The best free learning apps

All kinds of students use the best learning apps to learn about a new topic, improve their vocabulary or learn a foreign language. Online learning is becoming increasingly popular, with the e-learning market up 47 percent since 2014. With new learning apps available every day, there are many options to choose from.

Whether you’re an adult looking to learn a popular programming language or a parent looking for a math game for your child, there’s a learning app to help with your learning. We’ve researched the best learning apps to bring you this list of the highest paid and the best free learning apps.

What is a learning app?

A learning app is a mobile application that provides users with different types of learning experiences. You can access learning apps from smartphones, tablets, computers and sometimes on an e-reader. These educational apps are great support tools for classroom or stand-alone learning.

Why do people use learning apps?

People use learning apps to improve their skills in a particular area. They are used by parents looking for additional learning opportunities for their children, adults looking to learn something new and teachers looking for a way to support learning and development in the classroom.

How the best learning apps can help you develop your knowledge and skills

The best learning apps use different learning methods for effective learning, and those methods vary depending on the general style of the app and the target age. Apps for kids include catchy songs and animated stories, while apps for adults can use video lectures. Many apps use interactive games to engage students of all ages.

Engaging content

Learning apps for kids use animated stories and super simple songs to engage young learners so they can have fun while developing math, vocabulary and rhythm skills. Adult apps are more variable in their learning style, some use animations and stories while others rely on interesting content to keep students engaged.

Interactive games

Many learning apps use games, puzzles, and challenges to test your skills in a fun way. There are more simple games like flashcard study sets to complex games with characters and quests.

Certifications

In some adult learning apps, such as Coursera and Khan Academy, you can get a certificate to add to your resume to show that you’ve learned a new skill. A certificate is a great motivation to take a course using a learning app.

The 10 best learning apps: overview

app availabilty notable features Cost
ABCmouse iOS, Android Fun educational games and activities in different subjects, assessment center to check progress, up to three children per account $12.99/month
coursera iOS, Android Hundreds of course options in a wide variety of subjects Free with paid certificate options
Google Classroom iOS, Android Digital classroom with explanations, videos, presentations and quizzes Free
Homer iOS, Android Stories, games, lessons and songs in math, reading, creativity and thinking skills, offline and printable activities $12.99/month
Khan Academy iOS, Android Academic Content, Career Development and Life Skills Free
Khan Academy Kids iOS, Android Free content without ads, including ebooks, learning activities, songs and videos Free
children’s academy iOS Engaging gameplay, animations to learn the alphabet, repetition of the sequence of numbers, Montessori learning, teaches children to spell, write and read $19.99/month
Speech Blubs iOS, Android Improve children’s speech with interactive videos, face filters, stickers, puzzles and mini-games $0 – $14.99/month
Thinkrolls Play & Code iOS Logic games, mazes and puzzles for younger kids $0 – $6.99/month
Wolfram Alpha iOS, Android Teaching Assistants for Teachers, Reference Guides for Professionals, and Research Guides for Casual Learners $0 – $6.99

The best learning apps to make your life easier

Learning apps come in many forms for a wide variety of subjects and ages and are a very popular method of online learning. Education apps were the third most downloaded app category in the Apple Store in 2021. Below are some of the best learning apps to help you in your quest.

ABC mouse | $12.99/month

  • Best feature of paid version: Unlocks more games and activities
  • Biggest drawback of paid version: Content limited to children aged 2-8 years

ABCmouse has a wide variety of topics for kids ages two through second grade. Children learn reading, math and science through games, activities and reading books, and it is safe for children to use.

Homer | $12.99/month

  • Best feature of paid version: Tailor-made programming for children aged two and up
  • Biggest drawback of paid version: Not fully accessible offline

Homer is an early learning app to help kids develop critical thinking and creativity. It has a wide variety of lessons, stories, and activities for children ages two to seven. Lessons are packed with fun learning activities tailored to your child’s interests.

Children’s Academy | $19.99/month

  • Best feature of paid version: Access to all learning materials and activities
  • Biggest drawback of paid version: Many complain about app glitching

Kids Academy has over 5,000 learning activities for kindergarten through third grade in a collection of apps. There are games, videos, interactive and printable worksheets, songs, puzzles, math, reading, language arts, science, social studies, and flashcards.

Speech Blubs | $0 – $14.99 per month

  • Best feature of paid version: Speaking exercises for children with and without diagnosed speech problems
  • Biggest drawback of paid version: Must pay for the annual version to get 24-hour support

This platform is a speech therapy application to help children learn to speak confidently. Created in collaboration with speech language pathologists, this app uses artificial intelligence and video technology to promote children’s speech development.

Thinkrolls Play & Code | $0 – $6.99/month

  • Best feature of the paid version: Unlocks more games and puzzles
  • Biggest drawback of paid version: Some incompatibility issues with older devices

Thinkrolls Play & Code is an app for children aged three to eight to develop logical thinking, problem solving and spatial reasoning through engaging games and challenges. Thinkrolls Play & Code has collaborative play options and lets kids safely share the puzzles they create with friends in the community.

WolframAlpha | $0 – $6.99

  • Best feature of paid version: Access to all features and priority customer support
  • Biggest drawback of paid version: Limited search function

WolframAlpha has a library of informational apps, including course assistants for educators, reference guides for professionals, and research guides for topics from family history to personal finance. These apps help you learn by navigating data.

The best free learning apps

Some apps are completely free to use without having to update to a paid version. Below are some of the best free learning apps for kids and adults.

coursera

  • Best feature: You can learn almost anything anywhere
  • Biggest Disadvantage: Little to no customer service

Coursera is the world’s largest platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs), with courses taught by world-class universities and companies, including Yale University and IBM. Courses are aimed at adults and some are also suitable for high school students. The app is free, but you have to pay for a verified certificate to prove you’ve learned the material.

Google Classroom

  • Best feature: Digital classroom with explanations, videos, presentations and quizzes
  • Biggest Disadvantage: No offline option

Google Classroom is a virtual classroom tool for students and teachers. Students can view, complete, and upload work in Google Classroom, and teachers can upload activities that students can complete in Google Classroom. Within Google Classroom, students can also discuss with teachers and other students.

Khan Academy

  • Best feature: Academic Courses, Career Development Courses and Life Skills
  • Biggest Disadvantage: No certificates

Khan Academy offers thousands of educational videos on math, science, art, history, career development and life skills for adult students. Through this app, students learn new content and improve their critical thinking skills.

Khan Academy Kids

  • Best feature: Free app without ads
  • Biggest Disadvantage: Restricted access when offline

Khan Academy Kids is a free learning app for kids with many ebooks, learning activities, songs and videos. Children learn about numbers, letters, emotions and the world around them and develop basic skills in math, reading and logic.

Which of the best learning apps should I choose?

Learning apps provide an adaptive learning path for different learning styles.

The best learning app for you will depend on your age, what you want to learn, and whether you’re willing to pay for the app. For adult students, Khan Academy is one of the best free learning apps to learn coding while Coursera has the widest range of subjects. For kids learning apps, Khan Academy Kids has content for the widest range of ages.

Frequently asked questions about the best learning apps

What is an advantage of using learning apps?

Learning apps allow students of all ages to learn wherever they are, as long as they have an internet connection. Some learning apps have an offline mode that allows you to connect without an internet connection, although the content is usually limited in the offline mode.

Where can I find learning apps?

You can search for learning apps in the Apple Store and Google Play Store in the Education category. You can also search for a specific app through your web browser and download it directly from the app’s website.

Are learning apps just for kids?

Learning apps are not just for kids, there are plenty of learning apps for adults. You can learn different subjects with Coursera and Khan Academy or learn a foreign language with Duolingo or Babbel. If you run a lot of programs on your device, you may want to learn how to make your apps run faster.

Are learning apps safe for kids to use?

Not all learning apps are safe for kids to use. Before downloading an app for your child, check the age rating and ratings to see what other parents are saying about the app. Some apps come with parental controls. Also, disable in-app purchases if possible.

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