8 Sites with Free Digital Literacy Courses and How to Use Them

Published: May 3, 2017 - 9:04am EDT

Laptop on a desk with textbooks

If you want to learn how to improve your digital literacy skills, we’ve got the solution for you. In this article, we’ve made a list of the 8 best sites for free online learning. We’ll explain how each one works and give you some quick instructions on how to use each of them, so you’ll know which site is right for you before you even click!

We haven’t placed these in any particular order, but we feel that they are all worth checking out if you’re looking for a good free resource for online learning. Read on to find the right site for you!

1. LearnMyWay – Introductory modules for learning to use the Internet

LearnMyWay.com is a great resource if you’re a beginner on the Internet. Though they don’t teach as varied a selection of computer skills as some other websites, their focus on the Internet is actually their strength.

LearnMyWay homepage

LearnMyWay has more specific topics due to its focus on the Internet, so they can really help you. Some great lessons they have include using Internet on your device, staying safe online, finding a job online, managing your money online, and more! They even have an interactive game that can help you learn to do things quicker, earlier, and cheaper – all online.

Topic listing on LearnMyWay

Simply read through a tutorial and use the interactive functions to learn exactly how you can make better use of the Internet. The tutorials require you to click through each step, and sometimes also watch short instructional videos. LearnMyWay also lists great external resources related to its topics, so it's easier than ever to learn more as you go.

LearnMyWay tutorial

2. GCF Learn Free – Over 125 tutorials to choose from!

GCFLearnFree.org is one of our favourite resources for online learning. They have over 2000 individual lessons to help teach you about a vast amount of different topics – but we love their lessons that can help improve your digital skills. They even have lessons in languages other than English!

GCF Learn Free homepage

With topics like Microsoft Office, Windows or Mac Basics, Social Media 101, computer and email basics, and so much more, you’re guaranteed to find something great. Search from the homepage, or browse their topics page to find a topic you are interested in.

GCF Learn Free topics page

Once you’ve found a topic you need to learn more about, you can choose to work through each tutorial or find one specific to what you need to know. You can scroll through the full lesson and learn as you read, or choose the section most relevant to you from the convenient menu on the right side of the screen.

GCF Learn Free tutorial

3. TechBoomers.com – Over 100 free online courses for popular sites and apps

Let’s not forget our own website TechBoomers.com, which has over 100 free online courses and over 150 free videos. TechBoomers focuses on step-by-step tutorials for the most popular websites and apps; we teach you how to use them, how to stay safe while using them, how they make money, if they will be worth your while, and much more.

TechBoomers homepage

We have lessons on a variety of topics such as social networks, online shopping, travel, communication, e-commerce, online learning, basic Internet safety, online dating, and more. Simply find or search for a topic you’re looking for, click to see the available tutorials, and start learning.

TechBoomers category and course page

Once you find a topic you want, choose a tutorial you want to learn more about. Simply scroll through our informative articles; we may even have a simple step-by-step set of instructions to solve any problem you might be having. TechBoomers even has pictures for every step of the may, so you never miss a thing! And you can easily navigate to other related tutorials on the right side of the screen.

TechBoomers tutorial

4. BBC Webwise – Concise articles to make sense of beginner technology topics

BBC Webwise has been around since 1998, since the early days of commercial Internet.  The BBC knew that people would need to learn about Internet-based topics and understand how to use devices in a constantly-changing world. It features short, easy-to-read articles that answer simple questions, as well as videos with optional subtitles to help those with accessibility needs.  BBC Webwise is a great place to start learning about the Internet and digital technology!

BBC Webwise homepage

Some questions and topics that BBC Webwise covers include:

  • How do I get broadband Internet?
  • What is an app?
  • Where can I get online if I don’t have a computer?
  • How to pay for things online
  • How to stay secure on the web
  • How to beat online bullies

And there are many more!

BBC Webwise topics

Simply click on an article and start reading. Some articles have images or quick videos that give you helpful visual guides. Make sure you read through all the articles on any given topic to learn as much as possible; many articles on BBC Webwise are very short, and work well when read alongside other articles.

BBC Webwise article example

5. Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment – How much do you know?

At DigitalLiteracyAssessment.org, you can learn exactly how proficient you are with your digital skills. You can also monitor your success over time, and even get a certificate of completion for your work if you participate in a sponsored program!

Northstar homepage

The modules are on straightforward digital competency topics, including: Basic Computer, World Wide Web, Windows, Mac OS X, Using Email, Microsoft Word, Social Media, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Information Literacy. All of these introductory topics can help you get started learning technological skills.

Northstar modules page

Each module is very interactive, which is one of our favourite things about the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment. You can click and drag items to answer questions, practice filling in forms online, and so much more. At the end of each module, your correct and incorrect answers will be shown to you, as will a list of which skills you need to work on.

Northstar module example

6. Intel Education – The basics of how computers work and how to use them

Intel is the company behind some of the world’s most advanced computer processors, and they've also created a set of easy-to-use computer learning modules.  These lessons explain exactly how your computer works, and also teach you how to use basic useful functions related to computers.

Intel Education homepage

Intel has 7 introductory modules, including the following topics:

  • Computers and Operating Systems
  • The Internet
  • Word Processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Multimedia
  • Connecting with Family and Friends
  • Protecting Yourself Online

If you are new to computers in general, these lessons are a great introduction!

Intel module topics page

Each module is in the form of a slideshow presentation, with step-by-step instructions.  At the end of each one, you are given a task to try to complete. All of this can be done as long as you have access to a computer. The Intel modules are a great learning experience for anyone who wants to put their newly-learned skills into practice immediately.

Intel module example

7. Coursera – Online learning on thousands of topics, including digital literacy

Coursera is a website used to host online classes from the world’s leading universities and educational institutions. Though its purpose is not to teach digital literacy, it has many online classes that can help improve a variety of digital skills.

Coursera homepage

Coursera’s catalogue includes these topics:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Math and Logic
  • Professional Development
  • Physical Science and Engineering
  • Social Sciences
  • Language Learning

If you’re looking for topics specific to digital learning, check out these amazing classes on Coursera:

Coursera course offerings

When you find a topic you love, simply click Enroll Now on the main course page and see when the class begins. From there, follow along with the lessons; these can be readings, video lectures, instructional videos, presentations, graded assignments, group discussions, and more. Be sure to check out the Syllabus for each class to learn exactly what you’re getting into. We can also help teach you more about how Coursera works in our tutorials on how to use Coursera.

Syllabus for a Coursera course

8. Alison – Online learning and certification

Alison’s Digital Literacy and IT Skills lessons are great for learning concrete digital skills. They also offer ways to get recognition for your completed work.  These include automatically-generated resumes of your skills, as well as certificates to show your completed lessons. Some classes can even count as post-secondary education certification!

Alison homepage

Alison hosts classes on a variety of topics, including Business and Enterprise Skills, Languages, Health & Safety Compliance, and Financial and Economic Literacy. If you're looking specifically for classes that teach digital skills, some of their best topics include:

  • Touch Typing Training
  • ABC IT – Computer Training Suite
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • How to Create Your First Website
  • Fundamentals of Google Android Development

Alison course listings

Choose a topic and work through the modules, or pick a specific module if you’re focused on one specific topic. Work through each lesson, following along with the audio instructions as you go. Simply click Next at the bottom of the lesson to move on to the next lesson.

One downside to Alison is that, although it is free to use, you must watch 10 second advertisements between lessons.

Alison tutorial example

 

Those are some of the best sites out there to help you brush up on your digital literacy skills, whether you're learning something new or mastering a skill you already have. Be sure to continue working on your technological skills, and always be ready to learn something new!

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