5 Funky E-Learning Platforms for Your Online Education [LIST]

These ingenious sites are taking learning out-of-the-box

Sep 17, 2014

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Free online education is on the rise, and there is a wide variety of quality learning sites that are making knowledge accessible to all. These five initiatives deliver courses that are off-the-beaten track, taking online education out-of-the-box and straight into your hands.

1. SCHOOL OF OPEN

WHAT: An online portal powered by Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) - a grassroots open education project, and Creative Commons, which provides educational resources and professional development classes centered on the idea of openness in the digital age.
HOW: The school offers free courses for individuals with two different styles of learning - stand alone courses that can be taken on one’s own time, and facilitated courses, which take place for a set time period and include moderation and feedback by the organizer.
LOOK OUT FOR: Some fascinating facilitated courses currently on the docket include Creative Commons for K- 12 Educators and Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond.

Screenshot of School of Open

2. DUOLINGO

WHAT: The site - and now iPhone and Android apps - offers free language instruction in over eight languages. Free to use, Duolingo also serves as a crowdsourced text translation platform.
HOW: Through speaking, listening, translation and multiple choice, Duolingo plays like a game, making a foreign languages interactive and fun to learn. An independent study found that 34 hours on Duolingo are equal to a whole university semester of language education.  
LOOK OUT FOR: A new feature called Incubator is asking for bilingual volunteers to be course moderators, to help properly translate the course curriculum.

Screenshot of Duolingo

3. DRAWSPACE

WHAT: The free site offers a library of downloadable art lessons created by established artists and educators.
HOW: Budding artists can learn how to draw or sketch anything – from caricatures to still life. To participate, individuals need to register for free tutorials.
LOOK OUT FOR: Drawspace also offers Classrooms, courses that specialize in teaching a specific technique in which students can earn credits. Some classrooms are free while others have a fee that includes interaction with other classmates and teacher feedback.

Screenshot of Drawspace

4. SKILLSHARE

WHAT: An online learning community that teaches project-based classes in a range of subjects from typography to 3D printing.
HOW: Individuals can enroll in free classes that consist of video lessons and a class project. For a monthly fee, students can become Skillshare members and receive unlimited access to hundreds of classes.
LOOK OUT FOR: Skillshare is always on the search for new and talented instructors who can bestow their knowledge upon eager learners. Besides providing high-quality instruction, teachers can earn money from their lessons.

Screenshot of Skillshare

5. SCHOOL OF DOODLE

WHAT: This soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter project is a free online high school for teenage girls, with the goal of teaching and fostering creativity.
HOW: Backed by some powerful creative forces from Yoko Ono to Arianna Huffington, the online platform is divided into the categories of Dabble, Dig and Do, all intended to spark original thought. Curious minds who want to first observe, can dabble and peruse various subjects, while those who are interested going deeper can dig in with lesson plans taught by some of the top movers and shakers in the art world. Doers are the ambitious students who become teachers themselves by mentoring peers and sharing with the online community.
LOOK OUT FOR: School of Doodle students receive doodle dollars instead of grades, which can be used to buy real products or such rewards as a one-on-one session with an expert mentor or a field trip.

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