10 Best Online Learning Platforms In 2023 To Jumpstart Your Career
In the past few years, online learning has drastically evolved and changed the face of modern education. Did you know that online learning is way cheaper, more effective, and requires less time commitment than traditional education? That explains why more and more people choose to study online.
There is nothing like taking control of your academic life and learning at your own pace without feeling as if someone is holding a shotgun over your head. And there is no better and easier way to do that than by taking online classes.
If you have been cracking your head over the viability of MOOC courses and the online platforms to help you get the best out of them, then keep reading as you about to learn about 8 best online learning platforms.
Best Online Learning Platforms 2023
1. Skillshare - Best for Everyday Learning
Premium Membership (includes unlimited access to 27,000+ classes) - $32/month or $168/year
Free Membership (includes unlimited access to 2,000+ classes) - free
Who Is Skillshare Best For?
Skillshare is best for people who want to learn new skills or improve the existing ones but don't have a lot of time for that. Designed to help you learn skills in a myriad of areas and incorporate them into your personal and professional lives. Even though Skillshare has more content on creative topics, there are still plenty of tech classes available.
Skillshare is a perfect balance between YouTube tutorials and full-length courses that you can purchase on platforms like Coursera or edX. It offers just the right amount of information so that you learn the subject without having to spend hours doing so.
Skillshare has recently added a certification feature to its classes! The certificate will include all the important details, including the name of the course and the teacher, the date of completion, and the personal details of the student. The certificates are not accredited, but it's still a valuable addition to your portfolio because they feature your project which reflects your skill and knowledge (you are required to submit it to get a Skillshare certificate).
While I think that Skillshare certification is a great idea, I do have some concerns (that applies to all unaccredited certificates I talk about in this article). First, the certification process is not standardized, which means that the quality of projects submitted may vary widely. Second, the lack of accreditation means that employers may not value the certificate as highly as other credentials. However, I do think that the certification is a step in the right direction for online learning platforms.
Yes (30-day free trial)
Skillshare is one of the most popular online learning platforms. It has a massive collection of over 30,000 classes that are divided into three categories: Thrive (Lifestyle, Productivity), Build (Business Analytics, Freelance & Enterneuprenship, Leadership & Management, Marketing), and Create (Animation, Film & Video, Graphic Design, Music, Creative Writing, Photography, Web Development, and more).
Skillshare believes in a project-based approach to learning that allows students to expand their creativity and apply new skills in life. All courses consist of two parts: a video presentation (which usually lasts around 20-60 minutes) and a class project.
Keep in mind, that even though there are tons of superb courses on Skillshare, none of them are accredited by any institution and Skillshare does not offer certificates of completion. It's a place to learn new skills and expand your knowledge, not get a degree.
Skillshare's Premium Membership grants you unlimited access to all classes in the library. You also can participate in Skillshare Live Sessions and Workshops taught by top teachers. All the classes in the library are available for download so you can continue learning on the go even when you don't have access to the Internet.
Overall, Skillshare offers great value for money. The monthly price is very low and the quality and variety of classes are excellent. Plus you can get a 30-day free trial to try the platform before deciding whether it's right for you.
2. Mindvalley - Best for Personal Development
Mindvalley Membership (includes unlimited access to 50+ courses) - $499/year or $99/month
Mindvalley Individual Courses - $199-$499/quest (this option has recently been removed from the platform)
Who is Mindvalley Best For?
Mindvalley offers courses in all areas of life. The courses are best for people who want to grow but feel that something is holding them back or are looking for a way to achieve better results in life and reach their full potential. It is a bonus if you are open-minded to mindfulness practices like meditation, hypnosis, and energy healing. Additionally, the courses are ideal for people with unresolved traumas, lack of motivation, and unclear vision.
When you finish a Mindvalley program, you have the opportunity to take an assessment test. If you successfully pass the test with at least an 80% score (if you fail, you can retake the test within 2 weeks), you will receive a certificate. Not all programs come with a certificate (at the moment, around 70 Quests offer certificates). You can add certificates to your portfolio but they do not certify you as a practitioner or professional. It is more of a way to showcase your commitment to personal growth. For me, these certificates also serve as a reminder of my own progress.
Mindvalley Coach Certification
Mindvalley offers five Coach Certification programs that are very different from regular courses. The programs are much more interactive and include borderless virtual classrooms and tools. They are so thorough that once you have completed them, you can coach up to 100 clients with the help of matchmaking technology. Mindvalley has partnered with Evercoach to ensure that you not only become a successful coach but also a successful business owner. Mindvalley Coach Certification programs also offer one-on-one sessions with your counselor, intimate gatherings in your city, virtual meet-ups, and the annual exclusive Mindvalley Certified Coaches summit. The cost of each program is $2500 (not included in the Mindvalley Membership).
Yes (7-day free trial)
In my opinion, Mindvalley is one of the best personal growth and transformation platforms. Its goal is to help students succeed at work while also unlocking the full potential of their body, mind, and spirit. Mindvalley is best suitable for people who want to improve different areas of their life in a short period of time.
There are over 70 courses (or quests) in Mindvalley's library, taught by top experts in the fields of expertise: CEOs of large companies, best-selling authors, celebrity coaches, famous therapists and entrepreneurs, and international speakers. The quests are divided into different categories: Mind, Body, Soul, Career, Entrepreneurship, Relationships, Kids, Teens and Parenting, and Performance.
Each quest lasts 30 to 50 days, and it usually takes less than 20 minutes a day to complete a video-based lesson and a practice exercise.
Mindvalley Membership costs $499 per year and includes unlimited access to all quests plus many perks like official certifications for completed quests, monthly live coaching calls with Mindvalley's authors, and even a 22-minute assessment that will help you determine the areas in life you need to focus on. I think that the price is a steal, considering how much you are getting for your money.
Click To Read Full Mindvalley Review And Find Out Whether It Is Worth It
3. Coursera - Best Overall
Coursera Plus Subscription (includes unlimited access to most courses, Specializations, and Professional Certificates) - $399/year
Individual Courses - from $29 to $99 each
Specializations - from $39 to $79 per month
Professional Certificates - from $49 each
Online Degree Courses - from $15 to $25,000 each
Audit Option - free
Who Is Coursera Best For?
Coursera is best for people who want to upskill at work to get a promotion or change their careers entirely. Since Coursera offers Certificates, it is also a good option for people who have certain skills but lack a degree to back them up. The platform has lots of great business, data science, computer science, and IT courses. There are also plenty of courses for those interested in personal development, health, and language learning.
Coursera offers four different types of certificates.
Specialization Certificate: once you have completed every course in the Specialization ( 4-7 courses, each 10 to 20 hours long) and finished the hands-on project(s), you will earn your Certificate. Specialization Certificate can be added to your portfolio but it is not accredited.
Professional Certificate: can help you enhance your resume and build your portfolio and even land a job. Professional Certificates show that you learned real-world applied skills with the latest knowledge from tech giants like Google, IBM, and Facebook.
The MasterTrack Certificate: high-quality university-issued certificate. The MasterTrack allows you to earn credits towards your degree by taking an online module of a Master's degree program.
University-Issued Certificate: unlike Professional and MasterTrack Certificates, these certificates are not co-branded with Coursera. Universities such as Duke and Arizona State University offer these types of certificates.
By enrolling in one of Coursera's MasterTrack programs, students are able to receive a university-issued certificate and earn credit toward their degree.
Yes, 7-day free trial for Coursera Plus subscription
Coursera is an online learning platform that offers university-level courses and certification programs. The courses are taught by instructors from top companies and universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Princeton.
The price for individual courses varies from $29 to $99. However, there are thousands of courses that have the Audit option which allows you to take it for free. If you choose to audit the course, you won't receive graded assignments, a certificate, and bonus materials. Most courses consist of video lectures, assignments, reading materials, quizzes, projects, and group discussions.
There are courses available in many languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and more. Some of the courses' topics are Arts and Humanities, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Health, Math and Logic, Personal Development. Each course takes 4-6 weeks to complete.
If you want to master a specific skill, you can enroll in a Specialization - a series of online courses, each takes 4-6 months to complete. Once you complete the Specialization, you will earn a Certificate to add on your resume. You get a 7-day free trial to try a Specializatito at no cost when you start your first subscription.
And if you are looking to change your current career or start a new one, then you can enroll in one of the Professional Certificates programs. Like Specializations, Professional Certificates are a series of courses, but the difference is that the Certificate of Completion will be issued by the company that developed the course.
Finally, there are online degree courses granted by world-class, accredited universities. The main advantage of getting your degree online is that it costs much less than on-campus programs. Also, you can study at your own pace and complete your degree faster.
If you plan on taking several courses, it might be a good idea to subscribe to Coursera Plus, an annual plan that grants unlimited access to over 90% of courses, Professional Certificates, and Specializations. You can take as many courses as you like and you will earn a Course Certificate for every course you complete.
Our detailed Coursera Review: Is It Worth It?
4. MasterClass - Best for Inspiration
Unlimited Subscription (includes access to all classes) - $180/year
Who is MasterClass Best For?
MasterClass is best for creatives of all levels who are interested in personal development and seeking inspiration from the best professionals in the field. It offers a more hands-on approach to learning which not only makes it fun but also allows students to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. The content is so engaging end entertaining that it can even replace the binge-watching of your favorite Netflix shows.
MasterClass doesn't offer any Certificates, but once you complete the course, you will receive an email confirming that and giving you tips on how to continue your studies on the platform.
MasterClass is an online learning platform that everyone is talking about. What makes it different is that the courses are taught by world-famous experts and celebrities. You can learn acting from Natalie Portman, filmmaking from Martin Scorsese, singing from Christina Aguilera, cooking from Gordon Ramsay, writing from Dan Brown, etc.
For $15 a month, you get unlimited access to all classes. Each course consists of an average of 20 lessons, each lasting approximately 10 minutes. Classes include high-quality video lessons, assignments, workbooks, and community activities. You can also join discussions to ask questions, get feedback, and connect with other students. There are no deadlines, so you can learn at your own pace. All the videos can be downloaded for offline viewing using a mobile app.
The classes are divided into nine categories: Film & TV, Culinary Arts, Writing, Music & Entertainment, Sports & Games, Business, Photography, & Fashion, Business, Politics & Society, Lifestyle, and Science & Technology. MasterClass doesn't offer certificates of completion.
5. Udemy - Best for Upskiling
Individual Courses - from $9 to $200 each
Personal Plan - $30/month
6,000+ courses (with Personal Plan)
Who Is Udemy Best For?
Udemy is best for people who want to learn a specific skill or a set of skills on both creative and professional topics. Since you pay for each course individually, it's not the best platform for those who want to learn different skills every day (for that, I recommend sites like Skillshare, which offer an unlimited subscription model) unless you sign up for a Personal Plan which offers unlimited access to over 6,000 courses.
Udemy is not an accredited institution, but you get a Certificate of completion after you take a paid course. The Certificate will include the name, instructor, and length of the course, the date of completion, and your name. You can put it on your resume to share with potential employers.
7-day free trial with Personal Plan
Udemy is another popular online learning platform. It has a huge library of over 150,000 courses which makes it the best one when it comes to content. With Udemy, you can expand your knowledge and skills in any field imaginable from business and marketing, to hand weaving and clowning. The goal of Udemy is to disrupt and democratize the educational system.
Unlike Skillshare, MasterClass, and LinkedIn Learning, Udemy doesn't have unlimited subscription plans, you have to purchase each course individually, which is obviously a downer. However, the courses are quite cheap, starting at just $9. And if you don't like a course you have purchased, you can get a refund within 30 days.
Udemy's courses are divided into 13 different categories: Finance & Accounting, Development, Business, Marketing, IT & Software, Office Productivity, Music, Personal Development, Teaching & Academics, Design, Lifestyle, Photography, Health & Fitness. The courses are offered for all levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. One thing I absolutely love is that there are courses available not only in English but also in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Spanish, etc.
Each Udemy course consists of a video tutorial - the average course is 5 hours long but some can be as short as 30 minutes - and can also include additional resources, such as quizzes, practice tests, coding exercises, and assignments. You can download any Udemy course and watch it offline at any time.
6. Brilliant.org - Best for School Students
Brilliant Monthly Subscription (includes unlimited access to all courses) - $24,99/month
Brilliant Annual Subscription (includes unlimited access to all courses) - $149/year
Who Is Brilliant Best For?
Brilliant is suited for learners of all ages, but it works best for school students (6th grade and up) who want to excel in STEM fields and who have experience with self-guided learning. It is also an excellent platform for college prep. There are some challenging courses that may be interesting to college students and adults who want to learn more about the subject, as well.
Brilliant doesn't offer Certificates for completed courses. Sometimes when you pass a test in one of the courses you may earn a certificate but it's more like a badge that can only be displayed on the platform and not on your college resume or job portfolio.
Yes (7-day free trial)
Brilliant is an online learning platform that focuses on STEM subjects - Science, Math, and Computer Science. The courses are designed for both children (aged 10+) and adults. Their goal is to make learning fun, engaging, and interactive, and that is what makes Brilliant one of the best learning platforms, especially for young adults.
You can learn a variety of subjects on Brilliant, including Algebra, Logic, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus, Geometry, Classical physics, Quantum mechanics, Foundational computer science, and others.
Brilliant offers monthly and annual subscriptions that include full access to all courses on the platform and thousands of practice quizzes across all topics.
In my opinion, Brillian is a great platform but because it only covers STEM subjects, it is mostly suitable for those who are interested in math and computer science. A 7-day trial is available for anyone who wants to try Brilliant at no cost.
Read Full Brilliant.org Review
Update: as of 2023, I recommend Skillshare instead of Brilliant because of its higher quality and a larger array of classes.
7. Edx.org - Best for Accredited Courses
Verified Track Courses - from $50 to $300 each
Audit Track Courses - free
Who Is edX Best For?
edX is best for people who want to take high-quality courses from the world's best universities without paying a lot of money for it. It is a good choice for students who have busy lifestyles and want to learn at their own pace.
edX offers Certificates to students who pass the course in the paid track (you need to get a passing grade for that course). If you are enrolled in one of the edX programs (Professional Certificate, XSeries, MicroMasters, or MicroBachelors) then you will receive a program Certificate after you earn a Certificate for every course in the program. Since edX courses are provided by top universities, their Certificates may help get your resume or LinkedIn profile noticed.
With edX, you can also enroll in MicroMasters programs, which are basically a series of graduate-level courses from top universities. Some universities offer credit for the MicroMasters program certificate. The programs are not free, but rarely cost more than $1,500, and take between 7 months and 1 year to complete. And if you are thinking of getting into grad school, you can also check online Master's Degrees on edX.
edX is one of the best providers of college-level online courses. The company was founded by Harvard and MIT, and the quality of courses is top-notch. All the courses on edX, with the exception of professional education courses, can be taken for free.
To join the course without paying you need to enroll in the Audit Track. The Free (Audit) Track grants students access to all course materials, such as lectures, videos, ungraded assignments, and reading - for the duration of the course. However, you won't receive graded assignments and verified certificates of completion. If you want to have access to graded assignments and earn a certificate upon successful completion, then you would have to enroll in the Paid (Verified) Track. The certificate can be added to your resume or LinkedIn profile. If you enroll in the Audit Track but then decide that you want to earn the certificate, you will have a chance to switch to the Verified Track. Each course has an upgrade deadline so make sure you check that first.
edX offers over 3,500 courses on different subjects including Biology & Life Sciences, Architecture, Chemistry, Art & Culture, Electronics, Education & Teacher Training, Medicine, Food & Nutrition, Physics, Science, Music, Law, History, Language, and Environmental Studies. Most courses are available in English, but there are also some courses in Chinese, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, etc. There are courses for introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. The courses usually consist of both text and video content and assignments. There are also course discussions where you can ask questions and interact with fellow students. Some courses include group projects. You can download any edX course for offline viewing.
8. Udacity - Best for Career Advancement
Nanodegree Programs - $399/month
Single Courses - free
40+ Nanodegree programs
Who Is Udacity Best For?
Udacity is best for people who want to take their career to the next level whether as a freelancer or part of a company. The Nanodegree Programs are not cheap but worth it for those who want to learn some of the most in-demand skills like web development, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data science, programming, etc. Udacity free courses are good for learners who want to upskill or try out the platform before committing to one of the paid programs.
Udacity grants Certificates to all students who graduate from paid courses, executive programs, and Nanodegree programs. Udacity is not accredited but the Certificate can serve as proof of your skill on your resume. Students who complete free courses do not receive any Certificates.
Udacity is widely known for its Nanodegree programs. A Nanodegree is a skill and project-based learning program. Each Nanodegree consists of a series of courses on topics like Artificial Intelligence, Coding, Robotics, Mobile Programming, Business, and Data Science. Most programs can be completed in 3-6 months. Udacity offers one-on-one technical mentorship to all Nanodegree students.
Udacity is the definition of innovation when it comes to online learning and education. When you enroll in one of Udacity's Nanodegree programs, your chances of landing a job after you are complete the course skyrocket.
Udacity is not an accredited university, but the skills they teach are relevant, in-demand skills that employers are actively seeking. However, when compared to other online learning platforms, Udacity is steep in pricing. The average cost for a Nanodegree program is between $1200 and $2400. You can get a discount if you pay for several months upfront.
Udacity also offers Executive Programs for business leaders who need to learn about complex concepts like Artificial Intelligence and implement them in their companies within a short period of time (usually a few weeks). The cost of Executive Programs is around $1500 per month which includes project reviews from top industry professionals, technical mentor support, personal career coach, and a learning plan that allows you to learn at your own pace.
9. LinkedIn Learning - Best for Career Path
Premium Subscription (includes unlimited access to all courses) - $39,99/month or $239,88/year
Who Is LinkedIn Learning Best For?
LinkedIn Learning is best for people who are already professionals or at least have some knowledge of the subject. It might work for beginners as well, but I do recommend taking entry-level courses elsewhere first on platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, or Coursera. If you are in the field already and want to upskill to advance your career, then it's a good place to start. LinkedIn Learning has all kinds of courses, but it's best known for its web and software development, business, leadership, marketing, and design courses.
LinkedIn Learning Certificates
LinkedIn Learning students can receive Certificates of Completion. The courses are not accredited and are not recognized by universities. They can be added to portfolios and resumes to showcase your skills and education. The Certificates of Completion are granted once a student watches the whole course or Learning Path.
Yes (1-month free trial)
A few years ago, LinkedIn acquired one of the oldest e-learning sites called Lynda, and transferred all content to its own platform - LinkedIn Learning. The company now offers thousands of high-quality courses for all levels, from beginners to advanced, covering a wide array of subjects, including Web Development, Software Programming, Economics, and Business Management.
LinkedIn Learning has a single monthly subscription fee that gives you access to all the content on the platform. The courses consist of bite-sized modules that help absorb information better. LinkedIn Learning allows you to download any course for offline viewing, which I find to be very convenient.
LinkedIn Learning is a good platform that can help you jumpstart your career or achieve professional goals. If you are interested in joining the platform, you can do that by signing up for a 1-month free trial.
10. FutureLearn - Best for University Programs
Unlimited Subscription (includes access to 600+ courses) - $39,99/ month or 279,99/year
Premium Courses - from $75 to $400 each
Audit Option - Free
Microcredentials - from $579 to $1549
Who Is FutureLearn Best For?
FutureLearn is best for people who want to take university courses and who are interested in earning credits for them. Unlike many online platforms, FutureLearn offers accredited courses and programs (not all of them are accredited, though). There are courses on both creative and STEM subjects, and even some medicine and law courses. The quality of courses is very high, and it's well suited for those who are looking for high-quality education.
FutureLearn gives Certificates of Achievement to students who take an ExpertTrack, Premium, or Sponsored course, or have an Unlimited subscription. To get this Certificate, you need to complete at least 90% of the course steps, achieve a score of 70% or higher, and in case the course has a test, attempt every question on it. The Certificate includes the course information, your average score, and a transcript of what you have learned. It validates your skills so you may want to put it on your resume for potential employers to see.
Many of FutureLearn's Microcredentials programs are accredited, meaning that you can get a professional certificate or university credit to use towards a degree after you complete them. These programs are created by world's top universities and the accreditation is done by them. There are also several short courses that are also accredited (you can find this information on the course page).
No, unless you join ExpertTrack which comes with a 7-day free trial
Futurelearn is an online education platform that offers hundreds of courses from the world's leading universities. The majority of courses can be audited for free, but access to course tests and a Statement of Participation or Certificate of Achievement becomes available only if you upgrade to a paid course. There is an option of purchasing an unlimited subscription for $279,99 per year that includes access to over 600 short courses.
Most courses include video and audio content, reading materials, and short quizzes. All students can post their questions and discuss topics with teachers and each other. Some courses offer assignments, and if you have upgraded your course, you will be able to take tests, as well.
In addition to free courses, Futurelearn offers Premium courses for a fee. Premium courses are perfect for people who prefer to learn in a small group setting and who want to advance their careers. Premium courses are divided into several categories: IT and Digital Skills, Business and Management, Teaching, and Healthcare.
If you want to earn academic credit and upskill your work, Futurelearn also offers 21 Microcredentials. They are fully accredited and require 100-150 hours of study over 10-12 weeks. Here are a few of currently available Microcredentials: Change Management, Cyber Security Operations (Cisco CCNA), Data Science: Data-Driven Decision Making, Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio, Impact of Trauma on Mental Health, Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners, Sports Coaching, Teacher Training: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum, Veterinary Practitioners and the Food Supply Chain.
To conclude our IMHO review of the best online learning platforms, other notable platforms you should check out include Alison.com, YouTube (Harvard uploads their CS courses there), and Shaw Academy. It is important to find the platform that will suit your needs so that you will be able to get the most out of it.