Learning at a Whole New (FREE) Level

Whether it is getting an additional degree, or learning the fundamentals of something completely random, online learning has never been more accessible and affordable. This post is about FREE resources that bridge the gap between learning and accessibility and includes a seemingly endless list of topics.

As a teacher, a part of my philosophy includes the fact that if someone doesn’t actually care or make a connection about a topic, the retention or ability to apply that learning later in life is slim to none.  So I thought I would dedicate this post to shedding light on free education that you can get and learn something new that actually interests you!

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 7.00.22 PMI’ll start with the resources that many Apple users have on their devices by default, iTunesU. This app allows you to sign up for online courses, many of which are free, and learn about topics from meditation to  to psychology from acclaimed universities such as Stanford and Yale. This resource is the most likely the most adapted for mobile learning (the features and tools are already adapted and work well with mobile devices such as phones and tablets).

The next resource I’ll feature is one I’m currently using and am, so far, really satisfied. EdX is advertised as free online courses from famous universities just like iTunesU, however, there are a few significant differences.  The first difference is the level of engagement available. You are able to search for courses and complete them Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 7.37.31 PMon your own at your own pace (like iTunesU), but every few weeks they advertise interesting courses where you have a professor that you can interact with, as well as have opportunities to interact with peers. I have noticed that being on a computer works best, and the Google Chrome browser supports the interactive lessons the best. It has deadlines for assignments which can be motivating and offers certificates of completion (for a small fee).  Keep in mind, everything I’m talking about here wouldn’t count for college credit, but certificates can deem useful for job promotions and portfolios. I’m taking a self-guided course on Java right now and learning a lot!

Coursera is the third and final online resource I’ll share today (there are many out there!). This is basically the same thing as EdX, so if you can’t find a course that you’re looking Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 7.37.45 PMfor with one resource, try the searching them in both places.  They even have courses that involve learning about how you learn!  I’m less familiar with Coursera on a personal experience level, however, it does seem to provide courses for college credit, but you’ll need to pay for it like you would a regular online university.  For those busy parents or those working the night-shift, this could be an excellent option as they allow anyone to take the courses and can help with financial aid. I advise talking to a college councilor before paying for anything that you plan to get college credit for to be on the safe side.

When you’re learning about something that you care about, you’d be surprised at how enjoyable it is!  You feel like your time and efforts are dedicated towards something meaningful and you feel accomplished.  I hope this post sparked some ambition to learn something new :).


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