Free Online Courses & Open Learning Resources

Here is a list of great websites providing free online courses and open learning resources worldwide. These, some of the best providers of e-learning content and services for online education and training, are listed in alphabetical order.

 

Apple – i-tunes U

http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/

A potential game changer from Apple, providing a large number of learning resources to be delivered through their devices and offering one of the world’s largest libraries of e-learning content from universities and museums etc….

Teachers can create their own content that can be distributed privately for their students, and now with a publishing toolkit as well.

With the i-pad attracting such interest and excitement in the education market, and with more and more institutions considering equipping students with i-pads, this learning platform will become very influential.

The content is aimed principally at the Higher education end of the market, but we are convinced it will evolve and the offer will percolate down into all levels of education.

 

Coursera

https://www.coursera.org/

Representing 16 Universities, mainly in the US, but including the University of Toronto, the University of Edinburgh, and Swiss Bases Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, provides open access to a range of courses across 17 topic areas.

Sites like these will without doubt change the face of Higher Education, and are partially responses to the growing indebtedness of many students in the USA, as well as extending reach and innovation to Higher Education.

 

Ed Ted from TED

http://ed.ted.com/

Following on from the hugely successful TED Talks comes TED ED, covering a range of topics – Arts, Business, Design Engineering and Technology, Health, literature and language, mathematics, Philosophy and religion, Psychology, Science and Technology, Social Studies, Thinking and learning. Take a look at the TED Flip and the principles of design of these animated videos. Do note that they do not align to any curriculum, but they are really well done!

 

Edx

https://www.edx.org/

Launched in 2012 to huge excitement, this collaboration from initially US Universities MIT, Harvard and now Berkeley at the University of California as well. This open learning resource is another potential game changer to the way universities now supply learning….that much of the learning materials is becoming freely available is quite significant….I guess as cynic would say you pay for the assessment (exams) and in the final analysis a certificate that says you actually have the qualification.

 

The Khan Academy

http://www.khanacademy.org/

The KHAN Academy – “SKV” is now shorthand (after the founders initials) for an educational video, and this is an exceptional learning resource addressing a wide range of topics with over 3000 videos to date on the site, all provided absolutely free.

 

Memrise

http://www.memrise.com/

This very interesting site has a strong community orientation focus:

To quote: “So with our community we’re building a kind of multimedia wonderland of learning, where videos, audio, usage, mnemonics, eymologies and much more bring your learning to life.

We believe that every learner is partly a teacher, and we hope that once you get started, you’ll soon be supplying little nuggets of wit and wisdom to help the rest of the community as they learn!”

So you can create your own courses!

They go on to say…..”We want to reinvent the way people learn. We want to make learning as easy and fun as it can be, using the best technology and science around. We want to take learning out of the classroom and turn it into play. Our dream is for Memrise to be a self-generating hub of imaginative learning that improves and expands with the people who use it. Until then, we’re working hard to make it better every day.”

The principle focus appears to be on language training, and there are many language courses indeed. There is also an eclectic range of other topics to choose from, ranging from History and Geography to Sports Trivia and Stock Tickers!

The Guardian also provides its Wall Chart series for this site.

How and to what curriculums or levels of learning the content is aligned to is not too clear, but a great resource underscored by solid learning science.

 

Mentormob

http://www.mentormob.com/

This is content aggregation and content organisation resource…to quote them “Seeded from this frustration and fuelled with the mission to change the way people access and learn from Internet content, MentorMob is bringing sense to all of this disorganisation of valuable information. We also know that for every great article or video on the Internet there are 100,000 terrible ones to beat it to the top of the search engine results.”

So true, and this resource addresses one of the key issues facing the new generation of open learning resources….- how do we know what to trust….for those of you familiar with Professor Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” project, Mitra, when speaking at an event organised in Leeds, outlining his SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environment) highlighted the need to educate learners in what to trust and believe.

So this resource supports to an extent the retrieval of relevant and trusted content and allows you to create and edit your own play lists. Nice concept.

 

Open culture

http://www.openculture.com/

This is a web based learning resource aggregation site managed by Dan Colman, with a huge range of free resources to choose from.

How Dan keeps up with this I do not know, as this is a wonderful resource in the truest sense of the word!

 

Study Guides and strategies

http://www.studygs.net/

Study Guides and Strategies….this site has been going since 1996 and is just full of the most useful stuff, my personal favourite……with it’s very simple but superbly effective guides to support learners and learning, in over 30 languages, a true learning resource, it will support both the student and the teacher….no need to worry about curricullum alignment and the like, the site is all about helping people get the most and succeed with their learning and teaching.

 

Statestats

http://www.statestats.org/

“Statestats provides free web based tool to non profits and the general public aimed at promoting open access to valuable information and learning tools and guides.”

– that makes it pretty clear what they do…..using the Open Course Ware search function it is possible to find the courses that you want.

 

Udacity

https://www.udacity.com/

The higher education world are getting very excited about this concept. More than just an open learning resource, this is all about solving problems and collaboration. Udacity has a huge community of learners and local events worldwide.