We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Is It Possible to Take Free Online Courses?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are a large number of schools, institutes and associations that offer free online courses. The popularity of this method of teaching has spread as the cost decreased. When selecting free online courses, there are five things to consider: course selection, program quality, administration, relevance and support. All these items are central to getting the best possible value for the time invested in taking a course.

The first item to consider when looking for an online course is the subject. Decide what your personal goal is and set a schedule to achieve that goal. For example, a professional association's free online course in beginner carpentry might provide all the instructions that you need to learn a new skill. Select the education level based on your interest and background. Although advanced courses are available in a wide range of subjects, it is not a good place to start without prior training.

If you are looking for a course in proprietary software, free courses will typically provide a basic overview of the current version. Free intermediate or advanced courses are usually for an outdated version. These courses are still worthwhile if you are willing to develop problem solving, analyzing and business analysis skills. The basic functionality of the software rarely changes in different versions.

Check the program quality carefully before starting a free online course. The time and energy required to complete an online course is the same, regardless of the program quality. For academic, university level courses, try the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware website (http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm). It provides over 10,000 free online courses, complete with coursework, lecture notes and textbook reference.

Look at universities and colleges that support a large online course offering. They have already invested the time and money needed to create the online courses and many provide these courses for free in the interest of spreading knowledge and education. Online media streaming sites, such as YouTube (www.youtube.com), have a growing section of free online courses and tutorials providing university level lectures to everyone.

When looking at free online courses, read the course administration section carefully. Some schools allow students to submit coursework to instructors, but most do not. Review any requests for donations, registration fees or access fees in detail. Think about the value of the program to you before making any payments.

Many free online courses are no longer available in tuition-based programs. Others are advertising tools for a new software or application or as a trial version of other courses the institute offers on a fee basis. Check the date of the material and determine if it is relevant to you. History, typing and English language courses do not become outdated, but software based courses might. The level of support available with free online courses varies widely, depending on the organization, target audience and purpose. Many specialized schools offer free introductory courses and provide support as a method of advertising their product or other services.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon77090 — On Apr 13, 2010

i need someone to help me learn more about freight forwarding.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.