Are there free online learning opportunities?

Online learning puts education into the hands of everyone. With the click of a mouse, users can study everything from art to zoology. Although online education leading to a degree or professional certification can be expensive, many free online study opportunities are available.

Many prestigious schools have placed a number of their courses into open-source formats, which can be downloaded for independent study. Colleges such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard have released a variety of courses on topics such as sociology and journalism to the public free of charge. These free online courses carry no college credit but provide the same lecture materials available to students in the classroom version.

Sites dedicated to a particular area of interest also offer free online courses. A user interested in art can find free classes in art and drawing styles such as comic book art or Manga on sites dedicated to those topics. Those interested in studying sciences can find free classes on sites dedicated to subjects such as astronomy or biology. Downloadable course materials also accompany most free courses, and some have instructor support or a forum for questions.

Free educational portals also bring together students and courses on all kinds of topics from around the world. Open University and other online learning communities are dedicated to the principle that education should be available to all, and many of these offer classes taught by established professionals in the field, free of charge.

In addition to classes, webinars on a variety of subjects are available with free registration. These mini-courses are typically offered at a particular time, and students are given a unique log-in to sign in and access the webinar. Some webinars are interactive, with opportunities to discuss the topic in social media or ask questions of the participants. A search of the subject area can provide links to these types of online events.

Smaller and more targeted to specific skills, tutorials on a vast range of topics are available in both print and video formats. Through portals like WikiHow, Instructables and YouTube, it’s possible to find ways to learn things such as how to play guitar, draw, dance or do yoga, all free of charge.

Online learning opportunities continue to grow. Online education offers a variety of ways to learn anything any time, anywhere with free online courses, webinars, and tutorials for personal enrichment and professional growth.

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