I mention codecademy all the time here and rant about how great a way it is to learn a variety of languages and markups online, on your own time and free. I’ve been following both the web programming track and the Ruby tracks aggressively lately (I’m on a 20 day streak presently). However, I have to also mention another free site that does much the same thing. RubyMonk offers free online courses in Ruby (and Python, under PythonMonk). The Monk websites are clean, well structured and provide an element of atmosphere as well.
Unfortunately, RubyMonk does not provide a forum where I can pitch my project challenges – er, I mean Koans. But if you are learning Ruby or Python with the Monk, please feel free to come here from time to time to see if there are any simple programming challenges open.