Educate yourself beyond the college or high school curricula by taking online classes with Coursera or Khan Academy. Both web-based companies provide a legitimate path to expanding your knowledge for free by offering a wide range of courses online.

Taking courses online is usually pursued by students who want an alternative approach to earning an accredited degree without sitting in physical classrooms. The cost per credit is often more affordable. Consider the broad success that OOCs, or Online Open Courses, have generated in government and industry training.

Online learning is also a process that professionals use to maintain their certifications for licenses and employor-mandated training. Either way, you eliminate the time and added expense of commuting to a campus. Plus, you can work at your own pace on a schedule you design.

Coursera and Khan Academy are ideal options for pursuing your own learning goals. You take the courses you want when you want them. The only expense is the time you commit to doing the coursework.

You can’t earn an academic degree through Coursera or Khan Academy. But the non-credit certificates you receive and the skills you can list on your resumes make them more than worth looking into.

Coursera provides supplemental learning on a catalog of subjects with free online classes from many of the top universities in the world. It offers complete courses taught by professors at dozens of universities in 28 countries, including the U.S.

Khan Academy is similar to Coursera and offers an effective way to jump start learning about topics that peek your curiosity. Khan Academy offers over 10,000 videos and explanations on a wide array of topics.

Both Coursera and Khan Academy let you brush up on or master subjects from basic math to humanities and science. You can also learn about technology and computer programming. You can access the web-based learning centers from any computer or via free apps for Android and Apple mobile devices.

Getting started is fast and simple. Sign up from the website or through the mobile apps. You do not have to go through any application process or acceptance review.

Courses at Coursera

The concept behind Coursera was started by two Stanford University professors in late 2011. Within three years, around 10 million students around the world were using the learning platform. The company raised $85 million in venture capital, according to a report published in 2014. Coursera established partnerships with 142 partners across 28 countries to·offer 1,887 courses.

When using Coursera, you won’t sit through boring audio recordings of stuffy lectures. Instead, each course is developed around an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

Put your social media skills to work when you need help or support with your courses. You can connect with thousands of other learners to discuss course materials, debate reactions to views and get help mastering concepts.

When you complete a course, you receive a Statement of Accomplishment for free. You can elect to pay from $30 to $100 for a Verified Certificate. This is called the Signature Track, and requires a registration fee.

Coursera1The Verified Certificate program requires students to give Coursera access to their computer cameras so Coursera can use facial recognition and typing pattern recognition technology to verify your identity. The small fee could be well worth the cost if you need to verify your learning to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or similar professional credentials.

The learning process is rigorous yet pleasant. Students watch short video lectures, take interactive quizzes, complete peer graded assessments and connect with fellow learners and instructors.

Khan Academy Counts

Salman Khan founded Khan Academy in 2008. The online school now has a team of about 80 full-time staff. Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that provides free online materials and resources to support personalized education for learners of all ages.

Khan Academy’s learning platform contains practice exercises, instructional videos, dashboard analytics and teacher tools which empower learners in and outside of the classroom to study at their own pace. Some schools include the Khan Academy website in lesson plans for computer-assisted learning. Over one million registered teachers around the world use it in their classrooms.

Khan Academy has worldwide reach. About 70% of its learner base are located in the United States. The rest are from India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Its learning materials are translated into more than 36 languages. The website has full Spanish, French and Brazilian Portuguese versions.

Additionally, Khan Academy covers subjects such as basic Math, Physics, Biology, Economics, Art History, Computer Science, Health and Medicine and more. It has partnershps with NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences and MIT to offer specialized content.


Khan Academy offers a mobile learning platform via its app for Apple and Android mobile devices. The apps provide access to more than 1,000 courses and specializations developed by 140 colleges and universities.

The apps let you transition seemlessly between web and mobile learning. You can stream lecture videos online any time or download them for offline viewing. Coursework, quizzes and projects save automatically across both platforms. You can earn course and specialization certificates.

Both Coursera and Khan Academy are important, highly useful online learning tools. Check them out, and advance your knowledge for work, school or personal enrichment – for free.