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Here’s How You Can Acquire New Knowledge And Skills With Free Online Platforms During Circuit Breaker And Beyond

Plenty of time at home due to Circuit Breaker? Here’s how you can pick up new skills or knowledge using online platforms – for free.


With COVID-19 continuing to rage around the world, including Singapore, social distancing measure during “Circuit Breaker” might be the new norm for the foreseeable future.

Instead of feeling bored and restless, some of you might want to make use of your newfound time at home to learn a new skill, brush up on knowledge you already have, or take a deep dive into a topic you’ve always been curious about.

Whether you want to learn how to code, how to start a business, be better at human interactions, or any subject you can think of, here are 5 online learning platforms you can tap on to take high-quality courses without needing to spend a single cent.

Read Also: Taking A Part-Time Job Or Internship While Studying? Here’s What You Should Consider

#1 edX

edX is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider, established by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012. It hosts over 2,800 courses online, with a wide variety of subjects ranging from humanities and arts, engineering, business and computing science. It partners with a number of universities around the world, including our local National University of Singapore, to provide courses on the platform.

Its courses consist of weekly learning sequence, which is composed of short videos that comes with interactive learning exercises, where participants can practice the concepts immediately after watching the videos.

While most of the courses are free-of-charge, participants may pay a small fee to obtain a “Verified Certificate” that certifies their attendance on the course.

#2 Coursera

Founded in 2012 by two computer science professors from Stanford University, Coursera is another MOOC platform that works with universities and organisations to offer online courses. Like edX, Coursera offers courses from a wide range of disciplines, such as arts, business and science.

Most of the courses lasts approximately 4 to 10 weeks, with 1 to 2 hours of video lectures each week. The courses provide quizzes, weekly exercises and peer-graded assignments for assessment. However, there are a range of free short courses that can be taken in under 8 hours.

In addition to online courses, it also offers degree and certificate courses with a wide range of instutitons and partners. Participants who are keen to advance academically with a post-graduate certification can choose a wide range of Masters programme, which ranges from 12 to 36 months. For those looking to upgrade their computing skill, they can turn to professional courses conducted in collaboration with entities such as Google and IBM.

Read Also: Should I Take a Postgraduate Degree in Singapore?

#3 Udemy

Founded in 2010, Udemy is an online platform targeting professional adults and students. It has more than 50 million students and over 57,000 instructors delivering courses in over 65 languages.

The learning platform offers professional courses in areas of business, technology and humanities. It hosts over 150,000 courses on the website.

While Udemy charges a low fee for their online courses, it has since opened up more than 500 free courses, mostly in technology-related topics such as WordPress, blockchain, Search Engine Optimisation and HTML, as well as personal development, including communication skills and fitness. Most of the free courses are conducted in English and can be completed in a day.

Read Also: Should You Invest In A University Degree Or The Stock Market?

#4 FutureLearn

Founded in December 2012, FutureLearn is a digital education jointly owned by The Open University (based in United Kingdom) and global staffing company SEEK.

Unlike the above-mentioned MOOC platforms that offer predominantly US-based curriculum, FutureLearn works with UK-based universities to offer online courses for participants.

FutureLearn’s courses span a broad range of topics, including business and management, creative arts and the media, medicine, engineering and computer science.

As the classes are self-directed and completed on own terms, enrollment can be done anytime. For those who are keen to pursue their studies online further, the platform also offer online degree courses that allow students to work through on the programmes on their own pace, allowing them to gain a university qualification at the end of the course.

Read Also: Is A Part-time Degree More Cost Effective Than A Full-time Degree? We Explore 4 Reasons Why This Could Be The Case

#5 Noba

For those looking to learn and understand about the human psychology, they can turn to Noba.

According to its website, Noba is a free online platform that aims to provide students and instructors textbooks and educational materials on psychology for free.

The textbooks and materials are licensed under the Creative Commons International Licence. This allows users to reuse and redistribute the content to anyone. In addition, as the materials are flexibly structure, Noba enables students to mix and match and rebuild their own learning materials.

The platform provides a range of psychology topics, ranging from cognitive science and language, to personal development.

Read Also: 7 High-Paying Jobs In Singapore That Don’t Require A Degree

Being cooped up at home due to the circuit breaker measures need not be an unproductive affair. With these free online learning sites, you can now make use of the spare time you have to pick up new skills or knowledge that you can use to beef up your resume.

And maybe you will emerge from this COVID-19 season stronger and more knowledgeable than before.

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