Did you know there are free online courses for Africans? Millions of young people on the continent may be missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime.
The quality and standard of education in many parts of Africa is in a terrible situation. The sector is inadequately funded, school (tuition) fees have become too expensive for most people and text books are often outdated, insufficient or highly priced.
To make matters worse, governments across the continent are not very serious about transforming and modernising education.
Those who can afford the tuition spend thousands of dollars to study in foreign colleges and universities.
Sadly, if nothing is done soon, a whole generation of Africans may miss out on life-changing opportunities that can only come from high quality learning.
Thankfully, the internet will allow us to avoid such a dark future because there are places on the internet where you can learn any subject or skill from some of the world’s top schools for FREE ?
This may sound too good to be true, but it’s absolutely true!
In this article, I’m sharing my top 10 selection of places on the internet to find free courses.
Whatever you want to earn a diploma or degreee, learn business skills, computer programming or even how to play the piano, you will find this article very valuable. Students, entrepreneurs and people who like to learn new things will love this too…
Have you ever heard of a ‘MOOC’?
A MOOC is an acronym for: “Massive Open Online Course.”
MOOCs are a recent development in distance education which began to emerge in 2012. Nowadays, anybody can participate in a MOOC as long as you have access to the internet.
Today, there are thousands of courses on all kinds of subjects from top universities and learning institutions around the world. And guess what? Many of them are available for free!
Yes, from the comfort of your home, it’s now possible to take a business course from Harvard or a computer programming course from MIT without paying a single penny! The best part is, MOOCs are very flexible and you can learn at your own pace and time.
Most MOOCs allow you to watch short video lectures, take interactive quizzes, complete peer graded assessments, and connect with classmates and teachers. There are also interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants that aids effective and rapid learning.
“Education is what other people do to you. Learning is what you do to yourself.”
The platforms I’m about to reveal to you will only work very well for people who have taken personal responsibility to learn.
There is now a disturbing trend of school graduates on our continent who lack basic knowledge and skills in their areas of study. Sadly, most Africans now focus on acquiring paper certificates instead of valuable skills and knowledge.
If you’re serious about learning and improving your knowledge and skills, it’s time to introduce you to the online platforms that will help you to achieve your goals. Here they are…
#1 COURSERA (Partly Free)
Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses online for anyone to take.
This platform, which is arguably one of the biggest out there, was founded by two computer science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, both from Stanford University in the USA.
Coursera works with universities to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in several subjects including: Business, Engineering, Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Physics, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and several others.
Coursera also has an official mobile app for iPhones and Android devices which makes it easy and convenient for anyone to learn on the go.
Currently, the platform has over 7 million users and more than 500 courses from several universities and learning institutions around the world.
To check out courses on the Coursera platform, follow this link: https://www.coursera.org/courses
#2 UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE (Free)
University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education globally for all qualified individuals, despite financial, geographic or societal constraints.
Founded in 2009 by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, UoPeople is affiliated with the United Nations GAID, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Yale Law School ISP.
UoPeople has signed collaborative partnership agreements with New York University (NYU) to accept students; Microsoft for scholarships, internships and mentoring and with Hewlett-Packard (HP), through the Catalyst Initiative, to provide student internship opportunities.
About 2,000 students from over 160 countries have been enrolled.
With its tuition-free online programs, University of the People is opening access to higher education for all those constrained, as well as building a scalable and replicable model capable of changing the very nature of higher education.
To find out more about UoPeople and all the courses it offers, visit www.uopeople.edu
#3 EdX (Free)
EdX is a non-profit online platform created by founding partners, Harvard and MIT, two of the world’s most prestigious universities.
The platform offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, University of California (Berkeley), University of Texas and many other universities within and outside the USA.
Courses on EdX cover several topics including: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Finance, Electronics, Engineering, Food and Nutrition, History, Humanities, Law, Literature, Math, Medicine, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Science, Statistics and more.
EdX is different from other MOOC platforms, such Coursera and Udacity, because it is entirely nonprofit and runs on an open-source software platform. Currently, EdX has more than 2.5 million users enrolled in over 215 courses online.
You can check out all the courses available on EdX by following this link: https://www.edx.org/course-list
#4 MIT OpenCourseWare (Free)
For people reading this who don’t know how prestigious an institution MIT really is, let me give you some insight.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most selective higher learning institutions in the world. It has already received 18,357 undergraduate applicantions for the class of 2018 – and has only admitted 1,419. That’s an acceptance rate of just 7.73%!
In 2002, the organization started the pilot phase of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), an internet-based platform that contains virtually all MIT undergraduate and graduate-level course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
To date, more than 2,000 different courses have been published on the platform and over 120 million educators, self-learners and students use the site.
Interested in taking a real MIT course? Check out all the OCW courses at http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/find-by-topic/
#5 KHAN ACADEMY (Free)
Khan Academy is a non-profit educational platform created in 2006 by Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”
The website features thousands of educational resources, including a personalized learning dashboard, over 100,000 practice problems, and over 6,000 video tutorials stored on YouTube. All these resources are available for free to anyone around the world!
In 2009, the founder, Salman Khan, quit his job in finance as a hedge fund analyst to focus on KhanAcademy which he started as a means of teaching mathematics to his cousin. Today the platform is funded by some of the worlds’ biggest names including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation and Google.
The resources on the platform are used by more than 10 million students around the world every month. Of all the MOOC platforms available, Khan Academy’s video tutorials are the most viewed. To check out all the resources on the website and more, visit: www.khanacademy.org
#6 ALISON (Free)
ALISON (Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online) is an online learning platform founded in 2007 by Mike Feerick, a serial entrepreneur.
Unlike other MOOC providers with close links to American learning institutions such as MIT and Stanford University, the majority of ALISON’s learners are located in developing countries with the fastest growing number of users in India.
With over 3 million learners in 200 countries, ALISON has attained global reach and a worldwide reputation. Since 2007, more than 350,000 people all over the world have graduated from its free certificate and diploma courses.
ALISON currently offers over 600 courses across certificate and diploma level in ten languages. Visit the platform at www.alison.com to start a free course today!
#7 UDEMY (Partly Free)
This platform’s mission statement says it all: “to help anyone learn anything online.” Udemy is the world’s online learning marketplace, where over 3 million students are taking courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography–and much more.
Unlike academic MOOC programs which are mostly driven by coursework in schools and learning institutions, Udemy provides a platform for experts of any kind to create courses which can be offered to the public, either at no charge or for a tuition fee.
Each of the platform’s 18,000+ courses is taught by an expert instructor, and every course is available on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device.
In April 2013, Udemy was first offered as an Apple iOS app, allowing students to take classes directly from smartphones. The Android version was launched in January 2014.
As of today, the iOS app has been downloaded over 1 million times, and 20 percent of Udemy users access their courses via mobile.
To check out all the available courses on this platform, check out www.udemy.com
#8 LYNDA (Partly Free)
Lynda is an online education platform that offers thousands of video courses in software, technology, creative and business skills.
Founded in 1995, the company produces video tutorials taught by experts and members to the Lynda.com library have unlimited access to watch and learn at their own pace.
In early 2015, Lynda was acquired by LinkedIn, the popular social network for professionals, for about $1.5 billion. This means more interesting courses could be coming out of Lynda.
Currently, Lynda offers more than 2,400 courses in Business, Project Management, Design, Web, Programming, Photography, Video, 3D And Animation, Audio, Education, and Computer Aided Design (CAD). These courses are available in video format to members through monthly and annual subscription-based plans.
To check out Lynda.com’s extensive library of courses, visit http://www.lynda.com/subject/all to learn more.
#9 CODECADEMY (Free)
If you’re interested in learning computer programming (coding), I don’t think you’ll ever find a better, easier and more effective platform than Codecademy! With the knowledge you’ll gain from this platform, you could develop your own software, apps, websites etc.
Founded in 2011, Codecademy is an online interactive platform that offers FREE coding classes in six different programming languages. As of January 2014, the site had over 24 million users who had completed over 100 million exercises.
To find out more about Codecademy and start coding at www.codecademy.com
#10 ACADEMIC EARTH (Free)
Since 2008, Academic Earth has compiled a growing collection of online courses, made available FREE of charge, from some of the most respected universities in the world. Following the precedent of MIT OpenCourseware, Academic Earth believes that everyone, including Africans, deserves access to a world-class education.
To achieve its goal of ‘free education for all’, Academic Earth provides links to over 750 online courses and 8,500 individual online lectures, giving students of all ages unparalleled access to courses they may otherwise never experience.
According to Academic Earth, whether you’re looking to supplement your knowledge in your current coursework, or you’re just learning for the sake of learning, anyone with an internet connection now has the freedom to learn at their own pace from world-renowned experts, without the burden of rising tuition costs.
To find out more about Academic Earth and all the courses it offers, visit www.academicearth.org
#11 UDACITY (Partly Free)
Udacity is a for-profit educational organization offering massive open online courses (MOOCs) that are developed and taught by experts at leading tech companies.
Udacity now has a growing team of educators and engineers who work with students around the world to bridge the gap between real-world skills, relevant education, and employment.
Founded in 2011 by Sebastian Thrun, an associate professor at Stanford University, Udacity now has over 1.6 million users.
While it originally focused on offering university-style courses, the platform now focuses more on vocational courses for professionals that cover Data Science, Web Development, Software Engineering, Android apps etc.
Udacity offers both free and paid courses. Upon completing a course, students receive a certificate of completion that is signed by the instructors and indicates their level of achievement.
To check out all the courses available on Udacity, follow this link: https://www.udacity.com/courses
When will you start using these free online courses for Africans?
If you have read this far in this article, I congratulate you!
Unlike most people who claim they don’t have access or money to pay for quality education, you now have the rare opportunity to improve your life for free. The online platforms you have just learned about will unlock huge opportunities for you to learn new things that would have been unavailable and unaffordable before now.
You now have these tools in your hands. Use it!
Procrastination is a killer of dreams. Don’t succumb to the temptation to start your learning later. Don’t forget, you’re already late. The best time to start is today!
I hope you found this article useful. I would appreciate that you share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus buttons below. You never know, you could change somebody’s life today.
To your success!