It's been about a year since I graduated with my degrees from college and I have again begun to feel the urge to learn. I don't know about you by my appetite for the consumption of knowledge is voracious. I feel a personal loss if I have gone through a whole day without learning and as such have the page a day calendar, with useful facts of biology, my bathroom reader is a light read on astrophysics and I am proud to have a home library overfilling our three bookshelves and computer desk. Alas my local library is somewhat lacking in anything meant for an adult reader of non-fiction and it's hours are unfortunately inaccessible for anyone with a 9 to 5 job so that tends to be a dead end. Luckily there is a local community college nearby which has a vast library, but a 30 minute drive 5 towns over just doesn't cut it for me. It was in this way that I decided to see what the wide world of the web had. I was not disappointed.
While getting a degree online for free is impossible as far as I can tell, there is a fairly low cost option of getting an unaccredited degree from The University of the People. Unaccredited means it won't be recognized by other schools as legitimate, though some employers may take it. If you really want a low, low cost education this is the place to get one. Currently you can only get a Business Administration degree or a Computer Science degree. The fee for graduation is based on need. The Open University out of the UK used to be a free model but has since moved to an at cost model, which actually costs as much or more than some US schools.
So, getting a degree can be sketchy, but how about just plain learning? Well you are in luck. Lecturefox provides links to free course lectures that are either video, audio or notes from some top schools around the US and other prominent English language schools. Another site for getting actual courses from schools around the world in many languages is the Open Courseware Consortium and is well worth a look for a wide variety of languages.
Maybe strict education isn't your thing. That's okay, there are plenty of sites to meet your whimsy from sites like Instructables, which if you haven't been to I highly recommend just for the sheer insanity that is possible from the site's many wacky and useful contributors. Another source of sheer information is E-How. Anything you might need to know is there, it's kind of like a worst case survival website, just don't confuse the e for an i or interesting results can ensue. Yet another video site is SuTree, which is filled with free video tutorials on many, many different subjects. Lastly you can root around the Library of Congress which is filled with information, though it isn't exactly a directed source.
While there are countless sites for free video tutorials on the web and there may be more educational sites I have missed, that you can feel free to include in the comments, I just wanted give a well rounded collection of what is available on the web. Before I close, I wanted to give a link to Jimmy R's wonderful list which I stumbled on researching this topic. He includes some of the sources I have listed though some of his information is slightly out of date most of it is top notch. So before you get down about the recession holding back your learning, open a page in a book or on the web and let the next chapter in your lifelong learning endeavor begin.