Best Online Course Platforms in 2021

Top 7 Online Course Platforms that Offer Free Courses in 2021

online course platforms that offer free courses

Are you looking for an online course platform to pursue your passion or even a degree from home?

You’ve finally made up your mind to start freelancing. Maybe it’s part of your New Year resolution to start working from home.

But, you still have some lingering doubts.

Do I have what it takes?

Can I be able to compete with millions of other freelancers?

Are my skills up to date? Do the skills I have marketable?

Do I need to upskill before I can be able to compete with the rest of the world?

How do I market myself and get paid a reasonable rate?

Can you learn without disrupting your schedule?

The good news is, there are a lot of online courses out here both free and paid that you can dive in and learn a few things to get you started. Whether you want to learn a new skill that you believe is more appealing to clients, or just want to polish your skills and ensure they are up to date. You’ll definitely find something that works for you.

Unlike traditional jobs where most employers focus on degrees and papers, the freelancing field is a little bit different. As a freelancer, clients are more interested in seeing what you are able to deliver. How you can help their company scale up. How you can help them achieve their goals. Papers, without the know-how of tackling real-life situations, may not favor you if you want to start off working from home.

Let this not discourage you though, there is always room to learn. Some clients are willing to take on a freelancer who may not be well skilled in that particular field but has the passion and interest to learn on the job.  The beauty of freelancing is, you learn and earn.

Where can you find free online courses?

Today, I’m going to focus on the different online course platforms that are available where you can sign up and start learning. As they say, learning never gets old. It doesn’t matter whether you are a fresh graduate who wants to test out the freelancing field or a seasoned professional, who wants to diversify.

Some of these offer free online courses while others you’ll need to pay to be able to take them. The market keeps changing, every waking day, companies are looking for a different set of skills. Sitting in a lecture room to be able to learn may not be an ideal situation for many but thanks to the various online course platforms available, you can learn new skills as you continue working.

Here’s my list of top 7 online course platforms that you should check out.

#1 Coursera

Coursera has partnered with leading companies and universities to offer world-class online courses. Some of the companies that have partnered with Coursera include Google, IBM, The Linux Foundation, PwC among others.

If you are looking to upskill and start a new career or a side hustle, Coursera has some of the latest trends when it comes to online courses. From free online courses to university degrees, Coursera allows you to learn at your own pace.

Depending on the online course you choose, at the end of it, you’ll be able to earn either a Course Certificate, Professional Certificate, diploma or MasterTrack™ Certificate with your network.

Courses offered: A wide range of courses; AI, machine learning, AWS fundamentals etc

Price plan: Free and paid courses priced from $39

#2 Skillshare

On-demand learning to help further one’s skills is gradually taking shape from individuals and companies who want to see their employee’s skills stay up to date. If you are interested in learning hard skills, Skillshare is worth checking out.

Skillshare’s website and app enables learners to take the courses both online and offline.

From culinary skills to mindfulness meditation to creating a mobile app, Skillshare offers a wide range of online courses you can choose from.

Courses offered: Creative oriented (photography, design, creative writing)

Price plan: Free, premium subscription and team’s package.

#3 Udemy

Udemy believes in helping individuals and companies alike to stay ahead of the future of work. As a freelancer or someone who wants to start freelancing, Udemy has you well covered.  It doesn’t matter what course you want to perfect. From freelance photography to music, marketing and even IT courses, you have a large pool to choose from.

This eLearning platform has over 150K online courses you can choose from. These online courses are both free and paid. One thing I love about Udemy is they are always having student deals for new users. You can get life time access to courses for as low as $10.99.

Courses offered: A wide range of courses; It, marketing, business, design, development etc.

Price plan: Free and paid from as low as $10.99

#4 Alison

Alison offers free online courses at different subject levels. If you are sitting there wondering whether your skills are up to date and looking for a way to polish them, you may want to browse through Alison courses.

This free online learning platform “believes that free education, more than anything, has the power to break through boundaries and transform lives.” They offer certificate courses, diploma courses and learning paths.

Even though the online courses offered on the platform are free, once you complete a course, you are required to pay to get a certificate.

Courses offered: A wide range of courses; IT, languages, marketing, humanities etc

Price plan: Free with paid certificates

#5 Codecademy

If you’ve always wanted to try out coding, this is your chance to do it. Codecademy is easy to navigate and offers different price plans that you can choose from. If you are unsure if this is something you want to invest in, they have a free plan that you can try out.

From web development to data and computer science, it doesn’t matter whether you are trying to build a side project, build up a career or you just want to play around with programming. Codecademy has you covered.

Courses offered: IT oriented courses

Price plan: Paid premium and free basic subscription plans.

#6 Edx

Founded by Harvard and MIT, Edx has taken online learning to another level by partnering with various accredited universities to offer free online courses. The platform boasts of over 3,000 courses across different fields that one can choose from.

From language to data analysis and even law, whatever online course you are interested in pursuing you are bound to find something on Edx. Whether you are entering the job market, exploring new interest, seeking a promotion or changing fields, Edx has a free online course for you.

Their courses vary from introductory to advanced. If you’ve always dreamed of stepping into Harvard but lacked the resources to do so, Edx gives you a chance to try out free online courses from Harvard University.

Some of the universities that have partnered with Edx include:

  • Harvard
  • MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Australian National University
  • Berkeley University of California
  • The University of Queensland
  • Imperial College London
  • Seol National University

Even though most of the online courses offered are free, in some instances, you may be required to pay a fee to get a verified certificate.

Courses offered: A wide range of courses from languages, leadership to data and computer science.

Price plan: Free with a paid certificate

#7 Khan Academy

Khan Academy is 100% free. Yes, you read that right; you don’t pay anything to be able to use their platform.

One thing I love about Khan is that it caters to young learners. Imagine sitting down with your kindergarten child and helping them learn maths while you take on some programming classes. Sounds fun right?

Courses offered: Adapted for early education. From preschool all the way up. Suitable for all age groups.

Price plan: 100% free

My final thoughts

Most of the courses offered on the online course platforms I’ve listed above don’t require one to have prior knowledge on the subject topic. In most cases, all you may be required to be able to sign up for the online course is a computer that has access to the internet.

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