The Best Free Online eLearning Courses & Videos in 2021
If COVID-19 lockdowns and the restriction of movement have taught us anything, it’s that there’s only so much time you can spend binging on streaming services and catchup TV.
Whether you’ve finally gotten used to the rhythm of remote working from home, or you’re slowly learning some self-discipline after kicking around the house on furlough, your mind is probably beginning to wander to thoughts of what comes next –
- Are you happy in your current job? Or do you fancy a change?
- Has a bit of self-reflection made you reconsider your entire career path?
- Maybe you’re beginning to realise you didn’t have as many hobbies as you imagined?
- Perhaps you just want to try something new and learn a whole new skill such as Podcast creation…
Well, now isn’t the time to dwell. It’s time to size 2021’s big opportunity and turn COVID-19 into a positive. Time to use all of that newfound free time to your advantage, develop yourself, and learn a new skill.
Learning a new skill through free online eLearning courses should also boosts your ability to Work From Home effectively.
You can also find loads of great eLearning content to help you with outsourcing tasks online, which in itself is a great way to help make the most of your time and become more productive when working from home
Free Online eLearning Courses – There are More Options Than You Can Imagine
The world of online courses and e-learning has exploded over the last few years. It’s now possible to find everything from certified University courses, right through to beginner language learning. All from the comfort of your own locked-down home!
So let’s dive in to some of the larger providers offering free courses right now…
Free Online eLearning Courses – LinkedIn Learning
Linkedin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic launched in early March 2020, with the business-focused social media platform making 16 of its LinkedIn Learning courses absolutely free…
“In the coming days, we will make 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free including tips on how to: stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.”
It’s a nice gesture, and there’s no doubt that many office workers are finding it tough to adjust to a completely new way of working whilst confined to their homes.
And whilst it’s never a bad idea to take a free course, no matter who is offering it to you, we can’t help but think there are better (more worthwhile) options out there for the housebound office worker contemplating a change of direction, or looking to hone their skills…
Free Online eLearning Courses – Coursera
Coursera is an online educational platform specialising in MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, that the platform provides in an instantly accessible online format that can be viewed by anyone with a smartphone (or desktop PC).
Coursera’s courses encompass every topic imaginable, and the site partners with over 150 well regarded Universities and Colleges from across the globe to provide over 2,500 programs with multiple (100s) of sub-specialities to over 40 million learners.
Coursera is most definitely angling itself as a replacement for School or University, though the company itself seems to be playing down such notions.
The courses consist of recorded, graded and peer-reviewed assignments, complete with video lectures and group discussion forums.
All-in-all, it’s probably the closest equivalent out there to a bricks-and-mortar University that can be accessed by anyone, instantly.
Would You Benefit From Enrolling with Coursera?
Coursera’s setup and close affiliation to Universities means it’s best suited to those looking to either upgrade their skills to beef up a CV, or those looking to augment an “official” University course such as a degree.
The company issues Professional and MasterTrack Certificates for course completion. Although you’d need to do some research as to whether they would be recognised by your educational authority.
Free Online eLearning Courses – edX
edX is similar to Coursera in many ways, but this platform seems to be more focused on work and career related niches rather than academic courses like traditional degrees.
edX is well regarded for its content presentation and quality, and specialises in subjects like Engineering, Data Science, Languages and Business Management.
Again, just like Coursera, edX issues certificates for course completion (though you’ll probably need to pay for those on a free course). edX is also recognised by (and affiliated with) several high-end US and European Universities as well as tech giants like Google and IBM.
Would You Benefit From Enrolling with edX?
If you’re thinking of starting a career in tech or science, then absolutely.
edX is a fantastic resource for dipping your toe into the worlds of Programming, Technology, and even Engineering, and is rated very highly by its users.
Free Online eLearning Courses – Amazon AWS Training
Amazon AWS Training is Amazon’s official certification program that aims to advance the skills of Cloud Computing Engineers…
“Organisations need individuals with cloud skills to help transform their business. AWS Training and Certification helps you build and validate your cloud skills so you can get more out of the cloud.”
The free courses are remarkably in-depth and focus on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The courses cover such diverse subjects as VPN configuration, Amazon Aurora setup, Machine Learning Basics and Cloud Based Security Protocols.
Would You Benefit From Enrolling with Amazon AWS Training?
Anyone working in IT would benefit greatly from Amazon accreditation. Especially if your workplace or employer uses AWS or is thinking of migrating to AWS.
It’s a great place to sharpen your knowledge of Cloud Computing and related systems. It could also seriously boost your CV if you’re thinking of a career change.
Free Online eLearning Courses – Amazon Future Engineer
Another Amazon offering – Amazon Future Engineer is aimed squarely at younger students and aims to train and educate underserved and low-income communities to pursue careers in Computer Science.
Whilst that wouldn’t ordinarily appeal to someone looking to take a free course, the global spread of COVID-19 has seen Amazon open its Future Engineer pro- gram to online participants.
At its core, Amazon Future Engineer’s free online program offers courses in Virtual Robotics and Coding and allows students to program their own virtual robots through the CoderZ platform.
Would You Benefit From Enrolling with Amazon Future Engineer?
Maybe! But it’s certainly going to be of more interest to kids who are stuck indoors for extended periods of time.
What better time than to get them interested in a career in technology and future sciences?
Free Online eLearning Courses – Udemy
Are all those options a little too academic?
Maybe you just want to use your free time bettering yourself or exploring a new hobby?
In that case, Udemy is the place to go.
Udemy specialises in hosting online courses. That means anyone can add a course onto the marketplace and begin teaching others a valuable skill.
Udemy is more focused on beginner level skills, and is perfect for the casual learner. Udemy hosts thousands of courses in everything from Web Design and Photoshop, through to language learning, guitar lessons and cake decoration!
Would You Benefit From Enrolling with Udemy?
Udemy is much more casual than the other offerings, and although it does contain some “serious” high end courses for premium money, it’s more focused on part-time learning in subjects of interest and hobbies.
If we had one criticism of Udemy, it would be that courses aren’t vetted by the platform itself, and users rely on a ratings system to pick the best option.
Want to read more about Udemy? We have a great Udemy Review for 2021 here.
Free Online eLearning Courses – TED Talks
OK, so the offerings listed above might have some wonderful learning resources on tap, but what if you want a more gentle introduction to the world of upskilling and self-improvement?
Well, you could do a whole lot worse than to head over to TED Talks and sign up for a free account or download the dedicated app.
Ted Talks is the accumulated media library of the world famous TedX conference that aims to give a platform to “ideas worth spreading”.
It’s more than possible to lose days of your free time to Ted Talks. The platform is famous for hosting some of the world’s greatest and most innovative thinkers. The Ted Talks library boasts a wide range of subjects encompassing everything from body language to the study of dolphins.
It’s a broad church, that’s for sure.
Free Online eLearning Courses – Facebook Blueprint
Not convinced at all this talk of self-improvement?
Perhaps you’re a freelancer or business owner looking to improve their online marketing chops?
If that’s the case, Facebook Blueprint is just the sort of thing you’ll relish getting stuck into.
Facebook Blueprint is a 100% free series of mini courses designed to give foundational training in the world of online advertising, audience insights and managing ad budgets.
In addition to the Facebook Blueprints free mini courses, it’s also possible to take an official exam that gives certification in Facebook advertising standards.
One small caveat – The final exam has a real adjudicator at the other end, so you might want to make triple-sure that you’re ready to take on the challenge!
Would You Benefit From Enrolling with Facebook Blueprint?
If you’re a freelancer or micro-agency owner, then absolutely!
The Facebook Blueprint exam issues “badges” upon completion that can be displayed on LinkedIn profiles, resumes and websites, increasing social-proof and trust for would-be clients and employers.
In Conclusion – The Best Free Online eLearning Courses & Videos in 2021
If this list tells you anything, it’s that there’s quite literally something out for everyone in the world of online courses.
Not only that, but the sheer volume of online learning platforms means you can start out small, find a topic of interest to dip a toe into and progress all the way through to degree or PHD levels of academia.
COVID-19 might be keeping you indoors, but it’s certainly not stopping you from improving your skills!