“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” — Henry Ford.
Coursera for Online Learning
Unlike MIT OCW offering online learning courses from one university i.e. MIT, Coursera provides free online courses from a variety of top universities. It also offers certificates for purchase by students to demonstrate their completion of courses. Founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors, Coursera includes online learning via video lectures in almost all courses and holds forums where you can interact with classmates and teachers.
MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is a large-scale, web-based publication of MIT course materials from its undergraduate- and graduate-level courses of all of the departments (over 2180 courses available online as of Oct. 2012). MIT OCW which offers online learning started in 2002, so you may find that many courses do not have video lectures as the other websites (introduced below) do. But the class presentations, notes, exercises, and solutions are still very helpful for self-study.
While most Coursera and edX courses are schedule-based, Udacity classes are self-paced, ideal for people with unpredictable schedules. Udacity’s online learning programs focuses on vocational courses for professionals, such as data science, web development, software engineering, and so on. It is most suitable for those interested in honing their computer/programming skills.
edX for Online Learning
EdX is another open online learning website. It was founded by MIT and Harvard also in 2012 like Coursera, but the difference is that it is non-profit and runs on an open-source software platform. As of Oct. 2014, it offers more than 300 courses.
iTunes U is a completely free medium through the Apple iTunes application where colleges and universities can offer courses at no charge, to anyone who wants to take online learning courses. There is also a new section of iTunes U that focuses on K-12 education, where state or county education departments provide content for both students and educators. Currently, over 800 colleges and universities from across the globe provide content to iTunes U for post-secondary learning.
Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization created by Salman Khan, produces micro lectures in the form of YouTube videos. All the online learning is free and include Math, Science, Economics and Finance, Arts and Humanities, Computing, Test Prep, and Partner content.
Instead of providing traditional collegiate coursework, Udemy.com is an online learning platform for experts of any kind to create courses to offer to the public, either at no charge or for a tuition fee. Its courses include such topics as personal development, design, marketing, lifestyle, photography, heath & fitness, teacher training, music, language, and so on. This type of online learning may appeal to a wide range of population.
Who says learning should only be in the form of taking classes? Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users. This type of online learning aggregates questions and answers by topics and sends you notifications when the topics you follow or are involved with have new feeds.
Although there’re many other online learning Q&A websites, Quora stands out for at least the following reasons. It requires users to register with their real names rather than a screen name and the site is essentially unusable if not logged in. This level of transparency can ensure the quality of questions and answers. Moreover, many famous people, from bestselling authors to successful entrepreneurs or CEOs, are active on Quora and contributing their expertise to the community.