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Best Sites for Free Online Courses

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Love is a strange thing. For example, I love my three young children. On the other hand, I also love it when they go back to school every fall.

I too, in my mid forties, still love to learn. So every year around this time, as all the kids go back to class, I find myself inspired to go back to school, so to speak – from the comfort of my desk.

In that spirit, here’s a shortlist of thousands of free online courses from some of the well-known education waypoints on the web. You’ll find everything from simple college courses to professional development to learning new hobbies.

EdX: 3,600+ free courses

If you can’t find a learning experience for free on EdX, it probably doesn’t exist. The site’s raison d’être: Offering online courses from top colleges and universities around the world, almost all of which can be checked for free.

That’s the catch, albeit a small one. If you check a course, you will miss tests, quizzes, and certain course materials. However, you can pay to get real-life course points. Course costs can run into the thousands, just like a real school. But if you want to absorb and hold material, and don’t mind being tested for it, this is a great place to start.

Coursera: 2500+ Free Courses

Coursera is similar to EdX, although it has a special free courses section. Compared to EdX, Coursera leans a little more towards professional training, but it’s likely you’ll find a fair amount of overlap if you look closely enough.

That said, give Coursera a shot if you want to do some professional development in your spare time.

Codecademy: 100+ Free Programming Courses

Do you want to learn programming? turn a free Codecademy account.

Then on his catalog pagescroll down to the “Most Popular Courses” section and filter the drop-down menu to select free courses.

That’s a good place to start, although there isn’t an overarching free section that shows you every freebie. But once you find a coding discipline that really appeals to you, you can dive into it from the left navigation and filter free courses in the same way.

Udemy: 500+ Free Courses

Last stop: Udemy’s free courses section. Here you’ll find a nice mix of professional development, programming lessons, and lessons that teach you new skills, such as taking better photos or learning a particular software product.

If you’re interested in real-world learning from people working in different industries – in other words, not necessarily professors – you’ll probably find what you’re looking for here. You can even sign up to teach classes yourself if you are an expert in your field.

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