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18 Best Places to Access Free Online Courses

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18 Free Online Courses


If you’re already familiar with homeschool programs, you may be familiar with these free online courses.

EdX is one of the largest names in free online courses with its virtual campus. This is the place to find courses from legit universities and educational institutions. This is a non profit platform where you can learn without financial or geographic restraints. 

While there are lots of courses that incur a fee, you can study numerous online courses free of charge. 


Udemy Summary

  • Wide target audience of learners
  • Earn passive income from your courses
  • Get your payments within 1 to 2 days
  • Short minimum course duration (30 min)

Udemy has been around since 2010 and has a goal of allowing teachers and instructors to create and operate free online learning classes and courses. It has grown into a massive platform that now has more than 50,000 instructors and over 150,000 courses around the world. 

While most of the courses do carry a $15 fee, there are lots of online classes for free. Udemy appreciates that cost can be a significant barrier to entry for many prospective students. In response to this, Udemy set up a Free Resource Center in 2020, which collates 150 courses that allow you to learn for free. 

General Assembly

General Assembly is a solid choice if you’re looking to upskill talents that are sought after by many employers. It started out as a co-working platform, but it has expanded into a global learning space. 

GA offers some of the best free online courses in business, design, career development, marketing and coding. Just be aware that GA does not have Department of Education accreditation, so you may struggle to find free online courses with qualifications on this platform. 

Many of the full time GA courses do have a hefty fee. Some of the full immersive courses can cost as much as $15,000, but it is possible to benefit from free short courses in skills such as coding. 


Future Learn is a platform partnership between some of the top educational institutions in the UK. It is owned jointly by the job seeking platform, Seek Group and the Open University. So, it offers basic and niche courses that could help you to develop your skill set and build your resume. 

There are short programs and online degrees, but you can access free course online material for 14 day periods. You can also pay for a membership at $250 per year, which provides unlimited access or upgrade to obtain certification. 


Coursera has been around since 2012, working with leading universities around the world. The list of partner institutions include Johns Hopkins, the Imperial College London and Stanford. There are also tech companies offering free online classes in business, data science and computer science. 

It is possible to sign up for the paid subscription, Coursera Plus, which costs approximately $399 a year. However, you can also access free classes. In fact, many of the courses are available free of charge, you simply won’t receive accreditation or certification. 


Skillshare Summary

  • Earn over $100,000 per year as a teacher
  • Large target audience of over 12 million
  • Short class length of 30-40 minutes
  • 2 ways to earn – royalties and referrals

SkillShare is a super platform to learn useful skills from creators you admire. There are free classes online in writing, design, animation, illustration, filmmaking, and photography. There are also business courses. All the subjects are taught by those at the top of their respective fields. 

There is a premium level membership, which costs $19 per month and provides full access to all classes. But, you can access lots of free classes without needing to sign up for a subscription. 

Harvard University

While Harvard is a world renowned educational institution, it also offers a wide variety of free online courses. You can benefit from taking classes online for free in various fields, including some online courses with certificates. 

You can browse the list of free courses by subject to find ones that appeal. For example, there is Backyard Meteorology to learn about The Science of Weather or discover the Fundamentals of Neuroscience. 

Open Culture

Open Culture is more of a collation platform rather than an online learning platform. You can find over 1,700 free online courses available from universities such as MIT, Yale, Harvard, and Oxford. 

The site also has collections of Mini Degree and Degree programs and Online Certificate programs. There is also a list of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). You can enroll in a free version of MOOCs by selecting “Audit” or “Full Course, No Certificate”. If you do want to get credentials for the course, you will incur a fee. 


Udacity is another education provider offering access to MOOCs. Although other online course platforms offer MOOCs, Udacity has a focus on job training, offering myriad courses including micro credentials or Nanodegrees.

Nanodegrees typically focus on in demand skills with projects and video courses that are often in partnership with universities and industry experts. While some courses have a fee, many elements of the courses are free. 

There are over 200 Udacity courses that are free of charge, but be aware that they do not offer certification. 

Yale University

Yale operates its Open Yale Courses program to make it easy to find its free courses open to the public. The courses include:

  • Introduction to Ancient Greek History
  • Fundamentals of Physics
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Freshman Organic Chemistry

However, there are also many less academic courses. For example, Everyday Parenting. This makes it simple to find areas where you’d like to study. 


MIT is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, but with its 7.3% acceptance rate, price and location, it is also one of the least accessible. Fortunately, MIT recognizes this barrier and in 2012 co-founded EdX.

Today, the MIT OpenCourseWare provides access to more than 2,000 MIT courses. You can access educational materials from undergraduate and graduate level courses online in topics from social policy to computer science. 

Khan Academy

The non profit Khan Academy has made its mission to provide world class, yet free education for anyone, regardless of your location. 

This platform allows you to access personalized learning, so you can work comfortably at your own pace. The instructors fill in the gaps in your knowledge base before accelerating your learning. As the instructors help you identify areas in need of work, they will tailor your lessons accordingly. 

The Khan Academy has a team of experts creating content with trusted lessons and practices that not only cover math and science basics, but go much further. These resources are free for both students and teachers. 


Alison is another e-learning platform with a focus on helping to develop workplace skills. This is an Irish based platform that offers courses in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Chinese and Hindi. 

This online learning platform aids those who want to learn skills they can use immediately in the workforce. The course categories include:

  • Language
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Health
  • Information Technology
  • Business
  • Management
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Teaching and Academics
  • Personal Development 

You can sign up for a membership and access free online courses in a variety of subjects. 

Academic Earth

The premise of Academic Earth is that everyone deserves access to top class education. In fact, this platform was one of the first to collate free college courses from the top universities in the world online. 

While there are now lots of platforms offering open education, Academic Earth hand selects the best free online courses by subject area. This ensures that there is something for everyone. Whether you want to advance in a field or explore a new topic, you’ll find something on this platform without incurring any fees or charges. 

Stanford University

Stanford University offers flexible and affordable ways to study. In fact, you can learn from Stanford instructors and industry experts at no cost. 

You can browse the full free online courses catalog, or see how the classes are grouped into categories. The categories include:

Browse the full free online courses catalog

  • Health and Medicine
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Child Nutrition and Cooking
  • Arts and Humanities

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn is more than a popular job site, it offers a variety of career resources including online courses to help build important skills. There are eight learning paths that are part of the LinkedIn Learning Center. These include:

  • Remote Workers: The aim of these courses is to help you maintain your productivity and efficiency outside the office. This includes productivity tips, time management and how to create an executive presence on your video conference calls. 
  • Job Seekers: These courses can help you to navigate the job market today. This includes recovering from a layoff and video interview tips. 
  • Managers and Leaders: How leaders can influence positive changes and learn to clearly communicate.
  • Stress Reduction: How to manage stress during your working days including balancing work and life, how to manage feeling overwhelmed and other such courses. 
  • Small Businesses: These courses can help small business owners to navigate the challenges in today’s economy. 
  • Sales Professionals: Courses to boost your sales skills including empathy for sales professionals and selling with authenticity.
  • Educators: These courses can help to guide educators who want to transition into teaching online.
  • Talent Acquisition: These can help professionals to adapt to the constantly shifting business landscape. 
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Code Academy

Codecademy has a goal of giving anyone in the world an ability to learn the skills for success in the 21st century. The platform was developed to create a new and interactive way of learning. Codecademy aims to make learning flexible, accessible and engaging. 

Whether you’re a complete newbie or want to further develop your skill set, this platform has free online courses that go from analyzing data to building websites. You can learn to write code in just minutes with instant feedback on any code you submit for testing. 

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Plural Sight believes that everyone should have an opportunity to progress via technology and develop the skills needed for the future. The platform has courses, learning paths and assessments that are created by industry experts. 

The company has over 1,500 experts creating content and the platform is trusted by 70% of Fortune 500 companies. 

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Lorraine S.


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