5 Free Ways to Learn New Skills Online

Shoshanna Delventhal for Investopedia writes:  Learning a new skill is an invaluable experience that can also have monetary benefits. If you’re looking to pick up a new skill, you do not have to enroll in a costly program. In fact, many completely free opportunities exist online. In addition to being easy on your wallet, these platforms allow learners to manage their time and learn at their own pace, from anywhere in the world.


Founded in Galway, Ireland in 2007 by social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow, Mike Feerick, ALISON claims to be the first MOCC provider (Massive Open Online Course). All of ALISON’s courses are standards-based and 100% free. The company’s mission aims to enhance the careers of the platform’s users and the communities in which they live in. Over five million people around the world have taken ALISON’s certified courses. The more than 750 courses on the platform range from topics on customer service to psychology.

2. Codecademy

Codecademy was launched in 2011 as an interactive, online educational platform that teaches students how to code. Today, more freelancers discover the attractive option to sell their unique skills over the web. (For related content, see: The Rise of the Gig Economy.) Many of the in-demand skills require coding knowledge, which subcategories into many skills such as web design, app development, etc. The interactive platform seeks to transform our education system from the bottom up. The company states that they “take more cues from Facebook and Zynga in creating engaging educational experience than we do from the classroom.”

3. YouTube

Although most people use YouTube as a site for music videos, funny clips, and TV shows, YouTube is a great platform to learn new skills. YouTube EDU has a selection of high-quality educational videos, from channels such as YaleCourses, Stanford Business School, and Gresham College. YouTube even has a platform for those looking to learn how to manage a YouTube channel, called Creator Academy. Popular videos include “Why Branding Matters” and “Earn Money with YouTube.”

4. Duolingo

By leveraging the power of computer language and algorithms, Duolingo has enabled over 70 million users worldwide to learn languages for free. In an increasingly globalized world, the ability to speak a foreign language is advantageous for candidates competing for any job. Duolingo advertises that it will be free forever and claims to be more effective than a university course. A study done by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina concluded that 34 hours on Duolingo equates to a full semester language course at a university. The success comes from the fact that the learning is undoubtedly more engaging and fun than anything of its kind. Additionally, some learners generate revenue for the company by translating material for their clients such as CNN.

5. Investopedia

Our site delivers quality content to a large segment of the population, empowering them to better their lives and their knowledge base. At Investopedia, we aim to educate the world, not just the Wall Street analysts and wealth advisors, about personal finance and investing. From the basics to advanced stock analysis, Investopedia reaches readers of all ages. Investopedia’s interactive stock simulator serves as a stepping-stone to the real markets, wherein investors-in-training join a growing community of more than 700,000 investors and can trade over $100,000 in virtual cash, risk-free.

The Bottom Line

Besides the obvious benefit of costing you nothing, these online platforms are attractive to those looking for a flexible way to learn. Learning online allows you to learn at your own speed, stay in the comfort of your own space, and allocate your time in the most efficient manner for you. To differentiate yourself as an employee, freelancer or manager, you must continually improve your existing talents. By just making a few clicks, you’ll find the opportunity to stay sharp and up to speed on today’s valuable skills. Learn more online with Investopedia, here.

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