Online learning or learning through online platforms is the newest addition to learning. Online learning has its origins in the mid 1990s. It has gained popularity with the advent and spread of the world wide web. These free online learning sites have become a necessity to survive in the fast paced world. There are many popular online study sites in India which cater to different segments varying from school students to those preparing for different competitive exams. Let us have a look at the best free online learning platforms available.
With advancement in communication technologies, there has been progress in the use of media for instructional and educational purposes.
In the 1980s, the first MAC computer allowed people to have computers in their homes, giving rise to the opportunity to develop a skill set in an area of their choice and interest. Virtual learning environments began to expand and thrive in the following decade, with a greater number of people having access to a wealth of online information and e-learning tools.
Online education has given way to new learning opportunities.
Online Learning Platforms
Online learning platforms are suited to meet the varying requirements of unique student types. You also save on the time and cost that commuting to a school or college requires and can use that extra time to study.
For students pursuing higher education or at the college level, advancing their career is directly related to their educational qualifications. Career progress is impacted by the courses you take up to upgrade your knowledge and skills. By participating in online courses you can upgrade your skills while you’re pursuing traditional education or working at a job. This means you no longer have to wait years to earn a traditional degree for career growth.
It is human nature to share something that we find value in. Online learning platforms give you a chance to be part of a large online community with diverse representations of student populations. You get the chance to interact with students from outside of your geographical location and have discussions on course content through a number of online forums that encourage swapping ideas and assignments.
You can also get answers to questions you might be stuck on, share screens, present documents, and brainstorm ideas using virtual whiteboards.
Here is a list of online learning platforms in use today:
Udemy is one of the most popular learning platform for online courses. Udemy offers various courses in multiple subject areas that are taught by subject matter experts. You get to choose a course of your choice from over 55,000 courses. This online learning platform also offers free courses and allows you to build custom courses for lessons. It is possible to do the courses with a mobile app which makes it possible to do the courses at anytime, from anywhere. Courses range from $9-$500 on Udemy, with the most popular courses being from business and technology.
Youtube has become a central hub for sharing videos and virtual entertainment. It is an invaluable online learning platform for learning that is informative, fun, and interactive. You can access a number of webinars for learning on Youtube. You can also create customized playlists on any subject of your choice that will help you expand your comprehension on any topic. Youtube videos are helpful in explaining complicated concepts by breaking them down into easy to understand images or visuals. As no course fee or enrolment is involved, Youtube is the number one choice of learners who want quick resolution to their queries.
Coursera is a leading provider of MOOCs. It has partnered with a number of reputed universities and organisations in the U.S and other parts of the world to give students access to quality education world over. You can study anything, right from music theory to data science on Coursera. Lots of courses on this virtual learning platform are free of cost. On completion of a course, you obtain a specialisation certificate from an associated university. Coursera provides free online courses with certificates on successful completion.
At what education levels are online courses available?
Today online learning has infiltrated all levels of education. Right from the school level, students are engaging with online education courses which call for greater student accountability and motivation.
In the highly connected and digitally informed world we live in, online learning platforms are a respected means to achieve a recognised qualification.
This virtual form of learning was once surrounded by stigma. Owing to the undeniable benefits it offers to all levels of education, ranging from the school level to higher education (PhDs etc.) this form of learning is seeing widespread adoption today.
Contrary to popular belief, online learning requires greater self-discipline, motivation, and drive in students compared to the traditional classroom set-up. Online learners find greater autonomy and flexibility in taking online courses.
These courses can be planned and worked around their schedules.
Traditional schooling is also seeing a greater proliferation in online courses and the use of virtual training materials through virtual learning platforms. All successful schools know that they must adapt with changing times and are embracing online education and learning resources.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is a rather popular format of online learning for school students. MOOCs were first introduced in 2006 and have emerged as a popular learning model in 2012.
The easy accessibility to MOOCs as well as their structure makes them such a coveted choice by school students. Learning through MOOCs doesn’t require the payment of a fee. MOOCs allow students to take a course at their own pace using pre-recorded video and other study material that is uploaded to the platform.
Online education for schools
In a school setting, students are provided structure, support, and a system of rewards and penalties. Face-to-face interactions with peers and teachers provide a stable environment for social interactions to students, especially in their early years.
As students advance to higher classes they seek intellectual freedom and autonomy in learning. Online learning allows them to pursue individualised learning goals, all the way up to the college level. Coupled with hands-on exercises and real world exploration, online learning platforms can fortify the overall learning progress a student makes.
When participating in virtual classes from the school level, students have the option to explore their options before they commit to a specialisation. In this manner online courses act as a sort of guide as they help students navigate through the learning process. Owing to the strengths of online learning, virtual public schools have sprung up in parts of the world.
Benefits of Online Learning versus Traditional Learning
Online learning platforms are designed to meet a variety of learning styles. In a traditional classroom setup, educators have to make additional efforts to accommodate different learning styles. They may not always be able to meet these needs owing to the syllabus, methodology, and institutional constraints.
Online learning environments offer a high degree of flexibility, improved delivery methods, and offers a more diverse representation of student population.
Here are some other benefits that virtual courses have over traditional learning:
Online education is borderless. Pursuing study courses often takes people to different cities or even countries causing them to move away from their families and friends. Online learning removes any physical and social barriers.
Online learning courses are available on almost any subject under the sun. Any subject that you’re interested in or curious about can be learnt through an online course.
It is possible to create a completely customised learning environment while pursuing online courses. You’re free from disruptive environments like busy libraries or crowded classrooms where each student is vying for the tutor’s attention. Some students enjoy highly competitive learning environments, while some are more quiet, shy and prefer independent learning.
There you have it; this was all you needed to know about the endless learning resources you can find on the internet. Whether you’re looking to pursue online courses in India, or any other part of the world it’s a great time to be a student, with so many learning opportunities at hand. With the availability and easy access to these free online courses we can conclude that learning was never so convenient.