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  • Writer's picturePRNewswire

The 'other surge' amid pandemic: Online learning leaps in lockdown

SAN FRANCISCO (PRNewswire) -- Online learning is booming as a productive use of otherwise idle time during COVID-19 lockdowns.

According to a new report from Class Central, the world's most popular catalog of free online courses, major providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs) have recorded 180 million learners, making 2020 the most consequential year for MOOCs since their inception in 2011.

Class Central, the No. 1 search engine for free online courses, saw 18+ million visitors in 2020—more than double the entire year of 2019.

"People have interest, a desire to improve themselves, and, all of the sudden, they have time," says Class Central founder Dhawal Shah. "Global quarantines mean explosive growth for us."

Data collected by Class Central shows that before the pandemic, technology-related subjects were the most popular MOOCs, including computer science and programming. After the pandemic forced quarantines and lockdowns, interest increased in soft skills and general topics such as personal development, art and humanities. The most popular course to date during the pandemic is Yale University's "The Science of Well-Being," with more than 2.5 million enrollments.

One-fifth of the 100 most popular free online courses launched in 2020 are directly related to COVID-19. The top course, with over 1 million enrollments, is Johns Hopkins' "COVID-19 Contact Tracing," followed by Harvard's "Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19," with 300,000 enrollments.

Collectively, more than 900 universities—including all Ivy League schools—offer 15,000+ free courses.

"The online learning world can be daunting. The variety is endless and the need for aggregation great," says Shah. "Class Central provides a way to help users decide which online course to take."

Easy navigation, assistance in matching personal interests to available courses, user reviews and a five-star rating system have made Class Central a preferred first stop among those shopping for online courses. To sign up, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

About Class Central Founded in 2011, Class Central is the No. 1 search engine for free online courses. More than 40 million learners have found free courses via the site, which boasts a catalog of over 15,000 courses, 2 million registered users and 1 million unique visitors per month.

As the largest online catalog of MOOCs, Class Central offers a comprehensive sweep of topics and matches personal interests to available courses.

SOURCES: Class Central; PRNewswire

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