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.


Interesting Data From MOOC Study


Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs have polarized educators. Many believe they are more efficient and are the future of education. Others, have been outspoken critics and point to the fact that very few students actually complete the courses they sign up for. MOOCs have been around for several years so we can start to see emerging trends for the polarizing classes.

As MOOCs become more popular, more classes are being offered and more data is available. Harvard recently released their findings from a study on intentions, completion rates and more.

Many of the users that are using the MOOCs are educators themselves. Over a third of the users are teachers. Many of them use the content to improve their ability to teach. However, it looks like they might just have an appreciation for learning because over three-fourths of the students that identified as educators were studying subjects they don’t teach.

The demographic of users of these platforms vary but a higher percentage of women and older individuals are registering for courses.

A lot of the talk surrounding MOOCs is whether they will complement or supplant traditional education. Though it is far too early to make any conclusions, they might do both. A look at the survey of students shows that nearly half of participants took classes without the desire to earn a certificate. No follow up has been done to see whether earning a certificate makes any discernible difference in students being able to achieve their goals.

Computer Science has higher participation than any other subject. No conclusions have been made as to what this means but one can imagine between students who are likely early adopters of new technology and the prospect of high-paying jobs this is not surprising.

Though MOOCs have yet to disrupt traditional education further improvements based on comprehensive studies like this will result in it having an important place in the education space.