learn for free and polish your skills with these online resources

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There’s never been a better time to learn new skills online. Free learning resources abound: whether you want to learn how to prospect for sales leads, pick up French, or code in Python.

Here are a few of our favorite free online learning tools. Allez!

Where to learn business skills: Alison, Moz, Microsoft Learn, Grow with Google

To pick up business skills — like digital marketing, SEO, or resume writing — Alison is a great place to start. It’s an Irish website with thousands of courses on business, all of which are free.

Too good to be true? Alison won’t charge for course access, but it does show ads as you browse the course modules. And if you want a diploma or certificate to show off your knowledge, you’ll have to pay.

If you don’t mind the ads, Alison is a terrific resource–with content on everything from building WordPress websites to event management to creating an R regression model.

For more specific business skills, we like Moz to learn SEO; Microsoft Learn to get more familiar with MS products; and Grow with Google for targeted career prep in in-demand fields.

Where to learn language skills: YouTube, Duolingo, Open Culture

The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it–which you can do for free on YouTube. Many foreign-language YouTube videos are subtitled by users.

For more structured free language learning, Duolingo is the gold standard. Supporting nearly 40 languages, including Klingon (!) and Navajo, Duolingo offers language learning via apps and a web interface.

It operates on a freemium model, meaning you can pay a monthly fee to remove ads. Duolingo’s basic functionality is completely free, though.

Also great, if you don’t mind a more DIY approach, is Open Culture’s language-lesson database. It’s THE place for extremely niche online language learning — you know, if you want to brush up on your Bambara, Frisian, or Icelandic.

Where to learn science skills: MIT OCW, Coursera

Maybe you snoozed through astronomy class in college, or you want to pick up your childhood passion for geology. For these and hundreds of other science topics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare project should be your first stop.

OCW is one of the original online learning platforms, with material from real MIT courses from the last 15 years. Unlike many of these other resources, you don’t need to register to use the site. The course material (presentation slides, syllabi, and exams) are all freely downloadable.

To get a real-deal MIT education, all you’ll need is the course readings–which you can often find cheap on eBay.

Expand your horizons beyond the MIT course catalog with Coursera, which offers many free science courses from top schools. There’s Introduction to Psychology from Yale, Cryptography I from Stanford, or Understanding the Brain from the University of Chicago.

Where to learn coding skills: The Odin Project, Harvard, Khan Academy

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free coding resources available online — from YouTube tutorials to dedicated platforms like Codecademy.

Because there’s such a wealth of coding education tools, you might do well to home in on what you want to do with code, or what coding career you’re interested in.

Interested in full-stack web development? The Odin Project brings together free tools that empower users to learn how to code games and websites.

Want to get a sense of how operating systems work? Harvard’s Intro to Computer Science course is freely available on the web.

Hoping to code a website of your own? Khan Academy has a great intro to HTML and CSS. You can browse the course content without registering, but registration lets you save your progress.

If there are any learning resources we missed, please let us know — you can find us on teh social media at @illumyinc.

Photo by Beth Jnr on Unsplash.

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