It takes considerably more dedication and motivation to seek out knowledge ad hoc online than it does to register in pre-set courses that have the same knowledge already set up and categorized and segmented out for students.
I wasn’t suggesting anyone do THAT. Have you heard of Coursera.com? I take classes on there all the time; and while there are many specialization certificates one can earn by taking certain blocks of courses, anyone anywhere can also choose to audit any course for free, and they are given the same access (in MOST cases) as those paying (usually 40–70 dollars / class) for a grade have.
There are instructors from all over; I’ve taken classes led by professors from Duke, Johns Hopkins, UC Davis, Wesleyan, U Dub, etc. To make up for the lack of in person time, these courses create very dedicated message boards and respond very quickly to questions or problems from those attending.
Anyway, it was more this type of ‘free’ online learning I was speaking of, not so much just being let loose with all the information on the web to sift through.