Virtual learning

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Quality learning at the click of a mouse and it is free. That is education in the 21st century

In a digital age, where maps, videos, and music are at our fingertips, it is only a matter of time before education joined the ranks. Earlier, you had to go to a world-class institution to get a world-class education. Now, all you need is a pen, some paper and the Internet. These websites have revolutionised education in the 21st century, making quality learning accessible globally.

The courses can be used to supplement the materials being taught in college lectures or classes. Furthermore, having these classes on your resume can be a boost, especially if you’re considering applying abroad for further education. With no age restrictions, even those who have left their college and school days far behind can enrol in these sessions, as the classes might even help in their line of work!

The best part is that at the touch of a button, you can have virtually any subject taught to you through video lectures, presentations and worksheets… free of cost.


A social entrepreneurship company, Coursera, partners with top institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and Princeton University to bring video lectures and coursework for free to students globally.

Its vision is to “empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.” Some interesting course selections include: ‘Internet History, Technology, and Security’, ‘Cryptography’, and ‘Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes’.


Udacity is a private organisation founded with the idea of ‘democratising education’. It offers classes in the area of Computer Science.

Every course is divided into many units, each of which comprises video lectures (with subtitles for the listener’s benefit), integrated quizzes for reinforcement and understanding, and, as any good class has — homework! The classes use ‘Python language’, and some programming assignments are graded by automated grading programmes.

With certification from a Udacity course (which is signed by the instructor and offered to students free of cost), getting a job at major technology companies becomes much easier, as they recognise and actively recruit from the Udacity student body.

Ted - Ed

We’ve all heard of revolutionary videos brought by Ted. Ted talks, Ted conferences, Ted x Youth — all of these have inspired us, and caused many of us to step back and take a close look at our society. So, it comes as no surprise that Ted - Ed has topped our list as one of the best education sites as well. An extension of Ted’s mission to spread great ideas, these educational video lectures serve a dual purpose — they can be used to learn, and to teach.

Some interesting videos to look into : “Jackie Jenkins: Greeting the World in Peace”, “The Wacky History of Cell Theory” and “The Case Against “Good” and “Bad”.


Launched in 2010, Udemy is an e-learning site that allows instructors to host courses online. Udemy is there to offer help — to students, who want to get better at their course work, professionals, who want to get better at their fields, or people looking to just learn something new.

The Udemy team recruits the best people in the fields, from New York Times bestselling authors and CEOs of major companies to celebrities, to teach and be a part of the team.

(The writer is a student of American International School)



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