100 Best Websites for Free Adult Education

Mar 10th, 2009

Whether you want to go back to get your GED or simply want to gain additional skills to use on the job, it’s never too late to pursue the great variety of adult educational resources out there. Online education makes it easier than ever to bring courses, lectures and instructional videos right to your own home so you can learn without breaking the bank or even leaving the house. Here are 100 great adult education websites and resources we’ve pulled together to help you get the information you need for personal or professional development.

General

These sites address a wide range of adult education issues, providing valuable tools, courses and materials for adults to use.

  1. Interactive Instruction for Adult Learners: The resources listed on this site are designed to get adult learners actively interacting with their learning material.
  2. About.com Continuing Education: Find out more on the topic of continuing education and get pointed in the direction of some great resources here.
  3. Free-Ed.net: What’s better than free? Here you’ll find a range of completely free educational resources.
  4. Adult Learning Web Resources: Check out this collection of resources all pulled together to specifically help adults learn more, better.
  5. E-Learning Resources: Want to know more about the basics of e-learning? Gary Harriman’s site contains an assortment of articles to help you learn what kind of online resources would be best suited to your needs.
  6. GCF LearnFree.org: This site is home to courses on classes that address issues from everyday life, finances, computer training and more.
  7. ULiveandLearn: Here you’ll find a range of professional development courses. Some are free and others require an enrollment fee.
  8. Free and Affordable Distance Education: Check out this site for links to great online courses, tutorials and resources.
  9. About U: Visit this About.com resource for a wide range of free courses that can help you learn about everything from creating anime to writing a great cover letter.
  10. World Lecture Hall: This University of Texas, Austin site is home to loads of lectures, course materials and more that can help you learn about hundreds of different topics.

Free Courses

Give these sites a visit to gain access to thousands of courses, even some from Ivy League institutions.

  1. MIT OpenCourseware: MIT was the first school to offer open courses and as one would expect they have one of the largest collections of available materials including everything from engineering to business education.
  2. Tufts OpenCourseware: Pay this site a visit to gain access to courses in the areas of medicine, nutrition and the arts and sciences.
  3. Open Yale Courses: Even if you can’t actually go to Yale you can experience some of their educational resources like those on this site that offer education in classics, philosophy, religion and more.
  4. UC Irvine Open Courses: From courses created to help you complete high school to those offering insight into running a spa, this college offers a great selection of resources.
  5. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Those interested in learning more about the health care field will be well served by the free course materials offered by Johns Hopkins.
  6. UMass Boston Open Courseware: This Boston school offers courses in nursing, history, math and much more.
  7. Webcast Berkeley: Give this prestigious school’s guest lecturers and courses a look see on this totally free site.
  8. University of Notre Dame Open Courseware: From PoliSci to Arabic Languages, you’ll find all the resources here you need to begin enjoying a free online education at any age.
  9. The Open University: This UK-based school offers courses that are both academic and practical in nature.
  10. Capilano College: Venture north to Canada to take advantage of the online education offered at this school, including courses in Studio Art and Art History.
  11. University of Southern Queensland: Here you can take career focused classes that address issues like programming, science and tourism.
  12. Columbia University Interactive: There is quite the selection of resources on this site that allow learners from all over the world to discover more about the arts, sciences and everything in between.
  13. Berklee Shares: Get access to numerous music education courses here.
  14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative: You don’t have to be top tier to take these online courses from this prestigious school. You’ll find courses in French, physics, engineering, science and more.
  15. United Nations University: Adults interested in science and technology and the global impact of these can take a wide range of courses from the UN.

Free Lectures and Webinars

If your local community doesn’t have a college that offers free lectures and seminars, then take advantage of these online resources that will educate, inform and inspire you.

  1. Harvard Extension School: With lectures from some of the biggest names in the arts and sciences, this site simply can’t be missed by those looking for cutting edge research and study.
  2. Duke Law Center for the Public Domain: Those interested in the law and the application of it will find a range of interesting and free lectures here.
  3. WGBH Forum Network: From understanding the brain to decoding the economy, you’ll find lectures from the world’s top minds on this site.
  4. LectureFox: This site brings together lectures from prestigious schools and institutions around the world and makes them easy to sort through.
  5. Learn Out Loud: Here, adults can find everything audio, from lectures and speeches to free audio books.
  6. Princeton University Webmedia: Take advantage of the learning opportunities from Princeton on your own computer, with lectures from experts in a wide range of fields.
  7. TED: Check out this site for the latest and greatest ideas from people who have made waves in their fields and around the world.
  8. Issac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences: Those with an interest in math can expand their knowledge with the free Webinars offered by this Institute.
  9. Free Science Lectures: Learn more about psychics, chemistry, biology and more through the free lectures on this site.
  10. The Teaching Company Free Lectures: While the great majority of resources on this site come at a price, there are a number of free lectures you can take advantage of as well that explore the history of the Olympics, why the dinosaurs went extinct and the election process.
  11. NASA Multimedia: Learn more about space exploration, our solar system and beyond from the free lectures and videos provided by NASA.
  12. London School of Economics: For anyone interested in economics or finance, these free lectures, podcasts and webinars from the LSE are a great resource.

GED Resources

If you never finished your high school education and want to head back, these websites can help with tools to test you and help you learn all the basics.

  1. GED Study Guide Zone: Here you’ll find tools to help you practice reading, writing, math, science and more to prepare for the GED.
  2. GED Online: Take practice exams and talk to others studying to take the GED on this community-oriented site.
  3. GED Preparation Resources: Check out this site for links to a wide variety of resources for students wanting to prep from the GED.
  4. GED for Free: This site is home to a completely free GED preparation course.
  5. 4Tests: From practice exams to helpful answers to your questions and concerns about the test, this site is a great resource for adult learners.
  6. Free Ed: GED and College Prep: Get ready to take your GED and head off to college with the resources provided through this site.
  7. GEDSource: Save some money and use the free GED resources provided by this site to study instead of paying for expensive books.
  8. David Hardesty ABE/GED Resources: With resources on literacy, math, science and more, you’ll find the tools you need to study for your exam on this site.
  9. Adult Learning Resource Center GED Resources: The Virginia Adult Learning Center has brought together a helpful collection of resources that can aid adults in prepping for the GED.
  10. GED Practice: Don’t just go into your test blind, practice beforehand with these questions and exams.

Language Learning

For many adults, learning a different language has always been a dream. Whether you need to expand your skills for work or just a fun vacation with the family, you’ll find loads of free resources and classes on these sites.

  1. BBC Languages: The BBC offers language instruction in French, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, German, Italian, Portuguese and more.
  2. LiveMocha: Learn languages with others from around the world on this free interactive site.
  3. The Internet Polyglot: Here you’ll find language learning tools to help you speak, read and understand a range of languages.
  4. Madinah Arabic: Check out these language courses to get a handle on this ancient language.
  5. Learn Greek: Follow along with this podcast to learn how to speak Greek and also to learn more about Greek culture.
  6. The French Podcast: Even if you don’t understand every word this podcast will help boost your French listening skills.
  7. ChinesePod: While advanced lessons are at a cost, basic classes and a free trial are available as well, allowing you to learn the basics of Chinese without spending a dime.
  8. A Taste of Russian: This educational podcast series will help you learn some essential phrases in Russian and much more.
  9. Cherokee Language Project: Gain a better appreciation of Native American culture by learning the Cherokee language through these online courses.
  10. Yucatec Maya Language Study: Study this ancient language spoken by people living in Southern Mexico and Guatemala today.
  11. Sanskrit Self-Study: Whether you want to study ancient texts or just want to better understand this important language, you’ll find the resources you need to teach yourself here.

Workplace Education

These sites are all about building professional skill sets to help you perform better on the job.

  1. Small Business Association Online Courses: Learn how to start and run a successful business through these free government sponsored courses.
  2. Online Typing Course: Those who didn’t grow up typing away on a compute may have more trouble mastering typing skills. This online course is a free way to boost your skills with the keyboard.
  3. Emergency Management Institute: Sponsored by FEMA, this site can help those who work with the public prepare for disaster or help business owners learn more about how to be prepared.
  4. HP Learn and Use: These how-tos and courses will help you better understand HP products but can also give you some insights into better business management overall.
  5. News University: Register for this site and you’ll get access to courses geared at journalists of all kinds. Of course, improving writing can help more than just those in journalism, so give the site a visit to learn more.
  6. Bean Counting 101: This online course is designed to teach anyone and everyone the basics of good business accounting.
  7. School for Champions: Here you’ll find a series of tutorials designed to help you learn to succeed in business whether starting your own or moving up in a large company.
  8. My Own Business: Check out the course offered on this site if you’re looking for education on how to be a great entrepreneur.
  9. Small Business Tax Workshop: Who better to learn about business taxes from than the IRS? You’ll find loads of helpful pointers through this course.
  10. Financial Management Training Center: From managing your own finances to that of a business big or small, you’ll gain some valuable skills through these multi-part courses.

Educational Podcasts

Check out these podcast series to learn more about loads of important ideas and cutting-edge concepts.

  1. Yale University Podcasts: Check out these podcasts for speeches and courses from a variety of departments at Yale.
  2. Stanford on iTunes: With great faculty lectures, interviews, sports commentary and free concerts, this podcast is a great way to keep up on culture.
  3. Berkeley on iTunes: Here you’ll find lectures and resources that cover everything from the arts to politics.
  4. Western Kentucky University: These podcasts are often closely related to courses being taught at the University, making it easy to learn about topics that interest you.
  5. Cambridge University Podcasts: With podcasts of lectures from faculty and prestigious scholars as well as updates about the museums and departments within the school, these can be an asset to those looking for educational material.
  6. Boston College Front Row: Get audio and video recordings of lectures and seminars from Boston college through this podcast.
  7. GeorgeTown University Forum: This weekly radio program highlights the work being done by faculty members at the university.
  8. Harvard Business Review: Leading-edge thinkers in business and management express their thoughts in these educational lectures.
  9. Northwestern University iTunes: With top-tier schools in business and journalism, visitors to this podcast series can learn more about all kinds of research and development at Northwestern.
  10. Classics Podcasts: Haverford College hosts this podcast where ancient texts and up-to-the minute news are read in Latin.
  11. Oxford University Podcasts: Adult learners can take advantage of the chance to learn about the faculty and research at this prestigious university through their podcast series.

Free Online Books

Why pay big bucks for reading material when you can get it for free? These sites offer a wide range of totally free books.

  1. Project Gutenberg: This large, non-profit project is home to loads of public domain works, even some that are rare and exquisitely decorated.
  2. Textbook Revolution: With hundred of free textbooks, novels and other educational materials, this site makes learning for free easier than ever.
  3. Perseus Digital Library: This Tufts site is a great place to find just about every ancient Greek and Roman text you could want.
  4. eMedicine: Whether you’re an aspiring medical student or just someone who wants to know more about the jargon on Grey’s Anatomy, you’ll find everything you need on this free online text.
  5. Electronic Text Center: here you’ll find tons of digitized texts that you can use free of charge, courtesy of the University of Virginia.
  6. FreeTechBooks: Techies will love this site that provides free technical textbooks as well as links to helpful programming and engineering resources.
  7. ManyBooks: Check out this site for titles that have been adapted to work with your PDA, iPod or ebook reader.
  8. Authorama: This site hosts texts are that older and now part of the public domain, though many are classics well-worth reading.
  9. Oxford Text Archive: With hundreds of titles dealing with topics in literature and the arts, this collection of free books is a must-visit.
  10. Text Archive: The Text Archive is a collection of free and open source texts gathered from all over the net.
  11. World Public Library: With over 75,000 ebooks to choose from, this site is a great online repository for free reading.

Tutorial Sites

In search of some education on everything from fixing things around the house to running a better business? You’ll find that and a whole lot more on these sites.

  1. LearnThat.com: With tutorials in business, home repair, finance software and more, this site is a great resource for learning about practical topics that affect your everyday life.
  2. FindTutorials: Here you’ll find instructions on things like web programming, learning a language, automotive repair, home maintenance and more.
  3. Accredited Online Bachelors Degrees: Learn about the latest educational iphone apps, twitters, and blackberry apps on this site’s blog.
  4. Expert Village: With instructional videos in yoga, cooking, plumbing, playing the guitar and the periodic table, you’ll find just about anything your heart could desire on this site.
  5. VideoJug: This video site is home to detailed instructions on culturally sensitive topics like having good manners in a foreign country as well as on cooking, relationships and health.
  6. How-to Geek: Those adults who are less familiar with technology will appreciate the resources on this site, designed to explain the basics of a variety of computer troubleshooting issues.
  7. Tutorial Ninjas: From boosting the popularity of your blog to synching your iPhone, this site is full of techie tutorials.
  8. TrickLife: Here you’ll find tutorials running form the practical to the ill-advised.
  9. Instructables: Explore user-submitted videos on this site that will help you learn to do things like manage cranky children and do science experiments at home.
  10. Productivity Portfolio: Check out this site for quick run-throughs of how to use a variety of computer technologies.
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