Free Classes Online & the Best Free Online Learning Resources

One of the best things about the internet age is the ability to share knowledge with anyone at anytime. We share photos, videos, tweets and status updates, and occasionally we even drop some real knowledge. With so many options available, what are the best sources for free classes online for adults?

Free Ways to Get More Education

Free Ways to Get More Education

Not everything you will find online is a credible source of information. Wikipedia is often a great resource, but with it’s user-contributed content, wikipedia is not always accurate. I had to do a double-take when I found this gem years ago when looking up information on the next lunar eclipse:

Funny Example of Trolls on Wikipedia

Funny Example of Trolls on Wikipedia

A lunar eclipse is when the moon turns black and explodes, releasing a poisonous gas, killing all of humanity. Of course this can occur only when the Sun, …

Obviously that is not the true definition of a lunar eclipse, but it is a great example of why you should consider the source whenever you find information online.

Fortunately, there are many trustworthy sources of information online, and many places where you can learn from some of the best institutions in the world for free! Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, include free online college classes that anyone can enroll in. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale.

Some of these free college courses online can be taken on your own schedule, while other free courses are on a set schedule and require you to be available when the material is presented online. Take a look at some of the great options available and decide what you are going to learn about next!

 

Free Online College Classes that Offer Certificates or Credits

Free Online Courses from the World's Top Universities

Free Online Courses from the World’s Top Universities

 

These resources allow you to learn for free, and some of them even go the extra mile by giving free certificates of completion or free college credits! Browse the list of free online learning resources below to see if there is one that is a good fit for you!

Aquent Gymnasium

Aquent Gymnasium offers free, online courses for digital, creative, and communications professionals to empower them with in-demand skills to advance their careers. Aquent (one of the largest staffing agencies in the world) then helps you to get you jobs with your newly acquired skills and certificates. All classes are completely free.

OnlineDegree.com

This site offers hundreds of first year college courses. Learn to code, acquire skills to be a chef, or how to run marketing at a large company. Choose from free courses that not only teach you valuable skills, but could bring you much closer to getting your degree and the career you want.

You can obtain college credit by taking 15 completely tuition-free courses! That’s up to 44 college credit units without the interviews, applications, or tuition. The courses are online, available 24/7, and taken at your own pace. Only for students ages 18+.

Oxford Home Study Centre

OHSC is proud to offer access to 100% free courses online with certificates. Regardless of your age, location and educational background, the free home study courses are open to everyone. Free courses are available on a variety of subjects including:

Saylor Academy

Saylor is a non-profit organization that offers 70+ free self-paced online courses in 17 different areas. Earn credit from 30+ courses transferable to dozens of partner universities. Earn a free certificate of completion if you pass a course’s final exam with a grade of at least 70 percent.

 

Free Online College Classes that Can Be Audited

Taking Class Notes Studying with Laptop

Taking Class Notes Studying with Laptop

The resources for online classes include classes that can be audited for free. These prestigious colleges and universities allow you to have full free access to the coursework, but unfortunately, you will not get credit towards a degree or a certificate. If you would like to get a certificate or credit for the coursework, some of them offer options to sign up (for a fee) and have your assignments graded for credit.

While these sources are well-known and can be a great source for learning, unfortunately they don’t all make it super-easy to find their free classes. Try doing an online search for “free courses at ___” (where blank is the website you’re searching), to find a current list of free courses avaliable.

HarvardX

One of the most exciting sets of free online courses is from the prestigious Harvard University via their MOOCs. These Harvard University MOOCs can be audited for free or choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee. There is a wide variety of current course choices include the following:

Note that many of these courses require advance signup and do have a set start date. See individual course listings for details.

MIT Open Courseware

Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides an OCW (Open Courseware) format / web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Coursera

Coursera works with many of the most presitigous universities to offer advanced classes and degrees online. While not all of the classes can be accessed for free, there are over 1,000 that you can “audit” at no charge. Auditing a class will get you get access to all of the course materials, but your assignments will not be handed in or graded, and you will get no certification at the end of the course to prove your new credentials. This is a great option for anyone who loves learning just for the sake of learning, but not ideal for someone who is looking to add certifiable skills to their CV / resume.

Free classes are available from some of the top universities including Stanford, Yale, Georgia Tech, Columbia, and Princeton! Additionally, they have partnered with some of the largest corporations (Google, IBM, PwC) who have launched courses on their platform.

Additionally, Coursera offers financial aid for learners who cannot afford the fee.

Alison

Take classes for free on a variety of subjects.  You can choose to upgrade your account for a fee which will remove advertising or to pay to receive official certification after your learning has been completed.

Codecademy

With a focus on technical and coding skills, Codecademy helps millions of learners get the skills they need to succeed. On Codecademy, learners discover concepts by actually building things and getting constant feedback from peers. Learning and demonstrating skills become one and the same – and students are left with something tangible to show for their efforts.

Free trial of the PRO version lasts for 7 days. If you’d like to continue, you can pay for the Pro program, or switch to the free membership. Codecademy does not offer certificates, but believes the best way to demonstrate skill is to build a portfolio and show off examples of personal work.

Udacity

With a focus on having learners earn “nanodegrees”, this online education portal is largely focused on technical and analytics courses. While there is a large selection of free courses, they are not easily searchable from within the Udacity website. External searches for “free udacity courses” will help you find a list of current courses that may be of interest including:

Udemy

Free and paid classes available on demand / online from Udemy which boasts the world’s largest selection of courses. The majority of classes are not free, but the selection of free classes include:

 

Free Classes in Your City or Local Area

Free Local Classes on Site

Free Local Classes on Site

When you want a great reason to get out of the house, look no further than these free local classes for all kinds of different things.

EventBrite

Search by your local area and select “free” under the “Any Price” dropdown to find free classes and event on a wide variety of fun subjects. These courses are more likely to be non-acedemic in nature.

Finish Your Diploma

According to the US Dept of Education, there are over 34 million adults who do not have a high school diploma. The benefits of completeing high school as an adult are numerous and can help unlock new career opportunities and higher pay.

There are thousands of free centers all over the U.S. that are ready to help you pass the high school equivalency test and finish your diploma. Whether you need a test prep center that’s near your house, your job, or your child’s day care, the convenient search by zip code will help you find a place that is perfect for you.

This resource is also available in Spanish at CompletaTuDiploma.org.

Free Fitness & Outdoor-Based Classes

For free fitness and outdoor-based classes, see this post that features 15 places where you can take a free local class including yoga, climbing, archery, fishing, pilates, dance, & more!

Free Classes for Kids

For free in-person classes and skill builders for kids, see this post that features places for kids to learn new things during their Summer break like music, swimming, coding, & more.

 

Free eBooks & Other Online Learning Resources

Free eBook Downloads of Thousands of Classic Books

Free eBook Downloads of Thousands of Classic Books

Often a great book is the best way to find a new perspective and learn about a different point of view. Browse or search these resources for a free ebooks download of electronic versions of some of the best literary works ever produced!

Khan Academy

Free for students and teachers, Khan Academy is a nonprofit that offers lessons from kindergarten through early college including math, grammar, science, history, AP exams, SATs and much more. This is an excellent resource for any students who need extra help or tutoring during their normal classwork.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a library with 60,000+ free eBooks. Choose among free Kindle eBooks and ePubs, then either download free ebooks or read them online. Find the world’s great literature, with focus on older works (where the US copyright has expired). No fee or registration required! No special apps needed! Project Gutenberg eBooks require no special apps to read. Use regular web browsers or eBook readers that are included with computers and mobile devices to read these books. Use the search feature (available on every page) to find something specific or browse the 100 most popular books or 100 most popular authors.

SkillShare

Skillshare is a large online resource with thousands of free classes for career, passions, and lots of subjects in between. Classes are taught by the world’s best practitioners in design, business, music, photography, SEO, and more.

ThoughtCo

ThoughtCo is a premier reference site with a focus on expert-created education content. Find answers about science and math, humanities and religion, or architecture and the arts in a clear, easy-to-navigate format.

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Help yourself stay motivated and energized with these great learning resources!

Which of these resources seems like the best solution to help you learn more and reach your goals?

43 Responses

  1. Wildecoll says:

    If the internet is used for the proper reasons, it’s really of immense benefits. Learning has been made easy and convenient, through the internet, a teacher can get closer to the student in class without stepping out of his room and the online class will work perfectly. I really commend you for taking out time to couple these things together, you’ve really done a great job. 

  2. Irina says:

    I love this article! There are plenty of sites where you can learn online for free a lot of things. I want to realize my mobile games. I looked at every link in the article, but I noted the link to return later. From what I saw I can offer Codecademy they want. Sure I will return and I will choose the right course here. Thanks a lot.

    • Alyce says:

      Hello Irina! It’s wonderful to hear that you’ve taken the first step and researched the course schedulings for furthering your studies. Best of luck to you on this new journey!!

  3. jbtomaselli says:

    Right off the bat you got my attention with the Wikipedia reference on the Eclipse of the moon! I absolutely agree with you there though,…we need to take a ‘buyer-beware’ type position when we use Wikipedia as a reference.

    Now I know what Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are! I love learning something new and the content on your site is packed with that! I’m surely going to dig in and see what I can take advantage of; right off the bat I seen an Internet Marketing Course from Oxford Home Study Center I’ll be looking at.

    Your site is definitely intriguing. I’ll be back to take advantage of the free eBooks as well several other opportunities you’ve shared. Thank you!

  4. Wildecoll says:

    Its so lovely to have your article at the help desk again, lol. We no live in the age where everything is made remote and can be done in a snap without being bothered or inconvenienced, it’s very easy to share knowledge with people even at the farthest part of the world, so these free online classes are good platforms that offers teaching for interested online user. I was completely perplexed because I didn’t know of that much, I’ll share this around. I’ve been in some fitness classes and they were all interesting. 

  5. Mahasin1 says:

    Even though I’m done with going back to school. This website was informative. I wasn’t aware that they had free online classes that were school based. I know that a person can look up anything online now days but by you having a one stop shop on where to go and on what schools or institutions offer is a big deal. Get this information out there the best you can for people are always looking to better themselves through education especially when the word free is involved.

    • Alyce says:

      Many of us have a bit of free time here and there so when the price is right, it’s nice to be able to gain knowledge or learn new skills for free as well. 

  6. Travis says:

    This is great information! I am, like I sure most people are, a big user of Wikipedia, but like you mentioned there’s always the chance that the information you find there will not be accurate. And these are big name resources too! Harvard, MIT, Oxford… This is amazing! Thank you for sharing I will definitely use this info!

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Travis, Wikipedia is an easy source of information on a wide variety of topics, and it’s often quite helpful, but it’s good to understand it’s limitations and imperfections.

  7. Strahinja says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing this valuable information. This really helped me a lot. For starters, I was unaware that Oxford University actually offered free courses with certificates. I definitely plan on taking one of their courses, and I am willing to pay because all of the people who studied there and took their courses, are very satisifed with the provided value.

    I will bookmark your website for future posts.

    Strahinja.

  8. Gihan Akalanka says:

    WOW grate information, 

    I never heard or see some of those free online college classes on the internet. look like the oxford home study center is the best place for study event management.

    definitely I will try it out.

    I already tried Udemy that is a great place to learn everything and there has lot of free stuff to study.

    Thank you for sharing valuable and helpful content. Keep it up!

  9. Mikhail says:

    Thanks for your post! I had no idea that there were so many free resources out there to get an online education. Of course, I knew about Wikipedia and how damaging it could get, but free college-level courses are definitely new to me. I always had the impression that there is always a “catch” or you needed some kind of a paid membership to take those courses. Fortunately there are free classes out there, and I will definitely do more research on your suggestions when I will have more time.

    • Alyce says:

      There are so many options out there, but sometimes too many options can make it hard to decide where to go. Hopefully this list helps to shed some light on how the different programs operate and what you can expect from each of them!

  10. Stephanie says:

    I am absolutely bookmarking this. I had no idea thisbwas even possible. I love learning and expanding my knowledge so I will be checking some of those out. What do they require for a certificate? And also, if you get a certificate, what can you do with it? I mean, you can’t apply for certain jobs because they require an actual full degree. Besides the knowledge, what are the advantages of having a certificate?  

    • Alyce says:

      Each program has a different type of requirement to get accreditation, so it just depends on what you want to get. Having a certificate can set you apart from other candidates in a crowded job market. 

  11. Wilson says:

    I didn’t know that there were so many options for learning for free! It seems like every program that can teach you something makes you sign up for a monthly subscription. I think this article is very interesting and I am going to be going through and seeing if I am interested in any of the courses offered! Just from going through the article I think I’m interested in Udemy and the Oxford Home Study Center.

    I have bookmarked the page and I am going to go through and see if I can learn something!

  12. Michel says:

    What a wonderful thing the internet is. Now anybody can get an education and best of all if you can’t afford to go to college, then you can educate yourself online free or at a fraction of the cost. Even if you feel you are too old to go to college, this is the perfect excuse to keep on improving yourself.

    Reading this has made me want to try a course or two. The events management one appeals to me a lot, and I wonder how much time I would need to get through this one.

    • Alyce says:

      It’s definitely nice to be able to learn more about diverse and advanced topics from the comfort of your own home!!

  13. Deanna Martin says:

    Very interesting blog. I didn’t realize all the different ways to save money. From recycling to selling different items and also great ideas for purchasing gifts for others. I liked the article very much. Also, helping charities is something I was not aware of. I will be checking this site out often.  Thanks for sharing, Deanna

  14. Louise says:

    Hello,

    This is great resources for anyone looking to do an online training course for free.

    There are so many course out there it is a bit of a minefield to find the right one to suit ones own circumstance. Poeple all learn very differently so it good to find course that will suit an individual. Free course are always good to know about because education of any kind can be very expensive.

    I like that there are college courses that offer crepitation too. If someone is trying to do better for themselves, prospective employers like to see proof of education and qualifications.

    Thank you

    Louise

    • Alyce says:

      Thanks Louise, you are right that it helps to have lots of education options so that a person can find one that is the right fit!

  15. Dave says:

    Hallo there, 

    I am not used to leaving comments, but the extensive information you have offered really deserves one from me. I was also told a few weeks back that Wikipedia is not a completely reliable source of information and you have confirmed that with the lunar eclipse example.  

    Your list on free online courses will really come in handy for me because I am looking too advanced my learning although I don’t have the time to go to class because of my family and their needs. I am thinking of taking a look at coursera because it seems to be a good match for me. Although I will be sure to look through the others so that I am really convinced it is the best.

    Thanks heaps for the effort you put into this post. I appreciate it.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Dave, I’m happy you found this to be valuable and saw that while Wikipedia can be helpful, it is not always a credible source of accurate information.

  16. Bonnie says:

    Wow, that was really fascinating. I had no idea so many things were actually free anymore. I am so interested in the fitness and outdoor classes. Plus I love to read, so those eBooks are right up my alley. I wish they would have had this available when I was younger! I understand you need to be there at a specific time to be a part of the classes. My question is are there only a specific number of people that can enroll? Also, can you enroll right up to the last minute, or do you need to know in advance when you’ll be available? I have a hard time knowing what I am going to do tomorrow! Thanks in advance for your response, this is really exciting to learn about.

    • Alyce says:

      Those are online classes, so you should be able to sign up right up until the deadline, and they should also have plenty of room for everyone who wants to join. The ones that are self-paced can be taken at any time!

  17. Chloe says:

    This is  indeed massive, these are lots of wonderful things ti learn from an online school. To mention a few, the aspect of completing ones degree online us one that really made me happy. Some time ago I was in a conversation with a girl who dropped out of school because she was pregnant and couldn’t face her mates,now this is one good opportunity for other youths like her. Also thise kids who just sit around during holidays can finally get themselves busy with the free online classes. This is just the best, a really nice thing to get on with.

    • Alyce says:

      An education certainly only helps a person in life, so it’s definitely a good idea to go ahead and complete school when one can find the time for it. 

  18. Jim says:

    Wow!! I had no idea that there are so many different online courses available, especially for free. It’s mind boggling just how many you have listed. I believe that its never to late to learn and to expand your knowledge. At my age, learning helps keep you young. You can even finish your Diploma , or study with Harvard online. It’s simply amazing. I am going to go through all the resources you have listed and see which one I’d like to start with. I will also look at getting some Free ebooks. Thank you for this interesting article Alyce. All the best. Jim

    • Alyce says:

      I’m a big fan of continuous learning, so I was also very happy to learn of all of these great resources at great schools! They are too far away for me to actually enroll in the physical classes, but it’s great to have access to the information from anywhere!

  19. Christine says:

    I had no idea that there were so many free courses online, and even giving you the chance to get certificates. I always wanted to continue my education, and I also love learning. I am very interested in looking at a few options here. The internet marketing course is something I would like to take. 

    I teach geography and world history in high school, and when I give research projects, I always tell my students to use other websites and not focus so much on Wikipedia. They love to use Wikipedia, and I agree that it is a good site to find information, but anyone can contribute there, and some info is wrong. The lunar eclipse definition is a perfect (and hilarious) example of this. 

    • Alyce says:

      I have heard that a lot of students will rely on Wikipedia for their information, and while it can be helpful, it is far from perfect. Good for you for reminding them that it’s not always accurate and there are better sources of information available.

  20. C says:

    Thanks for sharing that funny Wikipedia article. I’m actually laughing out loud and I might look up more examples of funny Wikipedia trolling. I have been to Khan Academy and they helped me a lot with mathematics and engineering. I also went to MIT opencourseware and I think I looked up something about physics or engineering which was helpful.

    I like how you can even learn things for free and get college credit in The process. I wish I knew that when I was going to college because I would have gotten some college credits from my computer over the summer or something.

    I haven’t tried udemy yet but I hear it’s good. Thanks for these recommendations!

    • Alyce says:

      I’ve heard that the wikipedia profiles on political candidates / figures are very susceptible to having incorrect information… often to the point of being mean. I’m sure you’ll be able to find plenty of examples of silly things that have been posted incorrectly on wikipedia. 🙂

  21. Henderson says:

    Tbis is very good. Its true that one can get good information online but it all depends on if the source that provides those resources are credible. I love what you have dished out here with some of the best free online learning resources. For me, since i work online, udemy will be a good one for me. I like that you could present so many resources. I am going to share this for others to see too. Thanks!

  22. RoDarrick says:

    Udemy is the perfect destination for me and I would head there right away. Taking courses online  has been of great advantage to everybody especially people who are looking forward to working 9-5jobs daily. I like the the array of courses made available on udemy and the fact that it offers an interactive session makes it worthwhile. Also, I have learnt from Khan academy before to nine my eBook skills. But right now, I want to take my affiliate marketing journey higher and Use my is the perfect place to head to. Thanks so much for this information

    • Alyce says:

      I agree! I was very excited to see that there are more subjects available than just science and math… I enjoy learning about those but there are definitely other things that are more relevant to my business these days!

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