The debate over the usefulness of a college degree  continues, but it is worth noting that you don’t need to go to college in order to get an education. Indeed, there are a number of opportunities for you to learn all around. Not only can you learn from experience, but you can also learn from free online lectures.
Thanks to technology, it’s possible to get access to free education resources online. You can expand your knowledge base, and continue to grow. If you are looking to improve your mind, and learn something new, here are some great educational resources you can use:
This is one of the most interesting collections of lectures and educational exercises available. Kahn Academy  features more than 3,000 instructional videos on subjects ranging from economics to physics to history. Not only can you watch videos, you can also complete exercises. There are hands-on exercises that allow you to practice what you are learning, in order to better absorb the information. The resources are vetted so that those who are knowledgeable on the subject in question are providing the information.
If you want to really get your idea juices flowing, a great resource is TED . You can access interesting talks and lectures that are often entertaining as well. See the latest innovations, and learn some of the most interesting ideas about society, technology, health, and innovation. You won’t believe some of the interesting things you can learn with TED.
If you are looking for a great learning experience in the palm of your hand, iTunes U  is a great resource. You can download podcasts and videos to your iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad. iTunesU includes plenty of other great resources, including courses from Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, Duke, and more.
Open Courseware Collections
Another option is to take advantage of open courseware collections offered by many colleges and universities. These collections are actual materials from college classes. Some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the country offer open courseware. You can go through the courses for free, receiving a college education at no cost. (Of course, it’s important to note that you won’t be able to claim a college degree, and you won’t receive credit for completing free open courseware classes.)
Here are some of the best open courseware collections:
- MIT: One of the most extensive collections of open courseware anywhere is the MIT collection . That’s right — you can learn from one of the best colleges in the United States.
- UC Berkeley: You can view videos and listen to podcasts from different college courses taught at UC Berkeley . A great way to enjoy the lecture, without doing the coursework.
- Harvard: Check out some of the courses offered by Harvard  — open and free to the public.
- Carnegie Mellon: The Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University  is a great way to check out various classes and get access to world-class courses.
- Johns Hopkins University: Access open courseware, as well as podcasts from this venerable institution. As you might imagine, most of the free content education content from Johns Hopkins  centers around health and medicine.
There are plenty of other open courseware collections out there that you can take advantage of. Go online, and boost your learning.
(Photo: mrplough )