Online education has grown in reputation in the past year because it was the only viable option when the whole world went into lockdown.

The global pandemic that caused this change in education programs still rages strong today, so we are still stuck with online education as the best option to continue your academic pursuits.

Education online is not only limited to a classroom setting alone, though. Plenty websites offer extracurricular educational material for students who want to hone their skills in a particular field.

This targeted approach is why several websites were popular even before the whole world shifted to online education.

Due to the state the pandemic has left the finances of many, more people are starting to explore education that does not burn a hole in their pockets.

This article will point you in the right places to look for courses to gain and improve your skill at your own pace without parting with your legal tender.

Khan Academy – This is a novelty idea from Salman Khan – not the actor.

It has the mandate to be the foremost option for free educational material for high school, pre-college, and college-level students.

You will not run into any hidden costs while using this website as it has been fully certified to be free. It effectively covers everything in the k-12 and early college levels.

If you are looking to return to college and need to brush up on your skills, this should work for you.

Khan Academy’s model is sustainable because they have significant input from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and many other partners.

Class Central – Class Central works as a search engine instead of a website that hosts courses.

It has a directory that points you to the places that host the courses that you seek.

Instead of scouring through different websites to find what you need, search results on Class Central show you where these materials are available for free.

Since Class Central does not host any courses by itself, you might be subjected to the website’s policies when you get there.

However, Class Central will not redirect you to a website where you have to pay to take a course.

Harvard University– Getting into the prestigious Harvard University might be nigh impossible for the average student.

However, you’ll find that almost anyone can take their courses online – for free!

They have an impressive catalog of courses, especially considering they don’t host material from external sources.

Their lessons are accompanied by tests and assignments, as well as peer-to-peer and tutor interactions. Some courses also need pre-requisite qualifications to register.

Skillshare – This website stands out from the rest because it does not host academic courses.

Classes that you’ll find on Skillshare aim to improve your creative ability.

Instead of history and political science; instead of engineering and calculus, Skillshare has courses on photography, writing, crafts, design, and many others.

Classes include projects to improve your skill and portfolio.

Their DIY intensive program is well received and yields positive reviews from past students and qualified auditors alike.

They are worth giving a shot if what you are looking for is creative lessons.

Digitaldefynd – Digitaldefynd is a website that helps interested learners source free courses online.

Their impressive catalog includes highly rated courses taught by A-list tutors.

Their homepage is easy to navigate to help you find the information you need.

If you are looking for a page where you can easily find Google courses compiled in one list, this is the place for you.

Coursera – Coursera is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) curator.

There are a few of them on this list that collates free online courses from different specialist websites.

Coursera had this model of operation earlier than anyone else that is still operational at the moment.

Coursera has a good number of free courses as well as paid programs.

Lessons on Coursera are usually self-paced so that you can learn in your own time.

They currently host courses from Ivy League schools as well as other respected institutions globally.

Udemy– Founded in 2009, Udemy intends to make learning easy and attainable for anyone that aspires.

They also aim to dilute the autonomy of education to create a free, competitive market. Potential tutors are vetted before their material is up on the website.

You’ll find that most of the introductory classes are available for free.

This allows you to evaluate the courses that are worth your time, effort, and financial investment. Some are totally free but don’t expect too many of those.

Open Learning– This is the greenest website on this list in terms of chronological age.

Formed just over three years ago, Open Learning uses a progressive approach that involves student engagement to improve the learning experience.

Also, because this website is relatively new, you can expect to find professionally relevant courses there too.

Lynda – Lynda has an extensive database of courses that include cloud computing, marketing, IT, photography, programming, etc. They have over 13,000 courses with free certificates awarded with them. Lynda has a free trial for the first month so that you can take as many classes as you can and get the certificates without payment.

University of the People– University of the People is a revolutionary idea aiming to bring free higher education to everyone with access to the internet.

Founded in 2009 and accredited in early 2014, UoPeople reportedly has over 57,000 students from more than 200 territories worldwide.

An impressive board heads the school, boasting members from globally prestigious universities.

The school runs on charity, volunteer staff, and generous donations from people and foundations such as the Gates, HP, Ford Foundations, and more.

Many websites could have easily made this list but missed out by very tiny margins. So, here are some of the honorable mentions:

  • Open Yale Courses
  • Webcasts of UC Berkeley
  • Google Code Uni
  • Code Academy
  • Udacity
  • Ted-Ed
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Google Analytics Academy
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