THE BLOG
11/30/2016 09:38 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2017

6 Ways to Learn Without Formal Education

Education these days costs BIG bucks! Whether it's college tuition, private tutors for the SATs and even Driver's Ed. Courses for a learner's permit, people find themselves shelling out money to become educated on a constant basis. Not everyone can afford the classes and learning opportunities necessary to get ahead these days. However, with the age of technology and free information, there are a whole host of ways to get educated without ever having to go to school or pay for a class.

Online Classes

Not all online classes need to be associated with schools, universities or even money. In fact, some of them are completely free. Websites like Coursera.com offer classes from accredited universities that can be joined for absolutely no cost. They offer courses in everything from photography, business, design and computer science to Buddhism, psychology and social media usage. If you take a course and decide you want to go a step further with it, Coursera also offers certification courses for a small fee. For even more obscure classes, mainly concerned with hobby learning, Creativelive offers free or cheap courses in everything from wine tasting, scrapbooking and calligraphy to sewing, upcycling and knitting. Online courses can be found even for necessary test taking where a student, teen, or their parents might find themselves paying a huge fee for tutors. Instead of hiring a company to teach a new driver, try filling out a free practice test to help prepare for the driver's license test. And, instead of shelling out cash for SAT tutors, try out different websites that offer free SAT practice tests as well.

Travel

Studying abroad isn't the only way to get an education through travel. Plus, the program fees are usually much more than it would ever cost to travel to those destinations on your own. Taking time to wander around abroad can truly be a form of education. If you are careful not to get caught up in the partying or backpacker scene, there is a whole lot of culture and history that can come from the experience. Museum hop, meet the locals and talk to other travelers from all over the world. Even if you aren't able to leave America, travel to various destinations like California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan can all offer vastly different experiences even though they are all located in one place.


Work Experience

The working world offers an entirely new, yet educational experience that is much different than just taking classes. By getting into a field of your choosing, you can learn far more about it than if you studied it in school. Working doesn't even mean that you necessarily have to get a paid job. Instead, you could try options like WOOFING (working on organic farms) or Helpex to find families in both the U.S and abroad that will offer free room and board for helping out. Learn how to grow grapes for wine making in New Zealand, do permaculture farming in Spain or do handy work around a farm in Costa Rica. These sites are filled with opportunities, all of them offering skills and valuable experience.

Books & Documentaries

When you skip the Harry Potter and change the Netflix category from comedy to documentary, there is a whole lot to be learned from these vehicles. Instead of staying true to the fiction section of the book store, branch out and pick up a few titles that have to do with business, history, or some sort of skill that you would like to learn. More often than not, these kinds of books will be full of wisdom and even offer step by step solutions for gaining the education that you are lacking. Likewise, documentaries are full of information on a whole host of topics and may be better for the visual learner.

Internships

Not all internships have to be related to school programs! In fact, there are hoards of companies out there that are looking to take on paid and unpaid interns and teach them a thing or two about their field. Check out websites like internships.com where you can specifically search for opportunities related to your career or educational interests. There are many that can be done remotely from a computer and ones that can be completed in person as well. These are great for bolstering your resume while learning some actual skills in the field.

Youtube

This is the information age and technology has given the world access to nearly everything they may want to know. While it didn't necessarily start out this way, Youtube has turned into one of the number one educators in the world, and for free! Want to learn how to build a website, fix a broken car window or apply your mascara perfectly? There is bound to be a video that lays it all out for you.


What's Your Favorite Way to Learn?