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What are the Best Free Education Websites?

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by Greta Gorelik (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer with a passion for art, photography, cooking, yoga, dancing and travelling. I have an Eastern European background and I love to explore new cultures, discover new things and share my experiences with the world.
Published December 9th 2014
For all curious souls out there
Would you like to learn new skills to advance your career; master a concept for school or university course work; or are you just interested in a subject area and want to find out more about it? For all curious souls out there, who are fascinated by the world and are eager to gain a deeper understanding of it check out my list of the top 3 free educational websites.


Coursera logo
Coursera logo/Wikimedia Commons

Coursera is an education platform that offers free online courses created by the world top universities and organisations. So, if you ever dreamed of studying at Stanford, Yale, Columbia or Princeton - here is your chance! The courses usually take 6-10 weeks and are delivered in the form of short video lectures comprising 1-3 hours per week. Your knowledge is then tested by interactive quizzes and assignments, however in most cases assignments are optional. Once a course is completed, you will earn a statement of accomplishment.
Coursera is a great way to gain an understanding in a topic of your interest; improve or learn new skills; and add value to your resume. There is a wide range of topics in various categories including Humanities, Natural Sciences, Business, Education, Medicine and Computer Science.

I've completed a course in Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle - which I thoroughly enjoyed, and am currently completing How to Change the World. Other courses that caught my interest include: Introduction to Public Speaking, and Buddhist Meditation & the Modern World.


Ted logo/ courtesy of ryanjosephson
Ted logo/ courtesy of Ryan Josephson

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas." - George Bernard Shaw

This is exactly what is all about - sharing powerful ideas and inspiring the community to engage with these ideas and each other. Initially, TED started as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged (and that's where the name of the website comes from); today it covers a broad spectrum of topics including science, philosophy, business and global issues. The format of a TED talk is a short video, usually under 18 minutes. These videos are available in 80 languages with subtitles and occasionally an attached transcript.

If you don't know where to start, you should check out Playlists, which are a series of talks curated by TED on various topics like: The most popular talks of all time, Everything you thought... was wrong, What is success?, What makes you Happy? and How does my brain work?.

Some of my personal favourite talks include; How schools kill creativity, How to buy happiness, 3 clues to understanding your brain, The puzzle of motivation, and How bacteria "talk".

KHAN Academy

Khan Academy Logo
Khan Academy Logo/ Khan Academy

Khan Academy is yet another brilliant online educational platform that offers tutorials on different subjects - including mathematics, chemistry, physics, history, art, medicine, economics, and finance. It all started with the founder Salman Khan creating a series of YouTube videos to remotely tutor one of his cousins. Today it's a not-for-profit educational organisation, with more than 2,200 tutorial videos and a mission of providing "a free world-class education for anyone anywhere".

black holes
Black Holes / Khan Academy

Khan is a genius and has an ability to explain complex things in a simple manner - ranging from the Greek debt crisis to black holes. It's a great resource for students, parents and educators. Apart from the actual content, there are over 100,000 interactive exercises that you can do to ensure that you understand the concept. Interestingly, Khan gave a Ted talk on the topic of using video to reinventing education. Maybe you could make that your first stop at TED!

Coursera, and Khan academy have the power to spread knowledge and ideas, inspire learning and development, and finally shape the future of our education system.

Now, we'd like to hear from you. What are your favourite free education websites? Leave a comment and share your knowledge.

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