Best Online Learning Platforms (2019)
Today’s educational rat race brings different challenges. Both students and grownups looking for a chance to widen their professional knowledge face various obstacles when dealing with traditional universities, colleges or other conventional types of educational establishments. The main obstacles result in limited budgets, time shortage, location, etc.
On the other hand, the world keeps going online bringing tons of opportunities to pick up new skills online. The educational system evolved together with web and mobile technologies. Online learning platforms deliver more academic freedom along with learning flexibility. People may access hundreds of training programs in various niches despite the lactation, budget or technical background.
However, choosing the right platform might be a daunting task. To put students at ease in their research we have conducted a list of best online courses websites. Stay tuned to learn more about them.
8 Best Online Learning Sites & Apps (with Features and Pricing)
With so many online course websites available on the Internet, choosing a proper platform relies on comparing and contrasting. It requires some in-depth research. You need to consider several crucial issues. We have conducted a list of top trusted platforms that will certainly meet your educational requirements in many ways.
#1 – Udemy
Udemy is one of the best online learning websites with a good online reputation and focuses on digital marketing, IT and development niches. At the same time, it is yet the biggest e-learning platform boasting more than 30 million students and over 100 thousand online training programs including video tutorials. Established in 2009, the platform is focused on delivering real-life experience in SEO, eCommerce, web and mobile development, data science, etc.
- Certificates – each Udemy student gets a certificate after completing the course.
- Custom Video Player and Dashboard – the platform has developed its own video player and interface. Both work great. They are intuitive with all lessons described under the video tutorial.
- Lifetime Course Access – after you have paid for the course, you may access it whenever you want. Each user gets a lifetime pass.
Although Udemy is one of the biggest and popular online learning platforms, some struggles in reference to pricing and content quality often occur. Users say some of the courses contain only baseline info without special perks or exclusive hints.
- Endless selection of courses.
- Simple navigation and intuitive interface.
- Good customer support.
- Confusing pricing policy.
- No chance to rate the course.
- The community is not pretty active.
#2 – Coursera
Established in 2011, Coursera has grown into the industry’s leader in terms of online education. It features millions of students worldwide. The key idea is to deliver a wide range of massive open online courses delivered by major educational establishments and reputable universities.
Users may access various training programs developed by such big academic names as Stanford, Yale or Princeton. Some of the courses are available at no cost while others are paid depending on the specialization. The niches involved include self-development, coding, programming, science, and more.
- Recognition – over 50 million students worldwide. You may join a global academic community and access hundreds of different training programs.
- Free Access – some of the courses are available at no cost. Moreover, the platform offers a 7-day free trial to check if the website meets your needs.
- Wide Range of Courses – the platform is good for beginners and pros to sharpen their skills in web development, science, self-development, etc.
- Ease of Use – users will easily find the program required due to intuitive navigation. All programs are divided into categories while the website itself is easy to browse.
Coursera is certainly one of the best online learning platforms. However, it may have some issues that look a bit confusing especially when it comes to pricing.
- Flexibility and ease of use.
- Courses from top universities from across the globe.
- Multiple niches and fields to choose from.
- Good reputation on the web.
- No clear pricing policy. The system charges individual fees after you have entered the course.
- Some users claim its self-development courses are far from being perfect.
#3 – DataCamp
DataCamp is another representative of a so-called MOOC learning family. The website made its debut back in 2014. It offers a variety of courses and learning programs that cover different topics from programming languages and web development to data science. Users appreciate affordable pricing as well as good content quality.
- Ease of Use – DataCamp website looks pretty simple, which is good. Students are not confused right at once with tons of banners and course ads.
- Fast Signing In – The registration process is very fast and simple. You may sign in with a social or Google accounts as well as opt for a traditional ay by indicating your email and username.
- Simple Navigation – the website features its custom search bar. To find a necessary course, simply type in the keyword and start your education.
- Experience Points – students may earn special points (XPs) after finishing each program to showcase the level of their technical background and stand out.
Despite a good reputation and a wide range of positive reviews, DataCamp had some negative issues with content quality. However, the platform is certainly worth paying attention despite some small downsides.
- Rich online course collection.
- Clear pricing policy.
- Good for newbies and pros.
- Affordable fees.
- Some reviews regarding the content quality are two-sided.
- Free access comes with limited learning offers.
#4 – Edx
edX is an online learning startup launched in 2012. The website might be considered as the niche’s veteran in addition to its good reputation and recognition on the web. Edx is a multiple-course hosting platform, which means different training programs in various fields for students and employees to pick up skills later implemented in their personal lives or professional careers.
- Flexible Learning – the website offers high-school and university courses conducted by the biggest names in the educational field (Harvard, MIT, and others).
- Flawless Online Reputation – the platform has established a partnership with some top-notch brands including Microsoft.
- MicroMaster Training – the program developed to help professionals enrich their knowledge and master already existing skills.
- Professional Certificates – when obtained, they help people meet professional requirements established by employers.
The website has a bunch of extra features to look at. At the same time, you should be ready to pay somewhere around $50 and $300 per course depending on its complexity. Moreover, the website’s performance could be better.
- Great online reputation.
- High-quality learning content.
- Various features including MicroMastering.
- Clear pricing policy.
- Some courses are a bit pricy.
- Occasional website breakdowns.
#5 – Pluralsight
Pluralsight is one of the longest-running online training websites in the niche. A team of academic enthusiasts launched it back in 2004. Today, the platform offers over 6,000 of training programs that cover such fields as IT, software development, design business, manufacturing, etc. mainly represented in the form of educational videos. Pluralsight is focused on video tutorials, as its experts believe that such approach ensures 60,000 times faster results. Let’s see at what the website offers in terms of features.
- Huge Online Experience – Pluralsight has been around in the niche of online learning since 2004.
- Wide Selection of Courses – the website currently provides access to 6,850 different training programs in various niches.
- Three Educational Paths – they depend on the student’s level of background and include Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced learning paths.
- Flexible Subscription Plans – you may choose whether to subscribe or save up to 50% from price thanks to the annual package. Uses may opt for the Premium plan and benefit from its exclusive features.
- Corporate Plan – the website has a separate business plan for companies that require staff training.
Pluralsight is certainly a worthy online learning website with tons of great options to deliver out of the box. However, some slight downsides might also take place. People may not appreciate the automated plan renewal as well as some out-of-date content.
- Wide Selection of video guides and tutorials.
- Over 6,800 courses.
- Multiple niches to choose from.
- Flexible pricing.
- 10-day free trial.
- Some curses contain mediocre content.
- Problems with subscription cancellation.
- Automatic renewal.
#6 – SkillShare
SkillShare is a worldwide online learning community that represents over 4 million students from different countries. The websit6e made its debut in 2010 and can be considered as the online course platform veteran. It currently offers access to more than 22,00o of its raining programs that cover niches from photo and design to writing, illustration, and entrepreneurship.
- 4 Major Categories – all classes are divided into 4 major specializations that include Creative, Business, Technology, and Lifestyle.
- Free SkillShare Package – the system offers its Basic and Premium package, the Basic plan is available at no cost.
- Free Access to the Community – Basic subscribers get full access to SkillShare community with a chance to create new projects joint the discussion or interact with other members.
- Free Mobile Apps – access the website on the go using a mobile device. The application is available free to all the users despite the subscription level.
The website offers high-quality content with tons of extra features although the Basic plan might still look a bit limited in terms of functionality.
- Ease of Use.
- Mobile Access.
- Free plan.
- Different learning categories.
- Welcome gifts (2 months of unlimited access).
- The basic plan lets you access only 2,000 out of 26,000 learning courses.
#7 – Udacity
Udacity is an online learning platform that boasts over 1.6 million active subscribers. Launched in 2011, the platform offers a variety of MOOC-based online courses with high-quality content. Local training programs are mainly focused on technical education. They cover such fields as AI-based technologies, programming, and development, data science, etc.
- Focus on IT Education – the programs mainly contain coursed dedicated to IT and data science and the way they might e implemented in today’s business reality.
- Udacity Nanodegree – an exclusive Udacity program where you pay for each month of the learning process that usually lasts about 6-12 months. In other words, you actually enter a digital technical university online.
- Nanodegree Plus – the program is actually the same as the previous one with one crucial difference. Those who managed to complete the course are guaranteed to get a job.
The platform has some great features. However, get ready to pay over the budget in order to complete the program although some courses are still available for free. In addition, the website certainly lacks its academic community to share and discuss different topics.
- Comprehensive courses.
- High-quality content.
- Good for IT and technology enthusiasts.
- Job guaranteed.
- Custom monthly courses.
- Free access to 200+ programs.
- Pricy plans.
- The cost per Nanodegree program may range from $200 to $2400.
#8 – Codecademy
Codecademy is an interactive online training platform. The website was launched in 2011 with the aim of helping students and pros to sharpen their programming and coding skills. Here you may access courses that cover 12 different programming languages. Students may choose from the free plan as well as Pro and Pro Intensive learning programs.
- Free Entry Plan – it ensures full access to the majority of learning courses with no limitations. Users only need to sign in and choose the course they need using a simple navigation bar.
- Pro Plan – it offers features that are not accessible with the free package. They include creating new projects, choosing training paths depending on the background, extra quizzes, etc.
- Pro Intensive Plan – it contains all features from the two previous plans in addition to exclusively conducted exams with deadlines to fulfill. Users may communicate with tutors through Slack and other designated messaging channels.
The website comes as an overall worthy platform and certainly one of the best to learn how to code. Despite some slight drawbacks, it offers enough features to pick up programming and other technical skills at affordable costs.
- Free plan with access to major courses.
- Simple navigating and intuitive dashboard.
- Several intensive learning programs.
- Free courses seem to be less informative.
- It takes time to find a relevant piece of info.
How Online Learning Platform’s Work
As a rule, all learning websites have the same MOOC-based functionality with some slight differences. It means that they deliver Massive Open Online Course in various formats (texts, videos, tutorials, and more). The process of accessing online curses generally consists of the following steps:
- Choose a platform and sign in with the Google or Social account or by indicating an email and password.
- Select a plan (free or paid). In case of a paid plan, complete the purchase with the payment options provided.
- Pick a course, complete it, and get a certification.
Not all websites offer certification especially when it comes to such fields as lifestyle or self-development. In the rest of the occasions, you will be certified or even get a guaranteed job. The courses are generally conducted by higher educational establishments, colleges or universities. Some platforms create their self-crafted training programs.
Online Learning Sites benefits
MOOC-based websites are designed to put students at ease with tier learning programs. They ensure academic freedom with the ability to access courses from anywhere. Moreover, such educational is generally cheaper and more flexible in terms of timeframes. The key benefits are as follows:
- Round-the-Globe Access – all you need is to have a device connected to the computer. Sign in and get involved in the learning process.
- Mobile Apps – users have a chance to access programs on the go using smartphones and tablets. Some websites offer free mobile versions and apps to start the education process with a tap.
- Flexibility – you may choose any niche you want as well as start the education in various fields at the same time without the physical presence.
- Professional Upgrade – if you are not a student but a worker who want to improve professional skills, online learning websites will do the trick offering up-to-date content.
- Stay Focused – learning form home lets you keep focused on the topic. No one will ever interrupt you.
Technologies Used by Online Learning Platforms
E-learning requires the implementation of advanced communication technologies. While brick-to-mortar LMS strategies are dying off, learning platforms integrated AI-based instruments to track the students’ progress, offer personalized courses, etc. not mentioning instant messaging services, social network embankment, emailing, etc.
The e-learning industry has introduced two of its educational concepts:
- Microlearning – the approach works for students requiring maximum impact with a reduced learning curve. The idea is to focus on some small pieces of training program. The key feature is that a user receives a small chunk of leaning that is easier and faster to digest.
- Macrolearning – the approach is to oppose the previous one. It mainly refers to the traditional way of providing info to students. The courses are accompanied by tutors or mentors. They usually end up with a quiz or a short exam. The key downside here is the inability to access some specific points and topics issues as fast as possible.
Both approaches have their pros and cons. It all depends on the student’s personality and the ability to absorb new pieces of info.
E-learning is pushing traditional LMS platforms off the bridge. Students now have a more flexible way of obtaining new info with no physical presence required. Best online learning sites come as an ultimate academic solution to access various classes in different fields despite the location budget or timeframes. All you need is to choose the one that meets your requirements. Hope you will find our guide of best online courses websites useful.