free resources include the syllabus, reading list, lecture notes, assignments, exams, and some multimedia content.
Open2study is an online course website backed by Open Universities Australia (OUA), an Australian leader in accredited online education.
There are a variety of free courses on business, finance, health & medicine, and many other topics. After your enrollment, you have access to course materials including videos, further readings, assessments, quizzes, etc.
FutureLearn, a digital education platform based in London, offers courses in a diverse range of subjects in various length. There are hundreds of courses from top universities and organizations. Most courses are 4-6 weeks long.
You can join a course for free to get access to the course for its duration plus 14 additional days, including access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes. To gain unlimited access to a course and get a certificate of achievement, one needs to upgrade the course and pay a certain amount of fee.
Open Culture offers 1200 free online courses from the world’s leading universities such as Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. Users can download audio & video courses straight to their computer or mp3 player.
Alison is another platform for online education. Allison is free of charge, but you need to pay a fee if you need a certificate or a diploma. Right now, there are over 800 courses that cover traditional subjects such as Fundamentals of Biology and practical professional skills such as Effective Communication Skills for Managers. The courses are designed to be self-paced, so users can complete a course based on their schedule.
Udacity offers massive open online courses mainly on computer science although there are courses on other subjects too. Not all courses are free, so to find free courses you need to go to the course catalog page and select “free course” as the course type. Then you will see a list of courses that are free of charge.
Udemy provides a platform for experts in different areas to create courses for users to learn new skills. These courses are not driven by traditional academic coursework; rather they focus more on skill development such as Photoshop or using YouTube for marketing.
One big strength of Udemy is the tremendous number and variety of courses- 45,000 courses to select as for now. The courses on Udemy are not free, but they often offer a big discount. During the promotion period, one can enroll in a course at a minimum cost ($10-$15 a course).
Check out these online education platforms for best free online courses and I am sure you can find something useful for your work, business, or lifestyle. Is there a specific topic you have been eager to learn? Maybe now it’s the time to cross it off your bucket list by taking an online course!