10 Best Tools for Free Online Education

The Internet is an invaluable resource for lifelong learners and scientists who have achieved their goals. Continue your education with these top free online tools.

10. Free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have greatly expanded educational opportunities for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. These usually free online courses, usually provided by universities and colleges, cover everything from astronomy to web development. MOOCs are a category in their own right, but there are many individual providers and platforms to look out for, including the universities themselves such as Stanford Online and MIT Open Courseware . Popular for-profit and non-profit organizations that serve courses from a variety of sources include Academic Earth , edX , Class Central , Udacity , Coursera , Udemy, and FutureLearn . If you think there are too many free online courses, don’t worry. Some of the tools and sites below pick courses from MOOCs and other specialty sources.

9. Skillshare

Skillshare is a learning community of over one million students and teachers. In fact, anyone can teach a class (usually 30 minutes to 1 hour) in subjects such as crafts, cooking, film, photography, technology, or writing – as long as the class adheres to the site’s posting guidelines. It’s a good resource for browsing project-based lessons (like creating 3D fonts and textures), and there are course tracks grouped by subject. Over 300 lessons are available for free, but you need a professional subscription to access over 3,000 complete library.

8. Reddit University

Love Reddit? You can participate in this community’s educational crowdsourced initiative. Reddit users teach standard subjects at University Reddit , such as art and computer science, and “fun and games” (for example, StarCraft II strategy). You can also apply to conduct the course yourself.

7. CourseBuffet

CourseBuffet lets you search and compare hundreds of free MOOCs from over 250 universities. You can search by subject, browse by area, or even view learning paths that combine courses into a bachelor-level curriculum for you – for example, a complete computer science or management course . And it’s all free.


ALISON not only provides free online courses from publishers such as Google, Microsoft, MIT, Macmillan, and Cambridge University, but it also offers diploma courses. This way, you can get certified in project management, human resources, social work, and other subjects that can be helpful when looking for a job. There are over 750 free diploma and certification courses available now, and you can use the site to track your progress and test your skills.

5. Project Gutenberg

Prefer to learn by reading over online courses? Or do you want to add books to these videos? The huge (over 50,000) collection of free e-books Project Gutenberg comes to the rescue. Here you will find classic and little-known titles for your download pleasure in multiple languages. Browse theirlist of the Top 100 eBooks to find something new to read. To find free tutorials, head over to the previously mentioned TextbookRevolution or Open Textbooks . The Open Syllabus Project will show you the most common college books .

4. Khan Academy

Join over 38 million online learners at Khan Academy , the in-house non-profit MOOC. Their slogan is “You can learn anything,” and you will find a wide range of interesting video tutorials as well as interactive courses here. Track your progress and earn badges for fun learning.

3. iTunes U

The iTunes U app for iOS, Mac, or Windows not only lets you access courses from top schools and other sources on your device, it also lets you view and complete course assignments and add notes for each course. The directory contains hundreds of thousands of resources on a variety of topics, all at your fingertips.

2. Open culture

An open culture is a real boon for any student. The site currently features 1,150 free online courses, 725 free movies, 700 free audiobooks, 800 free ebooks, 200 free textbooks, 300 free language lessons, and 150 free business courses. They have grown a lot – and continue to grow – since we mentioned them a few years ago . The resources are well classified. It is a great one-stop source of free enrichment materials.

1. Lifehacker U

Not to mention yourself, but Lifehacker U is a carefully curated collection of the best free online lessons you can take every semester. One of the best things about this course is that our own Alan Henry course highlights specific courses in each subject area you might be interested in, along with detailed notes and descriptions. So, instead of pointing you at, say, Stanford University in general, you will see courses from multiple schools in your discipline that are currently new or returning.

The aforementioned resources are, of course, only a superficial selection of the places where you can learn something new on the Internet. But they are a good place to start, and they should keep you on track all year round.

Illustration by Fruzina Kuhari.



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