Is it Worth Pursuing Free Online Courses?

Education hasn’t been this effortless ever since online learning came into the picture. It is true that the edtech industry was growing gradually and reaching a larger audience. However, its growth skyrocketed when the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in early 2020, and the universities and other educational institutes were forced to shut down indefinitely. Millions of learners switched to online learning platforms for K-12 education as well as college studies. In fact, working professionals also started taking online courses as they tried to cope with job threats in such uncertain times. 

There are many benefits associated with online courses – affordable, convenient schedule, flexible learning options, and exposure to high-quality study materials. Additionally, you have more control over what you learn. Compared to academic education where you follow a certain curriculum and need to study the entire syllabus, online courses often focus on a specific topic rather than the broader subject. For example, if you want to learn only Python, you can take up a Python training course and not register for a computer science degree program as it used to be conventionally. 

Now there are two modes of learning you will come across generally – self-paced learning and expert-led live virtual training. The self-paced learning involves video modules that are pre-recorded and provided to the learners when they enroll in any course. Expert-led classes, on the other hand, involve live classes conducted by an instructor through video conferencing. When you don’t have prior knowledge of any subject, like preparing for a TOGAF certification, it is better to take instructor-led classes. If you are familiar with at least the basics of any subject, you may take self-paced courses. 

But what about free online courses? Are there any reliable training providers that offer free online courses? And is it worth pursuing free online courses? Well, there are many questions that might come to mind. In this article, we have discussed whether you should spend time pursuing free online courses. Read on to find out!

Free Online Courses – Are they Worth it?

Traditionally, finding information regarding anything was a tedious task. One needed to ponder over newspapers and books to find out reliable information. It was only due to the introduction of the World Wide Web that people were bombarded with a massive amount of information. Today, people just need to head over to Google or YouTube to search for any topic. This means that information is available for free, indeed! But, when you want to learn something for your career, can you trust free sources? Well, the answer is yes! Today, tech giants like Google, IBM, and Accenture have stepped into the online education space and offer various courses for free. 

 

The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course by Google, for example, is one of the best in the market. With the comfort of your home you can start learning digital marketing from the experts at Google. This beginner-friendly course involves 40 hours of in-depth learning spanning 26 modules. From search engine optimization, working of search engines, content marketing to web analytics and improving search campaigns, the course covers a number of important concepts. What’s more! You will get a certificate from Google at the end if you pass the 40-question exam. Is there anything more you can get from a free course?   

Another example to consider here is Cognitive Class by IBM. the platform aims to address the skills shortage in emerging areas like big data, artificial intelligence, data science, blockchain and cloud computing. These are currently the most sought-after career domains and you are lucky to get free training in these technologies from experts at IBM. you would also be fascinated to know that your learning would go beyond just videos – the platform supports a virtual lab environment where individuals can practice what they learn in theoretical classes. On completing any course, you would earn a certificate and digital badge to showcase your newly acquired skills.     

Some training providers also offer university courses for free. You get access to high-quality courses from renowned universities like Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, among others. You will learn from the highly experienced faculties working at such prestigious universities and expand your knowledge base. You need to pay for the course only if you want a certification at the end. When such names are associated with any online course, there is no question as to whether they are worth it. 

From the examples and other benefits mentioned above, it is clear that you can take free online courses without having any second thoughts. There is something good to gain from every online course and you will have something relevant to talk about during your next interview. So, kickstart your upskilling initiative today and gain competitive advantage over your peers.    

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