We all want a good education. We want to learn, become better informed and be at the top of our “A Game.” However, one of the most common complaints that arise from getting a great education always circles back to costs. Whether it’s a community college, digital school, university or night class, school costs money. Not just pennies, top dollars. Enough to break the bank.

Naturally, therein lies the problem. It’s really a catch-22. We need an education in order to work in the ever-growing competitive world to make money, but we need money in order to earn an education. Is there a solution to this problem? Luckily, there are many new avenues to acquire top education. And what’s better? They’re free. So, if you’re in the market for life-long learning or want to nab that job, take a look at some of these high-quality places without the top-shelf prices.

Institutional Courses

Stanford University

Stanford

Who knew one of the best schools in the country gives away valuable information? Check out Stanford’s website to learn about free webinar opportunities and to access other free, online resources. The next free webinar series is scheduled to take place May 14!

Harvard’s open learning courses

Harvard

In an effort to make its high-quality education more accessible to the general public, Harvard University offers a number of free courses, lectures and web series. Check out their site to learn more about “Harvard edX” opportunities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT

Yes. The infamous MIT offers free courses for students and non-students alike. While some of them require registration in advance, many of them are available via video on the MIT OpenCourseWare website.

Brown University

Brown

Not to be outdone by MIT, Stanford and Harvard, Brown also offers free online courses that web users from all over the world can access to expand their learning. Learn more about the free courses offered by Brown on their website.

Dartmouth University

Dartmouth Library

Beginning in the Fall semester of 2014, Dartmouth University will be offering free courses via the edX program used by Harvard. A number of other reputable universities and colleges also provide free learning materials via the edX program. Check out the edX website to learn about all of them.

Your hometown university’s free lectures and presentations

local college

Many colleges and universities offer a free lecture or after-school presentation. The trick is that, in many cases, you have to live near these areas to attend them. Many free resources are advertised on local radio stations, via flyers around campus or by word of mouth. Keep and eye and ear out for these events and you could learn a lot of new things.

Informative Talks and Free Info

The library

Stockholm Public Library 

You know that little card you keep tucked away in the back of your wallet collecting dust? It’s a library card, and guess what, it unlocks many free resources in order to foster self-education. When it comes down to learning, you have to be your biggest motivator. You put forth all the work and effort and instill it into your brain. Why not be your own teacher?

The library has excellent resources in every subject from print texts and scholarly articles to videos, journals and internet archives. The best part? It’s all free and ready at your fingertips. The library is a great place to start, especially when you are searching for a topic of study.

Google Books

Google books

If you are more of an internet junkie, Google Books is very similar to a public library in digital form. You have the opportunity to browse and preview or read books for free. If you’ve recently found a hobby, you can look up unique topics like basket-weaving or polymer clay jewelry.

With its easy navigation, this site can help you search for what you’re interested in or update your credentials. Say you’re on a business trip and looking for a new job. You have your laptop handy and you’re not familiar with the area. In your hotel room, you can search for books, get caught up on your work and explore your educational interests.

iTunes U

itunes u

Newsflash: iTunes isn’t just about listening and downloading the greatest hits on the radio. With iTunes U, educational institutions from Kindergarten through college can post and upload materials and information for free. Set up like a Podcast, you can subscribe, stream and download information. Also, one of the best features is that you can learn on the go and just about anywhere with your mobile phone. It’s perfect for those that wish to stay active, are working or transitioning into a new venture.

Additionally, iTunes U features audio books, slideshows, lectures, PDF files and many resources from upstanding universities and covers many areas of study. While searching, you don’t have to download full lectures and courses to get information, you can choose piece by piece. You can foster your own education.

SlideShare

slideshare

Viewed from an infinite scroll platform, SlideShare is a great way to visually search for information and learning materials. From Spanish terminology to case studies of different countries, this platform has many avenues to explore.

As another social networking resource, you can like slides, share them with others and communicate on different content. If you’re looking for specific study or a unique topic, this is a great place to acquire statistics, facts and information.

TED

TED

In 1984, the original TED conference began by forming three ideals together: Technology, Entertainment and Design. Today, TED features online talks and conferences that inspire, educate and entertain. Currently, you can stream over 1,400 TED Talks.

If you want to become a life-long learner or enjoy absorbing something new, this is a great place to start. So, download and stream these talks wherever you go.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy

Looking for a lecture? The Khan Academy has over 3,600 video micro-lectures. Beginning in 2006, this non-profit website offers tutorials stemming from basic mathematics, history, marketing, healthcare and other subjects.

Say you are beginning a new career or starting from scratch. The lectures are easily understood and taught in a relatable manner. Try this source if you want to start from the ground up and enjoy the free videos at your disposal.

Inspire Life-Long Learning

No matter what educational road your life takes you, it’s important to constantly be learning and gathering new insights and information. Who says you have to pay a fortune to learn? Propel yourself to success and go out and try some of these free educational platforms.

Featured photo credit: ockenden via flickr.com

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