Free online learning courses are non-formal educational courses that are offered free of cost. The primary difference between a formal online distance education program and a free online learning course is that no degree, diploma or certificate of completion is awarded for the latter. Although the free courses may be informative and intellectually stimulating, no grades are awarded for them and there is no method available to evaluate your learning. It is entirely up to you to decide how far you want to push yourself and set your own standards. The curriculum and content is not supervised by a qualified professional; there is also no way of comparing your performance with your peers. Free online learning courses can be helpful if you want to enhance your knowledge or pick up skills in a particular subject or area of interest on your own.
A large number of free courses on various topics are available on the Internet. These include courses on topics such as health care including anatomy, physiology, nursing and dental treatment; information technology (computer programming, databases, office applications); business management including modules on marketing, entrepreneurship, sales; building and construction (plumbing, electrical, masonry); electronics, mathematics (ranging from arithmetic to calculus); science (including astronomy, earth sciences and physics).
It is advisable to do a credibility check before starting with a free online course. Since just about anybody can publish a free online course on the Internet, the quality of the content for online courses is often dubious. The good news is that reputed institutions of learning like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, have made their entire course material available on the Internet. There is no charge to access this high quality educational content from an internationally recognized institute and it is available to all interested students irrespective of the country they might be located in.