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24 Online Websites Set to Replace the Traditional College Education

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24 Online Websites Set to Replace the Traditional College Education

It’s without question that this generation has and will see the biggest shift in education in the past century.

Top universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford are sharing their courses online for free, and it’s no longer necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to receive a paper degree.

With the rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), now anyone with expertise can teach to millions of people around the world looking for their specialized knowledge.

Not only is it easier to get access to quality education online, but the value of a traditional degree is worth questioning, with the rise of unemployment among recent college graduates increasing to 8.5% in 2014 from 5.5% in 2007.

Not to worry. Here are 24 websites you can use instead of taking a college course. Learn anything from languages, finance, computer science, and more.

General Subjects

1. EdX — A non-profit provider that offers online courses from the world’s best universities, including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and more.

2. Wikiversity — Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university. It also includes professional training and informal learning.

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3. Lynda — Now under Linkedin, Lynda is known as one of the best online video learning resources for learning nearly any skill — from Photoshop to Video Editing. While Lynda is most famous for their premium software video tutorials, they also offer free courses online.

Computer Science and Engineering

4.  Codeacademy — A fun, simple, and gamified method of learning how to code, from HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, and beyond. Great to get the basic knowledge of learning how to code

5. W3school — Great resource to find specific tutorials, answers to problems you’re struggling with, and a community of fellow coders.

6. Google Code University — Provides sample course content and tutorials for Computer Science (CS) students and educators on current computing technologies and paradigms.

Branding, Creativity & Marketing

7.  HubSpot Marketing Library — A free library of anything inbound marketing related, from ebooks to templates and more goodies for you to download.

8.  CreativeLIVE — A unique proposition: Enroll into live classes online for free, and purchase only the courses you want to keep. Learn everything from photography and design, to money and marketing.

9.  Skillshare — An online website to learn anything from anyone, Skillshare has insightful courses on branding and marketing that are taught by knowledgeable experts including Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, and more.

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Foreign & Sign Language

10.  Rype — Known to language lovers as “Your Personal Language Coach,” Rype is reinventing language learning by integrating the advantages of coaching, including personalization and coaching accountability, to help you reach fluency faster. Check out their free course on How to Learn a Language in 90 Days or try out a 14-day free trial for Rype Club.

11.  Duolingo — With over 50M users around the world, Duolingo has become the mobile app for language lovers to begin their language journey.

12.  American Sign Language Browser — Teach yourself American Sign Language on the most popular sign language website online.

Economics & Finance

13.  Investopedia Financial Investing Tutorials — An abundance of detailed lessons on money management and investing.

14.  TheStreet University — Whether you’re just starting out as a stock and bond investor or you’re in need of a refresher’s course, this is the place to learn what you need to know.

15.  Fool.com — Learn everything from getting started in investing, real estate, taxes, managing your personal budget, and more — all from experts.

Science & Health

16.  MIT OpenCourseWare — A free online publication of MIT course materials, including nearly all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

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17.  Harvard Medical School Open Courseware—Harvard’s online courseware exchanging knowledge from the Harvard community of scholars to other academic institutions, and the general public.

18.  Khan Academy — Over a thousand, insightful video lessons covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to physics, chemistry, and biology.

19.  Open Yale Courses — Open Yale Courses provide lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses to the public, free of charge, via the internet. The courses span the full range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences.

English & Communications

20.  Open Yale Courses (English) — Open Yale Courses provides lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses to the public free of charge via the internet.

21.  Lifewriting — A full guide of the nine-week writing class that a highly profiled professor taught in UCLA.

History & World Culture

22.  Bio’s Best — Biography.com’s most popular biographies on notable historical figures that you can learn from.

23.  MIT OpenCourseWare (History) — The MIT History Faculty offers over seventy subjects in the Undergraduate and Graduate level in the diverse areas of history

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24.  Have Fun with History — A resource for students, educators and all lovers of American History.


Will the increasing rise of MOOCs and specialized online learning websites replace the 4-year traditional degree?

It’s hard to say today. However, as the quality of education and learning experience improves through the use of technology, it will become more and more difficult for the traditional education system to compete.

The social college experience will always be a hard component to replace. If that’s a priority for you, it’s recommended you use these learning websites as a complementary resource to your traditional degree.

However, the state of the education industry is changing faster than ever, and it’s without question that online learning will continue to be a major component in the future of learning.

More by this author

Sean Kim

Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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