The Best Free (or Cheap) Online Courses

Wondering what to do while you’re quarantined at home? #StayHome



CreativeLive has been seen in the New York Times and in Forbes. It takes on a different approach to learning online by doing live broadcast session instead of just videos. This means you take classes from a live professional, who you can interact with and ask questions. The cost vary per class, but your first class is free. Plus, they have tons of free classes on an array of subjects. This site is amazing if you want to learn creative skills like photography, design, video, audio, music and crafts, but they also have other categories as well.


Coursera is used by over 8 million people, and consist of only experts and professionals. Many colleges like University of Penn, Sylvia, John Hopkins, Rutgers, Yale, and Stanford post courses on the site. This site is completely free unless you want to get a verified certificate upon completing a course, which costs $49. Coursera is similar to taking an online college course. You learn online, use textbooks, forums and take quizzes. Classes are from 2-6 weeks. The subjects vary from math, engineering, history, English and other college-like courses.

The Best Free (or Cheap) Online Courses


This site is similar to Lynda and Tuts+, but has a heavy background in technical skills. It’s great for learning HTML, creating iPhone Apps and CSS, but they also have business and creative courses. You can learn via live broadcast or videos. They also have member-only forums where you can learn from other students, and meet new people. They also have excellent extras like live workshops, and quizzes to help you learn better. It only cost about $25 a month for basic membership and their pro is $45. There’s also a free 14 day trial.

Academic Earth

This site gives access to college courses for free. Some categories are psychology, sociology, accounting, business, and many other majors. These courses are taught by top colleges like Carnegie Mellon, Yale and NYU. So, if you like the college course learning style, this site is for you!


Udacity is a site run by Stanford University, which posts in-depth college courses that are career-oriented (designed to help you get a job in that field). One of their most popular free courses is the “Introduction to Computer Science”, and they host dozens of courses in web development, software engineering, marketing, and app creation. While some of the courses are free, most run into the high hundreds and up to $1000. and take between 3 and 10 months to complete.

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 137 Comments

  1. Avatar of Lauren Plain

    Lauren Plain

    I absolutely love this post. It makes me happy that there are actually people in the world that still want to learn. sure, lots of people go to college, but there would not be as nearly many people in schools if they didn’t earn a degree for going. Hoping everyone will take the time out of their day to look at some of these websites.

  2. Avatar of Angelina Benham

    Angelina Benham

    Your article just earned a spot on my bookmarks. Great stuff!

  3. Avatar of Sara Bragg

    Sara Bragg

    Forget overpriced schools, long days in a crowded classroom, and pitifully poor results. These websites and apps cover myriads of science, art and technology topics. They will teach you practically anything, from making hummus to building apps. There is absolutely no excuse for you not to master a new skill, expand your knowledge, or eventually boost your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. it’s hard to imagine how much easier it can possibly be. I can’t wait to learn something new. Already made an account on Alison. I want to learn Spanish.

  4. Avatar of Zoe Sawyer

    Zoe Sawyer

    Learning new skills can keep our mind sharp as you age and open up to a whole new world of possibilities. Thanks urbanette for the list I am so thankful to you. You have helped me in keeping my new year resolution of learning something new.

  5. Avatar of Alexis Schuler

    Alexis Schuler

    With little more than an internet connection needed, these websites are empowering millions of people from around the world, to build their skills, launch a business, and create meaningful changes in their lives. Thank you urbanette for the information and educating people.

  6. Avatar of Lucinda Hanslow

    Lucinda Hanslow

    Education isn’t about getting that degree. It’s about honing skills that will make graduates desirable in the competitive workplace. These list of the website is so good I didn’t know there were so many of them. I have only heard of Alison and coursera.

  7. Avatar of Lily Amiet

    Lily Amiet

    This list is so amazing, whether you desire to become the next business leaders, learn a new language, or hack the world of traveling, they, ve collected the best website to learn new things online.

  8. Avatar of Lynda Diaz

    Lynda Diaz

    The future of learning is online, where you can learn new things anytime, anywhere.

  9. Avatar of William Dean

    William Dean

    I have read somewhere, she’s responsible for over 3000 marriages. How in the world can someone make some many matches? I can’t find even one wife for my self. I need some tips from her.

  10. Avatar of Luthi Sanders

    Luthi Sanders

    Online courses have been prevalent for many years now, It just needs a little more boost and a little more advertisement for it to really be considered a new mode of education.

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