In today’s fast-paced world, learning new skills is essential for personal and professional growth. But what if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to spend a fortune on classes? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore the best websites for free (or cheap) online courses that’ll help you level up your abilities. So, are you ready to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Let’s dive in!
Coursera is a popular online learning platform that partners with top universities and institutions worldwide. It offers free and low-cost courses in various fields like computer science, business, and data science. Some courses even provide a certification upon completion, which can add greatly to your resume. Coursera also offers financial aid for learners in need, so don’t let money be a barrier to your education.
Coursera offers two primary learning experiences: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Specializations. MOOCs are standalone courses, while Specializations are related courses designed to help you master a specific skill. Both options can be beneficial, depending on your learning goals and preferences.
edX is a non-profit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT. It offers a wide variety of courses from top universities, covering subjects like computer science, engineering, humanities, and more. Most edX courses are free to audit (access course materials without earning a certificate), but you can also pay a small fee for a verified certificate upon completion.
In addition to individual courses, edX offers MicroMasters and Professional Certificate programs. These programs are designed to provide learners with in-depth knowledge and skills in a particular field, making them ideal for those looking to advance their careers or switch industries.
Udemy is an online learning marketplace where instructors can create and sell courses. With over 130,000 courses available, you will surely find something interesting. While Udemy courses generally aren’t free, they often go on sale for as low as $10-$20. So, keep an eye out for discounts and grab a great deal!
One of the best things about Udemy is that once you purchase a course, you have lifetime access to it. This means you can learn at your own pace and revisit the material whenever you like. Plus, many courses come with downloadable resources and practical exercises, making the learning experience interactive and hands-on.
Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that aims to provide free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. They offer a wide range of courses in subjects like math, science, economics, history, and more. All of their content is entirely free and designed to be accessible to learners of all ages and backgrounds.
Khan Academy’s courses are filled with interactive exercises, quizzes, and video lessons, making learning engaging and fun. The platform also tracks your progress, providing personalized recommendations to help you achieve your learning goals.
LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, offers a vast library of video courses by industry experts. The platform focuses on professional development, covering topics like software development, design, business, and more. While LinkedIn Learning requires a monthly subscription, they offer a 1-month free trial that allows you to access and complete as many courses as you’d like within that period.
One unique feature of LinkedIn Learning is its seamless integration with your LinkedIn profile. Once you complete a course, you can easily add the certificate to your profile, showcasing your new skills to potential employers and connections.
Skillshare is an online learning platform focusing on creative subjects like design, illustration, photography, and writing. While some courses on Skillshare are free, a monthly subscription grants you access to their entire library of over 30,000 classes. They also offer a 7-day free trial to help you explore their content before committing to a subscription.
Many Skillshare courses are taught by industry professionals and successful creatives, offering you an inside look at their processes and techniques. Plus, most classes include hands-on projects, allowing you to apply your new skills in a practical setting.
Codecademy Pro offers additional features like quizzes, projects, and personalized learning plans for those who want more in-depth learning. You can try out Codecademy Pro with a 7-day free trial before deciding whether to continue with a subscription.
FutureLearn is a UK-based online learning platform that partners with leading universities and institutions to offer high-quality courses on various subjects. While most courses are free to audit, you can also choose to pay for a certificate or unlimited access to their content. FutureLearn offers a unique social learning experience, encouraging interaction with fellow learners through discussions and group activities.
FutureLearn offers short courses, which typically last 2-6 weeks, and micro-credentials – longer, accredited programs that provide in-depth knowledge in a specific area. With flexible study options, you can learn at your own pace and fit your education around your schedule.
Google Digital Garage is an initiative by Google to help individuals and businesses grow their digital skills. The platform offers free courses on a variety of topics, including digital marketing, data analysis, and online safety. Many courses also have Google-branded certifications to add to your resume or LinkedIn profile.
Google Digital Garage courses are self-paced, allowing you to learn and complete assessments on your schedule. You can also track your progress and pick up where you left off, making it easy to fit learning into your daily routine.
OpenLearn is an online learning platform The Open University provides, offering a wide range of free courses across various subjects, including arts, history, business, and science. The platform also provides free access to learning materials like videos, podcasts, and interactive games.
In addition to regular courses, OpenLearn offers Badged Open Courses, which are designed to help you showcase your skills. Once you complete a Badged Open Course, you’ll earn a digital badge that can be displayed on your LinkedIn profile or other online platforms.
Alison is an online learning platform that offers free courses and certifications across numerous subjects, such as IT, business, health, and language. The courses are designed for self-paced learning, allowing you to study at your speed and on your own time.
Alison offers three types of courses:
- Certificate courses, which take 2-3 hours to complete.
- Diploma courses, which take 8-10 hours.
- Learning Paths, which are a series of related courses designed to help you master a particular skill set.
Udacity is an online learning platform focusing on technology and industry-specific skills, offering courses in artificial intelligence, data science, and web development. While most courses on Udacity require a subscription, they offer free courses to help you get started.
Udacity’s Nanodegree programs are designed to provide you with job-ready skills in a specific field. These programs typically take several months to complete, including hands-on projects, mentor support, and career services. Although Nanodegree programs require a subscription, they can be a valuable investment for those looking to advance their careers in tech.
MIT OpenCourseWare is an initiative by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to share its course materials with learners worldwide. The platform offers free access to thousands of course materials, including lecture notes, videos, assignments, and exams from MIT’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
MIT OpenCourseWare allows you to study at your own pace, giving you the freedom to explore various subjects like engineering, computer science, business, and more. While you won’t receive a certificate or credit for completing courses, you’ll gain valuable knowledge from one of the world’s top institutions.
Harvard Online Learning is a platform that offers a variety of free and paid online courses from Harvard University, covering subjects like humanities, social sciences, data science, and more. The platform allows you to learn from some of the brightest minds in academia.
Many courses on Harvard Online Learning are self-paced, allowing you to study on your schedule. Some courses also offer the option to pay for a verified certificate, which can be a valuable addition to your resume or LinkedIn profile.
Simplilearn is an online training platform offering professional certification courses in project management, data science, and digital marketing. While most courses on Simplilearn are paid, they offer free resources like webinars, articles, and ebooks to help you get started on your learning journey.
Simplilearn combines self-paced online learning with live virtual classrooms, providing a comprehensive and interactive learning experience. The platform also provides hands-on projects, quizzes, and expert mentorship to ensure you have the skills to excel in your chosen field.
Stanford Online offers a variety of free and paid courses from Stanford University, covering subjects like computer science, entrepreneurship, health, and education. By learning from esteemed faculty members and industry experts, you can gain valuable knowledge and skills from one of the world’s top institutions.
Stanford Online provides both self-paced and instructor-led courses, allowing you to choose the learning style that best suits your needs. Some courses also offer the option to earn a professional certificate, which can enhance your resume and showcase your expertise.
Canvas Network is an online learning platform that partners with universities and institutions worldwide to offer open online courses. The platform provides a range of free and low-cost courses in subjects like business, education, technology, and more.
Canvas Network courses often incorporate collaborative and interactive elements like group projects and peer assessments to create an engaging learning experience. This approach helps you gain knowledge and allows you to build connections with fellow learners from around the globe.
OpenSesame is an online learning platform that specializes in corporate training and skill development. With a focus on business, technology, and compliance courses, OpenSesame helps organizations and professionals upskill their workforce and stay competitive.
While most courses on OpenSesame require a subscription, they do offer some free resources like webinars and articles. The platform also provides flexible pricing options and customized learning paths tailored to meet the specific needs of your organization or team.
CreativeLive is an online learning platform that focuses on creative subjects like photography, design, music, and craft. The platform offers free and paid courses taught by industry professionals and renowned creatives to help you hone your skills and ignite your passion.
One unique feature of CreativeLive is its free live broadcasts. Every day, the platform streams a selection of courses live, allowing you to learn from experts in real time without spending a dime. You can also purchase on-demand course access if you want to watch them at your convenience.
Saylor Academy is a non-profit organization offering free college-level courses in business, computer science, and engineering. Their mission is to provide accessible and affordable education to learners worldwide, helping to bridge the gap between traditional and online learning.
Many courses at Saylor Academy are eligible for college credit, which can help you save on tuition costs and accelerate your degree. Upon completing a course, you’ll also earn a certificate that you can add to your resume or LinkedIn profile.