Online Learning for Self-Education

Online Tools for Self-Education

Consider yourself a lifelong learner. Well, you’re in luck. The e-learning market worldwide is estimated to surpass $243 billion by 2022. At no point in history were people more capable of self-education than now. Have you always wanted to learn to program? Or you were you passionate about becoming a better writer?

Online Tools for Self-Education

Acquiring new skills has become accessible practically to anyone with the internet connection. So you can do your online research, read and practice as much as you want. What may come as a surprise is how few people take advantage of this opportunity.

Self-education as a viable alternative to formal education

Too many people are stuck thinking you can only learn new skills through formal education. While it hasn’t been the case for years, many well-established companies still insist on hiring candidates with degrees from the right universities.

Many successful people taught themselves, most notablinin the field of iT but also in the arts. Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh was primarily self-taught? He taught himself to draw with the help of books about drawing techniques and practiced by copying endless examples of famous paintings.

Engaging in new learning experiences has been discovered to encourage brain plasticity. This refers to the brain’s ability to change throughout an individual’s lifetime.

Then, how to take advantage of these new learning experiences for self-education offered by the internet and choose the right online tool for you?

Here are five practical tools for self-education

1. Coursera

An online learning platform that offers courses, specializations, and degrees in various subjects. You can take classes from ivy League universities like Stanford, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania without paying $50,000 for annual tuition. The platform has over 33 million registered users and offers more than 2,400 courses. in addition, you can search for your courses by topic or university.

You can even earn a complete master’s degree completely online. Courses are monitored by professors and include video lectures and coursework such as online quizzes, weekly assignments, and sometimes a final projects or exams.

The courses feel like interactive textbooks with their pre-recorded videos and quizzes. You also have the chance to interact with other learners and exchange ideas. After finishing a course, you will receive an official certificate for your work.

2. Project Gutenberg

GutenbergA website that provides over 57,000 free ebooks. The project was started as a volunteer effort to encourage the distribution of ebooks by archiving and digitizing culturally essential works. it’s an ideal online learning tool for people who prefer to learn by reading. Or if you want to supplement your video lectures with books.

You can read online or download books in multiple languages. There is a wide variety of literature available, but the focus is on older books whose copyrights have expanded. The books are digitized and proofread entirely by volunteers.

Given the focus on old literature, Project Gutenberg is an ideal too for literature students. You can find most of the classes there, starting with Beowulf. To access Project Gutenberg, no fee or registration is required. it’s enough to have your browser on a computer or mobile device to access the collection. in addition, all content on their website is free to read and redistribute.

3. Alison


A free online learning platform for acquiring skills at a certified level. The courses are from publishers such as Cambridge University, Google, Microsoft, MiT, and Macmillan. in total, over 750 certificate and diploma courses are available.

You can choose courses in various subjects, ranging from business and marketing to natural sciences, humanities, and languages. The courses usually require a passing grade of 80%.

After you complete a course, you will receive a certificate or diploma for your work. Since, the website, earns its revenue from advertisements and can offer all courses for free. However, the website charges from its certification services. The prices for a certificate start at €12 and diplomas at €39.

Another downside of the Alison platform is that the courses aren’t accredited. So even if they follow industry standards, it’s up to your employer whether they recognize these certificates and diplomas or not. Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent way to gain knowledge and improve your skills, potentially boosting your career.

4. Khan Academy

khan for self-education

A non-profit learning platform that is focused on creating tools for educating students. Positioned as a supplementary tool for in-class learning, Khan Academy produces short lessons on YouTube and has over 38 million learners using its website. As a non-profit organization, it’s funded by donatiions mainly from philanthropic organizations.

The platform covers many subjects and offers free functional video classes and interactive courses. it aims for a personalized learning experience that is built on the videos hosted by YouTube. in addition, students can track their progress and earn badges for their classes.

5. edX

edx accelerate your future, learn anytime, anywhere

An open online course provider that offers university-level courses in a vast array of disciplines. it was created by Harvard and MiT in 2012 and had more than 14 million users. The top academic institutions in the world have designed more than 1,800 courses. Students who take these courses can also engage in virtual group discussions.

The edX platform gives you the feeling of going to university, except online. A non-profit organization it has collaborated with over 70 schools, non-profit organizations, and corporations that offer or plan to offer courses on the website.

The courses are offered in learning sequences, and each series consists of video classes and interactive exercises where students can practice what they have learned. After you complete a course successfully, edX offers certificates which some universities can even accept as credit.

The stereotypes related to online learning are persistent. Certificates or diplomas from these platforms are considered either not accurate or only for those not smart enough for traditional education. Their is starting to be a shift in people’s attitudes but it takes time. Given all the beneftis of self-education such as lower costs, self-paced learning, and freedom and comfort, it’s time that online education gets the reputation it deserves.

if you want to read more about online learning and self-education, you can check our earlier post about why you should study online.

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