In a world where many of our most important interactions seem to be taking place online, we are always on the lookout for all resources, including educational content, at hand to succeed in the digital world.
Something particularly true when it comes to ways of advancing our learning and self-development.
Despite the challenges we experience in 2020, today, we live in the best era to take advantage of e-learning content. Entrepreneurs and startups are doubling down on this unique opportunity to effectively promote their material, such as educational videos and courses, to wider audiences.
Such is the great content waiting for you online that we want to take on the task of introducing you to some of the best platforms for free educational content that you can start learning from today.
And maybe more importantly, why you should!
The Impact of Educational Content Platforms
Whether you want to improve your knowledge of science and history or to acquire new technical skills like programming to improve your resume, there’s content for you on the web that will help you expand your capacities.
But what exactly makes virtual programs so effective? Why are many even preferring the online format over the traditional classroom setting?
Consider the following e-learning trends:
- E-learning programs are very personalized, which motivates learners to develop the soft skills and knowledge they need and care about.
- Online educational content platforms tend to favor video-based learning, which significantly helps the student retain knowledge and engage more with the content.
- The best learning modules will often feature top experts in different areas as instructors or speakers—something you don’t always get even at university!
- Today we even see a move towards the gamification of the standard educational practices.
These are just a few reasons that play in favor of online education. But which platforms best implement these principles?
8 Best Platforms for Free Online Educational Content
1. Scholastic’s ‘Learn at Home’ Platform for Young Students
In a time where many kids are living their educational content experience from home, Scholastics is a great solution that supplies content for all grade levels—from Pre-K and Kindergarten to grades 1 to 5 and higher grades.
Scholastic offers free resources to parents and teachers to keep young children engaged during their learning journey. The platform is accessible from all devices, including smartphones, and its dashboard comes with handy resources and instructions to effectively guide the lessons.
The program is packed with material to work with at least 3 hours five days of the week. It includes theory, as well as activities and projects that the younger can practice with dedication.
The content is balanced between readings, videos, and even games that, for sure, won’t bore the young learner. But the lessons are developed to emphasize integration: instead of presenting the topics in a disconnected fashion, they are organized to show the connection between subjects.
With this platform at hand, learning from home can become a fun, enriching experience!
2. Codecademy’s Free Coding Courses
Codecademy’s mission is “to rethink education from the bottom up.” This is a platform that takes seriously the job of helping individuals learn and succeed in an online world that’s always changing, and that’s long left the model of textbook education behind.
The service focuses on providing knowledge on the tech and computer skills. Some of these include:
- Data science.
- Web development.
- Computer science.
If what’s been said so far has not sparked your interest in exploring the platform, wait until you hear the rest: Codecademy follows you through your learning progress in a personalized way.
Once you choose what you want to learn, you get to practice it in real-time. In the process, you will be receiving individual guidance in the form of feedback. You also have the chance to take on projects to put your skills to the test, start building your own portfolio, and finally land into your dream job.
Additionally, the service has special offers for businesses and schools, whose plans start at reasonable prices. In a time where most of our key professional and social interactions are taking place online, this is an invaluable asset to upskill your team or students.
3. Open Culture’s Massive Library of Educational Content
Open Culture is a very useful repository that collects, curates, and gives you access to material and courses found all over the internet. This is the platform you want to come to when you are looking for content that you don’t know where to find.
It hosts all kinds of content: not only will you find course lectures and transcripts as well as blog posts there—the platform also leads you to places where you can find free movies, audiobooks, and even professional podcasts.
The contents are neatly organized in browsed categories that are frequently updated. You can bet you’ll find almost any topic that comes to mind there: from standard school-level courses on math and literature to the history of jazz and fashion, and the latest news in Broadway.
You can join for free starting today by subscribing to their newsletter. There you’ll receive daily recommendations of thought-provoking readings, films, cultural reviews, and almost anything you can imagine!
4. Khan Academy’s Compendium of Academic Courses
The extraordinary rise of Khan Academy from a relatively unknown startup to a world-renowned platform should tell us something about the big opportunities in developing educational content platforms.
Khan Academy hosts hundreds of courses and a library that can be used as a great support for classrooms. In fact, about 70 million people used the platform and participated in their classes.
The courses cover a wide variety of topics that are essential for the young student’s (and the not so young’s) learning experience, including math, computing, science, history, and art. They have been translated in more than 36 languages, and there are Spanish, French, and Portuguese versions of the site.
But what’s truly valuable is the platform’s emphasis on its ideal that #YouCanLearnAnything. Through resources such as instructional educational videos, students are encouraged to learn at their own pace in building blocks according to their personal needs and interests.
Khan Academy is also very convenient for parents and teachers, as they can use the platform’s personalized dashboards to track the student’s learning process and, in that way, identify the areas where they need more help.
5. Future Learn’s Assortment of College Level Courses on Various Topics
If you are interested in approaching excellent college-level courses, then you should explore the options that Future Learn holds for you.
There you will find courses taught by top experts in academia and industry, whose contents you can audit for free. But if you are fully committed to taking your educational development one step further, the platform has plans that let you participate in full programs to earn a certified degree and formal accreditation.
But the opportunities don’t end there! One of the most exciting aspects of Future Learn is that it’s a community of fellow students that mutually supports its members. You’ll join a network of millions of students around the world with whom you can share your experiences and progress.
The subjects mainly focus on the classic curricula you find in an academic environment: you have classes on history, science, business, IT, and computer science. They are perfectly balanced between lectures, quizzes, videos, and tests to probe your knowledge.
But its modules on practical skills such as teaching and study methods are also very relevant, and some of the most popular on the web.
6. TED-Ed’s Motivational Talks
TED events are well-publicized, and for good reason: you get to see some of the best speakers in the world engaging with interesting, important, and relevant topics through talks and presentations.
TED’s website and YouTube channels are very useful places you can turn to when you have a question in your mind that you want to address. The talks are very entertaining as a rule, and the format is bit-sized, which means that you can always take 10 or 20 minutes off your schedule to learn something new.
The presentations often include slides and pictures, and sometimes they will be adapted to animation. Each talk is unique, as no two speakers approach the same subject from the same viewpoint. Each will give it his or her own personal imprint, and it’s not unusual to see some speakers be more technical, while others lean more heavily on things like humor to get their ideas across.
Another aspect that’s part of the TED formula is the speaker’s emphasis on the practical, life-changing implications of the topics they discuss. This commitment to the importance of ideas is reflected in the website, which often couples the videos with supplemental material and questions.
7. MoMA’s Series of Art-Related Classes
If there’s an area many of us haven’t been trained in, that has to be art critique and analysis. Judging art is a complex skill that demands deep work and background knowledge that’s not easily available.
It is a shame, really, since being able to judge and understand art is an immensely valuable skill that can enhance our appreciation of works and serve as a springboard to meaningful conversations with our friends.
Fortunately, we can fill this gap with the help of the free online courses created by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Its contents are hosted by Coursera, and they feature topics that cover many levels of complexity, none requiring previous expertise.
Some of the most interesting include:
- What Is Contemporary Art?
- In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting.
- Fashion as Design.
- Art & Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies for Your Classroom.
In those classes, you’ll join MoMA’s top experts and curators to explore the hidden wonders in some of the best works of art in history.
But what will blow your mind is the high-quality of the content: there you’ll see beautiful, curated images and shots of the works and exhibitions the museum hosts, like you won’t find anywhere else.
So now you know: there’s a solution for our general lack of knowledge in art waiting for us. After taking a couple of classes, you’ll never feel left behind again next time someone asks your opinion about a great painting or sculpture.
8. Stanford Online’s Higher Education Programs
Stanford Online gathers some of the best minds you find at the University of Stanford’s campus. It is part of the Stanford Center for Professional Development, which since 1995 has been one of the world pioneers in the move towards distance learning.
The developers create their material through the collaboration of third-party organizations and platforms, such as Coursera, Edx, and iTunes. The offers include dozens of free college-level courses, as well as graduate and professional custom program that are open for credentials.
Stanford is also known for hosting other key resources for professionals and academics, like the renowned Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is accessible to anyone who wants to engage with profound thinkers and expand his knowledge.
Although the list of courses is not as extensive as that of other hubs, all of Stanford’s modules are of top-notch quality. Another thing that makes this platform worthy of attention is that the contents are up to date with the most important issues and challenges that we face as a society.
Start Expanding Your Horizons
Today, the barriers of money and distance are not an obstacle to getting the best possible education. With virtually any electronic device and reliable Wi-Fi connection, you can have access to resources that have nothing to envy to the world’s best universities.
We’ve taken you through truly fantastic platforms that you can use either for improving your knowledge and skills as a professional, as well as for helping your children or students.
As you’ve seen, the opportunities are immense, and there’s no fear of not being able to adapt: most platforms strive to promote ways of putting your skills into practice.
There are many other platforms like these that are waiting for you to discover them. What will you start learning today?