Best 8 Online Learning Platforms 2021 To Jumpstart Your Careers
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.
Premium Membership (includes unlimited access to 20,000+ classes) - $15/month or $99/year
Free Membership (includes unlimited access to 2,000+ classes) - free
Yes (2-months free trial)
Skillshare is one of the most popular online learning platforms. It has a massive collection of over 20,000 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 creativity and apply new skills in life. All courses consist of two parts: a video presentation (which usually lasts around 20-minutes) and a class project.
Keep in mind, that although many of Skillshare courses are superb, they are not accredited by any institution and do not offer a certificate of completion. It is merely a place to learn new skills and expand your knowledge.
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 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 2-month free trial to try out the platform before deciding whether it's right for you.
2. LinkedIn Learning Ex Lynda
Premium Subscription (includes unlimited access to all courses) - $29,99/month or $299,88/year
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 not accredited, but most courses offer a Certificate of Completion that you can later add to your LinkedIn profile.
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.
Unlimited Subscription (includes access to all classes) - $180/year
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 lasts 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.
MasterClass is a good platform for creatives who are interested in personal development and seeking inspiration from the best professionals in the filed.
Individual Courses - from $9 to $200 each
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.
Udemy is not an accredited institution, but you get a certificate of completion after you take a paid course. 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.
Find out more about Udemy in full Review and find out Is It Worth It?
Verified Track Courses - from $50 to $300 each
Audit Track Courses - free
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 to 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 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 2,500 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.
With edX, you can also enroll in MicroMasters programs, which is 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.
You can read full edX review : Is it worth it
Nanodegree Programs - $399/month
Single Courses - free
40+ Nanodegree programs
Udacity is widely known for its Nanodegree programs. A Nanodegree is a skills 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 on 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.
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
Yes (7-day free trial for subscriptions)
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 Specialization 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.
Unlimited Subscription (includes access to 600+ courses) - $249,99/month
Premium Courses - from $75 to $400 each
Audit Option - Free
Microcredentials - from $579 to $1549
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 $249,99 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 best online learning platforms, other notable platforms you should check out include Alison.com, YouTube (Harvard Uploads their CS courses there) and Shaw Academy. The most important thing is to get the most out of your learning. This is the formula you have to use for choosing the platform to settle on, find the platform that will help you get the most out of it.