Free Online Resources For Learning

The education landscape is changing quickly, and everyday there are better resources made available online to learn everything from underwater basket weaving to data science. Education technology is still in its nascent stages and companies and non-profits are still trying to pinpoint target markets and effective business models. While they do this many of their resources remain free.


These are the best places to learn for free online:

Khan Academy

Khan Academy has thousands of high quality videos on a wide variety of subjects. They try to make learning as easy and convenient as possible. Khan Academy aims to make education accessible by everyone, and their recent addition of SAT Prep is helping bridge the education gap.


College costs a lot of money. Many of us are still paying our college loans. Now, thanks to Coursera, many of these college classes are available online for free. Coursera brings together the best courses from some of the best universities, including Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins University.


Go to their website, type in the subject you want to study and there will likely be a class available on their aggregated collection of university courses.


Don’t underestimate YouTube as a resource for finding useful lessons. It can be a great complementary resource for a more traditional course to help you learn more specific topics. There are some great channels out there for every subject you want to learn.

iTunes U

This app is available on all Apple devices and includes half a million courses for a wide variety of subjects for all experience levels. There are also quite a lot of social features to facilitate learning with others.

99U and Ted Talks

These sites are honorable mention because there not courses but 99U and Ted have thousands of videos of talks by true thought leaders on specific subjects. Great for finding inspiration.


A Look At 2015 for Education Technology


Edtech was one of the largest emerging industries in terms of investment in 2014. The landscape of education is changing albeit slower and quieter than other industries. So what are the changes we’re looking at for educational technology in 2015?

As technology and the classroom become increasingly connected, the opportunity for personalized education presents itself. Data will become available to teachers that will allow them to focus on areas where their students are falling behind, and to truly understand which children need a little more help. This combining of technology and education is still very early in its development so there is still a lot of room for new innovation to help even more.

2014 was the year of wearable technology and perhaps 2015 will be the year entrepreneurs and teachers try to find if it has a place in the classroom. Perhaps the most applicable wearable tech to the classroom is Google Glass. It has been adopted by some industries and could lead to quick answers to tough questions. People learn a lot more being immersed in activities so smart watches and smart glasses could prove useful in that respect.

MOOCs started to gain popularity in 2014, look for that to continue into 2015. But two other online learning offerings should gain traction. Online courses and online tutoring should see a boost in users and become more mainstream as money continues to be pushed into these programs. The question is whether 2015 is the year where these programs earn some sort of accreditation.

Perhaps the most interesting thing we’ll see during a 2015 year-in-review will be everyday people sharing. There are so many platforms that facilitate this type of interaction between students teachers. Teachers sharing tips with each other is becoming more common, and pair-based learning has gained a lot of steam after numerous studies highlight the advantages of such techniques.

What changes do you expect?


Bootcamps and Hyper Focused Nanodegrees

Online Courses

Online Courses

The newest trend in education is hyper focused online and in-person bootcamps. The concept originated with coding bootcamps in San Francisco to address the problem of the lack of talent in tech. And even though there was a boom in these programs the demand for these jobs continues.

Because of the success of these early bootcamps many others have sprung up. These four to six months programs have popped up in other industries that have minimal access to talent. Generally the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are in demand.

Udacity is one of the first and definitely the largest to offer these programs online. They just received $35 million in Series C funding and is hailed as a potential IPO candidate. Other education sites like Lynda and Skillshare teach these in-demand skills as well and have much larger amounts of content, however, Udacity saw there was a demand from students for something tangible like a degree and has found away to offer this.

The degrees Udacity offers are called “nanodegrees” which are highly specialized “degrees” meant to teach the in-demand skills that most students don’t get from a university education.

Because the education space is highly regulated none of these programs are accredited, but getting an accredited degree is often less important to the students of these programs than getting a job upon graduation. And since these programs are specifically for in-demand jobs these individuals are more hirable than recently graduated University students.

These programs are becoming increasingly reputable, Hack Reactor, a Javascript focused coding boot camp out of San Francisco, boasts a 99% placement rate post graduation with $105,000 average starting salary. This is only slightly less impressive when you look at cost of living in San Francisco.

So the question becomes should universities start teaching other, more in-demand positions and are many university degrees going to become replaced?


The Edtech Industry – Which Companies Will Emerge?

Education Technology

Education Technology

Web 2.0 is upon us and it has brought inventive and disruptive social networks to us like Facebook and Twitter, and for social networks the big players have emerged and further disruption is unlikely. Ello, the anti-ad social network, is trying but will, at best, grow and exit to the big boys.

Education technology is still relatively immature albeit older than social networks. Still in 2014, no one knows exactly how things are going to play out. There are a lot of problems facing those brave teams trying to disrupt 200 year old institutions in this nuanced market. But investors and entrepreneurs are sure that the education landscape will change drastically in the near future and that some oligarchs are sure to emerge.

Here is a list of some possible future market titans:

Lynda.com – A lot of edtech conversation focuses on edtech newcomers with new unproven business models but Lynda.com boasts over 2 million subscribers and over $100 million in revenues.

Knewton – Knewton is a very interesting company and quite possibly ahead of their time. Knewton recognizes that the education industry is nuanced and embraces it. They are trying to develop artificial intelligence to give a personalized lesson plan for each of the students.

TutorGroup – Another company that isn’t necessarily doing anything revolutionary or disruptive but has been wildly successful. If investment rounds are a metric you use to decide on a company’s future then this might be the next industry behemoth. TutorGroup just received a $100 round of funding in part from Alibaba.

General Assembly – General Assembly has done well focusing on training students for practical, in demand jobs. They use a hybrid approach with both in class and on-line learning.

Coursera and MOOC’s – Are Massive Open Online Courses the answer to the edtech problem? Maybe. Coursera is the aggregating behemoth for MOOCs and has seen steady growth. What’s great about Coursera is that students can earn certificates.

Where and what are you going to learn?