the top websites for taking free online courses in 2021

Online courses have soared in popularity in the past five years. This is partly due to rapid advances in technology and also a natural consequence of a large proportion of our society wanting to be wholly untethered to formal institutions and a single space.

For years, many held the belief that an online degree or course was somehow inherently less valuable. Today, this is completely false. There is a multitude of high-quality, certified, and expertly lead online courses that can be found across an array of websites online.

Furthermore, in light of Covid-19 many university institutions have transitioned to online learning and video courses and tutorials. Thus, doing an online course has become the new norm. The availability of free courses makes education an accessible resource to those who are inspired to empower themselves.


If prestige and acclaim are what you are after then you should look no further than Harvard’s online courses. For no fee at all, you can choose to audit the course and in doing so you have access to a variety of courses ranging from neuroscience to humanitarian outreach management in disasters.

The Harvard Website even has the option of applying filters when searching for a course. You can choose to tackle anything between a 2 to 12+ week topic while also knowing whether it is beginner, intermediate or advanced in difficulty.


Udemy is certainly one of the most popular online learning hubs globally. It boasts a vast array of courses that are hosted by world-renowned experts in their respective fields. It is praised for its excellent curation as well as the fact that it is regularly updated in order to keep up with the dynamic world of academia.

The most popular courses are those revolving around software development although their other faculties are rated just as highly. An added bonus is that Udemy supplies you with a free certificate upon completion of your course.


If your interests do not lie within the fields of finance or law and you are seeking an education in something slightly more creative where you can play now, then Skillshare is the place for you. They offer over 17 000 courses across a range of disciplines from photography and film to writing and design.

Courses on SkillShare are jampacked with prompts and personal feedback from your personal mentor. There are over 26 000 courses and the videos are known to be of excellent quality – this has earned it the apt reputation of being ‘Netflix for Education’.

LinkedIn Learning

It is important to note that only the first month of LinkedIn Learning is free – after this point, you are required to pay a reasonable subscription fee. As this online learning platform is an extension of arguably the most popular professional networking website, you can easily add the courses you complete to your LinkedIn profile.

Completing LinkedIn Learning courses demonstrates to prospective employers that you are committed to furthering your learning journey and are willing to be proactive in taking steps to make yourself a valuable employee.