Top 10 Platforms for Online Learning

Oct 16, 2018 by

Modern technologies have completely changed the way we work, spend our free time and communicate with friends. They also open new horizons in terms of distance education as we can now learn a new language via mobile apps, get Skype vocal lessons, complete a 30-day marketing course offered by a globally recognised university and get a verified certificate for our CV afterwards. As the size of this market is expected to reach $275.10 billion by 2020, it is clear that in 5 years or less we may all be acquiring new skills and competencies online. Below are the top 10 platforms that can set you on the right educational course right now.

Source: Statista

1. Coursera

Coursera is one of the largest and most recognised online learning platforms. Founded in 2012 by Stanford University professors, it offers over 2,400 e-courses and has more than 33 million subscribers as of June 2018. It may also be the best platform for completing official courses from world’s top universities aligned with their educational programmes and subjects such as data science, mathematics, digital marketing or humanities. You can also get full master’s degrees and verified certificates in some spheres that can be added to your real-life CV.

2. Udemy

This platform presents a different perspective due to its focus on entrepreneurship and business. It does not offer ‘official’ college degrees but has some of the best courses for improving your job-related competencies. Udemy can also help you with language, music, arts, and programming education needs. This resource maintains an optimal balance between teaching professional skills and life skills, which makes it a good one stop shop for 21st century learners.

3. Lynda.com

If you are a visual learner, Lynda.com may be your best choice in online education. This website contains more than 80,000 educational videos on different subjects that can be accessed through a single profile with monthly subscription. The company offers a free month trial to convince you that it has the best solutions for prospective software developers, designers, photographers and entrepreneurs.

4. Skillshare

Skillshare is another video-based platform offering courses in photography, marketing and design. It is primarily oriented towards creative skills acquisition and involves video lessons, community discussions and group projects. While the best courses from industry leaders are only available to Premium subscribers, there is a wide range of high-quality programmes from new teachers that are free or accessible with the basic subscription.

5. edX

This platform is the result of a scientific partnership between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It presently offers more than 1,800 online courses and cooperates with many non-profit organisations, schools and corporations. Similarly to Coursera, edX users can get credit points for universities and colleges and obtain edX-verified certificates after the completion of certain programmes.

6. Khan Academy

This resource was founded in 2009, which makes it one of the first providers of online learning programmes. As opposed to the previous platforms, this organisation is a non-profit one and all its courses, instructional videos and exercises are completely free. Moreover, all materials have also been translated into Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Bangla and French thanks to the $2 million investment from Google and many new courses are available in 26+ languages.

7. Academic Earth

Academic Earth is another free resource that presents lectures and video courses developed by the MIT, University of Michigan, Princeton, Yale, Stanford and other educational leaders. The range of subjects covers the academic curriculum of higher educational institutions and may be a perfect choice for students looking for quality materials at virtually no additional costs. However, this resource does not presently provide interaction options to contact course authors or other students, which may be viewed as a disadvantage.

8. iTunes U

While some of the earlier discussed platforms are aimed at visually-oriented users, iTunes U offers thousands of audio podcasts from top lecturers and universities that are fantastic for those who like to listen to educational materials while driving in their car or jogging with their headphones on. Considering the fact that iTunes U is a completely free source of knowledge, it may be the optimal choice for those who want to start reaching their personal development goals but lack the time, motivation or resources to dive in with both feet right now.

9. MIT Open Courseware

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware website remains the best resource for those interested in technical disciplines such as Computer Science or Technical Engineering. Presently, you can find more than 2,400 free advanced courses in all areas of knowledge ranging from organic optoelectronics to aeronautics. More than 80% of the specialists using this platform highly praised its impact on their careers and personal advancement and this website is accessed by millions of users from all continents on a daily basis.

10. Codecademy

Let us face it: coding has become a modern-day necessity for both information technology specialists and small business owners creating their first website. Codecademy is one of the most trusted resources providing specialised training in this sphere with its graduates working at such companies as Bloomberg, Google and IBM. Moreover, you can access all website materials for free and upgrade to a ‘pro’ account later when you feel that you are ready to start building your portfolio as a software developer.

A lot of information taught at colleges and universities becomes outdated within two or three years following graduation. Hence, both students and industry professionals are facing the need to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date with the most recent trends to successfully complete their dissertation or succeed in their career. Online learning is one of the easiest and most convenient paths to advancement that does not require your physical presence in a classroom at certain times and may completely change your professional and personal life. However, it is not radically different from traditional classroom teaching where you have to find what works for you personally as a learner. This is why we would advise you to try free courses on several of these resources before you opt for a paid subscription.

Author Bio

Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in both freelancing and academic writing industries, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.

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