By delivering more than 2,000 lessons to millions of people all over the world ABSOLUTELY FREE, GCFLearnFree.org is a worldwide leader in online education. While our educational model may not be a traditional one, its success speaks for itself. If you are an educator or service provider and are interested in our approach to curriculum design, here are the central beliefs of our philosophy.

How do we choose the topics we cover?

We use a variety of methods in determining what educational content to create for our website: staying current on general trends in technology, conducting research on desired workplace skills, and collecting input from our learners through social media, support tickets, and exit surveys.

Once a topic or new software is under consideration, we evaluate the topic to see if it fits our mission and is appropriate for our audience. We then complete a market study of available/existing competing programs and perform Google keyword analysis to determine the level of potential interest in the topic. If there is sufficient interest—and if the topic is not available in comparable quality (and free)—we proceed to develop the topic.

How do we know that our program is successful?

As our offerings have grown, we have continued to collect and assess data regarding the popularity of courses, quality of the content, and learner satisfaction. This is primarily done through occasional surveys completed by learners, as well as feedback via our support ticket system. It's also done through social media and Google Analytics, which are explained in more detail below.

Learners engage with staff through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and contribute qualitative data via online polls.

Data is collected on our current content to determine course interest, level of utilization (number of pages visited and length of time on site), and return of visitors.

Conclusion

While this educational model may be unconventional, the data gathered over the years indicates that this approach works for our learners. Through incredibly positive feedback, case studies, the rate of word of mouth, and sheer visitor numbers, it is clear that not only are we successful in providing learning opportunities, but we also are effective in teaching those who seek to better their lives through education.