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The Definitive Guide to Online Courses

Updated on February 7, 2014

This hub provides you with the absolute, most comprehensive list of websites on the internet for learning, online courses, degrees, and knowledge in general. Many are free, some are paid, but all are guaranteed to make you smarter, wiser, more employable, improve your grades, improve your career, and ultimately improve your life. You can get an online degree for absolutely no cost at all, or in the worst case, at a heavily discounted rate from the education you would otherwise pay astonishing amounts for. These online courses are no less respectable than offline ones, and it is guaranteed that online degrees and courses run on the internet will only grow in respect, stature, ease of use, and content.

To give you an example of how far online education has come, many universities actually offer online masters degree programs – solely over the internet. Yes, many universities and colleges are realising the power and opportunity of performing courses online, and many are seizing the moment. You can study from Harvard even if you’re in India, or take a course from the University of Liverpool all the way in Australia. The internet has revolutionised learning, and we are just seeing the very beginning.

Many of these courses run online actually offer a certification, so you can even add them to your resume/cv. Don’t think that they will be overlooked, either – a degree from Harvard is a degree from Harvard! In addition, it shows potential employers that you take a great interest in personal education, and are willing to study to become the best. You can learn an abundance of new skills and topics in a huge range of topics, with a great amount of practical applications. Even if you just want to learn to expand your own knowledge, some of these sites and courses are absolutely brilliant.

Many of these course sites offer a good amount of resources and course material, be it video, audio, or text, and you will often have to submit your documents/work to an online tutor. This makes the process of learning easy, fun, comfortable and convenient. Don’t be fooled though – many of these courses are just as hard (and thus rewarding) to get a good grade in as the real thing, meaning they are a fantastic use of your time. If you fancy learning in the evenings, or want to further your education anytime, these online courses and degrees are definitely worth the time invested.

So, want to get started learning online? Whether you have money or simply want to take a course for free, there are an abundance of options and resources simply waiting to be seized. Let’s get started!

For convenience, I’ve split the websites into free online courses and paid ones. I’ve also included a ‘miscellaneous’ section, with a few of my recommendations for learning skills other than formal education (such as programming). In addition, a list of resource websites (with no formal courses but a huge amount of resources) finish us off. Remember to bookmark this page and learn for the rest of your life!


Coursera is perhaps the most well-known online education site on the internet. For the past few years it has been growing exponentially in size, with many world-famous colleges and universities signing up to offer their courses. The platform has a huge variation and amount of courses available, from social psychology to personal finance. Courses are always starting too, and the site is very user friendly.

KhanAcademy was one of the first sites to start offering free online courses to budding students around the world. What they did was start an online revolution in education, and perhaps 10-30 years down the line, people will look back at KhanAcademy and praise the innovation it showed. It’s still growing too, with a huge range of courses and tutors to gain access to.

Class Central, Knollop and eLearners are ‘Course Aggregators’. What this means is that if you want to take a subject online, it is best to do a search for it there, as it will then search around all the other websites and universities for that course. You’re guaranteed to find something of interest by simply taking a look over these three sites.

Yes, the world-famous Stanford University has their own online course site, meaning you can improve your education without paying the thousands of dollars/pounds in fees to actually physically go to their University. It’s a fantastic offering, and a degree from Stanford? Wow.

Other free sites


ALISON provides learners with the chance to complete a course and get an online certification. These are paid however, but the courses themselves are free.

Lynda helps new and experienced programmers/web designers alike learn a huge, whole new set of skills online. Many of these are paid, but the courses are jam-packed with information. From CSS to HTML5, and many online courses for app programming, Lynda is the number one site for learning programming.


All of these sites provide free/paid online courses mainly revolving around learning programming, graphic design, and web design. There really are some fantastic sites here, so check them out – most of them have free taster courses for you to get started with and see if you like it!

A unique online course sites, Craftsy provides you with free online craft and knitting classes and courses!


TED – an organisation and site that provides inspirational and educational videos to millions of people worldwide – has its own education section of the site. If you’re studying for a course and need some help, or simply want to learn something new from some of the most intelligent and successful people in the world, check it out.


Why are the free courses being offered for free?

Many sites and universities offer their courses for free as the teachers simply love to teach – it’s that simple! Some also want to expand their reach, and others want to give those in less privileged positions (e.g. financial position) the chance of getting a top education.

Will I get a certificate?

A free online course with certificate is a major possibility. Many sites provides certificates actually signed by the tutor/lecturer for the course, and although some don’t, most do. It is best to check with the individual course/site, who will normally answer this question more in depth in their FAQ.

Can I put the courses I have completed on my CV/Resume?

Yes! It’s a fact that employers love people who take pride in their own personal education, so if you put the effort in and complete an online course, you can stick it right on your own resume. If you end up with hundreds of degrees, be sure to put the ones relevant to the job on the CV – you don’t really want a 27 page resume filled with online course certifications, but it is possible!

What are the requirements for taking these courses?

Many of these courses have absolutely no formal requirements. Some will require an advanced knowledge, but use your common sense here – if you’re going in for an advanced HMTL course, be sure you have a decent grounding in HTML first!

I hope this guide has enabled you to discover a world of education and possibilities. Good luck with the courses! Remember - study and work hard, and anything is possible.

Do you plan to take an online course in the near future?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      With help of online education, students can learn their courses at any time from anywhere. Students can access their required courses whenever they need it.

    • cashmere profile image


      5 years ago from India

      I'm doing an Intro to Psychology course on Coursera online and its been great. The teacher is from University of toronto and has developed a great set of videos.


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