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Beginner computer classes online: What can you take, and where?

Master the basics of computer use with these affordable and free online computer classes for all ages.
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Written by Tanika Johnson on

Computers are part of our schools, workplaces, and everyday lives. Whether you're a beginning or advanced learner, taking computer classes online can enhance your foundational, coding, and development skills. 

This list provides a host of free and paid platforms offering beginner and intermediate classes in computing basics plus topics like Python, data analytics, and cloud computing.

Providers at a glance

Name of provider

Select skills taught

Difficulty:
★ (for kids) - ★★★★★ (for experts)

Cost

Alison

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft 365
  • PowerPoint
  • Python

★★ to ★★★★

Free

Paid certificates and $9.26/month premium option available

Goodwill Community Foundation Global

  • Operating systems
  • Email
  • Computer basics
  • Online safety

★ to ★★

Free

Google Workspace Learning Center

  • Using Google products
  • Gmail 
  • Google Drive
  • Chrome browser

★★ to ★★★★

$6 to $18/month

Khan Academy

  • Intro to computers
  • Intro to the internet
  • HTML/CSS
  • Intro to programming

★ to ★★★★

Free

Udemy

  • Computer basics
  • Web development
  • Cybersecurity
  • Operating systems

★★ to ★★★★★

$11.99 to $199.99 per course

edX

  • Javascript
  • Python
  • Cloud computing
  • Software development

★★★ to ★★★★★

$50 to $300+

Coursera

  • Computer science basics
  • Data science
  • Cloud computing
  • UX design

★★★ to ★★★★★

$9.99 to $2,000 per course

Udacity

  • Intro to programming
  • Data engineering
  • C++
  • Web development

★★★ to ★★★★★  

$399/month/course

Nanodegrees $1,000 to $1,500

LinkedIn Learning

  • Python
  • Cloud computing
  • Windows 10
  • CompTIA

★★★ to ★★★★

$29.99/month or $400/year

What are basic computer skills?

Basic computer skills are foundational tools for navigating computers and software. These skills are essential for a technology-driven world. 

Tori Rubloff/ZDNet

After mastering basic computer skills, consider learning advanced skills such as website design or application development.



Online computer classes for beginners 

Are you ready to improve your basic computer skills? This list of electronic learning platforms offers inexpensive and free online computer classes, training and learning activities, and self-paced tutorials. 

Alison

Cost: Online courses and assessments are free, though certificates and diplomas are paid. The premium monthly package, which removes ads and gives discounts on certificates and diplomas, is $9.26.

Best for: Full-time students, busy parents, working professionals

Alison is an online learning platform offering courses in information technology and other workplace-specific categories. Learners may earn diplomas and certificates in a variety of industries.

Check out:

Goodwill Community Foundation Global: Technology basics

Cost: Free 

Best for: Kindergarten through 12th-grade learners, homeschool children, college and university students, working professionals, career changers

Goodwill Community Foundation Global offers an online learning platform and self-paced distance learning tools for all ages, including free online computer classes for seniors. Learners can enroll in Mac OS, Linux, and creativity and design courses. Other tutorials build proficiency with social media, email, and Google.

Check out:

Khan Academy

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Khan Academy

Cost: Free

Best for: Pre-kindergarten through college students

Khan Academy is a personalized and self-paced learning platform offering online computer classes for kids, adolescents, and young adults. Learners can access instructional videos and practice exercises in math, science, computing, and additional content areas such as arts and humanities. The platform provides test preparation for the LSAT, Praxis, and SAT. 

Check out:

Google Workspace Learning Center

Cost: $6-18 per month per user

Best for: Colleges and universities, businesses, industry professionals

Google Workspace Learning Center offers training resources and tutorials for accessing the video conferencing platform, customizing business Gmail, and navigating word processing and cloud storage. Other courses cover specific products, roles, and industries.

Check out:

Udemy

Cost: $11.99 to $199.99 per course

Best for: Young adult learners, college and university students, career changers, businesses, non-profit organizations, government employees

Udemy offers a variety of business and technical courses for young adults, college and university students, working professionals, and career changers. Learners may select courses in cloud computing, data science, and design along with development, IT operations, and project management and operations.

Read our Udemy review for more information.

Check out:

Online computer classes: Intermediate 

Are you proficient in basic computer skills? Consider enrolling in intermediate and advanced online computer classes. These online learning platforms can help industry professionals with career advancement and workforce development.

edX

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Cost: Verified-track course fees range from $50 to $300. MicroMasters programs may have higher costs.

Best for: All ages and learners

edX is an online learning platform with 2,400 global learning sites. Learners may enroll in massive open online courses for college credit, MicroBachelors programs for undergraduate credentials, and MicroMasters programs for graduate-level courses.

Check out:

Coursera

Cost: Guided projects begin at $9.99. Specializations and professional certificates range between $39 and $79 per month. MasterTrack certifications cost approximately $2,000. With Coursera Plus, learners can pay $59 per month or $399 annually. 

Best for: College and university students and adults between 18 and 55

Coursera offers certificate and degree program options. Learners may access on-demand lectures and applied learning experiences in data science, information technology, and online computer science.

Learn more with our Coursera review.

Check out:

Udacity

udacity.png
Udacity

Cost: $399 per month per course; nanodegree programs are $1,000 to $1,500

Best for: Full-time working adults, degree-holders, government employees, technical workforce professionals

Udacity offers an online learning platform with courses in data science, programming and development, artificial intelligence, and related technical specialty areas. Courses are self-paced, interactive, and delivered in multiple formats.

Check out: 

LinkedIn Learning

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Cost: $29.99 per month, or $400 per year

Best for: College and university students, business and government employees, graduates seeking career opportunities

LinkedIn Learning provides an online learning platform with over 5,000 courses in business, technology, and creative skills. Learners can select technology and certification preparation courses in cloud computing, security, and CompTIA, among others.

Check out:

Conclusion

Basic computer skills are a necessity for today's workforce. Intermediate and advanced computer skills can boost career opportunities for industry professionals. 

Computer experts may explore the best online learning platforms and earn certificates and certifications. 

With affordable or free online courses, busy parents and professionals can select courses that fit their schedules.

How can I learn to use my computer online for free?

Learners can create accounts with Alison or Goodwill Community Foundation, Inc. for free online computer classes and tutorials.

How can I learn basic computer skills online?

Learners can sign up for online introductory courses with online platforms like edX, Coursera, Khan Academy,  Udacity, and Udemy.

What are basic computer skills?

Fundamental computing skills include messaging and video conferencing, troubleshooting, word processing, data entry, and web searching.

This piece was reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

Monali Mirel Chuatico, a woman with long dark hair, smiles in a headshot.

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor's in computer science, which gave her the foundation that she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.

Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at the nonprofit COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey.

Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

Last reviewed Nov. 21, 2021.

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