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5 Places to Access Thousands of Free On-Line Courses

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published March 20th 2020
Learn almost anything for free
If you want to learn for fun, for work, for your career or for school projects, or just need something to do if you're stuck at home, all you need is the will and the internet. That's right, you don't need money; these courses are free. If you've got some time on your hands and a passion to learn there is no shortage of educational and recreational free courses on line.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Amongst the five places listed below, you will find not hundreds but thousands of courses to choose from. Courses can be hours, days or weeks. Choose a topic and a time commitment that's right for you. Most of the courses are self-paced and so accord a great deal of flexibility. So if you're a busy mum, dad, worker or student you can still fit these in when you have the time.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

1. FutureLearn. If you look through the FutureLearn course lists you may be as gobsmacked as I was to find this wonderful repository of free to learn topics. There are so many general interest courses here as well as professional topics, they have to be seen to be believed. For example, Understand the Weather, or Mindfulness for Well Being and Peak Performance, both designed to be three hours a week for four weeks. What about Start Writing Fiction, Fashion and Sustainability, An Introduction to Recreational Maths, or Introduction to Norwegian. The list goes on.

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Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

FutureLearn offers hundreds of on line courses. Most are completely free, some have optional paid upgrades and some are fee-paying. The courses are offered across 14 broad categories that translate into almost anything you can imagine. The categories are Business and Management; Creative Arts and Media; Nature and Environment; Politics and Society; Literature; Healthcare and Medicine; Science, Engineering and Maths; Law; History; IT and Computer Science; Teaching; Language; Study Skills; and Psychology and Metal Health.

Every run of a FutureLearn course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Content is shown on a week by week basis but you can move through the weeks at your own pace although learners are encouraged to complete the courses within two to four weeks of the end date.

To choose from an amazing list of courses, click here to go to FutureLearn.

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Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

2. EdX. EdX is another institution offering an amazing variety of online courses, more than 2,800, and many are free. Paid upgrades are available if you want to take that path. Click on the course of your choice to find out if it is one of the free offerings. There are more than 40 categories of courses on offer. Learn a language, study business, the sciences, history, maths, social sciences, art, literature, philosophy, engineering and more.

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Learn about Nutrition, Heart Disease and Diabetes, or Our Place in the Universe. What about Modern Japanese Architecture or Sustainable Building Design. This is just an example of the diversity of courses available.

Courses are designed and delivered by 140 universities and corporations from across the world, including Australia. Amongst those available, almost 2,000 are self-paced courses. Many of the courses are offered in languages other than English.

To check out the array of courses available, click here to go to EdX.

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Image by Chuck Underwood from Pixabay

3. Alison. Alison offers free online courses with certificates for learners of all knowledge levels. The free online classes take less than three hours each and are self-paced. More than 1,000 courses are available across the broad subject categories of IT, Business, Language, Health, Humanities, Science, Marketing, Lifestyle, and Math.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Some of their more popular courses include Fundraising for Not-For-Profits, Achieving Personal Success, Music Theory – Melody and Harmony, Dealing with Difficult People in Life and Work, French Language Studies – Introduction, and Characteristics of the Successful Entrepreneur.

To choose from the wide range of courses available, click here to go to Alison.

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Image by kalhh from Pixabay

4. Google Digital Garage. Google is one of the world's top ten companies and is well placed to give something back to the community. The Google Digital Garage provides free online learning in the categories of Data and Tech, Digital Marketing and Career Development. At the time of writing 126 courses were available. The courses are broken down into modules and you can pick and choose what you like. Course times range from an hour upwards.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

These courses are ideal for business owners, employees and just us average folks wanting to understand a little bit more about how the digital world works. A couple of years ago I did their Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course which offers 26 modules and an estimated completion time of 40 hours. I found it easy to understand. This particular course also provides a certificate.

To choose from 126 courses on offer, click here to go to the Google Digital Garage dashboard.

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

5. Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organisation offering free courses for everyone, from preschool to adult. The academy's stated mission is s to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Choose from Maths, Science and Engineering, Computing, Art and Humanities, and Economics and Finance.

Do you have a passion for world history, physics, or storytelling? Khan Academy has you covered.

Check out the courses listed by topic or enter your interest into the search box and find what they have to offer.

To start learning, click here to see what Khan Academy can do for you.
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Why? Learning can be fun, flexible and free
When: When you can fit it in.
Where: Wherever you access the internet.
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
Congratulations on winning 2nd place!
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12567) 1 day ago
Interesting list Gayle!
by Kate Blake (score: 3|1408) 6 days ago
Might try some of these. It will be a good way to kill some time.
by betty (score: 2|556) 15 days ago
These look like a good way to spend time when we are isolated.
by Roger (score: 2|673) 17 days ago
Great article! Perfect example of Learning is a Lifelong Process. Great for filling your self isolation hours....
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|772) 15 days ago
Great list!
by Rich (score: 1|11) 15 days ago
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