10 Places to Learn for Free Online

by / ⠀Personal Branding Startup Advice / January 22, 2013


Everyday, more resources are becoming available to any one who spends time online. Colleges and universities are opening up and letting everyone access some of their best courses and learning material. Teachers and experts are creating amazing content and hundreds of thousands of people are taking advantage of it. In the past few years there has been an explosion of companies and organizations that are trying to make all of this material available online. Here are some of the most notable places to find amazing free material online today.

Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization and website created in 2006. The website supplies a free online collection of more than 3,600 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube that teach mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, and many more. The Khan Academy has delivered over 227 million lessons.

“We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”

iTunes U

iTunes U allows K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to create and distribute course material for free. The functions of iTunes U are much like those of Podcasts in that users can either download individual streams or subscribe to a stream so that iTunes will automatically download it.

“Learn anything, anywhere, anytime.”


Udemy helps you learn from amazing instructors from all around the world, so that you can get there and get there faster.  Udemy recruits experts from a variety of fields to create and teach courses to students. These expert instructors have taught over 500,000 students on Udemy, helping them learn everything from programming to photography to design to yoga and more. The majority of courses you have to pay for, but if you do your research you can find some great free ones.

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“Learn real skills from real experts.”

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to put all of the educational materials from its undergraduate and graduate-level courses online. There are over 2,000 courses available online. The courses have seen over 125 million visitors since the project launched in 2002.

“The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.”


Udacity is a relative newbie in the space with their first offered course coming in 2011 through Stanford University. 160,000 students enrolled in that first course, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. 90,000 more students enrolled in the next two courses that rolled out in March 2012. They currently have 15 active courses and in October received $15 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz.

“We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we’ve connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world.”

“Higher Education for Free”


EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise with founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web. The two institutions have each contributed $30 million of resources to the nonprofit project. In December 2012, it was announced that Georgetown University and Wellesley College would become edX partners. Wellesley would be the first liberal arts college to offer courses, and both would start in fall 2013.

“The Future of Online Education. for anyone, anywhere, anytime.”


Coursera partners with various universities and makes a few of their courses available online free for a large audience. As of November 2012 more than 1,900,241 students from 196 countries have enrolled in at least one course.

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“We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions.”

Open Yale Courses

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The project now includes 42 courses from a broad range of introductory courses taught at Yale college.


It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. On TED.com the best talks and performances from TED and partners are available for free. More than 1,400 TED Talks are now available.

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.”

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