Last Updated on 20 October 2020 by Gertrude

Back in 2012, I found websites/blogs including Smart blogger- my favourite of all time telling me to learn if I wanted to succeed as a freelance writer.

Take a course, they screamed.

My aim for freelancing was to prove everyone wrong that online work is work and it works.

It took 3 long frustrating years and a lot of reading freelancing writing blogs to get the hang of why a writing course online was important.

Internet wasn’t cheap at the time so I never watched lots of videos on YouTube. Yet YouTube is a great site for learning anything you want, for free.

I read blog after blog about making money as a freelance writer. These days, online courses keep getting cheaper with better quality video, audio and examples.

Online courses became popular not so long ago.

I first heard of online courses from Danny Iny of Mirasee.

Online courses are flexible, so you can learn a new skill without going to school from the comfort of your home.

You can learn a new course in a month, week or year, depending on your pace – because you pace yourself. In some cases, you get certificates for the lessons taken on websites like Coursera- no wonder Coursera is my favourite online course taking platform.

Online courses are shorter than a university’s semester/college, so you get to complete lessons in a few week or months. You can learn about any skill, hobby with an online course. 

How Can I Study Online in Kenya for Free?

The following are sites where Kenyans who want to earn a free certificate online can study and the sites include:

1. Coursera  

Offers high skills taught by professors of prestigious and reputable universities.

University names like Stanford, John Hopkins offer short courses on Coursera.

It feels prestigious to be taught by a world-class professor. The courses are self-paced.

But if you want to get certificates, you have to complete course milestones. Choose what you feel is right for you.

I love to learn about anything and everything, so I take varying courses at different times of the year.  

2. Masterclass

You get a free trial for 30 days for viewing a few courses on Masterclass. I love this because you get to learn from industry gurus.

I learnt a lot from my favourite author of all time, James Patterson and from Gordon Ramsay about cooking even though I’m not a chef. Masterclass is the next best course learning platform online.  

3. Udemy 

I love Udemy courses, you can get discounts during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales every year. Classes on Udemy are in tech, business, hobbies, marketing, productivity, freelancing, love, health, Airbnb.

Some courses are taught by experts, professors, entrepreneurs. Courses on Udemy go from $0 – 99 in most cases or hundreds of dollars.

You get to leave a review after completing the course. That’s what I love about Udemy.

Plus they have an affiliate program which you can use to help you earn extra money. 

4. Edx 

Like Coursera, courses are from world-class reputable universities and the topics vary from digital marketing, SEO.

Universities on edX include Harvard or Berkeley. Remember, they warn you that even if you took a course with them, there aren’t certs to show for it. Or their stamp won’t be there.

So, if you don’t mind enhancing your skill no matter the university, go for it. 

5. Udacity 

Focuses on software development and offers free courses in programming, data science and web development.

There was a time I was obsessed with learning programming so I researched all the free learning platforms online. I wasn’t getting the writing jobs!

6. Alison 

You get to learn tech, languages, sciences, financial literacy, personal and soft skills. Everyone is welcome to Alison. 

7. CodeAcademy 

You will write code for free programming languages include: javascript, Ruby, HTML, CSS, Python, PHP. what I learnt about programming is you MUST have a passion. 

8. Skillshare 

I love Skillshare but not anyone gets to teach on Skillshare you get invited on their platform. Courses are well priced/affordable and you can learn photography, film and lifestyle(taking sleek Instagram photos or becoming a smartphone cameraman/woman, sewing, crochet and knitting lessons get offered here). 

9. Lynda 

Courses on Lynda have a prize. It was acquired by Linkedin but you will get access to over 80k videos. It was started by a woman! The website says, Lynda is now Linkedin Learning! You get to learn software courses, photography, web development, design and business.

10. Khan Academy 

I love Khan, you can learn/relearn high school Maths if you want to be an Engineer or need bridging studies for university.

Courses include calculus, algebra, a bit of computer programming, humanities and economics.

I remember loving the Maths classes but left when my writing career took off. 

11. iVersity 

This is the Coursera of Europe. I came across it after finding Coursera, you get to learn academic courses but there are no certificates if it’s something you want to show or add in your resume. 

12. FutureLearn 

It’s free taught by universities and special organisations and topics are in business and management, creative arts, law, politics, sciences, digital skills, sports and leisure, teaching. 

13. PluralSight 

Another programming school teaching web design, software, 3D development, CAD software. You can try the classes before deciding to take the lessons. 

14. Justin Guitar 

Over 1000 lessons and songs on guitars. Learn for free. I added this course here for my daughter, she loves the guitar! I didn’t know of the existence of the website. 

15. LearnSmart 

Career development and advancement on IT, security, project management and HR. 

16. General Assembly 

There are in-person, online classes, fulltime or parttime classes. Focuses on digital skills like digital marketing, ios and android development, very important for creating apps. The live-stream popular classes! I’d love that. 

17. Academic Earth 

Academic courses, like arts, sciences, humanities, economics, computer sciences. 

18. Drawspace 

I added this one here for myself. I’d love to learn how to draw one of those elusive skills I seem not to muster. Try free lessons. 

19. Dave Conservatoire 

A free music website where you practice via videos or by taking tests. 

20. Google Code 

Good for android development 

21. Apple developer site 

For those interested in everything Apple – so apps and apps development for ios, MAC os desktops. 


For teachers and students, one of the recommended to your kids interested in coding/computer programming 

QUICK NOTE: There are those courses offered by prestigious universities but never included them here, for the simple reason – the courses are marketing classes, or what you get in your local uni(101). They don’t go in-depth but good for you who don’t mind. 

MIT open courseware 

Open yale 

Stanford Online, 

Carnegie Mellon 

Harvard Extension School 

23. University of the People 

Courses are free for all. No need to say you never got an education!

24. GCF learn Free 

Technology, computer software, reading, Maths, work, career. 

25. Creative LIVE 

Learn all courses creative from photography, art, music, design, people skills, entrepreneur. The courses are affordable last I checked. 

26. Craftsy 

Learn everything sewing, baking, knitting, crocheting. 

27. E-learning for kids 

Very important website for kids above 5 years to 12. I included this one here for homeschooled kids and parents who homeschool, never knew they’d be a pandemic in 2020. 

28. Skillcrush 

They offer courses on web design and development 

29. HTML Dog 

Don’t know why they had to be a dog! Courses offered on HTML, very important for WordPress. CSS, Javascript, coding skills. 

30. Hack design 

Design for web, mobile apps and you can learn via blogs, books, tutorials, games, videos – all for free 

31. codeHs 

Software coding lessons by subscriptions for home or students in high school. 

32. Better Explained 

Learn Maths with visual explanations. You can learn high school algebra or college-level stats and calculus, you know those confusing maths lessons? 

Tips for Getting the Most on an Online Free Learning Site

The following are tips for getting the most when learning on an online platform for a free certificate. And they include:

  1. Start free and determine if the course is yours 

Yes, I took courses and keep on taking classes which bore me in the middle of them. Or sometimes, as life gets in the way and a course isn’t my priority. I learnt everything. Somethings which didn’t help me in writing but helped add knowledge in my online working world. 

2. Learn a lot about one topic – focus 

Learn to keep focus. Are you a writer or want to be a freelance writer, author or poet? Instead of jumping from class to class, take all classes on writing and improve your trade. 

3. Practice what you learn 

A good student does what the teacher says. Take into action what you learn, see if what you were taught works. 

4. Choose one platform to learn 

Don’t confuse yourself with multiple platforms at a time. Different teachers, different delivery. Some teachers are positive others aren’t. Beware where you want your energy. 

In the end, don’t stop seeking knowledge. The more knowledge I seek, the better I become in my writing business. And the more knowledge you seek the more knowledge you gain and the more to charge.

Which one of the free online learning platforms for Kenyans working online to boost their skills will you use to acquire knowledge in 2020?




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