Knowledge is power, now more than ever before. We are extremely lucky to live in times where a tremendous amount of information is open for the general public. You don’t need to have rich parents to afford high-class educational resources. Besides separate information that can be gathered, there are plenty of curricula from top universities which will help you follow a logical path.

MOOCs

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been a standard of online education since 2008. Free for absolutely anyone to enroll and use, they are made by professionals willing to share their expertise. Many courses include interactive elements such as forums and social media discussions between participants and instructors. A MOOC usually features short quizzes or assignments with immediate feedback. It can also include video and audio resources and sometimes certification at the end of the course. Browsing lists of MOOCs, you will find free courses, some partly-paid versions, and hybrid courses (e.g., free course, but paid certificate).

Khan Academy

For math, science, history, economics, computing, test prep like K-14, SAT, Khan Academy is the best option. As you may have guessed, it is more suited for younger learners. Adults, too, find helpful content on the platform, but most use it for homeschooling their children rather than learn themselves. Khan Academy is famous for helping learners build strong foundations by providing step-by-step guidance. The non-profit became popular due to the accessible explanations of every single topic. It’s impossible not to learn when watching their videos.

Coursera

Top universities such as Yale, Michigan, Stanford, companies like Google and IBM all have courses on Coursera. From Business Administration to Machine Learning, the world’s best instructors and universities share the best content they have. A professional certificate is typically available against a small fee if you pass the course. Some courses teach job-relevant skills or help you specialize in a specific career skill. Specialization courses are usually subscription-based and go between $39 and $79 a month. Even though they all have a price, some courses will allow you to audit for free. Don’t miss this opportunity when you’re on a tight budget, and you need to learn. Coursera is my personal choice for learning on a budget and getting the return on my investment.

Udemy

Udemy is a popular platform for online learning and teaching, with more than 13,000 courses and 35 million learners. Udemy is the best place to shop for courses on a budget. Their never-ending $10 sale set a course standard. The most popular course categories include web development, business analytics & intelligence, digital marketing, graphic design & illustration. Unlike Coursera, Udemy allows course submissions from anyone. The good news is that most instructors are professionals with experience who will help you prevent common rookie mistakes in a new field, for instance. The bad news is that an excellent course and a poor course could have the same price tag. Eventually, finding the right course on Udemy involves a little research, trusting the instructor, watching a few sample videos before making a purchase.

Practical Tips:

  1. Decide why you are learning what you are learning. Refer to the reason whenever you are low on motivation.
  2. Learn to speed read.
  3. Repeat the information at scheduled time intervals to enhance retention.
  4. Quiz yourself often to refresh the new information.
  5. Be consistent. Studying one hour every day, as opposed to pulling an all-nighter now and then, is more effective.
  6. Immerse yourself in the subject. Join forums, follow channels on the subject you are learning about.
  7. Track your progress. Always know where you are and where you are going.
  8. Track learning and practicing separately. The number of practice hours can be useful to move on to the next level or get an internship/job.
  9. Take notes during video lectures. Especially if you think you don’t need to take notes. Thank me later.
  10. Get a mentor to guide you. When you’re ready, become a mentor and guide a newbie. It will give you a new perspective.