The internet has had a huge impact on all aspects of our lives, including how we learn. In the past, you had to physically enroll yourself in courses and programs in nearby universities or schools to be able to get a particular certification. With the rise of online learning through the internet, that isn’t really the case anymore. Now, you can simply register yourself for courses through online platforms like Coursera, edX, Udacity and others to gain access to spectacular course material on any subject in the world. These courses are usually structured with a particular time period in mind and may or may not have some assignments involved.
While many of these courses have some fee involved — especially if they are a part of larger programs or offered by some of the best universities in the world — we will only be looking at the ones that fit the bill of the best online courses for free. This will help you learn more without having to worry about how much money it is going to cost you. Finally, it is important to remember that while pursuing these courses may be free, you may have to pay an additional fee to get a verified certification from the company. If you are looking for some great courses to pursue on online learning platforms free of cost, this is just the right place for you!
Best Free Online Courses and Platforms
While looking at the best online courses for free, Coursera is one of those platforms that just cannot be overlooked. This website partners with some of the largest organizations and best universities across the world to get you courses that cover an unbelievable amount of topics.
You can find everything from language courses — which will help you learn Spanish, French, Korean or a host of other languages — to the basics of data science or coding. All you need to do is look up your area of interest in the website’s searchable database to get the best matches for your needs.
If you are looking for free online courses, Coursera is one of your best bets, as this platform is completely free to enroll in. However, there may be a bunch of paid assignments that you may want to give in, or a verified certification, which you will have to pay extra for. Therefore, it is important that you keep this in mind before enrolling in any particular course for a professional reason.
In the sections below, we will be looking at some of the best online courses for free that are available on the Coursera platform.
Introduction to Philosophy — University of Edinburgh
Available in English with both English and Hebrew subtitles, the “Introduction to Philosophy” course offered by the University of Edinburgh is one of the most popular courses available on the Coursera platform. This is a 100% online course with flexible deadlines, which allows you to carry on the learning process in tandem with your regular work.
During this 5-week course, you will be able to learn more about what is philosophy, delve into morality and knowledge, and so much more, while completing a set of quizzes with each passing week. All in all, this course brings a lot of different professors on board for a more wholesome experience.
Machine Learning — Stanford University
The second course on this list — also one of the more popular ones offered on Coursera — is “Machine Learning” by Stanford University. This is a relatively long course that is spread over 11 weeks and takes approximately 56 hours to complete. To put it in the simplest form possible, machine learning is the field of study that aims to make computers act without explicitly programming them to do so.
This is the science that has helped human beings reach the era of self-driving cars, effective web search and so much more. If you are looking to pursue a career in this direction, this can be a good introduction to all the basics.
Learning How to Learn — University of California, San Diego and McMaster University
Another great course that you can pursue on Coursera is “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” offered by the University of California, San Diego and McMaster University. This 4-week long course does exactly what is mentioned in the title — it gives you access to powerful mental tools that can help you master tough subjects that you are otherwise struggling with. After covering the basics like ‘what is learning’, the course will delve into chunking, procrastination and memory and finally, how to unlock your true potential.
Business Foundations Specialization — University of Pennsylvania
The last course from Coursera on this list isn’t really a single course but a specialization that covers a bunch of different courses. The “Business Foundations Specialization” by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business allows you to learn the basics about business with six different courses that are all designed to increase your business literacy. These courses are “Introduction to Marketing”, “Introduction to Financial Accounting”, “Managing Social and Human Capital”, “Introduction to Corporate Finance”, “Introduction to Operations Management” and “Wharton Business Foundations Capstone”.
The second platform that has become increasingly popular for the best online courses for free that it has to offer is edX. The interesting part about this platform is that it was founded by scientists from two of the most well-known educational institutions in the world — Harvard University and MIT. This means that you gain access to a ton of educational content from some of the best universities like MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Tsinghua and more, as well as leading institutions like Microsoft. edX offers many different types of courses like MicroMasters programs, professional certifications, online master’s degrees as well as the X series, which is where you can really delve deep into a topic.
While this can seem very exciting for people who want to advance their careers with additional educational qualifications, it is important to remember that not every course available on the platform is going to be free of cost. The MicroMasters, professional certifications, degrees and a bunch of other courses are going to cost you money. Regardless, there are also plenty of courses that you can gain access to for free, some of which will be discussed in the next section. While you can pursue these free of cost, you will have to pay a nominal amount to get verified certificates with the course.
CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science — Harvard University
The first course from edX, which is also one of the most popular ones offered on the platform, is the “Introduction to Computer Science” course by Harvard University. A part of one of the professional certificate programs offered by the platform, this course gives you a basic understanding of the intellectual enterprises of computer science and a brief introduction to the art of programming, without placing any prerequisites in front of you. Available free of cost on the edX platform — you will have to pay extra for certification — this course helps you learn how to think algorithmically in order to solve problems that arise during programming.
The Science of Happiness — University of California, Berkeley
Another very popular course offered on the edX platform is “The Science of Happiness” course by the University of California, Berkeley. This eight-week course requires you to put in anywhere between 4 to 5 hours each week and is available free of cost on the platform. However, as is the case with most free courses, you will be required to pay an additional amount to receive the verified certificate. At a time when most people are dealing with unhealthy levels of stress in their personal and professional lives, this course attempts to give you practical and research-backed tips that will help you in the pursuit of a happier life.
Justice — Harvard University
The last free course from edX to be discussed here is Harvard’s “Justice”, one of the most popular areas of study at Harvard University. This is an introductory course that runs for 12 weeks, with 3 to 6 hours of work required for each week. Just like the other courses, there is only a fee for certification. If you do not want that, you can pursue this course for free. With readings from the likes of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and John Rawls, this course is aimed at critically analyzing theories of justice — both classical and contemporary. If you are a student of social sciences or just have an interest in political philosophy, this is a fantastic course to pursue.
Getting some extra education never hurts anybody and when it is from online learning platforms free of cost, there is nothing that could beat this feeling. You can try out either of the two options mentioned above – Coursera and edX – and expect the very best in terms of collaborations and partnerships with premier institutions, cost effectiveness and quality of education.
While traditional forms of learning have their own associated benefits, online learning, especially when it’s free, is a great option for those of you who don’t have the time or energy to enroll in a regular classroom.
If you want to discover more learning opportunities, then be sure to take a look at our list of the best online courses. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great day!