116 Self-Education Sites for Lifelong Learners
June 20, 2019
Have you ever heard the saying, “Knowledge is power”? It’s one of those age-old adages that still influences the way we work and learn. The more you know, the more valuable you are to those around you. The pursuit of knowledge also gives us a sense of purpose, which is why so many people, from young adults to working seniors and retirees, choose to self-educate by taking part in lifelong learning programs.
No matter your age, furthering your education is always possible. And with how accessible today’s technology has become, the self-education resources and materials you need to learn are often only a quick Google search away. From e-books and TED Talks to open online courses and webinars, there are opportunities everywhere.
To help you make the most of those opportunities, we’ve compiled a list of all the ways you can learn online for free. Read through the websites, apps and tools in our guide, or click on the jump links below to skip to a specific section.
Free Online Courses
The internet abounds with free online courses. Commonly known as massive online open courses (MOOCs), some are completely free, while others allow you to audit courses, but charge if you wish to actively participate. Take a look at the courses we’ve included to get an idea of what’s out there.
Academic Earth: Earn a free degree online with Academic Earth’s curated list of free courses from top universities around the world.
Alison: Take online courses at your own pace in a variety of subjects free of charge.
Canvas Network: Are you an educator? Canvas Network provides free professional development classes and open access to their course content and data at all times.
Codecademy: Learn the basics of your preferred coding language with Codecademy’s free plan, or upgrade to Pro for tailored lessons and tutorials.
Coursera: You can audit these online courses for free, but be sure to save on graded assignments and certifications with these Coursera coupons.
CreativeLive: View thousands of creative courses, from photography to sketching and more.
Degreed: Select topics that interest you for a curated list of learning materials and earn certifications online.
edX: Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX offers free online courses in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and art to business management and computer science.
freeCodeCamp: Learn the building blocks of coding for free and work on real-world tasks for nonprofits.
Khan Academy: Khan Academy provides instructional videos, online exercises and a personalized training dashboard so students can learn at their own pace.
LinkedIn Learning: Get started with LinkedIn Learning’s free trial month to gain access to over 13,000+ online courses.
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW): MIT OCW provides virtually all of the teaching materials for its undergraduate and graduate courses online for free.
OpenLearn: Free educational resources, free courses and open forums for debates.
Open Yale Courses: Take open introductory courses online with distinguished Yale professors.
Saylor Academy: Saylor has nearly 100 online courses available and a network of partner universities that offer accredited courses at no cost.
Skillcrush: Sign up for Skillcrush’s free coding bootcamp to get you started on your coding career.
Skillshare: Learn new skills online with experts in the field. Take advantage of these Skillshare coupons to save when you switch to premium!
SoloLearn: Learn to code on the go with this free new mobile app.
Thinkful: Thinkful’s handful of free tutorials will set you up for coding success.
University of the People: This university is tuition-free, online and accredited.
Free Online Marketing Courses and Certifications
Do you want to stand out in the world of digital marketing? Make your resume shine by taking these free digital marketing courses! Some offer certifications upon completion that you can add to your repertoire of skill sets and qualifications on your resume or LinkedIn account.
Canva: Learn the basics of design and how to integrate Canva into your workflow with their free video courses.
Constant Contact: Their Social Media Kickstarter course offers step-by-step instructions to help you build your first social media campaign.
Copyblogger: Copyblogger’s free course is broken up into 16 e-books and 20 emails.
DS106: This site is an experimental, on-going course provided by the University of Washington that teaches how digital storytelling influences social media.
Facebook: Upgrade your social media skills with Facebook’s very own suite of digital marketing courses.
Google Academy for Ads: Learn all about paid advertising, audience targeting and retargeting with this free course (and earn a certification as well!).
Google Analytics Academy: Upon completing this course, you’ll learn about basic and advanced GA features and earn a unique GAIQ certificate at the end.
Google Digital Garage: Google’s accredited Digital Garage course teaches you digital marketing fundamentals and includes a certification upon completion.
Hootsuite Academy: Learn social media basics with Hootsuite’s free courses taught by industry professionals.
Hubspot Academy: Complete with video lessons and quizzes, sharpen your knowledge of the digital marketing world with this free course.
Quicksprout: Learn everything there is about SEO, from the most basic concepts to link building strategies and more.
quintly: Enroll in the quintly Academy to learn all about social media analytics — and earn a free digital certification at the end.
SEMrush Academy: Take SEMrush’s free course offerings so you can leverage their tool effectively.
Springboard: Learn the basics of SEO with this free, 44+ hour course.
Unbounce: Unbounce’s free course teaches you everything you need to know about creating high-converting landing pages.
Wordstream: Wordstream’s PPC 101 course is available to download for free.
YouTube Certified: YouTube offers separate certifications in channel creation, growth, monetization and content strategy.
There’s a plethora of free digital books out there, from timeless classics to trending bestsellers by modern authors. They’re also available in just about every genre, so here is a list of helpful e-books in a variety of categories to assist you in becoming a lifelong learner.
Free E-Books On Personal Finance
66 Ways to Save Money: A brief read that teaches timeless money-saving best practices.
A Complete Guide to Budgeting: Dave Ramsey talks about the practice of budgeting in his free e-book.
Building Wealth: The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas wrote this e-book to help families and individuals create a plan to develop personal wealth.
Pathways to Getting Ahead: This e-book targets young adults and discusses the importance of asset building at a young age.
The Consumer’s Almanac: Learn how to organize your financial life, plan for the future and manage your credit.
Free Self Help E-Books
How to Get More From Life: This multifaceted self-improvement book teaches you how to progress in areas like fitness, social success, entrepreneurship and more.
How to Practice the Art of Life Balance: Learn how to balance your hectic work schedule and busy lifestyle to squeeze more enjoyment out of it all.
How to Start a Business You Love: Michele Pariza Wacek’s free Kindle book talks about how to find joy in your work.
The Success Principles: Jack Canfield’s book teaches you how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Time Management for Creative People: Procrastinate much? Learn how to organize your time effectively to better utilize your creative energy.
Free E-books On Marketing and Business
25 Actionable Social Media Strategies: This free e-book by Buffer discusses everything you need to know to kickstart your own social media campaign.
279 Days to Overnight Success: Chris Guillebeau’s e-book discusses how to build a sustainable business from the ground up. How the Pros Use Facebook Ads: Facebook marketing guru Jon Loomer unveils the advertising strategies professionals use every day to grow their businesses.
I get paid to do this?!: Ramit Sethi tells the stories of eight successful entrepreneurs who started from nothing and discusses their strategies.
Marketing Rule Book: Ann Holman breaks down marketing for small businesses in this straightforward e-book.
Mastering Creativity: James Clear discusses how to overcome mental blocks in your creative process.
The Art of War: Industry titans and modern entrepreneurs alike have lauded Sun Tzu’s famous treatise on war for decades. You can get it for free at Project Gutenberg.
The Lucky Brand: David Brier highlights 10 branding strategies to help your business stand out.
Überflip: Überflip’s e-book discusses the importance of marketing to increase a business’s bottom line.
Free Language Learning Tools
If saying more than “hello” in your foreign language of choice piques your interest, then you’re in luck. There are tons of free language learning tools available, from apps featuring on-the-go lessons and games to websites with complete courses. Check out the self-education resources we’ve compiled below to get started on your linguistic journey!
50Languages: 50Languages offers free online courses, apps, tests, games, vocabulary flashcards and more.
AnkiApp: AnkiApp lets you create flashcards with text, sound and images so you can study on the go.
Berlitz: Download Berlitz’s basic lesson plans online for free.
Busuu: Busuu offers free online lessons created by experts.
Drops: Learn languages by playing games that combine vocabulary with mnemonic associations.
Duolingo: Duolingo gamifies their lessons to make them more interactive and addicting.
HelloTalk: With over 150 supported languages and 10 million users, HelloTalk pairs you up with native speakers in your target language.
iTranslate Lingo: Tackle your language of choice with daily four-word lessons.
Lingvist: Learn up to 3,000 words and undertake challenging vocabulary exercises for free with Lingvist’s language learning app.
Memrise: With lessons in over 300 languages, Memrise has become one of the most popular and accessible open-source language learning platforms.
MindSnacks: MindSnacks facilitates language learning with intuitive games that target and improve memorization.
Pimsleuer: Check out their free trial lesson, and be sure to take advantage of these Pimsleur coupons if you decide to go premium.
Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone has a free three-day demo you can try. Be sure to snag these Rosetta Stone coupons once you decide to upgrade to premium!
Tandem: Create a profile and connect with a language partner or tutor instantly — for free.
TripLingo: TripLingo is targeted more towards business travel, but its translator, culture notes and learning tool features make it easy to adapt to new cultures.
Free Video Lectures, Webinars and Podcasts
Language learning comes in all types of mediums, including online lectures, webinars and podcasts! Check out these online lessons below to see how you can dive in.
Free Video Lectures
Buffer: Buffer’s Week of Webinars teaches you all about digital marketing. Just subscribe on YouTube for free!
Harvard Extension School: Check out Harvard’s free video lectures on a variety of subjects and topics.
nanoHUB: Learn all about the intricacies of nanotechnology with nanoHUB’s free video courses.
TED Talks: If you haven’t heard of TED Talks, check out their free lectures from amazing speakers on a variety of subjects.
The Great Courses: View YouTube’s curated list of over 80 free online lectures.
UCTV: The University of California provides a plethora of free online lectures.
University of Cambridge: Watch in-depth lectures dealing with science, math and other subjects.
CAST: CAST regularly hosts free webinars focusing on topics related to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.
Center for Creative Leadership: CCL offers complimentary webinars on leadership development.
edWeb: Register for edWeb’s free webinars and network with other educators.
FreeWebinarWednesdays.com: View live webinars by professionals for professionals hosted every Wednesday for free!
LearnersEdge: Check out these free webinars centered around continued learning for educators.
NEA: View NEA’s professional development webinars at no cost.
NexaLearning: Create a free account to view NexaLearning’s leadership development webinars.
SciLearn: SciLearn offers free webinars on subjects covering learning disabilities, education, professional development and more.
Free Entrepreneurship and Finance Podcasts
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders: Stanford University’s free podcast and video series focus on successful entrepreneurs and their personal stories.
Hackable: Explore the world of cybercrime with cybersecurity expert Bruce Snell.
How to Be Awesome at Your Job: Learn how to be a results-driven employee with this weekly podcast.
Listen Money Matters: LMM makes discussing finances fun and entertaining — and they offer good money advice.
The Knowledge Project: Check out interviews with CEOs, experts and thought leaders from various industries and backgrounds.
Free Nutrition and Fitness Podcasts
Dishing Up Nutrition: Check out relevant health topics for your body and how what you eat and drink can make a difference.
Hurdle: Hear inspiring stories of how individuals facing tough times conquered their adversity with wellness.
Nutrition Matters: Get inspired by the stories of people who’ve overcome eating disorders, weight struggles and more.
Science Vs: Host Wendy Zukerman gives you the scientific facts on health trends and claims so you can decide what’s worth it and what’s not.
The Rich Roll Podcast: Ultra-marathoner Rich Roll interviews fitness experts, artists, nutritionists and more to help you live your best life.
Free Crowdsourced and Community Sites
If you prefer to learn in groups, or if you like engaging with like-minded communities, then resources developed by other online users might be worth your time. We’ve curated a list of digital communities and crowdsourced resources for you to check out below.
BigThink: This blog consists of educational articles written by more than 2,000 Big Think fellows from around the globe.
ConnectDreams: ConnectDreams’ “Groupinars” are hosted by professionals and open to the community. Members are also encouraged to host their own Groupinars.
Google Scholar: Gain access to research materials via Google.
Hackr.io: Take advantage of Hackr.io’s community-curated programming resources to find coding partners and view tutorials.
Kickstarter: Kickstarter’s “Discover” page allows you to explore the latest products launched by other members.
Meetup: Search for like-minded groups on Meetup to attend free workshops, seminars and more.
ProductHunt: See the latest products, apps, innovations and more presented by the teams and innovators themselves.
Quora: Ask questions and get answers from community experts.
Scholarpedia: This peer-reviewed academic encyclopedia is managed and edited by experts.
Slideshare: View presentations, infographics and documents uploaded by other users for free.
The Free Library: Access over five million books and articles for free.
Wolfram Mathworld: The world’s greater math community develops and contributes to this massive mathematical resource.
Free Online Learning Tools
Organization is key to your learning success. Take advantage of these free online tools to enhance your continued learning experience!
Asana: This project management tool provides a free, user-friendly calendar view to organize your tasks.
BookMooch: Exchange books you don’t need with other users from around the world.
ClassMarker: Create your own quizzes online.
Diigo: Collect, annotate, organize and share web pages and PDFs that interest you.
Evernote: Digitize your note taking with this easy-to-use desktop app.
Notion: Centralize your notes and learning to-dos with this all-in-one tool.
Pocket: Pocket allows you to save articles, videos or anything else of interest. Save it to your browser toolbar and you’re set!
Sparknotes: Access summaries of literary works, study guides and discussion forums on a range of academic subjects.
Self-education has never been more accessible than now. The internet provides an endless number of resources and is a quick and easy platform to find just about anything if you’re curious enough to look. If you’re looking to switch careers or just like to read up on exciting and interesting topics, what are you waiting for? Check out the options above, or advance your self-education even further with eCampus coupons. The opportunities are limitless!