Learning and acquiring new skills do not need to be expensive, you don’t need an Ivy League or an Oxford education to get a world-class education.
By Jini Gilbert-Finnigan
Learning and acquiring new skills do not need to be expensive, you don’t need an Oxford or Ivy League education to get a world-class education. There are many online education websites that offer academic courses for free, making them ideal for lifelong learners. They are all partnered with reputable universities around the world, so the courses are really good; these universities will not put out substandard courses and risk damaging their reputation. Whether you choose to supplement your existing education or learn a new skill, it’s never too late to become a life-long learner. These online courses can help you gain valuable knowledge and expand your horizon. Here are my top five websites.
1. Future Learn
FutureLearn is a digital education platform, jointly owned by The Open University and SEEK Ltd. It is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) learning platform with 175 UK and international partners, including non-university partners. The founding partners include some of the top universities in the UK; The Open University, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, Cardiff University, University of East Anglia, University of Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster University, University of Leeds, University of Southampton, St Andrews University, and the University of Warwick. FutureLearn offers over 1500 courses, all 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. You can “develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses.” Sample courses: Cultural Diplomacy, Introduction to Applied Linguistics and TESOL, Youth Mental Health: Helping Young People with Anxiety
2. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a non-profit whose missions is “to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Khan Academy is free for both learners and teachers, and offers lessons for students from kindergarten through early college, with topic including math, grammar, science, history, AP® exams, SAT® and more. Khan Academy’s founding partners include, among others, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Ann & Jon Doerr and Reed Hastings. Sample Free Courses: Computer programming, Geometry, Art History
Coursera has more than 35 million learners, 150 university partners, 2,700 courses, 250 specialisations and four degrees. In addition to free courses, Coursera offers courses generally ranging from as little as $29 to $99. Specialisations and degrees cost more. Course instructors include experts from the world’s top colleges and universities, and courses include recorded video lectures, community discussion forums and both graded and peer-reviewed coursework. You can also receive a course certificate for each course you complete. Sample Free Courses: The Science of Well-Being (Yale), Successful Negotiation (University of Michigan), Healing with Arts(University of Florida)
Crash Course is an educational YouTube channel started by John and Hank Green (Green Brothers) The Crash Course team has produced more than 32 courses on a wide variety of subjects, including organic chemistry, literature, world history, biology, philosophy, theatre, ecology, and many more. To make its content as useful as possible to viewers, the Crash Course channel hires experts relating to the topics of its series to work on the show. A collaboration with Arizona State University titled Study Hall began in 2020, which includes less structured learning in its topics.
TED-Ed is TED’s award-winning youth and education arm whose mission is to share and spread ideas from teachers and students. TED-Ed has a global network of more than 250,000 teachers that serves millions of teachers and students around the world every week. TED-Ed includes innovative content such as original animated videos and a platform for teachers to create interactive lessons. TED-Ed is a good way to brush up on existing knowledge.