Education—it’s expensive, it takes a long time to get a degree, and often you learn a lot of outdated material! It’s not all bad though, if you can get it from the right sources, at your convenience, and at the right price!
That’s where online learning comes in—experts in their respective fields come together on websites to teach what they know best!
So you get the best of all the world: updated information, passionate teachers, the convenience of learning online.
But wait—how much does it cost?
Exploring New Realms With MOOCs
First order of business: let’s learn a new acronym! Thanks to the power of the interconnectivity of the internet, there’s been a resurgence of awesome resources and materials made available online. There are some pretty large organizations out there that are putting out information, including Harvard and MIT!
These classes are organized into what’s known as a MOOC—a massive open online classroom! While MOOCs may not become the ubiquitous classroom of the future, they fill a oft-trodden niche. There are many that just want to take a class or two to expand their practical knowledge. There are people that are already enrolled in school full-time, but still want to learn some practical skills.
No student left behind
Because of the power and resources of many educational hubs and businesses, it’s now possible for instructors, teachers, and certified professionals to release their information for free.
That’s right—the classes you can take today won’t cost you a penny
So go ahead and learn stuff! What’s stopping you? Take a look at the alphabetically organized list below!
The Full List
Alison provides high-quality courses as well as certificates, certifications, and diplomas. Building your resume is easy with Alison, as they provide classes from Google, Microsoft, Cambridge, and other professional businesses, universities, and organizations. Set yourself apart from the competition by not just taking their classes, but by joining one of their diploma program tracks in accounting, Chinese language, carpentry, human physiology, or mental health studies, among many other fields of study!
On this website, you’re not going to find classes from some university professor who earned his degree twenty years ago. You’re going to find the best, brightest, and most successful entrepreneurs, teachers, and instructors who are real-life thought leaders and speakers in their industry. The value you get from these courses is worth the price, but CreativeLive always offers a handful of free classes in photography, design, and other creative interests—just click on the “Watch Now Free” banner at the top of the page!
Don’t expect to sit in a classroom watching online lectures—CodeAcademy takes a guided yet hands-on approach to learning how to code in HTML, CSS, Ruby, PHP, and a few other languages. You get to learn code on the fly by typing it into an interactive IDE (integrated development environment) and watching your new found coding skills come to life!
Coursera is massive. They have courses from Duke, Emory, Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Caltech, Yale, and Princeton! While there are a ton of classes to be found, they make it easy to follow a study track by offering specializations in several fields, including: data science, project management, entrepreneurship, business finance, social science, and biology!
EdX offers classes from Harvard, Berkeley and MIT. These classes are totally 100% free, and the topics range from architecture, science, and medicine! While you can learn at your own pace for no charge, you can actually purchase a certificate of completion for many of their verified courses. Looks good on a resume, if you’re trying to stay in-the-know!
(iTunes link above) If you use Apple devices, you actually have access to thousands of free courses and materials from schools all over the country! The great thing is, you can take many of these classes with you by using the app!
Quick review for Khan Academy: it saved me during my undergrad statistics class, 5/5 stars. But really, it’s an awesome site! It’s definitely more focused on “school” related topics (like algebra, SAT prep, civics, etc.), a majority of which are at a high school level, so it’s great if you’re in high school or if you’re just trying to get a refresher.
You’ll probably find what you’re looking for when it comes to tech classes on this website—it’s got over 2,200 undergrad and graduate level classes, many of which have online textbooks, too! Whether it’s game design or fine arts, MIT’s got you covered.
NovoEd partners not just with schools (many of the ones you’ll find hosted on Coursera), but they also work with corporations, too. Boasting a huge library of free classes ranging from business leadership to humanities, you’re sure to find some practical knowledge here!
If you’re looking to start your online learning, SkilledUp is a great place to start. They offer an online class search engine (so you can find courses from all over the internet, including from several sites from this roundup) that you can apply filters too, including a price range filter (so we can keep this roundup free!). Not only can you find classes, you can even find ebooks and webinars, too. Don’t forget about their blog—they post industry-relevant articles all the time!
In spite of a sans-classroom setup, TED offers top-notch lectures and presentations from some of the smartest people on the planet. Take all kinds of notes when watching these videos—the thought leadership you’ll find here could change your life. Ethics, life hacking, modern medicine, startups, and everything in between gets high-quality screen time at TED.
Udacity came about through an AT&T and Google partnership. Because these tech giants are behind it all, expect to find lots of computer science-related engineering, math, and design classes here! While you can choose to access the full version of each class (and get access to the instructor and a certificate of completion), you can access most of their class material for free! If you are looking for pay a little, you can finish a schooling track and earn a “Nanodegree” in four different tech fields!
I’m slightly biased towards Udemy—it’s a great platform for instructors who aren’t Ivy League professors! That’s why I’ve published my Social Media for Churches class here, and soon I’ll be posting my brand new Write your First WordPress Blog Post class on Udemy, too! There are a wide range of topics on Udemy. There are classes on yoga, fitness, religion, foreign languages, photography, and drawing! And of course, the greatest benefit is that many of these classes are totally free!
That’s all we’ve got for today!
Got an awesome MOOC you want me to add to this list? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you love education and letting other know about learning opportunities, be sure to share this post!