Video is one of the most effective ways to deliver learning. With employees increasingly time-poor and the cost of sending people off site frequently seen as a barrier to training, video learning enables staff to log in to their learning wherever and whenever they want – slotting in with their existing schedules. Decades of research have also highlighted the positive links between visual learning and memory recall of new information. So where do L&D professionals go for their visual education? Here are a few online resources you could try, as recommended by our readers:

Khan Academy

Born out of founder Salman Khan’s mission to educate students for free, Khan Academy has now delivered more than one billion lessons, and although the site is primarily aimed at school-age learners – with a focus on STEM subjects – there are plenty of free business and economic resources.


Browse MOOCs (massive open online courses) from a range of scheduled and self-paced video learning courses provided by experts from around Europe – many are free. Topics include social innovation and new business models, or predictive analytics and visual thinking for the more adventurous.


If you’re looking for extra certification, Udacity sells ‘nanodegrees’ in coding, robotics and artificial intelligence, which are often compilations of its existing free courses. In the US, this MOOC-led system of workplace learning is recognised by some of the country’s largest employers – and it often works out more cost-effective than other forms of learning.


Launched four years ago, the Riyadh-based company offers a fully Arabic MOOC platform, containing content from local professors. There are courses on everything from social media, art and psychology to medicine and engineering.

The Great Courses

Often described as the ‘Netflix of learning’, this site has a 20-year heritage in delivering lecture-style videos on a huge range of topics, with an emphasis on lifelong learning and a roster of star names such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Economics is a particular strength, but everything from ancient astronomy to cognitive behavioural therapy can be found here, while sister site The Great Courses Plus offers a subscription-based alternative.


edX gathers high-quality learning from some of the world’s best universities, including MIT and the University of California, Berkeley. Courses are free and self-paced, with the option to apply for a verified certificate for a fee. Popular subjects include accounting and risk management.


The behemoth of the video learning world, with more than 45,000 courses, Udemy’s USP is that it offers genuinely blended learning, supplementing video with articles and audio clips. It’s also impressively mobile-friendly and tailored to a professional audience, but it isn’t always the cheapest place to find one-off courses.

This subscription-based online learning platform is probably the best-known in the world – and now comes with the added heft of LinkedIn, which purchased it in 2015. With more than 6,000 courses in five languages, its production values are industry-renowned, and it offers corporate, academic and government packages – though it naturally skews towards technology and marketing-related topics.


Boasting more than one million learners, MOOC platform Edraak is an initiative from the Queen Rania Foundation. Its mission is to broadcast the best academics across the GCC, offering original Arabic courses. Through its partnership with edX it also gives learners access to Arabic versions of courses, taught and developed at top institutions like HarvardX, MITX, and UC BerkelyX, at no cost. Course include e-marketing, goal setting and self-management and communication skills.


The idea of this six-year-old service is to connect learners with world-leading experts through less formal, more interactive forms of video. Today, it boasts more than 16,000 classes in everything from culinary arts to entrepreneurship and technology, although it leans towards marketing and self-improvement skills rather than technical topics. Star teachers such as Seth Godin and Simon Sinek have ensured it grabs the headlines.


With 150 educational partners, Coursera is an admirable attempt to bring free MOOCs to around 10 million users. Everything from data management to innovation is covered here, with AI a speciality.


Beginning life as a conference for the great and good, TED revolutionised the world of video lectures in the mid-2000s by restricting speakers to 18 minutes and blending academic heft with an engaging presentational style. While its free website covers almost every topic, business (notably Dan Pink’s talk on motivation, which has been viewed more than 18 million times) features prominently.


Free online courses from well-known names, including Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, in a highly usable website geared towards mastery and progression. There are more than 800 courses here covering everything from risk management and personal development to data management and statistics.

Big Think

Deliberately high-minded in its approach, self-styled ‘knowledge forum’ Big Think gives experts the opportunity to put their ideas out there in the form of brief, idea-packed videos. Browsing its archive of 15,000-plus videos brings everything from instruction on how to manage your biases, to growing empathy through better visual perception (by actor Alan Alda) and the possibility that the entire universe is one giant computer programme.

Open Culture

One of the pre-eminent directories of free video resources from around the web, Open Culture’s vaults not only contain lessons in everything from crisis management to launching a successful start-up, there are also links to audiobooks and online courses, as well as speeches from luminaries such as Margaret Atwood and Richard Dawkins.

Don’t forget YouTube

It’s easy to associate YouTube with endless videos of kittens and TV re-runs, but if you know where to look there are a wealth of valuable resources on the biggest free video platform on the net. Search Robin Sharma, Derral Eves and Marie Forleo for an initial foray into the world of business YouTube.

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At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.