2020 has been a year, unlike any other year. Amidst widespread disruptions to normal life, a vast majority of the world's population were forced to stay at home, rendering more than 1.2 billion learners homebound. This caused a surge in online courses and certificate programs like never before. 

As online learning becomes the new normal, an increasing number of students, employees, and professionals are searching for the best online courses to remain engaged, be creative, and add more skills to their resumes, while staying safe at home. However, choosing the right course from over 15,000 online courses offered by thousands of universities and institutions worldwide can be overwhelming. 

So if you’ve decided to invest time in building your career by learning new skills, but are unsure of where to begin, a free course is a great place to start. In this article, we discuss whether a free course is worth your time and also share helpful tips on choosing the right course for the best value.

Why Is It a Good Idea to Pursue Free Courses?

Besides providing an immersive learning experience and allowing you to learn at your own pace, free online courses offer a host of other benefits, which include:

Diversity of Subjects

College and university course schedules are often tight, and that leaves you with little scope for studying what interests you. Free online courses can help you explore a topic of your choice. In the online space, you can access a variety of free courses in areas ranging from programming to data science, marketing to management, engineering to digital arts, or personal development.

Familiarity With College Curriculum

If you take free online courses or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in the subjects you plan to study in college, you will gain confidence and be able to create a roadmap for the next 4 years to come.

Peer Learning

Online courses offer excellent opportunities for informative interactions between students via social networks and discussion forums. This significantly assists in meeting educational goals and fostering career growth.

Open Access

There are no prerequisites for Massive Open Online Courses. Everyone from all age groups and educational backgrounds can sign up for these free classes.

Improved Learning Experiences

Most online courses adopt a blended-learning approach, which embraces a teaching method that merges traditional classroom activities with digital media to provide students with a personalized learning environment, giving them greater flexibility and more control over their time, pace, place, and learning path.

Scholarship Assistance

Free online courses not only fuel your intellectual curiosity and set you on a path to success, but they can also be beneficial when applying for scholarships.

Stress-Free Skill Development

Traveling to and from college or university can be a tiresome affair. MOOCs eliminate the hassle of commuting. In addition, free online courses allow you to continue studying even during adverse weather conditions, such as thunderstorms or snowstorms, without worrying about missing important lessons or exams.

How to Choose the Right Free Course?

Randomly picking a course or selecting one that won’t add value can drain your time, efforts, confidence and is a bad idea overall. While you might have time on your hand now, you’ll want to invest it a course that will help propel your career forward. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the right course.

Determine Your Criteria

Before you sign up for a MOOC, you need to figure out what exactly you expect to gain from the course. Ask yourself why you want to enroll in a free online curriculum. Is it just for fun or do you want to develop certain skills to boost your chances of getting hired? Also, assess how many hours you can dedicate to learning per week, and make a list of the topics that interest you. 

Research and Explore

Now that you have a clear picture of your goals, and a list of topics you are interested in, do adequate online research and check out free courses relevant to you on industry-recognized learning platforms, such as Simplilearn. Browse the top free courses on Simplilearn's category pages, and choose an online course that meets your criteria.

Check the Course Content Thoroughly

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, after choosing the right course, it is crucial to double-check the course content to make sure that the modules align with your objectives. It is imperative that you fully comprehend the course syllabus and its learning outcomes before you proceed.

Content Delivery

Several educational institutions offer free courses, but only a few are equipped to deliver content that is tailored specifically for online platforms. A smart way to evaluate an institution's content delivery quality is to watch some of their demo videos, which will give you an idea of what their online courses would look like. Be sure to choose an educational institution that has a state-of-the-art web portal and which leverages top-notch technologies for content delivery.

Be Certain That the Online Course Offers Flexibility

One of the main reasons why students opt for online courses is adaptability. Therefore, when choosing the right course, it is crucial to consider whether or not your course provider is offering an adaptive learning environment. Check the span of courses, accessibility of modules, mandatory requirements, timing, and frequency to ensure that the online course does not impose inescapable hardships on to your shoulders.

Choosing the Right Course Becomes Easier When You Get a Variety of Free Courses Under One Roof

From Data Science and Business Analytics to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Business and Leadership to Project Management, Software Development, and Digital Marketing, Simplilearn has a wide array of online courses that aim to teach today’s most in-demand skills for free. 

Employees from some of the biggest global brands, namely, Bosch, PepsiCo, Inc., Citibank, Microsoft, Amazon, Dell, VMware, and more have enrolled in Simplilearn’s SkillUp program. You can join their ranks too. Explore the world of free online courses from one of the world’s leading online bootcamp and certification provider. Start learning now!

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