Learn for Free: Top Types of Free Educational Resources

Apr 28, 2011

It's never been easier to learn online, but the range of resources can be mind-boggling. Study.com surveyed some lovers of free education to find out what types of resources are most popular. Read on to find out the most popular resources and where you can find them.

By Stacy Redd

Top Free Education Resources

Free educational materials, also known as OpenCourseWare (OCW), are offered by many top universities and are an avenue for education-seekers around the world to learn college-level material without leaving home. Study.com recently conducted a survey of learners seeking free online resources. The top three responses were video lectures, interactive online classrooms and course outlines, all of which are available for free online.

Video Lectures

About 20% of survey respondents said they're looking for free video lectures, the top response. Although you can find free instructional videos from a variety of resources, the videos from universities are often top-quality. Universities often record lectures and post them on the Web, allowing you to attend actual lectures from the convenience of your home. The University of California - Irvine has a variety of lectures in topics ranging from music to law. Although you can't get free credit for these courses, you can learn about interesting topics.

Many colleges and universities record lectures and post them for free on the Internet.

Interactive Online Classrooms

Though slightly less popular than video lectures, interactive online classrooms still garnered 18% of our visitors' votes. When you take a course through these types of classrooms, you can receive guided practice and online assessments. Although you don't get direct feedback from the professor, the software lets you know how you're doing and if there's areas you need to work on. Interactive online classrooms are less common than video lectures because they're more expensive to produce, but they can be very helpful. ChemThink offers free online tutorials in basic chemistry while Carnegie Mellon University has courses in foreign language, math, statistics and science. Both of these resources allow you to set up a free account and record your progress.

Course Outlines

Course outlines are the easiest to locate on the Web and were selected by 17.1% of our respondents. You can use a course outline to create your own course of study and to better understand what topics are covered in a specific course. Many course outlines are accompanied by other materials, such as reading lists, sample assignments, and lecture notes. For example, some of MIT's OCW materials include a mix of materials, including course outlines. Utah State University's free courses also have course outlines with supplementary materials and are offered in many interesting topics, including theatre, instructional technology and computer engineering.


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