Learning doesn’t have to take place in a traditional classroom setting. With the help of the Internet, teens and adults can gain a wealth of information and build new skills on their own. From free textbooks to courses from top universities, HelpTeaching.com has gathered the best free online resources to help you learn online for free. Whether you’re 16 or 96, there’s no excuse to not learn something new today.
We’ve organized our resources by category and have noted whether each resource is best for teens (T), college (C), or everyone (E) to help you find exactly what you need.
Reading is one of the best ways to gain new information. These resources provide free access to some of the best-known books in history and high-quality academic textbooks. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on these books, teens and adults can learn from them for free.
Spectra, a comic book series from The American Physical Society, helps teens learn about physics in a very engaging format. At least eight different volumes can be accessed for free on Physics Central and will help teens learn how physics applies to every day and superhero life. T
Bookboon delivers textbooks on subjects such as IT, language, technology, and career advice in a free PDF format. These books are ideal for adult and community college learners. C
Textbook Revolution contains a database of free textbooks for many different subject areas. Books are organized by subject and searchable by title. C
Free Tech Books is a list of links to free technology-based books. Many books cover advanced topics related to engineering, computers, and mathematics. C
Open Stax provides college students with free, open source textbooks designed to meet their course standards and objectives. Books focus on science and math courses. C
Open Textbook Library was created to draw attention to the open textbook movement. Its collection includes a selection of free textbooks covering different subject areas, including some appropriate for high school. E
Classic Texts and Literature
The Harvard Classics are a collection of fifty books designed to cover the major areas of philosophy, religion, history, and literature. Many organizations, including Bartleby, offer access to them for free. E
Project Gutenberg has thousands of free eBooks featuring texts in the public domain. Books include classic literature and non-fiction pieces. E
Bookstacks is a free collection of literature that features titles from authors such as Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, and Leo Tolstoy. E
Google Books allows users to look up published books by title and preview many of those books for free. It’s a great resource for research. E
BookRix offers a large selection of free eBooks for download. Many books are works of fiction published by Indie authors. E
Free Booksy helps users find free eBooks for Nook and Kindle. Sign up for the free e-mail list or read the blog to see which books are available for free on certain days of the week. E
Read Any Book allows users to read a variety of eBooks by both Indie and well-known authors for free in their free online e-reader. E
Free audio learning resources make it easy for teens and adults to learn on the go. Audio books and podcasts are great to listen to while running or riding in the car. They can also be more entertaining than learning from a more traditional text.
Gutenberg Audio has a large collection of audio versions of public domain books. Many of the books are in English, but the site also has a huge selection of audio books in other languages, such as Chinese, Spanish, Hungarian, Tagalog, and more. E
Loyal Books, formerly Books Should be Free, features thousands of free audio books for download. Many books are fiction, but there’s also a large selection of non-fiction books to choose from. E
Internet Archive: Audio isn’t just limited to eBooks. It also features recordings of famous speeches and popular songs throughout history. E
Librivox is a site full of public domain audio books. All books are read by volunteers. You can download one to listen to or volunteer to record books yourself. C
Learn Out Loud offers a collection of free audio books, audio courses, and other learning materials. Be sure to search under the “Free Stuff” tab because the site does offer some books for sale. C
Podcasts are more popular than ever these days and many educational podcasts are still going strong. Browse the available podcasts on iTunes to learn something new. E
Podbean offers a platform for hosting and listening to free podcasts. You’ll find podcasts on a range of topics. E
Videos offer a wide range of learning opportunities. Many video series help teens and adults build practical skills, such as how to fix flat tire or how to cook an omelet. Other videos feature lectures and narration from experts in the field.
Top Documentary Films makes many fascinating documentaries available for free. Documentaries are available on topics such as health, politics, human rights, and religion. E
DIY Network helps you spruce up your home by providing free online episodes of its most popular shows and video-based blogs with tips and tricks. C
Ted Talks have become well-known for the expert advice they contain. Watch as experts in their fields share their wisdom with you. E
BrightTalk focuses on providing free business and webinars to those interested in the business world. Find resources in areas such as finance, human resources, marketing, and information technology. C
All Things Science has transferred its wealth of science-based videos to Daily Motion. There teens and adults can learn about scientific innovations and see how science connects to daily life. E
CosmoLearning combines free online courses with videos and documentaries to help students learn about a variety of subjects. E
MIT Video brings the quality of MIT lectures to your computer. The videos all focus on science and technology-related content with over 100 channels of specific topics to choose from. C
@Google Talks are similar to Ted Talks and feature many professionals sharing their knowledge. This includes talks with celebrities and musicians too. E
Videolectures.net takes college lectures, academic talks, and conference videos, and organizes them into a free video site. The site has over 20,000 videos in many different languages. C
Finding the time and the money to take college courses can be expensive. Through the MOOC and Open Course movements, teens and adults can access courses from the top universities for free. These resources help people reap the benefits from experts in the field and make it easier to explore topics of interest.
HelpTeaching.com’s own collection of math, science, and English lessons combines entertaining video and text-based lessons with short, interactive quizzes. Teachers and parents can choose lessons for kids to complee on their own or can incorporate them into whole class and small group based lessons. Lessons are organized by subject, grade-level, and length. Teachers and parents can also create their own tests and quizzes to accompany the lessons, and then administer them using our Test Room feature.
OER Commons is a large collection of free open education resources designed for students in primary school through adult learners. Best of all, you can combine resources to create your own textbook or course and then share it with others or save it for future reference. E
iCivics features a collection of free lesson plans and games decided to help teens learn about civics. T
A Crash Course in World History teaches you the history of the world in 42 episodes. E
My Own Business, Inc. helps adults by providing them with all the information they need to start their own business. C
SBA Learning Center is designed to teach wanna-be business owners the ins and outs of owning a small business. There’s even a section geared towards young entrepreneurs. E
Excel Easy contains a large selection of lessons designed to help computer users learn how to navigate through the various features of Excel. This is a quality resource for teachers, students, and even those in the business world. E
MIT Open Courseware allows you to access the content of MIT courses from the comfort of your own home. Search by topic, course number, or department. C
Open Culture has collected links to thousands of free courses, movies, and other educational materials available online. Their resources include free certificate courses. E
iTunes U is a collection of courses, audio files, and video designed to help you learn on your computer or any of your Apple devices. E
Wikiversity is a collection of educational photos, projects, and lesson ideas designed to help people learn from one another. E
Course Buffet finds open courses, tags them, and makes them easier for users to access. You’ll find top courses from many universities. C
Coursera partners with over 100 universities and other educational organizations to provide over 1,000 free online courses. E
EdX is another site that makes it easy to find free open courses from top universities. While all courses are free, you can also earn college credit for some courses by paying a small fee. C
OEDB offers free open courses from many top universities. It also includes information on financial aid and scholarships to help those who want to go back to school. E
Looking up a random piece of information doesn’t have to require pulling out a dictionary or buying an entire set of encyclopedias. Free online reference materials make it easy for teens and adults to look up information such as the definition of a word, stats on a particular country, or the peak growing season in a region.
Almanac.com is a go-to resource for all things nature and weather-related. It also offers resources on cooking, baking, home, and health. Just as people used to use the paper-based version of the Farmer’s Almanac for information in the past, you will find this website to be a handy reference. E
Dictionary.com offers a free, online dictionary. You can also learn by checking out the word of the day. E
RhymeZone is a great resource for budding poets and others who like to rhyme. Simply type in a word and find a list of words that rhyme. E
Freelang provides free foreign language dictionaries which can be useful when attempting to learn a foreign language. E
Encyclopedia.com allows you to search over 100 different encyclopedias and other reference books to get the best information. E
Wikipedia is definitely one of the most popular encyclopedias online. It’s a great source for initial research, but facts should always be double-checked. E
Other Reference Sources
Goodreads contains reviews of books and also has a search feature that allows users to find quotes from popular books. It’s a great resource, particularly when writing a paper. E
Internet Public Library for teens helps teens finds books, websites, and other resources for learning. It’s also a great site for homework help. T
Ref Desk highlights some of the best reference websites and organizes different reference resources into categories to make it easy to find whatever you need. E
World Atlas offers maps from around the world, along with articles about where to travel and key information about different countries. E
Life-long learners aren’t always focused on taking a course or learning about a specific topic. Many times, they simply enjoy gathering random information. The Internet is full of many free resources designed to provide them with just that. Not all of the information is useful, but it is certainly interesting, and you never know when a piece of information, like 10 different ways to use a gumball, could come in handy.
Mental Floss is a magazine and a website dedicated to providing readers with random facts and information. You can learn all about history, literature, and science, as well as fun facts about pop culture topics, such as television shows and movies. E
HowStuffWorks explains just what you think it would – how stuff works. Search by keyword or category. E
WikiHow is a how-to website that teaches you how to do almost anything you want to do with step-by-step instructions, pictures, and videos. E
Instructables offers instructions for all sorts of DIY projects. They range from home projects to crafts and science experiments. E
LearnThat.com focuses on helping you learn new information related to business, personal finance, and technology. It does so through a series of blogs and video tutorials. C
Questions and Answers
Whyzz is focused on providing answers to questions. Type in a question to search the Whyzz database for answers. E
Quora bills itself as the best answer to any question. On this site, you can search for answers to a question that has already been asked or post your own question and wait for others to answer. C
Buzzfeed is known for its funny videos and slideshows. While a lot of its content is humorous, it’s also a great place to learn something new. C
Bored.com encourages you to end boredom by learning something new. It is full of fun articles and activities. E
Daily Infographic highlights an infographic each day, making it a good way to learn a large amount of information at once. E
Shmoop offers a series of online courses and study guides designed to help high school students. Each comes with a dose of Shmoop-style humor. T
SparkNotes is known for its literature guides, but also offers many study guides for other subjects and major standardized tests. T
CPM Homework Help offers help with math homework at the high school level, focusing on courses such as algebra and calculus. T
No matter how old you are, you’re never too old to learn. For more free educational resources, check out the Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids. Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science and Top 100 Free Education Sites too.
What are some of your favorite resources for self-learning? We’d love to hear them!
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