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Best Free Online Learning Sites

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by Janice Heath (subscribe)
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Published October 11th 2014
What would you like to learn today?
Whatever you want to learn, with the rise of the MOOCs (massive online open courses) online education is now available for hundreds of subjects ranging from hobbies through to university level studies and everything in between. Often the only expense is the cost of an internet connection.

With the multiple free online learning providers available, choosing can be a challenge. Try them all? That would definitely be called lifelong learning. So which are the best? Here are a few I've tried:

mobile phone e learning online learning education study
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Advance Learning Interactive Systems ONline

Choose from over 600 courses ranging from construction to writing code, app development through to childcare. To undertake courses with ALISON you need to register for a free account and while the learning is free, there is a charge for certificates (if you want one and if the course you choose is a certified one). You can login with Google, Facebook or Yahoo or register an account with your email address. I like the extensive range of courses and in my experience the lessons have been easy to use and understand.


This site focuses on specific practical skills. Want to learn Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint? Basic Maths and English? Keyboard skills? There are also courses on social media, using your iPod and iPad, internet safety, using the cloud and even career and money management. You don't have to sign up for an account to study with GFCLearnFree. An account can be useful though if you wish to keep track of your studies and if you want a Certificate of Completion (only available with some of their courses). Having taken a quick course on this site I found it easy to navigate and the course content to be useful.

laptop computer books e learning education study
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan/


Forty-nine free courses are on offer, usually run over four weeks. Subjects range from agriculture and astronomy through to game development, human resources and marine and Antarctic science. Certificates of Achievement are available when you complete a course. Many Open2Study courses have start and finish dates and this scheduling does help keep you on track. They also have very active forums. I found the content of the course I did to be relevant, useful and delivered in easily-digestible chunks of information.

Other options to consider are Coursera which offers hundreds of courses, OpenLearning and the iTunesU app - "The world's largest catalogue of free education content".

We'd love to hear about your experience with free online learning. What courses have you taken? What sites would you recommend?
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Why? There must be something you want to learn
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere with internet access
Cost: Mostly free
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