Perhaps you want to change your career or take your career to the next level. Luckily, nowadays, there are literally hundreds of opportunities when it comes to online learning. From digital marketing and business management to photography and interior design, there's nothing you cannot learn by enrolling in an online course.
Before choosing the right eLearning platform, you should think about your needs, especially regarding the skills you need to develop. The following information will help you browse the Internet a lot quicker in search of optimal education websites. Without further ado, here are the best platforms for online courses to consider.
Best Online Learning Platforms to Take a Look at
- Over 1'600 online courses in dozens of fields;
- More than 1'150 of those courses are free of charge;
- 23 million registered users.
Coursera is one of the most popular eLearning platforms that provide a massive database of online courses. All of their education services are provided with open access. The website collaborates with a lot of universities and organizations so that the resources can be tailored to suit the market's trends. Coursera was created back in 2012. Some courses are free while others require you to pay a fee.
- All courses are highly convenient; basically, you can follow them wherever you are, at your own pace;
- Each class comes with useful resources and materials like videos;
- The schedule is flexible;
- The platform provides learning services available in 8 different languages: Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, English, etc.;
- Both individual students and organizations can join and complete Coursera courses;
- There are many free courses.
- Many courses are created for beginners only;
- Coursera courses are focused mainly on popularity;
- Once you complete a course, you lose access to its resources. You cannot go back if you want to review those materials one more time.
When creating an account on Coursera, most people are looking for programs in the following areas: social science, physics, computer science, engineering, medicine, mathematics, business, humanities, data science, digital marketing, etc. Some of the courses that had the highest number of active students were:
- Machine Learning;
- The Science of Well-Being;
- English for Career Development;
- Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies.
Read more about Coursera in "An In-Depth Review of Coursera - the Good, the Bad, and Everything in Between"
- Over 6'000 different courses in more than 10 subjects and fields;
- New courses are added every day.
PluralSight might not be accredited as an educational institution but it sure has gained an excellent reputation, especially with a lot of large and important companies. What I am trying to say is that any certificate you obtain by completing a course on this platform has a high chance of being recognized and valued by most employers and headhunters. As a student, you won't find any discounts on this eLearning platform but you will definitely benefit from the website's partnership with Microsoft Azure.
As for the pricing options, both monthly and annual pricing plans are available. There are two types of plans provided:
- Personal plans - comprised of several important perks: learning paths, course library, certificates, discussions, mobile apps, exercise files, offline viewing, etc.;
- Premium plans - include all the features of a personal plan plus interactive courses, certification practice exams, and projects.
- Customer support offered via phone and email;
- They offer a free trial so you can try their services and see if it's a good option for your needs;
- Their pricing options are quite reasonable, especially considering that you will receive full access to their online course library;
- The entire support is given by experienced mentors, in real time;
- You can audit the classes on your mobile.
- The platform isn't completely suitable for beginners;
- The content of the courses is very specific;
- These are self-paced programs which involve a high level of self-discipline and motivation;
- In order to use certain software recommendations, you might need to purchase a license key.
The programs that people seek the most on this platform are those in industries like IT and software development but also in business, manufacturing, architecture, and cybersecurity. Some of the most popular courses you will find on PluralSight are:
Read more about PluralSight in "PluralSight Review - Is This eLearning Platform Worth It?"
- 12 million members;
- More than 1'600 free courses;
- Over 100 prestigious higher education institutions.
This online platform was launched in 2012 and it was created by a team of scientists from two well-known and respected universities: MIT and Harvard University. Their mission was to offer high-quality online education that all people across the globe can have access to. Once you enroll, you will gain full access to a wide range of classes: there are hundreds of courses related to dozens of topics and they're taught by university professors.
Students can audit all the platform's courses and resources for free but they won't receive a certificate at the end of the class. However, they will be able to take part in all the program's activities such as exams and other assignments.
- On edX, you will find a huge catalog full of higher education classes with a focus on sciences;
- You have two possibilities: you can either enroll for the timed classes or choose self-paced alternatives;
- The courses are structured in modules and they come with video transcripts;
- You can audit any course you like for free and receive Honor Certificates.
- The discussion section should be updated and improved because it definitely needs a refresh;
- Besides science courses, edX presents some gaps regarding other specializations;
- According to some people, edX classes should only be viewed as a tool to learn something new as a hobby instead of an official education alternative but most students don't agree with that statement.
- The Science of Happiness;
- English Grammar and Style;
- Introduction to Marketing;
- Introduction to C++; etc.
Read more about edX in "edX Review - Everything You Need to Know About this eLearning Platform"
4. CreativeLive Online Classes
- Their highest attended class had a massive audience of 150'000 students;
- Over 2 million students.
This educational platform broadcasts live classes which can be audited all over the world. The firm's headquarters are located in San Francisco and Seattle. CreativeLive creates these lectures in the company's in-house production studios. The feed is live 24/7 across 5 different channels, each one of them covering a specific topic: art and design, crafts, photo and video, business and money, and music and audio.
- The classes focus on interaction and a modern approach to learning new things;
- You can watch any live class you want for free;
- New content is uploaded every week.
- You're required to pay a fee if you want to purchase the lectures and watch them later;
- The website is focused mostly on creative topics such as arts and music and less on technical subjects.
The courses are grouped into the 5 categories I mentioned above and these categories also have sub-groups based on different genres, skills, techniques, etc. Some of the classes who had the highest number of attendees are:
- On the platform, you will find over 15'000 online courses in fields like photography, business, languages, and more;
- Over 250 online courses;
- 5 million students.
This eLearning community is dedicated to those who want to develop new skills or improve the ones they already have by auditing educational videos. All courses are available through subscription but they aren't accredited. What most students enjoy about this platform is the fact that the majority of classes are based on interaction instead of lectures. Their main purpose is helping those enrolled by teaching them different things through practical methods such as completing projects.
SkillShare was created by Malcolm Ong and Michael Karnjanaprakorn, in 2010. At first, they had only 15 available courses, but soon after the platform grew significantly.
- You can opt for the free membership which allows you to browse through a limited number of courses or select the paid membership option which costs $9.95 per month;
- The courses are self-paced so there aren't any deadlines or timeframes;
- The classes are taught by some of the best industry leaders. Some of SkillShare's notable instructors are Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki;
- The price range is lower than other similar platforms;
- SkillShare comes with a straightforward and interactive website design.
- It seems that creative courses tend to have a higher quality of content compared to non-creative programs;
- There's no standard whatsoever for the length of the lectures. One video can last from 10 minutes to several hours;
- Students must follow several steps to enroll a course and go through its content online so the learning process might be a bit overwhelming.
SkillShare's classes are grouped into 4 main categories:
- Creative - film production, graphic design, writing, music production, illustration, etc.;
- Business - finance, accounting, marketing, management, sales, etc.;
- Technology - IT security, data science, web development, etc.;
- Lifestyle - gaming, teaching, languages, culinary, crafts, health, wellness, etc.
Read more about SkillShare in "Skillshare Review - an Insightful Analysis of Skillshare - Is This eLearning Platform Worth It?"
- Over 200 courses in project management and professional technical fields;
- These programs are globally recognized by more than 20 internationally leading bodies.
SimpliLearn is a very good choice if you want to learn new things from the comfort of your home. It has certain limitations but the platform still remains one of the best online education platforms that provide a unique learning experience. The fees vary from one course to another and some of the programs have high prices that can reach up to over $600. According to the company, these services are premium ones, hence the price tag.
- On SimpliLearn, you will find experienced instructors;
- The classes are self-paced so the schedule is flexible;
- All courses can be watched live and they are led by knowledgeable lecturers;
- It's a user-friendly interface;
- Many of the certificates you can obtain by completing courses on this website are recognized by accrediting institutions.
- The lectures are held in classes of up to 30 people so be prepared for interruptions because some of the students will ask questions and the instructor doesn't have a choice but to answer those questions;
- One reviewer stated that although he posted an inquiry in the discussion section of a course, he hasn't received an answer.
The platform offers courses in the subjects listed below:
- Big data;
- Project management;
- Cloud computing - Microsoft Azure, Blockchain, etc.;
- Cyber security;
- Quality management;
- Software development - Java, PHP, Python, etc.;
- Business intelligence - data science, business analytics, etc.;
- Digital marketing - SEO certification, PPC certification, email marketing, social media, etc.
- Over 400'000 learners.
Edureka offers corporate training in digital and technical topics. In just a couple of years, it has gone from a small startup to one of the main eLearning platforms in the world. The website is all about hands-on practice. The company is constantly collaborating with educational organizations. It is a platform that grows quickly so some of you might not consider it the most affordable option out there.
- Edureka courses are significantly more comprehensive than the ones published on other similar sites;
- There's excellent customer support that can be contacted 24.7;
- You can download its available apps which are compatible with Android and iOS devices;
- The quality of the videos is very good.
- Some of the courses can be quite expensive;
- There's a lack of course upgrades.
Edureka offers comprehensive courses in subjects such as the ones presented in the list below:
- Big data - Python Spark certification, ELK Stack training, etc.;
- Cloud computing - Google Cloud certification, AWS development, etc.;
- Programming - Java, Python, Node.js, etc.;
- Artificial intelligence - machine learning, graphical models, etc.;
- Software testing - automation testing and other courses;
- Databases - SQL, Teradata certification, and more;
- Digital marketing - Google Analytics;
- Mobile development - Android and iOS app development;
Read more about Edureka in "Edureka Review - Everything You Should Know about This eLearning Platform"
8. QuickStart Courses
In the eLearning industry, QuickStart is one of the best and most prominent providers. In 2017, they launched the CLIPP platform which is their cognitive learning tool. It is based on a powerful AI and it offers customized programs that create an overall personalized learning experience. QuickStart is niched on IT professionals and tech businesses.
You can choose one of their 3 available subscription plans:
- Learn - costs $14.99 per month and you'll benefit from a one-week free trial;
- Master - is $2'999 per year and you can request a demo;
- MasterPlus+ - costs $6'500 per year and you have access to all the platform's services, including bootcamps and certifications.
- There are over 100 free courses;
- They often offer hot deals which are either free classes or very inexpensive courses for which you only need to pay between 10 and 30 dollars;
- There are live online classes and self-paced courses.
- The platform is specialized only on IT and tech subjects.
QuickStart provides plenty of useful programs and classes in a wide range of subjects:
9. ed2go Online Courses
- Over 2 million students;
- Serves over 2'000 universities and colleges.
Ed2go is part of Cengage learning and it was created in Boston, in 2007. This provider offers both corporate training and certification courses. The platform is a great education tool if you want to take your career to the next level. You will gain access to many useful programs that are educational as well as enriching. It provides self-paced tutorials and instructor-led courses but some of these classes have higher prices compared to other online education websites.
- Although the prices of the courses vary, some of them aren't as expensive as you might expect. Also, all the materials and books are included in the price of the course;
- These courses are flexible and you have up to 6 months to complete a program;
- There are plenty of classes to choose from in a lot of useful fields.
- The credits aren't transferable;
- If you use Mac, you won't be able to audit the videos;
- These courses aren't a replacement for college education but that's the issue with all major eLearning platforms.
Some of the most popular courses you will find on this platform are:
- More than 4 million students;
- Over 6'000 online courses;
- Available in 76 countries.
This is both a training platform and a learning engagement website. It's meant to create a friendly learning environment and bring trainers and students together in a beneficial commonplace. As a teacher, you can set up a course in just a couple of clicks. As a student, you will encounter a great world of digital learning and social interaction. 360Trainingworks equally effective for individual students and companies. Let's say you're a manager or CEO who wants to provide a viable training solution for your employees; this might be the proper website to use.
- 360Training often markets discounted service pricing. In other words, there are high chances that you will find sales pricing offers for some of their courses;
- The platform is a reliable and solid one that many well-known companies have used to train their staff members. Firms like Samsung, Costco, Amazon, Whole Foods, IBM, Sodexo, and thousands of other businesses found this online learning website a useful solution;
- Their courses are based on a click-and-train system which means you can learn in your own personal pace;
- Students will be able to browse through a wide array of topics and enroll in any course they like without breaking the bank. Simply put, these classes are affordable.
- Some say that certain courses offered by 360Training are only meeting the basic needs of the industry and they aren't as interactive as the programs of other platforms
360Training offers courses in 11 different industries:
- Food and beverage programs;
- Industrial skills;
- Insurance education;
- Power and utilities;
- Real estate;
- Business skills;
- Environmental health and safety;
- Quality management;
- Trades and engineering;
- Financial services;
- HR, ethics, and compliance.
Some of their best-trending classes are the following ones:
- On FutureLearn, you will find more than 700 courses many of which are free of charge.
This is yet another digital education provider which was created in 2012 and it was founded by The Open University, located in Milton Keynes, England. The platform is a MOOC one which stands for "massive open online course." All their programs have lecturers from respected universities and colleges. You can follow their classes using any device you want, from smartphones to tablets and laptops.
- You can browse through hundreds of online courses and can complete these programs using any gadget you want;
- There are many free courses available on the platform;
- In order to take a course and complete it, you won't need any formal qualification, whatsoever.
- Although some courses are free, degrees and certifications can only be obtained if you pay a fee;
- In case you follow a free program, you will lose access to its materials 2 weeks after you finish the program;
- The platform should implement an upgraded plan to enable students' access to certain exams and completion certificates.
There are three types of courses:
- Short courses - you can learn new abilities while following a flexible program;
- In-depth courses - these will help you achieve academic or professional accreditation;
- Online degrees - you can build your way to a degree through a pay-as-you-learn system.
12. Virtual College
- Over 3 million learners;
- 22 years of experience and market presence;
- More than 300 online courses.
Virtual College is an accredited online education platform. It was founded in 1995 and it's a learning management system based on cloud computing. The company was established in the United Kingdom. This fast-growing platform attracts more than 1500 new students per day and provides accredited training.
- It provides a great range of courses and offers expert advice;
- It's an award-winning platform;
- It is accredited by several industry bodies like Microsoft and CPD;
- It's an interactive and engaging website with easy-to-follow courses;
- They operate in compliance with ISO 9001 which is a quality management standard.
- A few users complained that the company's representatives didn't reply to their support requests;
- Some say the interface freezes or crashes sometimes.
- Over 40'000 courses;
- Over 10 million students.
Just like Coursera, Udemy is one of the largest platforms for online courses, being a major player in the eLearning industry. Its online content creators offer useful programs which target professional adults. However, most of the classes found on Udemy aren't accredited; there aren't any Academic certificates or proficiency linked to them. These courses might not be recognized by educational institutions or employers. Nevertheless, Udemy courses can definitely help you gain or develop new skills which might be important for your career.
- On Udemy, you will find a strong community;
- The platform is well-known for its low prices. Udemy is known to slash course prices on a regular basis;
- It has one of the largest online course libraries with a wide diversity of topics;
- Most students are pleased with how useful the materials are;
- If you're a business owner, Udemy courses might help your company become more competitive in today's market. After all, well-trained team members can lead to a more profitable firm;
- The website is well-structured and organized;
- This learning tool is easy to use.
- A few people complained about the lack of good customer support. One person stated that she would've wanted the company to have a designated employer for the job instead of talking to a robot;
- Some courses don't have indexes that are detailed enough;
- It's complicated to forward or backward a video lecture.
On Udemy, you will find 12 different course categories:
- Business - finance, sales, project management, etc.;
- Personal Development - leadership, productivity, stress management, etc.;
- Lifestyle - beauty, travel, crafts, etc.;
- Design - user experience, web design, interior design, fashion, graphic design, etc.;
- Music - techniques, instruments, vocal, etc.;
- Marketing - branding, social media, advertising, etc.;
- Photography - portraits, commercial photography, fundamentals, digital photography, etc.
Read more about Udemy in "Udemy might be the largest, but is it the best?"
14. International Open Academy
This online learning website is one of the best education platforms out there and it is also an accredited one. Their courses can be accessed by anyone and are available all over the globe. The International Open Academywill help you fulfill your goals, develop yourself as a professional, and grow on both as a person. By delivering easy-to-follow and diverse courses, IOA tries to empower its students to reach their true potential.
- It's good regardless of whether you want to make a career change or simply explore your new interests or hobbies;
- Classes are highly informative and self-paced;
- The courses are affordable;
- Their interface is user-friendly.
- We couldn't find any significant downside.
There is a large array of online courses on this platform: beauty and fashion, sport, event management, interior design, teaching, writing, languages, cooking, health, photography, hobbies, business, and more.
Among their most popular programs, there are the following courses:
That's a wrap! These were 14 of the best platforms for online courses you should consider. Keep an eye for our new content to discover more useful details about the importance of online education and the services offered by eLearning websites. Feel free to share your own experiences with us or ask any question regarding this topic.