5 free online learning sites we love

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Part of living an #illumylife is learning new things every day (or as often as you can).

The internet has democratized learning in a big way—you might even say a massive way. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) allow everyone with an internet connection to learn from top-tier universities, academies, and institutions online. MOOCs have made learning accessible to everyone, regardless of background, income, or location.

There are courses available at the introductory, undergraduate, and graduate levels on all kinds of topics: neuroscience, philosophy, sustainable food systems, effective communication, 🗣 and much more. You can learn 📚 over a few months or find courses that take just a day.

Ready to learn? Here are our favorite resources and the reasons we love them.

edX: great for instructor quality

edX is one of the original MOOCs, launched by Harvard and MIT in 2012. Since then, the platform has added many more schools—some of the best in the world.

Bone up on jazz 🎺🎶 with this course from Hamilton College. See how Chinese philosophy defines the good life. Or kick off your learning journey with edX’s own course on how to learn online.

edX also offers dozens of language classes, with many for English-language learners. Prep for the Test of English as a Foreign Language with the company that administers the test. Or get the skinny on using email for networking 📧 from the University of Washington.

Khan Academy: great for quick, digestible video lessons

The Khan Academy was an early pioneer in the online learning movement. Concepts are broken down into brief videos, excellently explained with visuals—not unlike a teacher drawing on the classroom whiteboard.

Khan Academy’s mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. The visuals and teaching style make incredibly tough concepts (such as entropy, which one of our staff members spent an afternoon learning about) easy to grasp.

Math, science, history, and even life skills are part of their extensive library of courses. Spend a lunch break checking ✅ out the basic concept of banking 🏦 or how to start coding.

Codecademy: great for learning the ins and outs of coding

Codecademy has taught more than 50 million people how to code. So if you’re looking to bone 🦴 up on coding or start at square one, it’s a great option.

The site offers lessons at all ability levels, starting with instructions on how to use the platform and a “sorting quiz” to help you narrow your interests. As you make progress, your code gets checked in real time, so you learn from your mistakes.

Codecademy offers resources besides the purely academic ones, including cheat sheets—like this HTML one—and fun project ideas, like how to scrape pro baseball stats ⚾️ with Python. 🐍

MIT OpenCourseWare: great for the Good Will Hunting experience

Do you like apples? 🍎🍏 Well, how do you like these apples? MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) offers hundreds of real classes from the Ivy League Massachusetts Institute of Technology. You don’t need to be a night janitor (like the one Matt Damon played in the movie) to take advantage, either. Just get started with OCW.

MIT is digitizing its entire course catalog on OCW, with content ranging from history to mechanical engineering to urban planning. 🏙 A great starting point is the MIT Curriculum Guide, which explains how the university structures its degree programs so you can simulate the full MIT experience—minus the “Bah-ston” accents.

Coursera: great for tech, business, and science

How legit is Coursera for tech-related learning? They’ve partnered with Google to offer professional certificates in tech support, UX design, data analytics, and other topics—all taught by Google employees. Those certificates do cost money (with need-based assistance available), but Coursera offers tons of other courses that are totally free.

Want to know more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals or get acquainted with Python? Care to learn the science behind gastronomy? 🍽 Coursera has you covered. There’s even a category of one-day courses.

What other online learning resources have you found? Are there any sites we missed, or creators you really like? Share your thoughts with us: @illumyinc on all the platforms!



Photo by Lucian Novosel on Unsplash


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