10 Free Online Courses and Education Websites

Top MOOCs and Online Education Destinations

Coursera LogoCoursera

With ample news coverage and a wealth of high profile partners, Coursera is one of the few MOOCs with which most people are familiar. Its video lecture-based courses, offered by professors from prestigious institutions such as Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, are supplemented by student collaboration, quizzes, and graded homework assignments, which makes Coursera one of the best replicants of the traditional academic experience. Though courses in their basic forms are free, you may also choose to pay for a course's signature track, which yields official electronic credentials from the affiliated university (should you pass the course, that is). Signature track enrollment typically costs less than $50.

Udacity LogoUdacity

Udacity offers free interactive college classes. Its bite-sized videos are better optimized for online learning and its project-based exercises facilitate more meaningful educational experiences. Certificates of completion do not come with a price tag (save your personal effort and time investment). Though all of Udacity's courses are free, some courses are offered for college credit, and to earn that college credit, which involves undergoing proctored exams, you must pay $150.

Codecademy logoCodecademy

Codecademy offers interactive coding courses, making it one of the most practical, fun, and useful online educational resources on the market. Rather than attempt to ape traditional learning environments through video lectures and quizzes, Codecademy has adapted education to the web, enabling you to learn by doing. The site's learning interface is engaging and fun, plus its courses are free. If you have no programming knowledge but want to learn, this is the place to start.

EdX logoedX

Another MOOC with prestigious university affiliations, edX differentiates itself through an ability to take classes on your own schedule (and not just when they're live, like on Coursera) and engaging learning tools / labs. Though courses are free, you must pay for ID verified course completion certificates. Only some courses have special certificate options- honor code certificates, which are available through all courses, are free.

Udemy LogoUdemy

Udemy is arguably the most popular online education platform through which average people can provide and profit from courses. Both academic and professionally-focused (read: practical) education can be found on the site. Though many of Udemy's video-based courses are free, creators may set their own prices (and earn a cut of the profits), so be prepared to pay for a sizable chunk of the site's top drawer content. Udemy's mobile apps make it easy to review course materials on the go, plus the site boasts some pretty high caliber instructors, such as Eric Ries, who developed the Lean Startup method.

Additional Online Education Sites

Lynda LogoLynda Training

Lynda offers practical, professionally-focused tutorial videos addressing subjects such as software, design, and business. Their library is extensive and their videos are conveniently-sized (let's be honest- hour long video lectures aren't really the best way to learn online) and tutorials are frequently supplemented by written transcripts. In addition to being a good place to develop new skills, Lynda makes for an excellent reference point- especially if you pay for membership, which gives you access to Lynda's full database. Membership fees run from $25 per month to $375 per year (though you will have to pay for full access, you can nonetheless access many tutorials for free).


Should you be interested in watching live online classes held by experts on a variety of professionally-applicable subjects (such as design, photography, audio, etc.), createLIVE is well worth your attention. Though on-demand courses must be purchased, you may watch live classes for free. Check out their class calendar to block out time for learning (new classes are held on a daily basis). If you're on a budget, don't miss important dates and times- access to past seminars on demand will cost you between $50 and $300.

CreateLive Courses


Curious presents itself as “marketplace for lifelong learning.” In addition to academic and professional subjects, Curious offers video tutorials on everyday subjects, such as cooking and gardening. Most tutorials are free or under $1.00. The quality of Curious is less high than that offered by many other online education websites due to the site's broad categories and the ease with which one can submit content- consider Curious one step above the free content you can easily find on YouTube. That said, if you want to browse videos that are exclusively intended for education, Curious is a reasonable site to visit.

Poynter NewsUPoynter’s News University

Poynter's News University is intended for journalists and those in the media. While some of its courses are free, most come with a fee (ranging from $25 to $500). Courses are presented as webinars as well as tutorials and self-directed courses. Subjects are focused around reporting, writing, and multimedia techniques.

Critical Thinker Academy

Critical Thinker Academy offers free educational resources designed to help people develop critical thinking skills. Its courses, which address everything from logic to argumentation, include reasonably-timed video tutorials paired with transcripts and images. Critical Thinker Academy also offers podcast episodes for learning on the go. Though the resource's educational materials are available for free, you may purchase a full video library and book for $47.95.