Free Online Courses for Senior Citizens

Retirement is a turning point for many people: an opportunity to learn, discover and start a new journey. More precisely, retirement comes with freedom and time to dive deep into your interests. Hence, some people enroll in colleges and new courses after retirement. Thanks to technology, everyone has access to online courses and resources, including seniors. This article introduces some popular courses and platforms for free online education for seniors.

You can also watch the following video about the Top 10 Free Online Courses Websites in 2021 – 2022 from the YouTube channel of Floozy Studios:

Pros and Cons of Online Learning for Seniors

Like traditional education, online learning and courses have their benefits. Three main advantages of online education are:

Free or Low Cost

Many platforms and websites offer online courses for the elderly at low cost or even free. Besides direct financial benefits, online courses reduce indirect costs like transportation expenses.

Convenience and Flexibility

Most online courses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can access notes, review assignments, discuss questions, and study any time you want. Other than due dates, you can study and progress at your own pace. In addition, online courses are pretty flexible, and you can attend classes while wearing slack suits. Take into account that you have enough time to spend with your family and friends through online courses.

Self-Paced Learning

Some online courses allow you to progress at your own pace. Regardless of how busy you are, how fast you learn, or what your background is in the field, it is possible to learn step by step at a comfortable pace.Senior woman with a headphone learning from an online course with her laptop writing down something

Top Sites and Platforms that Offer Free Online Courses for Seniors

There are thousands of sites and platforms that make learning possible for seniors. Some of the well-known websites are:


1. edX

edX is an American global nonprofit online course provider established by Harvard and MIT universities. It hosts online university courses for worldwide students. Some of the courses offered by this website are at no charge. This website today has been used by over 40 million students.

2. Harvard Open Learning Initiative

Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, also known as their Extension School, introduces some of their courses free of charge. In online learning, you can find courses from all college’s departments.

3. MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT is one of the top and pioneer universities worldwide. MIT’s OpenCourseWare provides online courses in technology and business, fine arts, and humanities.

4. Open Yale Courses

Although attending open courses at Yale gives no credit to you, you can learn anything from lectures recorded in their classes with no registration or admission. The most important benefit of attending Yale courses is learning whatever you want at your own pace.

5. Stanford Free Courses

Stanford University also offers free courses from Stanford’s school of medicine, engineering, or the humanities and science at no charge.

6. Academic Earth

Academic Earth is a website that offers thousands of free lectures from top universities and colleges, including Princeton, Harvard, Oxford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Michigan, etc. This site was launched on March 24, 2009, by Richard Ludlow and provided a wide variety of open course programs to learn from your home.

Senior man with headphones concentrating on his studies with a laptop on the desk

7. Alison

Alison is one of the world’s biggest free learning platforms for education. It has been a for-profit organization for providing education at no charge since 2007. Their mission is to make free online learning possible for anyone to study anything, anywhere, and any time. Their dream is to positively affect social change, creating opportunity, prosperity, and equality for all people. They earn money from advertising and selling merchandise and diplomas to graduates. Their courses are free, but the diploma will cost you.

8. Codecademy

Codecademy is an American online interactive platform specifically designed for people who want to learn computer programming. Their free coding classes come in 12 different programming languages like Python, Java, JavaScript, SQL, C++, etc. This platform was founded in August 2011 and had 45 million users by April 2020.


9. Coursera Free

Coursera is a paid online university that offers two to four-year degrees in different fields. There are also courses with no extra cost with flexible schedules and quizzes. Some of the online and free courses are:

  • The science of wellbeing
  • Financial markets
  • Machine learning
  • Successful negotiations: essential strategies and skills
  • Algorithms
  • Introduction to philosophy


10. Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon University presents the Open Learning Initiative. The courses provided by this website are self-paced and self-guided. Attending their courses provides you with an opportunity to learn new things. However, they don’t offer credit. Some of the available courses in Open Learning Initiative are:

  • General chemistry 1 and 2
  • Introduction to programming in Java
  • Elementary Chinese 1
  • Environmental technology
  • Visual design
  • Modern biology

Senior woman on an online course with her laptop sitting on the couch

Free Online Courses for Learning a New Language

Above mentioned websites and platforms provide lots of courses in different fields. However, some websites specifically educate language at no extra charge. Some of these websites that provide a good opportunity for learning a new language for seniors are listed below:

BBC Language

This website offers 40 different languages to learn for free. They have classes for beginners and intermediate students, and you can join at any skill level. Some of the popular language courses are:

  • French
  • Spanish
  • Greek
  • Chinese
  • German
  • Italian


This is a British language platform founded in 2010, based in London. This platform allows a learner to watch native speakers. It uses spaced repetition of flashcards to increase the rate of learning. They also have an app so everyone can learn their desired language wherever they are.


Duolingo is an American language learning website and mobile application. This website launched on November 30, 2011, with around 500 million users. This app can help you personalize your learning experience based on what you already know and the lessons you’ve been struggling with. The most exciting part of using this app is practicing the language with other people.

Final Words

Nowadays, we don’t need to enroll in a local college and pay a lot of money to learn a new skill. Thanks to technology, many websites and platforms offer different online courses at no charge. So all we need to do is to explore through these courses and try our best to learn.

Source Montgomery College MoneyPantry
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2 years ago

One of my favourite applications for learning a new language is Duolingo; I’m trying to learn Spanish with Duolingo; it’s excellent for beginners. It teaches you one by one and works on your spelling and grammar skills, which is essential; I also suggested my mother learn a new language with this application, and she is so satisfied.

Reply to  Ella
2 years ago

Duolingo is my fave app too. I’m trying to learn Japanese with this application. I was in love with Japanese culture my entire life, and when I was younger, I watched Japanese movies and series. Now when I’m middle-aged, I have a lot of free time to learn this language. And one of the best options that this application has is that it’s free and online, and you can learn wherever and whenever you like.

2 years ago

I’m in love with online courses because they are so comfortable, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time in traffics to reach your class. Indeed, you can stay in your home in pyjamas and learn your favourite skill. I’m looking for a fitness application or online course to start doing some workouts at you have suggestions?

Reply to  john
2 years ago

Exactly your right; learning your favourite skill at your own house is such a great feeling because, after this pandemic, learning online is the best option. I’ve googled and couldn’t find the best fitness option suitable for me, but I think every gym has its online courses these days too, so I decided to call the gym in our neighbourhood and sign up for an online course. I recommend you do the same if you like a reliable online course.

2 years ago

In today’s world, everything is becoming online, and learning to work with computers is essential, especially for over 50 years old. I’m trying to learn some skills to be more up to date. I want to improve my computer skills, so I signed up for an online course. I suggest you do the same if you’re a beginner like me.