7 Great Free Online Courses to Help You Learn about AI and Machine Learning

These online courses will help you get started with the basics of AI and ML.
Christopher McFadden

With all the hype around artificial intelligence and machine learning, it might have crossed your mind if these are viable fields for a career or career change. But before you make a big decision like this you might want to find out what they are all about first. 

Here we have gathered some of the best-rated and reviewed courses on these subjects that you can take for free. These are just suggestions and you can find many more on the net.


What is the best way to learn Artificial Intelligence for a beginner?

Like anything in life, the best way to learn about anything is to get your feet wet. 

Watch some TedTalks on YouTube, read some blog posts, find forums and groups on social media platforms, and read some books on the subject.

But, ultimately, you must be realistic as to whether the subject actually interests you or not. Before you do decide to take the plunge, complete some free courses on the subject or if possible, paid ones and see if it really is for you. 

Another good piece of advice is to find someone who has done what you are intending to do. Pick their brains and find out how they did it, and whether they would recommend it or not. 

LinkedIn might be a good start here. Try to connect with someone in the field and start a conversation - who knows where it will take you!

If you want to learn about a beginner's adventure from zero knowledge to mastery, you might want to read the following story on hackernoon.com

If you are still interested, we have collated some great courses on AI and Machine Learning below. These are all free but you may need some background knowledge in other subjects to complete them. 

Good luck!

artificial intelligence courses
Source: Greg Ziebowski/YouTube

Where can I learn about Artificial Intelligence for free?

There are a few places you can learn about Artificial Intelligence online and for free. For example, many of the top tech universities in the world have uploaded content you can watch for free on sites like YouTube.

You could also consider taking some of their free online courses on such topics. 

But if you want to sit down and complete an actual course, here are some of the best courses that are available at the moment. 

Most Popular

1. Artificial Intelligence by EdX

EdX is famed for there in-depth and easy to follow courses. For our purposes here, their course on Artificial Intelligence is a great free online course.

The next round begins in September 2019 so enroll if you are interested.

This great course covers topics on AI applications like robotics and NLP, machine learning (branch of AI) algorithms, data structures, games, and constraint satisfaction problems.

The course runs for 12 weeks and is an advanced-level tutorial from Columbia University. It is free but you can tag on an official certificate for a few hundred bucks.

2. Introduction to Artificial Intelligence by Audacity

This great course from Audacity will help teach you some of the fundamental basics of Artificial Intelligence. It forms part of their series on Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree Program and covers a lot of the representative applications of the tech.

It is taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig who will help guide you through things like Bayes networks, statistics, and machine learning, and AI applications such as NLP, robotics, and image processing.

ai machine learning free courses
Source: Mike MacKenzie/Flickr

Before you begin the course, you are expected to have a grounding in linear algebra and probability theory.

3. Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Technique by Stanford University

This free course from Stanford University offers the course takers a chance to learn about how AI uses math tools to deal with complex problems. These include things like machine translation, speech and face recognition, and autonomous driving. 

The comprehensive lecture series can be viewed online and covers:

  • Machine-learning concepts
  • Tree search
  • Dynamic programming
  • Heuristics
  • Game playing
  • Markov decision processes
  • Constraint satisfaction problems
  • Bayesian networks
  • Logic
ai machine learning courses
Source: Mike MacKenzie/Flickr

The course also comes with a set of assignments to test your knowledge. It is advisable that you have a foundation in programming, discrete math, and probability before diving in. 

4. Udacity’s Artificial Intelligence for Robotics by Georgia Tech

Another course offered by Audacity, this course discusses how robotic cars are programmed by Stanford and Google.

It also forms part of the Deep Learning Nanodegree Foundation course mentioned earlier.

The course, also taught by Sebastian Thrun, will talk about localization, Kalman and Particle filters, PID control, and SLAM.

Like the other courses above, you will be expected to have a grounding in math concepts such as linear algebra and probability. It would also help if you have knowledge of Python, and programming experience would really help.

Which is the best online course for machine learning?

If you are interested in learning about machine learning, here are some of the best online courses available. This list was compiled with great effort by David Venturi at freecodecamp.org.

Their criteria for the best course is:

  1. It must have a significant amount of machine learning content. Ideally, machine learning is the primary topic. Note that deep learning-only courses are excluded. 
  2. It must be on-demand or offered every few months.
  3. It must be an interactive online course, so no books or read-only tutorials. Though these are viable ways to learn, this guide focuses on courses. Courses that are strictly videos (i.e. with no quizzes, assignments, etc.) are also excluded.

So, without further ado, here (in their opinion) are the best machine learning courses around. There are many more courses available and freecodecamp.org has a nice series of reviews on many of them if you want more information.

1. Machine Learning by Stanford University via Coursera

Stanford University is famed for its high quality of education, and with its Machine Learning course, it doesn't drop the ball. this course regularly receives great reviews and ratings and its syllabus is spot on.

It is taught by Andrew Ng who founded Google Brain and was the former chief scientist at Baidu. The course was first launched in 2011 and covers many, if not all, aspects of machine learning workflow. 

The course is free and requires 5-7 hours of work a week to complete. You can receive a certificate at the end for a small fee.

artificial intelligence learn for free
Source: O'Reilly Conferences/Flickr

2. Udacity Intro to Machine Learning on Udacity

Another great machine learning course on the internet you can study for free comes from Udacity. According to hackerearth.com, it is second only to Stanford's course detailed above.

The course forms part of Udacity's Data Analyst Nanodegree and runs for approximately 10-weeks. The course will teach you all you need to know to handle data sets using machine learning techniques.

It is taught by  Sebastian Thrun and Katie Malone and you will need to know some basic statistical concepts and Python before you begin.

3. Learning from Data (Introductory Machine Learning) by EdX

This Machine Learning course from EdX is our third, and final, top online course for learning the topic. It is taught by Yaser S. Abu-Mostafa, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the California Institute of Technology.

This free course will teach you basic theoretical principles, algorithms, and applications of Machine Learning. It requires around 10 to 20 hours a week for 10 weeks to complete.

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