At 99 years of age, Doreetha Daniels graduated with an associate degree in social sciences from the College of the Canyons in California. Her goal was to better herself.
Dr. Denise Parks published a study in the journal Psychological Science that proved that the challenge of learning improved memory skills in older people. When she followed up a year later, she discovered study participants had maintained their improved memory.
There are many benefits never to stop learning:
- You have the choice of what you want to learn. When educating yourself is voluntary, you tend to be more motivated to learn. One can argue that education is always voluntarily. You can choose to sit passively in a classroom and not learn a thing, or you can actively participate by listening and processing what you are taught.
- Educating yourself gives you the ability to apply what you’ve learned in practical situations, social circles and at work.
- Studies have shown education has a positive impact on mental and physical health.
- Learning has a social connotation. Think for a moment how much you’ve learned from parents, teachers, leaders, friends and even your kids. People tend to share their enthusiasm and knowledge when they learn something.
These are only a few benefits to be on a lifelong learning journey. The amount of content, websites, and courses available on the internet are staggering. The Internet makes it so easy and gives everyone the opportunity to educate themselves…even for free…
Here are over 100 ways that you can continue your lifelong learning experience. It is based off this 2010 article but then thoroughly revamped. We’ve gone through each link, taken out now-defunct sites and added some new sources that have sprouted up over the past 8+ years.
Without further ado, here are places to learn for free. We’ve broken them down by category.
Science And Health
- MIT OpenCourseWare. Almost all courses of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is globally available on the MIT OpenCourseWare website.
- HowStuffWorks Science. Explanations of scientific topics in all aspects of science: current science, trends, environmental, engineering, life science, and the military to mention a few categories.
- HMS Open Courseware Initiative. Harvard Medical School (HMS) shares course material to exchange knowledge with the general public, prospective students, and other academic institutions.
- KhanAcademy. Khan Academy’s goal is to provide free world-class education globally to all ages. With more than 1200 video lessons, practical exercises, and a personalized learning dashboard learner can study topics on science, history, math, computer programming, economics, and much more.
- Open Yale Courses. Introductory Yale University courses are free to access. Each course contains a full set of class lecture videos with suggested readings and searchable text transcripts.
- John Hopkins Open Courseware. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s (JHSPH) OpenCourseWare offers health courses and material to the public. These courses are based on the content of the School’s most popular courses.
- Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative. Learn at your own pace at no cost. Although no instructors, the learning platform gives targeted feedback. Lectures include practical activities and self-assessments.
- AMSER. The Applied Math and Science Education Repository (AMSER is a free educational resources and services portal for the community and technical colleges. AMSER is funded by the National Science Foundation.
- Wolfram Demonstrations Project. Scientist Stephen Wolfram, the founder of Mathematica, created this open-code resources to illuminate concepts in science, mathematics, technology, art, and other fields.
- The Science Forum. The Science Forum is an active forum to discuss or ask questions about science.
- Free Science and Video Lectures Online. A website that contains free video lectures on science and philosophy. The last update was in 2013.
- Science.gov. A gateway to research and development results of 13 U.S. Federal Agencies. Users can search over 2,200 websites, 60 databases, and over 200 million pages of science information
- NSDL. The National Science Digital Library provides online educational resources focused on STEM (sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines.
- EnviroLink. A non-profit organization that proves comprehensive and up-to-date environmental news and information.
- Geology.com. With news, a dictionary, and articles Geology.com provides news and information about geology and earth science.
- Scitable. Nature Education provides a free science library and personal learning tool for students, teachers, researchers, and scientists. Scitable focuses on genetics and cell biology.
- LearningScience.org. A free research and review website that shares newer and emerging tools to teach science.
- Coursera.org. Coursera provides global access to various online courses from top universities and organizations. Each course contains videos, quizzes, and projects.
- VideoLectures.net. An award-winning free and open access portal that provides educational video lectures from many fields of science.
Business and Money
- MIT Sloan School of Management. A world-class business school is known for thought leadership. Customized programs help students meet their goals and improve the way business is done MIT Sloan is a subsection of MIT OpenCourseWare.
- Investopedia. As the largest financial education website globally, Investopedia provides timely and actionable financial information for investors.
- S. Small Business Association. SBA provides a variety of courses online on how to start and manage a business.
- Net for Business. Video lectures cover business subtopics such as leadership, medium business, management, financial theory, enterprise interoperability, and transportation and logistics.
- MyOwnBusiness Institute. Free online courses teach entrepreneurs how to start and grow their businesses. The video, text, and audio content cover topics such as how to pick a business, finance it, and build a successful team.
- UCI OpenCourseWare for Business. As a member of the Open Education Consortium, many courses are for working adults who are looking for continuing education.
- Kutztown University SBDC. A large collection of free on-demand entrepreneurial training resources include 44 programs and 9 how-to videos about sales and marketing. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center courses are self-paced individualized courses with high-end graphics, audio streams, and interactive case studies.
- Boston College Front Row. Boston College Magazine offers a free access service to cultural and scholarly events at Boston College. The website contains 132 business and management programs.
- Financial Management and Training Center. Free online training courses, spreadsheets, video lessons, and quick short courses teach individuals about business finance.
- The Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA. The free self-paced program teaches entrepreneurs how to start a nonprofit organization and to understand the system and practices of nonprofits.
- Bookboon.com. Business professionals can download free textbooks and eBooks exclusively written for bookboon.com. Topics such as job searching, accounting, human resource management, and self-management are covered.
- The Street. The Street teaches beginners how to invest their money. Articles discuss the stock market, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, bond market, and other basic financial information.
History and World Culture
- The University of Washington. A variety of free and low-cost online courses including history-centric courses are available. These courses are also offered through other platforms.
- The University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame OpenCourseWare offers free educational resources globally for self-learners and students.
- Biography.com. The History and Culture category provides biographies on prominent historical figures.
- US Irvine OpenCourseWare for Social Science. The free courses for adults who want to continue educating themselves cover all aspects of Social Science.
- Boston College Front Row. Listed in chronological order are 124 History and 43 Sociology and Anthropology programs.
- MIT OpenCourseWare for History. The MIT History Faculty offers 70 subjects related to Ancient, American, and global history.
- Wikiversity. The Wikiversity Social Sciences Portal offers social studies for a global audience. Therefore, the courses are specific and universal and cater for all levels, types, and styles of education.
- OpenLearn for History and Arts. Free courses from The Open University provide educational resources worldwide. The goal is to break the barriers of education.
- A Biography of America. History is presented through narratives, lectures, and debates by prominent historians. First-person narratives, photos, film footage, and documents reveal the human side of American history.
- Have Fun With History.com. The site provides free videos, links, and activities for students, teachers, homeschoolers and everyone who loves American history.
- The USGenWeb Project. Free genealogy and family history resources provided online.
- Macrohiostry. The world history timeline goes back to the beginning until this current month. The site includes book summaries and tells history without illusions and ideologies.
- HyperHistory. Synchronoptic lifelines, maps, and timelines tell world history for a period of 3000 years.
- American Digital History. An online history textbook that uses interactive multimedia to tell the history of America.
- Duke Law Center for the Study of the Public Domain. Open courseware provided by one of the best schools in the South for those interested in law.
- Boston College Front Row for Law. Open-source service of Boston College provides 51 programs on the law.
- Harvard Law Today. The bulletins provide news from classrooms, clinics, and campuses with articles on various topics.
- Stanford On iTunes U. A collection of free video and audio content on iTunes provided by Stanford University for students and the public.
- MoneyInstructor.com. Business law lessons and worksheets on introduction to law and law terminology and vocabulary.
- Videolectures.net on Computer Science A variety of computer science topics from artificial intelligence to computer vision, knowledge extraction, and robotics are available.
- Wikiversity for Computer Science. The computer science portal is a directory with links to learning resources developed by Wikiversity Computer Science content development projects.
- New York State University Libraries. Most of the computer science online resources are freely available to the public.
- </dream.in.code>. The site provides a variety of free computer programming tutorials, code snippets, and forum topics for registered members.
- MIT OpenCourseWare for Computer Science. Free MIT course material on electrical engineering and computer science topics.
- FreeComputerBooks.com. Categorized by topics this site provides a huge collection of links on computers, programming, mathematics, technical books and lecture notes.
- The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies. More than 7 million references in 1500 bibliographies are updated weekly. The scientific literature in computer science is provided from various sources.
- W3Schools.com. The web developer site provides tutorials from basic HTML to integrate computer languages to build website pages.
- FreeTechBooks. Over 1211 books, textbooks and lecture notes, available for free on computer science, engineering, and
- Home and Learn. The free computer courses are for complete beginners who have no previous experience.
- Lifehacker. Programmer 101 contains free resources to teach yourself how to code.
- Android Developer Guide. The online training resources teach you how to build Android apps using APIs in the Android framework and other libraries.
- UMass Boston OpenCourseWare. The site provides course materials for mathematics and science majors, and those interested in the field of mathematics.
- Wikiversity School of Mathematics. The goal is to show learners the beauty of mathematics and to give others the opportunity to contribute to providing material and revising existing material.
- AMSER. The Applied Math and Science Education Repository (AMSER) is a portal that provides over 700 mathematics resources and services for the community and technical colleges.
- Math.com. With math games, quizzes, questions, and problems the World of Math Online provides trendy ways to teach mathematics to children of all ages.
English Language and Communication
- Open Yale Courses for English. Yale College provides selected courses online free to lifelong learners, high school, college students, and Video lectures are accompanied by other course material in audio and text format.
- Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students. The writing guidelines help students to write about their work and contain teachings and learning resources.
- MIT OpenCourseWare for Writing and Humanistic Studies. The content teaches learners techniques, traditions, and forms of different types of writing including prose, non-fiction, and scientific and technical communication.
- Merriam-Webster Online. The Merriam-Webster dictionary is available online providing language information globally.
- National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book, then NaNoWriMo is the novel-writing program that will inspire you.
- Guide to Grammar and Writing. The guide offers writing techniques and lessons from word and sentence level to essays and research papers.
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). Over 200 free resources include writing, grammar, style guides, professional writing, and English as a second
Foreign and Sign Language
- Signing Savvy. A sign language dictionary with thousands of American Sign Language (ASL) signs for those who want to learn sign language.
- CoffeeBreak Languages. Learn common phrases in a new language with free one-minute podcasts. You can purchase bonus material.
- Mango Languages. Learn real-world phrases for realistic conversations of over 70 world languages, including English.
Multiple Subjects and Miscellaneous
- OpenLearn. Free access to Open University Courses on various categories and subjects. When you sign up for free, you receive access to your learning profile.
- YouTube. Educational videos on YouTube Education organized according to the subject
- iTunes U. Universities like MIT, Standford, Yale, and hundreds more provide lectures, tours, slide shows, PDFs, and audiobooks through iTunes U.
- United States Nation Archives. America’s national record keeper, NARA (The National Archives and Records Administration, preserves valuable records (family history, veteran services records, America’s Founding documents) accessible to the public.
- Wikiversity. A Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning projects, resources, and media for all ages from kindergarten to professional level.
- UMass Boston OpenCourseWare. Free educational resources available for high school students preparing for college, faculty members and self-learners.
- Academic Earth. Free online college courses from top universities around the world for everyone.
- Free-Ed.Net. Free online courses include resources specifically for self-directed lifelong learners.
- OpenStax. An open space to learn and contribute educational material that can be organized as reports, books, and
- TED. Watch motivational and educational videos about different topics from noteworthy professionals worldwide.
- Boston College Front Row. Streaming videos about Boston College scholarly and cultural events.
Free Books and Reading Recommendations
- Textbook Revolution. A student-run site that provides free educational books and course taught by teachers and professors.
- C-Span2 Book TV. Every weekend for 48-hour nonfiction books is Videos include author interviews, reviews, and featured programs.
- BookBoon.com. Download free eBooks and textbooks (about economics, statistics, natural science, IT, and engineering) written by highly respected professors from top universities worldwide.
- BookYards. A portal providing links to books, information, and educational content for all.
- Planet eBook. Free classical literature in eBook format to download.
- E-Books Directory. A continuous growing list of links to free lecture notes, eBooks and documents.
- Read Print. Thousands of free online books grouped as essays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, poetry, and short stories for students, learners, and GoodReads
- The Online Books Page. Over 30,000 books are available from the University of Pennsylvania database.
- PublicLiterature.org. Thousands of classics online literate avaialable including children’s books, poems, comedy, and non-fiction.
- FullBooks.com. Full-text fiction and non-fiction books in alphabetical order.
- ManyBooks. Over 29,000 handpicked free and discounted eBooks available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other eReaders.
- Get Free eBooks. Free eBooks to download on different subjects with the latest free eBooks at the top of the page.
- Project Gutenberg. Over 57,000 free eBooks to download that includes the world’s greatest literature for which copyright has expired.
- Bibliomania. Thousands of books to download from classical books, poems, short stories, and plays to download for free.
- Classic Reader. Search the online library for thousands of free books including classical literature, short stories, non-fiction, poetry, drama, books for young readers, and other novels.
- Bartleby.com. Download from the best work of fiction from a wide range of classic authors.
- Loyal Books. A free public domain of eBooks and Audiobooks. Loyal Books was previously known Books Should Be Free.
Educational Mainstream Broadcast Media
- CBC Archives. Radio and television clips portray Canadian history.
- Discovery Network. Watch the “Video of the Day” on the Homepage or delve deeper into the online video section, Discover Education, and many more channels.
- History Channel. Find a selection of historical topics in the Video Gallery or watch what happened this day in history.
- NOVA. Watch in-depth science programs from the latest breakthroughs to natural mysteries in mini-series and 1-hour documentaries.
- The Weather Channel. In addition to watching the worldwide weather, the multimedia and education sections offer content on seasons and special conditions.
- American Memory. Library Congress provides extensive multimedia offerings. To keep up to date with modernization, some collections were migrated to http://loc.gov/search and http://loc.gov/collections.
- Open Educational Resources. The digital archive library provides free access to researchers, scholars, historians and the public.
- The Rosetta Project. A pubic accessible digital library of human languages build by global language specialists and native speakers.
- The September 11 Digital Archive. Electronic media collects and preserves the histories of September 11, 2001.
- United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau provides quality data about the American people and its economy. The Newsroom provides interesting photographs, blog posts, facts and statistics, and news releases.
Directories of Open Education
- Google Scholar. Search for scholarly literature from many sources: websites, universities, online repositories, professional societies, books, articles, theses, research studies, abstracts, and court opinions.
- Open Education Consortium. A global network portal for open education and hundreds of free courses.
- iBerry. Free open educational resources available from colleges, universities, libraries, museums and other institutions worldwide.
- Self-Made Scholar. A free self-education online directory of classes and courses, and resource list.
Did we miss an interesting site for lifelong learners? Let us know in the comments.