Educational Websites: List of Free Online Courses

Are you an autodidact (do you love teaching yourself new things)? Or are you just looking to pick up a new skill?

The following websites can help you learn just about anything. They are in no particular order. I’ve tried to list prices, course style, and available courses where applicable. Please chime in with any new suggestions in the comments!

First, though, if you’re not familiar with what a “MOOC” is, check out this video:

Complete List of Educational Websites

  1. Khan Academy (free, paid coaching available)
    Self Paced, Certificates, NOT-For-Profit
    Math, Science, Economics, Finance, Arts, Computing, Test Prep, College Admissions
    These free online videos are not only wonderfully produced, but the website itself is smooth and easy to use. The content covers just about every topic you could want, from the basic to the advanced. Mobile apps allow for basic watching of videos on the go.
  2. ($25+ / mo)
    Self Paced, Certificates, For-Profit
    Computer Programming, Design, 2d/3d art/animation, videography, IT, marketing, photography, CAD, web
    Lynda has gained lots of traction recently, and may be one of the most profitable of the companies.
  3. Coursera (Free, $39 / mo for signature track)
    MOOCs, Self Paced, Certificates, For-Profit
    Languages, Arts, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Food and Nutrition, Health, Humanities, Information, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Music & Film/Audio, Physical Education, Fitness, Social Sciences, Statistics and Data Analysis, Teacher / Professional Development
    The huge catalog available on Coursera comes largely from the fact that it is an outsourced collection of courses (most of the links come from universities, as opposed to the custom content on the above two sites).
  4. Udacity (Per-Course Pricing)
    Self Paced, “Nanodegrees”, For-Profit
    Data Science, Web Development, Software Engineering, Android, Data Science, etc.
    Curiously, Udacity’s courses appear to be provided by a variety of 3rd parties (not just universities), such as AT&T . Udacity touts this as their major advantage, as the courses were “build and recognized” by industry leaders.
  5. Udemy (Per-Course Pricing)
    Self Paced, For-Profit, Certificates
    Development, Business, IT, Office Productivity, Design, Marketing, Lifestyle, Photography, Health & Fitness, Teacher Training, Music, Academics, Language, Test Prep
    Udemy’s courses are provided by anyone, and thus can be a bit more broad.
  6. edX (Free)
    MOOCs, Self Paced, NOT-For-Profit
    Various courses
    Touted as the largest not-for-profit MOOC, edX was created by founding partners at Harvard and MIT. Today the list of contributors is quite large.
  7. iTunesU (Free)
    All university level courses
    If you own an Apple product, you already have iTunesU. Institutions can publish directly to the platform
  8. … and various universities (Free)
    MOOCs, NOT-For-Profit
    There is likely a lot of overlap, here, with some of the courses offered elsewhere (some of the above sources, especially iTunesU, are aggregations of this content).
    Stanford Online

    Carnegie Melon

Specialized Educational Websites

  1. CodeAcademy (free)
    If you’re looking to learn computer programming, this may be a better choice than the “one size fits all” approach. It uses interactive tutorials to create a project-based approach to learning any specific language. As a programmer myself, I highly recommend this approach to new students, and have even used it myself to pick up a new language.
  2. TreeHouse (paid)
    Another programming site, but with a bit more breadth (CSS, HTML, etc.)
  3. DuoLingo (free)
    Learn any new language for free. Check out my review here.
  4. SpongeLab
    Learn science (biology, chemistry, etc.) with games!

General How-Tos

  1. WikiHow provides instructions on just about anything; eHow also provides how-tos.
  2. Instuctables and MAKE magazine give great resources for DIY projects.
  3. HowStuffWorks will answer your questions about how just about anything works.

There are a LOT of sites which provide skill training and general information out there, but I’ve tried to keep this list to the highly refined & active sites, as opposed to little one-off sites with poor user experiences. If you have more to add, let me know!

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