Online learning and knowledge platforms for PWDs

A woman using a laptop while seated in a wheelchair

Education doesn’t end when you leave school! It’s best to consider learning as a lifelong process of improving your skills and knowledge.

But access to continued education can be difficult for PWDs. Along with the cost and time considerations, institutes of higher learning may have varying levels of accessibility and accommodations available.

Online learning or e-learning helps to lower these barriers by

  • providing better access to resources
  • making education more cost-effective with free courses
  • letting you learn in the comfort of your own home without having to travel
  • fostering a sense of motivation instead of being discouraged by other limits
  • reducing the physical challenges of furthering one’s learning
  • reducing the need to compete for physical space and lecturer attention

Here we’ll list some platforms with free courses of materials to begin your learning journey:

Udemy – for a wide selection of courses

With over 100,000 courses available on various topics, including arts, IT, business and life skills, Udemy offers a wide variety of academic and non-academic courses for learners. While most courses require payment, they offer a 30-day refund and also have a list of free Udemy courses you can get started with.

Coursera – for tertiary-level education

While free Coursera courses are also available, they also offer real academic courses from prestigious universities such as Yale, Stanford and Princeton, for a fraction of what it costs to get an online degree. These courses could be exactly what you need to begin your professional career or to advance it further.

Skillshare – for creative fields

Skillshare is a more informal platform, with the majority of courses taught by creative expert. You can learn practical skills in photography, film, writing and design that you can then apply with personal projects. A Skillshare subscription gives you unlimited offline course access and costs USD8 for a month, or USD30 for an annual package. You can also opt for the less in-depth free Skillshare courses before making a decision.

LinkedIn Learning – for training professional skills

Formerly, LinkedIn Learning provides courses that will help you build professional skills and advance your career. Completing certain courses will also give you a digital certificate you can display on your profile or use while job hunting. While all courses on LinkedIn Learning must be paid for, it offers all new users a free 1-month trial.

FutureLearn – for top quality courses and certification

FutureLearn courses are provided by over 170 universities, not individual lecturers, and so are produced to the standards of these institutions. You can choose any one for free, but subscriptions will give you access to official certification when you’re eligible.

Codecademy – for learning how to code

Codecademy offers free courses to help you learn HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, C++ and other programming languages. They also have courses on web development, web design, cybersecurity, data science and much more.

TED Talks – for general knowledge

The TED Talks website collects talks from various experts, all under 18 minutes. TED Series provide deep dives into a specific topic, while TED-Ed videos are aimed at educators and students.

By removing obstacles to accessibility, online learning can help develop a positive attitude toward learning, without hesitation or fear. And by embracing these opportunities, PWDs can ensure a brighter, more fulfilling future for themselves.


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