‘Anyone who keeps learning stays young’ – Henry Ford
COVID-19 has brought about significant changes in education in just a few weeks. It has altered the way students and office professionals around the world are educated.
This global pandemic is not necessarily a good moment to brush up on skills because many people are working in critical business, working from home, attempting to gain new clients, or just caring for their loved ones. However, during stay-at-home lockdowns, online classes are a terrific way to stay occupied and productive.
Online learning platforms are a terrific and easily available resource for studying on your own schedule, whether you want to master some new marketable skills or just want to explore a topic for fun. As an alternative to online universities, these platforms are a little more flexible and may even offer more unique or uncommon classes that you wouldn’t find at a typical college, but prospective students need to compare their alternatives to decide what’s ideal for them.
Benefits of Online Learning Platforms
Many businesses now use online learning platforms to train their remote workforces. Individual learners, on the other hand, have a plethora of exciting new opportunities to advance their careers.
One of the primary advantages of online learning platforms is increased accessibility and inclusivity. However, there are numerous additional benefits that vary depending on the type of learner you are:
- Recent high school graduates: Online courses or degrees are often less expensive than on-campus courses. Online courses are now available at many colleges and universities. Others provide a hybrid learning approach in which students can learn on-campus or online on their own time.
- Career-minded individuals: Online learning platforms can assist career-minded individuals in achieving their objectives without incurring the high costs associated with traditional workshops and seminars. Online learning is extremely beneficial to businesses because it makes it easier to train new hires and reskill current team members. Many online learning platforms even provide customised career paths to help you do just that.
- People switching industries to advance their careers: In recent years, there has been a growing trend of people switching industries to advance their careers. However, in the past, this frequently meant quitting their current jobs to attend expensive training programs. People can now learn at their own pace from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to online learning platforms.
How to Choose the Best Online Learning Platforms
There are numerous options among online learning management software so there is bound to be one that is ideal for each organisation.
Price is a significant differentiator. Some LMSs are free to use or have a low cost entry level. Others provide more features, but at a higher cost. Pricing models differ as well, with some providers charging only by the student, while others base the price on the plan and then charge a lower additional fee for each additional learner.
We’ve compiled a list of the best 6 online learning platforms that provide a wide range of courses taught by industry leaders and academics from prestigious institutions and universities.
If you want to learn something, it’s very likely Udemy has it. The website is less of a single ‘platform’ and more of a portal or repository from which students can access far over 100,000 courses on every topic imaginable.
Language, arts, music, and fitness classes are available, as well as instruction in programming and IT, business skills, teaching, productivity, and much more. There are even divisions for personal development and lifestyle, which contain life skills and other tactics that you wouldn’t often find in an academic atmosphere.
A Udemy course does not have a set format; instead, teachers can create multimedia lectures containing audio, video, and text elements, as well as readings, quizzes, and other activities. Udemy allows students to preview programs that they are interested in and offers a 30-day refund if they are disappointed.
Because each lesson is designed and taught differently, it is also priced accordingly: Lifetime admission to a single course can range from cheap (about $11 to $15) to expensive (around $200 or more).
Coursera is a well-known online education portal that offers courses from renowned educational institutions all around the world. The company has developed fast over the years and now offers the world’s top education standards via Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC).
This online learning platform collaborates with institutions such as Stanford, Duke, Penn, Princeton, Michigan, Peking, and HEC Paris, as well as corporations such as IBM, Google, and PwC. They have 190 active partners from 48 countries in total. Kleiner Perkins, New Enterprise Associates, Learn Capital, and SEEK Group are among the platform’s investors.
Skillshare is a free online learning platform that benefits both students and teachers. The website provides thousands of courses in design, business, marketing, technology, photography, cinema, fashion, music, gaming, food, writing, DIY, crafts, and other subjects.
Instructors may quickly develop lessons using the platform’s step-by-step instructions. Furthermore, if any of the students subscribe to the premium package, this leading online learning platform pays professors a referral fee.
Skillshare operates on a subscription model rather than a per-course pricing plan, so students who sign up can take as many or as few courses as they like while subscribing. The current monthly price is $32; but, if you pay for a year in advance, the cost is $168 (about $14 per month).
Having said that, the platform does include a number of free classes, ranging from short, 20-minute videos to larger tutorials lasting an hour or more. They aren’t as in-depth, but they’re a good way to experiment with potentially fascinating topics.
Sentinel|9 is an Australia-based academic content and curriculum provider offering a new way to meet the demands of the next generation of learners.
Using its dynamic and responsive learning methodology and eLearning technologies, Sentinel 9 showcases university-level content that can be studied independently, at users’ own preferred pace and level, without the confines of university enrolment as well as continued professional development (CPD) and corporate training, using single short modules or full subjects. Additionally, the company provides micro-credential short courses with badge qualifications. To have a better view on quality of the content proved, Sentinel 9 offers free samples on the ‘What is Strategy?’, ‘Accounting and Reporting in Commerce’ and ‘Strategic Business Planning’.
The platform collaborates with big players such as Go1, Udemy, StudyPlex and Skillsoft.
edX is a reputable online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT. edX is a leading MOOC provider that is both non-profit and open source. It has a subscriber base of over 20 million students. edX, a global non-profit, is changing traditional education by removing numerous educational hurdles. edX provides over 2500 courses from 140 colleges with over 6,000 instructors and a presence in 196 countries worldwide.
Furthermore, EdX is well-known for its ‘MicroMasters’ programs, which provide students with graduate-level education. You can also pay for a certificate that exhibits and confirms your expertise after successfully completing the class. The free ‘audit’ version of courses will not result in a signed document, but completing the paid-for’verified’ version will result in a physical certificate. In addition, you will typically be able to submit projects and receive comments on them. However, prices vary greatly, with some recognised courses available for $169 and other degrees costing thousands of dollars.
Udacity has a wide range of classes to pick from, but its primary concentration is on development, artificial intelligence, and programming courses. It is an online learning platform based on philosophy that lessons should be designed by those who are hiring applicants with those skillsets.
As a result, every piece of information imparted at Udacity is supported and offered through collaborations between industry giants such as Google and Uber. Udacity courses are organised into ‘nanodegree programs’ that need a monthly subscription charge to receive unrestricted access to all course material.
Furthermore, they are so confident in their learning methods that they offer a premium plan that promises a job in your chosen profession within 6 months of completion, or a complete refund. A monthly subscription costs $399, though there are frequently discounts available. Because Udacity claims that many of its courses take roughly three months to complete, you may end up paying more than $1,000 before completing the online sessions. However, if you are serious about advancing your tech career, we believe this platform is well worth the money. Certificates are issued at the end of the course, however they are not recognised by any official organisations. You will, however, complete your program with a finished ‘project’ that exhibits your new knowledge and skills.
In the last decade, online education has evolved into a viable option, and an increasing number of people are turning to these online learning platforms for education rather than costly and traditional college programs. However, due to the large number of online learning platforms sprouting up all over the internet, it is impossible to pick a specific provider as the absolute best or worst. Nonetheless, assessing your needs, current skill levels, and end goals, as well as reviewing the overviews of each platform, should help you choose the option that will most advance your education, career, or business.