A lot of people often put off their studies because of the perceived cost. But thanks to the Internet, learning a new skill that gives you a competitive edge in your career is no longer tied to universities and colleges with expensive fees. Here are some websites offering online courses for FREE.
TESDA Online Program
We’ve already covered this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Local government agency Tesda has a web-based platform that provides free online courses. There is no tuition fee required. Certificates are given as proof of your completion of the courses, with an option to take a face-to-face assessment for national certification.
A wide array of courses is available, ranging from ICT-related courses such as web and mobile development, technopreneurship, and C# programming to courses pertaining to agriculture, automotive, construction, tourism, and health care.
A virtual learning platform created by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, edX boasts free access to thousands of learning materials. Courses are taught by professors from 160 prestigious member universities. Besides Harvard and MIT, there’s the University of California, Berkeley, Cornell University, Kyoto University, Stanford University, University of Oxford, and so many more.
Courses on edX are readily available for enrolment via the free audit track. This already comes with relevant course readings, video lectures and self-assessments, and forums for course discussions. If you’re willing to pay, there’s an optional, paid track for verified certification. The certificates may be worth mentioning in your resume to prove your dedication to learning a new skill.
Coursera, Udemy, Udacity and other online course providers
If somehow edX isn’t enough for you, there are several online education providers out there. They’re also known as massive open online course (MOOC) providers. Among the more popular sites include Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity.
Like edX, these sites boast a wide-ranging catalog that covers pretty much everything. Many courses are offered for free with self-paced classes that last for weeks. And, of course, there’s the optional payment by the end of the course so you can get certified. These certifications of completion can often be shared via LinkedIn to improve your professional profile.
So, which one should you choose? Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these MOOC websites for as long as you avoid the ones with predatory business practices. Your ultimate choice depends on whether the course you want to enroll in is available on the website. If it isn’t, the other online education providers probably have it.
Khan Academy is the brainchild of Salman Khan, whose mission in life is to facilitate learning for students of all ages and to share educational resources to anyone who can benefit from them. That said, Khan Academy is a non-profit organization providing free education.
Learners can join at no cost and immediately have access to courses in different education levels, from pre-kindergarten to college. To name a few, there’s a course on art history that covers thought-provoking works from various periods and across different cultures. There are courses on computers, statistics, and finances. There are even courses to help you succeed in your career, with lessons that help you build your network and negotiate salary increases.
YouTube is more than just videos of cats, Let’s Play, music, product reviews, and commentaries. The world’s second-most popular social media platform is home to countless tutorials, crash courses, and how-to videos. YouTube is such an excellent repository that most, if not all, websites on this list have uploaded their videos there.
Some content creators even provide complete playlists for various topics, so anyone can start with simple, introductory lessons before going into in-depth materials. As one good example, for students or career changers who want to get started on computer science, the channel CrashCourse has a playlist with 41 videos that cover hardware, software, networking, and other aspects of computers.
If you want to be a video content creator, YouTube itself has a Creator Academy for that. Topics include learning how to optimize your channel, enabling monetization, keeping your subscribers engaged, and producing viral videos. Finish all the free lessons and you’ll have a solid experience in growing your YouTube channel.
Free training on online entrepreneurship, marketing and advertising
Tech companies behind the popular social media, e-commerce or digital marketing platforms often have free courses so interested users can easily learn and get acclimated to their platforms. Anyone interested in online marketing and entrepreneurship should find these training courses worth taking.
Newbies interested in learning the fundamentals of digital marketing should head to Google Digital Garage, which offers free webinars and courses by industry experts. Entrepreneurs who want to promote their product on Facebook or Instagram should try Facebook Blueprint so they can learn how to create social media pages to establish their brand and reach their core audiences.
Proprietors who want to sell products online but have no prior experience should consider Shopify to set up their online retail business in no time. This Canadian e-commerce company also offers its own learning portal called Shopify Compass, where entrepreneurs can learn to scale and market their business online.
There are lots more…
The websites mentioned above are but a few of so many online educational providers that offer free online courses. Each of these sites has its pros and cons, so choose wisely and do your research. What you end up choosing should address your needs. Take some time browsing the free courses offered by the above-mentioned sites, as well as these listed below, before enrolling:
- BBC Podcasts
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- Open Culture
- Open Yale Courses
- Stanford Online