First-rate resources for taking online courses have been around for a while, but the onset of the coronavirus and self-isolating measures have brought the brilliant convenience of virtual classes to the forefront of quarantine activities. The pandemic has forced people to get savvy about how to keep busy, stay sharp, and make the most of time at home—and taking an online class or two (even earning a new degree or certification!) is never a bad plan. It couldn’t be more convenient or, in many cases, more affordable.
Available websites for taking online classes range widely in topics, format, prices (though many are free), and personalization. For instance, find one-off, expert-guided career development sessions through LinkedIn Learning; dive deep into academic subjects from poetry to physics by taking real university courses via edX or Coursera; or maybe brush up on your macroeconomics know-how with Khan Academy lessons. All of this at your own pace and on your own time.
Whether your budget is large or nonexistent, your pursuits scholarly or practical, there’s definitely something out there for you. When you’re ready to learn something new or expand your career path, look to these 11 websites for incredible virtual courses—no application, commute, or classroom required.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit free digital education platform for people of all ages. Help your kids practice for the SAT, relearn helpful mortgage lingo you’ll need before buying a home, or take an hour-long intro to coding class.
LinkedIn isn’t just a professional networking platform. With over 16,000 free and paid courses (with either monthly or annual sign-up options), LinkedIn Learning is an amazing resource for anyone looking to up their skills and boost their career. Want to learn how to cultivate mindfulness at work? Need help being the best manager you can be during tough times? Hoping to improve your sales pitch prowess by next quarter? LinkedIn Learning’s intensive courses have got you covered.
This online learning community is geared toward creative fields, but offers a plethora of classes beyond the arts. Subjects like creative writing, interior design, SEO strategy, photography, and brand building—taught by leaders in their respective industries—are readily available on Skillshare. Find tons of free classes, or “Go Premium” for $15 per month to unlock more.
CreativeLive is another educational hub for creative minds that helps transform passions into true skills—songwriting, iPhoneography, podcasting, you name it. Whether you need the fundamentals first or advanced training in a niche skill, you’ll find it here. Popular classes start from $15.
Ever wanted to learn the pillars of stand up comedy from Steve Martin? Or how about a lesson in scientific thinking and communication from renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson? From mixology to gardening, tennis to entrepreneurship, MasterClass is your gateway to (gorgeously produced) tutorials from, well, the masters. Annual membership fee is $180, including unlimited access to existing and new classes.
Stanford Online, affiliated with Stanford University, offers tons of virtual education opportunities—yes, even if you’re not a college student (and nowhere near the California campus). Engage with Stanford’s world-class faculty, current industry leaders, and other online learners like you. Browse free online classes here in humanities, sciences, and everything in between.
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Coursera partners with hundreds of top-tier universities and companies to bring you the best of the best in online learning. Stream on-demand lectures and lessons led by esteemed professors and industry leaders and even earn a professional certificate or academic degree in your chosen field.
Another choice for those seeking top-of-the-line university-level courses and instruction from home is Udemy. Categories are many and wide-ranging, and courses can be either free or paid, with many affordable class options. Get trained in animal nutrition or web development. Take a stress and anxiety busting course for yourself—or get a mental health counseling diploma to help others.
Alison provides over 1,500, totally free, online courses for learners of all levels in an array of subjects. You can study a subject you’re passionate about, whether it’s German language or hospitality management, from the comfort of your own home and earn certificates or diplomas free of charge.
Here’s a one-stop shop for boosting your coding ability. Codeacademy is dedicated to teaching everything from programming fundamentals to advanced-level training, for anyone who’s ready to upskill. Sign up for free, or try a Pro membership ($19.99 per month) for a few added bells and whistles—although all classes are available with both options.
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