Emma Cossey’s Five ways to learn for free

Today we are very lucky to have a guest post from the charming and talented Emma Cossey, giving you five ways to boost your brains without parting with any cash. Check out her website and follow her on Twitter after you’ve read her article. And now, without further ado, it’s over to Emma.


Five ways to learn for free

Ten years ago, I was a 16-year-old girl with a resistance to learning. Like a lot of girls my age, I was  more focused on other things (mainly: boys, TOTP, boys, walking in high heels and Just 17 magazine. And boys).

Ten years on and that thirst for knowledge that eluded me during my teenage years has finally surfaced. Which is wonderful, but now I have to pay to learn the stuff I could have learnt at school.

Given that tutorial fees are increasing next year, going back to university isn’t always an option for all of us too. Thankfully, there are ways to learn for free if you don’t need a degree!

Here are five of the best:


If you’re looking for a video tutorial on anything from learning how to video blog to applying the perfect eyeliner, YouTube usually has something to offer. It’s great for picking up quick tips rather than learning anything particularly detailed. The videos tend to be quite diverse, so you may need to do a bit of digging, but there are a few gems in there.


VideoJug is similar to YouTube, in that it’s a goldmine of tutorials. It’s a little more professional, and much easier to find the videos you need, which makes it slightly easier to navigate than YouTube (where 90% of the videos are of kittens and giggling babies).

Because they’re professional, you don’t have to deal with quite so many fit-inducing intros either.


If you’ve got a skill you’d be happy to swap, it’s worth checking out Streetbank. Essentially, it’s a site that helps you get to know your neighbours by listing things you’re happy to lend or give. This could be as simple as listing a ladder, or you could offer music or language lessons. Find someone offering lessons in something you’re interested in, and you might be able to negotiate a skills swap.

Learn something new and get to know your neighbours better? Win.


If you’re looking to learn some basic computer skills, GCFLearnFree might not be a bad site to bookmark. They offer lessons in everything from using Microsoft Access to Facebook 101, and they’ve even got some guides for interview skills and CV writing.

BBC Learning

The BBC website actually has a really good learning section. I’ve been learning about cooking techniques on there, but you can also learn languages, sciences and gardening among other things. May as well get your money’s worth from your licence fee eh?

Do you know of any good resources for free learning?

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  1. Thanks for the shoutout! We’re always adding new content and tutorials so even if you’ve visited GCFLearnFree.org before, we probably have something new since your last visit! ^Jess

  2. You can get tons of really interesting and free educational stuff from the iTunes U section of iTunes. This has everything from complete lectures to study guides from major universities around the world on a myriad of topics. It’s worth hunting around on there – you can find some great things to download onto your PC or stick on your iPod or iPad for browsing on the move.

  3. my boyfriend uses youtube all the time to find out how to do things. He even learnt how to fix our sky box using a video on there!!!

    I’ve never seen itunes u – sounds good if it’s not too serious and intellectual!!!!

  4. Never noticed iTunes U before, I’ll definitely be checking that out. Thanks Doug!

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