Back in 2014, I first came across the concept of online learning platforms. The idea of acquiring knowledge from the comfort of my home, at my own pace, intrigued me.
To be honest, the abundance of online learning options overwhelmed me. Different pricing plans, features, and concerns about course quality and future recognition left me confused. However, my determination led me to discover fifteen remarkable online learning platforms that stand out from the rest.
Join me on this journey as we delve into the realm of online learning. We’ll uncover the top platforms that offer valuable courses and open doors to new skills and professional opportunities. Prepare for a thrilling adventure where convenience meets quality, and where online learning becomes an enriching experience.
15 Best Online Learning Platforms
When it comes to online learning, Coursera stands tall as one of the most popular platforms out there. With a whopping 113+ million learners and counting, it’s no wonder that Coursera has become a go-to choice for knowledge-hungry individuals like myself. From the moment I started exploring the platform, I was blown away by the sheer variety and quality of courses available.
What makes Coursera truly remarkable is its collaboration with over 300 leading universities and companies. Imagine learning from the likes of Stanford, Duke, and Yale – it’s like having a world-class education at your fingertips! The courses on Coursera cover a broad spectrum, ranging from individual courses to specialized programs and even higher education degrees. This flexibility ensures that there’s something for everyone, no matter what your learning goals may be.
One feature that particularly impressed me is the Coursera mobile app. It’s hands down one of the best apps I’ve used for online learning. Whether I’m on the bus or taking a break at a coffee shop, I can easily follow my courses on the go. The app even allows offline viewing for free courses, which is perfect for those moments when Wi-Fi is scarce. Plus, Coursera’s own learning management system ensures that the platform is constantly updated with new features and improvements.
As I delved into the courses, I couldn’t help but notice the exceptional quality of the content. With universities like Stanford, Duke, and Yale behind the courses, I knew I was getting the crème de la crème of education. The courses are well-structured and engaging, making it a breeze to grasp even complex subjects. And here’s the best part: completing a course on Coursera comes with an accredited certificate, giving your learning journey a tangible recognition.
Coursera offers a mix of free and paid options to suit different budgets and preferences. You can join almost any course for free, as long as you don’t require a completion certificate. If you’re looking for more comprehensive learning experiences, Coursera offers individual courses, professional certificates, and even online degree programs.
They also have Coursera Plus, a subscription plan that gives you unlimited access to most courses and programs (excluding degrees and MasterTrack certificates) for a monthly or yearly fee.
Learn more: full review of Coursera.
Udemy has been my go-to platform whenever I want to learn something new. With its massive community of over 57 million learners and a staggering 213,000+ courses, it’s safe to say that Udemy is a powerhouse in the online learning space. The variety of topics covered is mind-boggling, and I was thrilled to find courses on everything from coding and graphic design to personal development and photography.
What impressed me the most about Udemy is the sheer number of courses available. With over 185,000 options to choose from, it felt like a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be explored. And the best part? The pricing is reasonable. I could start a course for as low as $12.99, and even the more comprehensive ones were priced reasonably at $199.99.
Now, let’s talk about the learning experience. Udemy’s courses are self-paced, allowing you to learn at your own convenience. The platform provides a learning management system that makes navigation a breeze. Plus, Udemy constantly updates its system and introduces new features to enhance the learning experience, which I found to be a refreshing aspect.
However, it’s worth noting that since Udemy is an open marketplace, the quality of courses can vary. While there are content quality checks in place, I did come across a few courses that didn’t quite meet my expectations. That said, the vast majority of courses I took were top-notch and provided me with valuable knowledge and skills.
Learn more: full review of Udemy.
MasterClass is a truly unique online learning platform that provides an extraordinary learning experience. If you’re someone who loves to learn from the best of the best, then MasterClass is tailor-made for you. I couldn’t resist the allure of being taught by celebrity experts in their respective fields, so I had to give it a try.
From the moment I watched my first MasterClass video, I was captivated by the production quality. The videos are impeccably produced, with a cinematic aura that draws you in. It’s like having a front-row seat to a private masterclass. The instructors are industry icons, ranging from renowned chefs and bestselling authors to acclaimed filmmakers and business moguls. I couldn’t believe I was learning cooking from Gordon Ramsay or getting writing tips from Dan Brown – it felt surreal!
MasterClass offers a diverse range of categories, including food, design, music, business, and sports. Each lesson is packed with valuable insights, personal anecdotes, and practical tips that only experts of this caliber can provide. It’s not just about learning a skill; it’s about gaining inspiration and perspective from those who have mastered their crafts.
While MasterClass may not have as extensive a course catalog as some other platforms, the quality of the courses is truly exceptional. The platform’s focus on specific topics allows for a deep dive into each subject, ensuring a rich and immersive learning experience. However, it’s worth noting that MasterClass does not offer free courses, so you’ll need to subscribe to access the content.
When it comes to pricing, MasterClass is surprisingly affordable compared to other educational platforms. They offer different annual subscription plans to choose from. The individual plan grants access for one account at $120 per year, which works out to just $10 per month. If you want to share the experience with a partner, the Duo plan offers access for two devices simultaneously at $180 per year ($15 per month). For families who want to learn together, the Family plan accommodates up to six devices for $240 per year ($20 per month).
Learn more: full review of MasterClass.
When I embarked on my personal growth journey, Mindvalley became my go-to online learning platform. Founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani, this platform has truly transformed the way I approach various aspects of my life. From enhancing my mindset to improving my health, productivity, and relationships, Mindvalley offers a diverse range of courses to help me become the best version of myself.
One of the things that immediately drew me to Mindvalley was the captivating learning format called Quests. These bite-sized video lessons, lasting between 10 to 20 minutes, kept me engaged and motivated throughout my learning journey. It felt like I was embarking on an exciting adventure each time I dove into a new Quest. The high-quality video content was not only visually appealing but also delivered valuable insights and practical strategies.
What impressed me even more was the caliber of the trainers on Mindvalley. These experienced teachers, authors, and visionaries brought their expertise to the platform, ensuring that I was learning from the best in the field. It was truly inspiring to have access to such reputable trainers who shared their knowledge and wisdom to empower me on my personal growth path.
Being part of the Mindvalley community was an incredible experience as well. I connected with like-minded individuals from all over the world who were equally committed to their personal growth. The engagement and support within the community were unparalleled. Whenever I faced challenges or sought guidance, fellow learners were always ready to lend a helping hand or share their own insights. It felt like I had found my tribe, a group of people who understood and supported my personal growth journey.
However, I must admit that Mindvalley’s course catalog is more focused on specific topics. If you’re looking for a wide array of subjects to explore, platforms like Skillshare or Coursera might offer a broader range of options.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the price of individual quests or the full access membership can seem a bit steep. For those on a tighter budget, platforms like Udemy might be more cost-effective alternatives.
Learn more: full review of Mindvalley.
With over 35,000 classes covering a wide range of creative topics like illustration, design, photography, and video production, Skillshare truly offers something for everyone. The moment I signed up, I was welcomed with a free trial, allowing me to dive right into their extensive catalog of classes.
What struck me about Skillshare is the sheer number of choices available. I found it hard to come across another platform that offers as much variety. Whether I wanted to learn a new illustration technique or enhance my photography skills, Skillshare had a class for it. The annual premium membership, priced at $168 (or $14 per month), felt like a steal when considering the vast library of classes accessible to me.
Beyond the wide range of options, the Skillshare community stood out as welcoming and engaged. I found fellow learners and instructors to be supportive, creating a sense of belonging and collaboration.
While the class quality can vary, as anyone can publish a class on Skillshare, I discovered some gems, especially in their Skillshare Originals produced by well-known companies like Mailchimp and Google. These classes had higher production values and offered valuable insights.
However, it’s worth mentioning that Skillshare doesn’t offer completion certificates for its courses, which might be disappointing if you want to showcase your achievements.
Additionally, Skillshare’s pricing model only allows for an annual subscription, requiring upfront payment. While this may seem like a commitment, the availability of the free trial gives you the chance to test the platform extensively before making a financial commitment.
As someone with little to no coding experience, I was initially drawn to Codecademy’s promise of interactive coding courses suitable for beginners. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint! The platform’s user-friendly interface and step-by-step lessons made it a breeze to dive into the world of coding.
What truly stood out for me was Codecademy’s focus on real-world application. After gaining the foundational knowledge, I had the opportunity to create my own projects. These portfolio-worthy projects not only helped me solidify what I learned but also showcased my skills to potential employers. Plus, the supportive community, filled with coaches, advisors, and fellow learners, was always there to lend a helping hand when I had questions or doubts.
On the flip side, I did notice a couple of drawbacks. Codecademy doesn’t provide much information about the instructors behind the courses, which made it difficult to gauge their expertise.
Additionally, while the certificates of completion are proof of my accomplishments, they aren’t accredited. So, if accreditation is crucial to you, you might want to explore other platforms like Coursera or edX.
Learn more: Full review of Codecademy.
Founded by the dynamic duo, Ryan and Gillian Carson, this platform offers over 300 online courses that revolve around real-life projects. Talk about learning with a purpose!
From the get-go, Treehouse impressed me with its high-quality courses. Their in-house expert teachers create interactive and engaging content that truly makes a difference. The courses are designed to simulate real-world scenarios, allowing you to gain practical skills that employers crave. Designing websites, developing web and mobile apps—I felt like I was building my portfolio while learning!
What I love most about Treehouse is the flexibility it offers. Their self-paced learning model allows you to take control of your educational journey. Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, you can learn at your own pace and convenience. And let’s not forget the icing on the cake—the 7-day free trial. It gave me full access to their extensive library of courses and resources. Trust me, it’s a fantastic way to test the waters and see if Treehouse is the perfect fit for your learning goals.
Of course, like any platform, Treehouse has its limitations. For starters, be prepared to provide your credit or debit card information when signing up for the free trial. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged until the trial period ends. Additionally, if you’re looking for a wide variety of subjects beyond tech skills, platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy might be worth exploring. Lastly, keep in mind that Treehouse’s learning programs are not officially accredited. So, if accreditation is essential to you, platforms like Coursera or edX might better suit your needs.
As someone interested in data science and analytics, I decided to explore Datacamp to expand my knowledge in this field. And boy, was it a rewarding experience! Datacamp’s interactive and engaging approach to learning truly resonated with me.
The courses on Datacamp were designed to make learning data skills an enjoyable and immersive experience. With a combination of videos and interactive exercises, I found myself actively participating and absorbing the material. The platform’s focus on hands-on learning allowed me to apply my knowledge in real-world scenarios, which enhanced my understanding and skill development.
What impressed me the most was the expertise of the instructors on Datacamp. With over 350+ experts from the data science and analytics community, I knew I was learning from the best in the field. Their depth of knowledge and ability to explain complex concepts in a simple and understandable manner truly accelerated my learning process.
Another aspect of Datacamp that I appreciated was its clear and transparent pricing plans. Unlike some other platforms, Datacamp’s pricing structure was straightforward and easy to understand.
The free plan, called “Start For Free,” provided a taste of the courses, allowing me to explore the initial chapters and assessments. For a more comprehensive learning experience, I opted for the Premium plan, which gave me full access to the extensive course library. The option to choose between monthly and annual subscriptions provided flexibility based on my personal preferences.
However, it’s important to note that Datacamp does not offer official accreditation for its courses. While a Statement of Accomplishment is provided upon successful completion, those seeking recognized certificates might want to explore platforms like edX or Coursera.
Additionally, I did find that some of the video tutorials on Datacamp were a bit short and lacked in-depth explanations, leaving me wanting more detailed information at times.
When I first dived into Udacity, I was impressed by its commitment to quality. Unlike platforms that overwhelm you with countless courses, Udacity focuses on providing fewer than 80 Nanodegrees. These Nanodegree programs are designed in collaboration with industry leaders like Google, Nvidia, and Mercedes, ensuring that the content is top-notch and up to date.
To get a taste of what Udacity offers, I explored their free courses, which provided a solid introduction to their teaching style and platform features. The quality of the courses exceeded my expectations, as they provided practical technical knowledge that I could immediately apply. It’s no wonder that completion diplomas from Udacity are taken seriously by employers, even though they may not be accredited.
One of the standout features of Udacity is its emphasis on career services. As a paying student, I had access to valuable career advice, including assistance with CV writing and skill planning. This personalized support helped me understand the skills in demand and gave me a competitive edge when seeking job opportunities. I also discovered that many companies, such as Lyft, Mercedes, Nvidia, and Google, actively seek out Udacity alumni for job openings.
However, it’s important to consider a few aspects before committing to Udacity. While the course quality is excellent, the platform has a limited selection of courses and covers primarily business and tech-related topics. So, if you’re looking for courses on other subjects, you may need to explore additional platforms.
Additionally, the cost of Udacity’s Nanodegree programs can be on the higher side, ranging from $700 to $2,000. It’s a significant investment, but the job-ready skills and career opportunities make it worthwhile.
Lastly, the community engagement on Udacity may not be as vibrant as on some other platforms, but that’s just my personal opinion.
When I wanted to focus more on professional development and career growth, I turned to LinkedIn Learning, which was previously known as Lynda. This platform, integrated with the LinkedIn network, offers a vast array of courses designed to enhance your professional skills and advance your career.
The quality of courses on LinkedIn Learning pleasantly surprised me. The production value was noticeably higher compared to many other platforms I’ve tried. The instructors were knowledgeable, and the content was well-structured and engaging. I found myself immersed in courses covering business strategies, technology trends, and creative skills.
One aspect that sets LinkedIn Learning apart is its integration with LinkedIn. As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn provides a seamless connection to LinkedIn Learning, making it a valuable resource for individuals looking to boost their careers. The platform offers over 18,100 courses, covering a wide range of topics relevant to professionals across various industries.
However, it’s important to note that unlike Udemy, LinkedIn Learning does not offer free courses. Instead, they provide a 1-month free trial that allowed me to explore the platform and experience the courses firsthand. This trial period gave me a taste of what LinkedIn Learning had to offer and helped me decide if it was the right fit for my professional goals.
In terms of community engagement, LinkedIn Learning falls slightly short compared to other platforms. While you can access discussion boards and connect with other learners, it didn’t have the same level of interaction and vibrant community that I experienced elsewhere. Nonetheless, the focus on professional development and the quality of courses made up for this minor drawback.
When I first stumbled upon edX, I was blown away by the sheer number of students—over 42 million! This platform is all about making top-tier university courses accessible to everyone. Just like Coursera, edX partners with renowned universities to bring you a wide variety of courses. And trust me, there’s something for everyone here.
What impressed me the most about edX is the range of course types available. Whether you want to earn an accredited certificate, delve into a MicroMasters program, or even pursue a full-fledged Master’s degree, edX has got you covered. Plus, the courses are prepared by top universities like Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, so you know you’re getting some serious quality education.
If you’re like me and love free stuff, then you’ll be delighted to know that edX offers loads of free courses. Yep, you heard that right. You can access a ton of valuable content without spending a dime (as long as you don’t need an official certificate). And if you want to take your learning to the next level, you can enroll in university programs and earn higher education diplomas at a fraction of the cost. Talk about a win-win!
Now, I have to be honest with you. Some of the courses on edX can get a bit technical since they’re produced by universities. So, if you’re not a fan of diving into the nitty-gritty details, you might want to explore other platforms like Coursera or Udemy for more beginner-friendly options.
Also, keep in mind that most of the courses are in English, so if you’re looking for courses in other languages, you might want to check out alternative platforms.
Pluralsight’s focus on technology-related topics piqued my interest. With a vast library of courses ranging from IT to data science to cybersecurity, Pluralsight offered me a wide array of learning opportunities.
One of the standout features for me was the variety of subscription plans available. Whether I wanted to learn as an individual or empower my team with tech skills, Pluralsight had the right plan for me. The option to choose between Standard, Premium, Professional, or Enterprise gave me the flexibility to select what suited my needs best.
Throughout my journey with Pluralsight, I found the support to be exceptional. The availability of 24/7 email support, along with phone support and the option to submit tickets, ensured that I could get assistance whenever I needed it. The platform also included short self-paced quizzes to test my understanding, helping me retain the course material effectively.
However, it’s worth noting that Pluralsight primarily focuses on technology-based subjects. If you’re seeking a broader range of topics, platforms like Udemy or Coursera might be more suitable for you. Additionally, while Pluralsight doesn’t offer free courses, the 10-day free trial for individuals and 14-day free trial for teams provided me with ample time to explore the platform and its courses before making a commitment.
In terms of pricing, Pluralsight operates on a subscription-based model. I found the pricing to be reasonable, with the Standard plan at $29 per month (or $299 per year) and the Premium plan at $45 per month (or $449 per year). For teams, there are different plans available, ranging from $399 to $779 annually. And the best part? The free trial period allowed me to try out the platform risk-free and cancel at any time.
CreativeLive—a platform that’s perfect for all you creative souls out there. As an aspiring photographer, I was drawn to this platform like a magnet. And boy, did it deliver!
CreativeLive is designed specifically for entrepreneurs and creative professionals, and it has over 10 million users. The moment I hopped on the platform, I knew I was in for a treat. With class categories ranging from photography and design to music and personal finance, there’s something to spark the creativity in all of us.
The first thing that caught my attention was the high quality of the videos. They’re all filmed by in-house videographers, so you can expect nothing less than top-notch production value. And the instructors? Oh boy, they’re the cream of the crop. With over 700 experienced professionals, including best-selling authors and Grammy and Oscar winners, you’re learning from the absolute best in the industry.
One of the coolest things about CreativeLive is their free live classes. Yep, you heard me right—they’re absolutely free while they’re streaming live. It’s an incredible opportunity to dip your toes into various topics and discover new interests without spending a penny. Plus, you can access CreativeLive on your computer or mobile device, which makes learning on the go a breeze. Oh, and did I mention that you can even download class videos and materials for offline viewing? How awesome is that?
Now, here’s the scoop. CreativeLive doesn’t offer any certificates or accreditations, so if you’re after official recognition, you might want to check out platforms like Coursera or edX. Also, keep in mind that some of their higher-end classes can be a bit pricey, but they often have discounts and promotions, so keep an eye out for those.
When I first stumbled upon Brilliant.org, I was instantly drawn to its sleek and user-friendly interface. As a STEM enthusiast, I was thrilled to discover that Brilliant offers over 60 bite-sized courses in science, technology, engineering, and math. It’s like having a virtual playground for nerds like me!
What really sets Brilliant apart is its unique approach to learning. No boring lectures here! Instead, they embrace active learning by incorporating questions and quizzes into the courses. Trust me, it keeps you on your toes and fully engaged. Plus, their emphasis on hands-on and interactive learning is a game-changer. Learning complex concepts suddenly becomes an exciting puzzle to solve.
The best part? Brilliant caters to learners of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, you’ll find courses tailored to your skill level. It’s perfect for students who want to grasp the fundamentals or professionals looking to sharpen their expertise.
Now, let’s talk about the cherry on top: the 7-day free trial. Yes, you heard that right! When I signed up for Brilliant, they generously offered me a week of unlimited access to their platform. It gave me the chance to explore the courses, experience their interactive learning style, and see if it was the right fit for me. And let me tell you, it was worth every second.
But hey, Brilliant does have a couple of drawbacks. If you’re hoping to explore a wide range of topics outside of STEM, you might want to look elsewhere. Platforms like Skillshare or MasterClass offer a more extensive pool of subjects.
Additionally, Brilliant only offers subscription plans, so you won’t find the option to purchase individual courses. Nonetheless, the quality of their content and the engaging learning experience make it a worthwhile investment.
Learn more: full review of Brilliant.
Simplilearn is an online learning platform that has gained quite a reputation, both positive and negative. As someone who loves exploring new skills and expanding my knowledge, I was intrigued by Simplilearn’s catalog of over 400 courses and its partnerships with universities and companies. However, my experience with the platform left me with mixed feelings.
One of the first things I noticed was the abundance of negative reviews surrounding Simplilearn. Many learners expressed disappointment with the quality of the courses, claiming that the content fell short of their expectations. Some even felt like they had overpaid for the courses they enrolled in, which raised concerns about the platform’s pricing transparency.
Another aspect that left a sour taste in my mouth was the persistent sales team. I found myself receiving multiple phone calls from them, which made me feel somewhat harassed. While I understand the importance of marketing and sales, the frequency and assertiveness of these calls were overwhelming and off-putting.
Furthermore, I was disappointed to learn that Simplilearn does not offer any free courses. As someone who appreciates the opportunity to explore a platform and its offerings before committing financially, the absence of free courses limited my ability to test the waters and get a feel for the learning experience.
Lastly, while Simplilearn does have an extensive catalog of courses, I discovered that other online learning platforms offer an even wider selection. This made me question whether Simplilearn was truly the best option for accessing a diverse range of subjects and topics.
Now that you’ve gained a deeper understanding of the best online learning platforms, it’s time to make your decision. While Coursera stood out as our top pick due to its wide range of courses, learning programs, and accredited certificates, remember that finding the right fit is crucial. Take the time to consider factors like affordability, course topics, free options, pacing preferences, and accreditation.
Choosing the perfect online course may require some research, but once you find your ideal e-learning community, you’ll never look back. Join the global wave of online learners and uncover a world of knowledge and connections. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity!
So, get ready to embark on your online learning adventure today. Your journey awaits!