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40 Sources of Free Online Courses, Lessons, Tutorials, MCQs

For those who subscribe to the idea that learning is a lifelong effort, this list of learning websites should be a valuable resource.

The bonus is that all content can be used online in a web browser—and in some cases on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet. What's more, some or all of the content on each of the sites listed is free as well.

As you may already know, online learning is a rapidly growing market that allows flexible schedules. We've tried to capture a wide list of free online learning websites in a variety of formats for different students, professionals and casual learners. 

While most college/university-specific sites have been left out, we have listed initiatives involving many such institutions. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but we hope that it will still be valuable.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "Investing knowledge always pays the best interest."

It's never been truer than it is today. With new technology emerging at breakneck speeds, there's a palpable pressure for continuous upskill.

Whether you want a job promotion or a side-step in a new field, you're going to need to commit to learning new skills.

But learning new skills can be time-consuming and challenging. In reality, according to Josh Kaufman, the international best-selling author of The Personal MBA, it takes 20 hours to get away from knowing nothing about a particular subject to being pretty good at it. Of course, if you want to become an expert—well, it's going to take longer.

High School, College, Post-College/ Professional

Types of Colleges: Your Options After High School · Community Colleges · Career Colleges and Vocational/Technical Schools · Liberal Arts Colleges

Sites in this category offer curriculum education or its equivalent at pre-school, elementary, secondary and/or post-secondary levels. Some also offer courses on the development of professional skills and training that benefit graduates.

1. Educative - If you don’t know Educative is another online learning platform that is gaining a lot of traction for its text-based, interactive learning courses. You don’t get better at swimming by watching others. Coding is no different. Practice as you learn with live code environments inside your browser. Reading is generally faster than watching and If you prefer reading text to watching videos then this is the platform to checkout.

2. ALISON - is a free online training platform that focuses mostly on work-based skills. It was founded in Galway, Ireland by Mike Feerick, an Irish social entrepreneur, on 21 April 2007. It has 14 million registered learners, 2 million graduates and 1500 courses available free of charge in March 2020.

"Empower Yourself" Free online courses from the world’s leading experts. Join 17 million learners today. Free online courses with certificates. Join 2 million graduates and empower your career. Study, learn, certify, upskill with free online learning and training

3. Canvas Network - It's a platform for hundreds of free, open, online, Self-training courses from more than 200 educational organizations worldwide (including Colleges, K-12 schools/districts, and any other educational organization/Mission of the Public Service). Content is primarily in English, but some courses are in English, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish certificates may be available For a few courses.

Lifelong learning and professional development for educators go hand-in-hand with Canvas Network's open, online courses, taught by experts and institutions worldwide.

4. Code - It is part of the initiative to increase computer science education in school districts and colleges, especially for girls and young women—and is funded at a rate of $200 million per year through the White House commitment and promoted by the "Hour of Code" challenge. As a result, education policy has changed in 20 U.S. states to accommodate computer science.

5. Cognitive Class - Formerly known as the Big Data University, the IBM initiative offers free courses (college level and some high school) with digital badges and subjects related to data science and cognitive computing. The Data Science for Social Good initiative of the site is part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals programme.

Learn leading-edge technologies Blockchain, Data Science, AI, Cloud, Serverless, Docker, Kubernetes, Quantum and more...

6. CosmoLearning - while not strictly an online learning site, provides a list of  nearly 1300 free online courses (including 34,000 video lectures in dozens of topics) offered by colleges/ universities and other institutions – useful for students and teachers with an interest in categories such as: Natural and Pure Science, Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Language, Technology, Professions, Health Sciences, Extracurriculars and more.

7. FreeOnlineTutorials - Free Online Tutorials is an online learning, training, tutorial platform with many free courses. Get the best discounts and offers with Coupon Code.

Where e-Learning becomes life-changing!
Your partner in distance learning, worldwide.

8. FutureLearn - offers a frequently changing collection of free online courses from “top universities and specialist organizations,” in 13 categories (most popular: Business & Management, Health & Psychology, Tech & Coding, Teaching). Paid extras: unlimited access, certificates, diplomas, master’s degrees.

9. GCF Learn Free - offers free online tutorials for career and professional skills upgrade, in topics such as software, OS (Operating Systems: Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS, Linux), computers, email, online safety, Internet and more, plus best practices guides for using LinkedIn for career building. 

10. Khan Academy - offers a wide range of courses in topics for students of all ages (elementary, high school and beyond), plus educator and parent tools. Primary topics are math, science, engineering, computing, arts, humanities, economics and finance, and test prep and college-related lessons.

11. Master Class Management - offers a free online management and training leadership skills course equivalent to a mini-MBA business management certification program. Paid extras: certificates of completion.

Master Class Management's free online management course and leadership skills training will teach you management skills, leadership styles, and the fundamentals of a mini-MBA business management certification program. It's the perfect management training solution for new and first time managers, professional and experienced managers, and provides the tools needed to become a great leader.

12. MERLOT - is a massive database of learning materials and faculty development services for college and high school levels — for both educators and students — which includes a synopsis for each of over 7,700 free courses (and a link to the host site). The project is contributed to by 23 university systems and/or institutions of higher education.

13. National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning - provides over 300 free technical courses from NPTEL, with paid certificates from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), and funded by MHRD and Govt. of India.

14. NovoEd - It is self-branded as the "Online platform for modern learners" and offers a mix of university programs, vocational education and corporate training, with almost 80 free online courses open, plus additional paid content.

Deliver powerful, engaging learning experiences at scale on NovoEd’s collaborative learning platform. Activate deep skill development—from leadership to design thinking to managing change—and drive measurable business outcomes.

15. Textbook Revolution - offers free books, textbooks and ebooks, and lists free online lessons and courses offered by various universities and colleges.

Textbook Revolution is a student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors. We want to get these materials into classrooms. On this site you'll find links and reviews of textbooks and select educational resources. Some of the books are PDF files, others are viewable online as e-books, or some are simply web sites containing course or multimedia content.

16. Coursera - Coursera is an American massive open online course provider founded in 2012 by Stanford University's computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller that offers massive open online courses, specializations, degrees, professional and mastertrack courses.

Join Coursera for free and learn online. Build skills with courses from top universities like Yale, Michigan, Stanford, and leading companies like Google and IBM.

17. edX - is an initiative that collectively offers over 1300 university courses (humanities, math, computer science, etc.) to 10M+ learners, with content from two founding universities (MIT, Harvard), over a dozen top contributing institutions, plus several dozen additional charter members worldwide. Courses are offered from directly by each participating institution.

Access 2000 free online courses from 140 leading institutions worldwide. Gain new skills and earn a certificate of completion.

18. Open Courseware (OCW)/ OE Consortium - is the main site of the OCW initiative, which various institutions of higher learning around the world participate in to offer free online coursework. Each participating institution offers content via their own "OCW" subdomain.

The Open Education Consortium (OEC) is a non-profit, global, members-based network of open education institutions and organizations. OEC represents its members and provides advocacy and leadership around advancement of open education globally.

19. Saylor Academy - site offers free open online courses in nearly 20 topics, with free certificates of completion. Potentially over 90 free college credits can be earned (plus cost of test proctoring and transcripts), as well as a self-paced business degree (ASBA – Associate in Science Business Administration) from Thomas Edison State University (plus tuition and fees for completion), with other degrees and university partners in the works.

Learn new skills, earn credit toward a degree, or advance your career at your own pace. Build your bridge to better anywhere, at any time, with free courses at Saylor Academy.

20. OpenLearn - is a free learning initiative from Learning Space: The Open University, offering over 1,000 courses, videos or interactive content units in eight topic areas, with some courses having displayable digital badges available for completion.

21. Rice University’s OpenStax College - is an initiative of Rice University that offers peer-reviewed, openly licensed, 100% free e-textbooks (online and PDF format) in subjects such as college Math, Science, Social Sciences and Humanities, and various AP (Advanced Placement) high school topics.

Technology, IT, Programming, Cybersecurity, Networking

Technology, IT, Programming, Cybersecurity, Networking

1. Codecademy - catalog consists of courses in Web development (front- and back-end, 3 to 35 hours), computer programming and data science, with a mix of free courses plus additional advanced courses and resources for paid Pro members (e.g. extra projects access, and advisor availability from 8am to midnight EST).

2. FreeCodeCamp - offers their own free online highly-regarded courses in software develop, primarily for Web development, Web-based data visualization, databases, and related topics, in the form of a Web-based IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that students can run in a Web browser. Each course has its own milestones and certificate of completion, and thousands of first-time developers have found jobs in the industry after achieving one or more certificates.

3. hackr.io - is a search engine for free (and paid) programming tutorials, with search results pointing to hundreds of additional online learning sites.

Find the Best Programming Courses & Tutorials

4. HTML Dog - is possibly one of the oldest existing online learning sites for Web development, offering tutorials, techniques, code examples and references covering the main aspects of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Everything HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the most common languages used in making web pages.

5. Stack Exchange - while not strictly an online learning site, is part of a collection of free Q&A (Question and Answer) Web sites where software/ IT developers can ask technical questions to which other members sometimes provide incredibly detailed answers, often with code samples.

Stack Exchange Q&A communities are different.

General Interest Courses

picsart - Enhance your Unsplash Photos

The following is a list of courses which are of a general interest nature and are designed to appeal to all students within the College.

1. TED Talks - is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 110 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Meaningful conversations create stronger connections and communities. Small groups are meeting (in-person and online) around the world for conversations through TED Circles — join us!

2. Do It Yourself - offers very specialized free DIY tutorials and videos for home renovation and improvement and related topics.

3. Instructables - is a DIY (do-it-yourself) tutorial site that intersects dozens of arts and crafts topics with Maker projects, experimenting with mini circuit boards and computers and more. Tutorials consists of text and video instructions, item cost lists, etc.

Instructables is a community for people who like to make things. Come explore, share, and make your next project with us!

4. LessonPaths - (formerly MentorMob EDU and an offering from MentorMob) is an education curation tool, allowing teachers/ educators, students or anyone to combine free online lesson/ course content from the Web into “Learning Playlists” that can be accessed free by anyone.

5. Memrise - is a repository of free online flashcard-based lessons and courses covering topics such as Language (nearly 190 languages), Maths & Science, History & Geography, Arts & Literature, Memory Training, Professional and Careers, Entertainment, etc. 

Content is a mix of UGC (User-Generated Content – so you can create your own) and from other sources, and combines audio clips with flashcards for lesson-building, with prompts for reviewing lessons, timers, lesson milestones and more.

6. CreativeLive - offers an interesting model where many courses are free when they first are live broadcast, but need to be paid for after that. Topics include a wide range of creative interests including photography, writing, design and more.

Special Interest Programs

This program supports students with a strong interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to complete their middle schooling in 2 years.

The sites in this section typically cover one or two topics, sometimes a few related topics as well.

1. Adafruit Learning System - is perfect for people interested in learning about “Maker” projects that combine electronics and tiny computers to make useful and/or interesting gadgets. Free guides and tutorials available for DIY (Do It Yourself) use.

2. Hubspot - offers free courses in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, sales and related topics, as well as training, certification and documentation to supplement the free tools on Hubspot. Paid extras: additional business tools and resources.

Take your professional skills to the next level with free, online training from HubSpot Academy. From quick, practical courses to comprehensive certifications, learn everything you need to know about the most sought-after business skills.

3. Dave Conservatoire - is a very specialized learning site, self-billed as a free online music school, which offers 100+ music lessons in the form of video. Lessons include both music theory, test prep, software/ tools use and more. Paid extras: personal lessons from the site’s creator, over Skype or Google Hangouts.

4. Investopedia - is a go-to site in terms of financial knowledge, and offer free learning content in many forms: newsletters, investing tutorials, stock market simulators, dictionary, articles, tutorials, and even exam prep courses for people seeking licensing in accounting, securities and more.

5. PhLearn - hosts nearly 500 free tutorials on photoshop, lightroom, photography, retouching, compositing, etc. Paid extras: a monthly subscription provides access to another 50+ pro tutorials and 420+ additional photoshop tutorials.

Get every tutorial and learn Photoshop, Lightroom & Photography, plus our exclusive library of Lightroom Presets.

6. Poynter News University - a Poynter.org initiative — offers free and paid courses in media and journalism advertising and sales and other topics. Financial support from various organizations (including Knight Foundation, American Press Institute E-learning, etc.) covers the cost of some paid courses, resulting in them being free.

The full News University course catalog features more than 100 interactive courses for people interested in journalism, including Poynter’s competitive in-person teaching programs that now take place online.

7. Hack Design - created a design course and toolkit by curating “the best and most useful blogs, books, games, videos and tutorials,” about the critical elements of design, into a 50-lesson study plan.

An easy to follow design course for people who do amazing things.

8. Drawspace - is a site for both students wanting to learn drawing and illustration as well as for art educators looking for content and tools for the classroom. Free membership gets users access to 50 free lessons (10 at a time) to start, plus another three free per month. Paid extras: more lessons and more at a time, rollover credits, no ads and more.

Our online drawing lessons with printable curriculum can show you how.

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