Online Courses for Lifelong Learners

By Denton Zhou | Updated August 14, 2017 (Originally Published August 13, 2017)

If you’re naturally curious about the world around you and you pursue knowledge because you enjoy learning, then online courses are perfect for you.

Helping you learn from the best

When OpenCourser first started, you could search it for just fewer than 4,000 courses. Today, our library contains more than 7,500 courses spanning 150 different subjects.

Like some of your favorite courses you’ve taken in a traditional classroom environment, online courses are taught by instructors who are deeply passionate about their fields. They pour their soul and energy into creating these courses to impart their knowledge on anyone, on learners from around the world.

Whether you want to learn more about your favorite genre of music or have your burning questions about cement chemistry answered, there’s a course for you.

Satisfy your curiosity

Online courses also stand out from their offline counterparts from the rich mix of content they contain. Sure, you’ll find lecture videos, quizzes, and exams. But you’ll also find just as much content in the supplementary materials, the readings, images, videos, and audio recordings that make for an immersive learning experience.

Perhaps one of the best features about these courses is that for all of their depth, most of their lectures are broken down into bite-sized chunks. Otherwise long lecture videos are cut up into short 3-5 minute segments, occasionally followed by mini-quizzes and short response questions that test your understanding. That means you can learn in bits and pieces throughout the day, getting segments in over breaks.

Most of these online courses also have their own discussion forums that add a dynamic layer of interactivity to the courses. Use them when you’re stumped and need to pose a question to fellow learners or help another learner out by helping them work through concepts that challenge them. The forums are a great venue to reinforce your learning while making connections.

Quality information right at your fingertips

Imagine learning from the best minds in the world, from industry thought leaders to Nobel Laureates alike, just a decade ago. You might have done it through a book or if you had the means, by attending a talk given by one. If you were especially talented and/or fortunate, you might have been one of a few hundred, maybe a few thousand, to sit on lectures in person as a student.

Times have changed and information flows freely now, so freely that you can learn from these exceptional instructors virtually anywhere and anytime. So long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to learn.

Online courses by design help as many people learn as possible. You might know them as massively open online courses, or MOOCs. Although these courses aren’t as massively open as they once were—many courses now require payment—these courses remain affordable for most, often costing no more than a month’s worth of coffee (most course providers also offer financial aid).

Anyone can learn from the best now.

Discover courses now

We’ve scoured the world’s best online course providers to make thousands of high quality courses searchable. If you already know what you want to learn, you can get started immediately with our search feature.

Need a few fresh ideas for what to learn next? There are a few ways you can discover new courses.

The easiest and quickest way to get suggestions is to use our “suggest” button next to the search bar. Clicking on it plugs in a query for you so you—keep clicking it to get ideas until one sticks with you. You can also read our Course Spotlight posts or browse for courses based on subjects.

Happy learning!

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