The 5 Best Online Learning Platforms Explained and Ranked

Online courses are only going to become more prominent, with the rise of distance learning and more information becoming available on the internet. As this year starts the new decade, many online learning platforms have emerged, and each meets your demands differently. If you want to take an online course, it’s vital to understand the platforms you’re considering, especially in terms of your budget, scheduling, learning experience, accreditation opportunities, and many more.

In this article, we’ll analyze the top 5 online learning platforms we think offer the best online classes as of this year.

#5: Codecademy

Ready to code? Learn through bite-sized projects and Codecademy’s interactive IDE-based lesson design.

We’ll start off our Top 5 rankings with Codecademy, for those of you who want to get their feet wet in coding and programming. This is the best platform if you’re new or inexperienced in code, or if you want to deepen your tech skillset.

Codecademy is likely the most popular learning platform for users studying HTML, CSS, Python, SQL, Javascript, Ruby, C++, and other programming languages, with over 45 million users. Its coding classes make use of tools like an easy-to-use IDE (integrated development environment) so you can type your code and watch it parse instantly, making debugging quick. Individual courses are bite-sized, so topics are split into easily-manageable problems, and self-paced, too! This platform makes it easy for students to progress through a course little by little if you’re too busy for conventional studying hours.

Codecademy Pro is the platform’s premium membership plan, at $15.99 per month, opening up new features , such as unlimited mobile app practice, real-world projects, and certificates of completion. You can go on a 7-day free trial of Pro before signing up!

#4: Udemy

Udemy always has great discounts for studying individual courses, and offers just about every topic imaginable.

Udemy is fundamentally different from the other e-learning winners in this list. As a marketplace for courses, anyone can create a class, upload video lectures and other course material, and offer them to other users through a one-time subscription. Many instructors have set up shop at Udemy, and over time, substandard classes die as students pick the highest-quality online courses flourish.

For instructors, Udemy can be an enticing new market, as you may earn up to 95 percent from your course’s sales! As a student, you can find an enormous library of skills available on this platform. There are free courses at a decent level of quality, but the real appeal comes from paid classes, with pricing that’s normally at $19 to $199, but these are drastically reduced by discounts. For the biggest deals, make sure to catch big sales slashing 95% off their most expensive courses, and bag a $200 class for 20 dollars.

If you’ve already decided which topics to learn, Udemy offers you timely deals to several professor-made courses at affordable pricing. If you remember that purchasing a course makes it available to you forever, you can stock up quite a bit of premium knowledge on Udemy!

#3: Skillshare

As a hub for artists, Skillshare is the best choice to get high-quality instruction on creative topics.

Skillshare is easily the most recognizable online learning platform on this list. You’ve probably heard of this platform if you like watching Youtube. It’s run a fairly prominent ad campaign there, sponsoring a lot of content creators and offering discounts and free trials. Such publicity is deserved, however, as their classes are well-made and informed.

There are 20, 000 courses on Skillshare, with a clear specialization towards art-related topics. True to its name, the platform allows artisans and experts in vocational fields to create classes where they could share their skills to students. Popular online courses include photography, digital illustration, creative writing, and animation. Classes are video-based and the subject matter is designed to be short, yet substantial.

Apart from video lessons, Skillshare is also big on projects, requiring you to submit a project using the skills you’ve learned in the course for its culminating activity. It’s clearly one of the best e-learning platforms to develop your creative side. A Premium membership unlocks all the courses and starts at $15/month, but the annual pricing is cheaper at $99 per year; don’t forget to see if they’re offering a two-month free trial!

#2: Coursera

Courses are crafted by prestigious universities, and you can get credits and actual certificates on Coursera.

Coursera is keenly focused on academic content. Quite a lot of well-known universities are partnered with them, and the wide range of university-level classes that Coursera offers is produced by leading institutions such as Yale, Stanford, Michigan and Duke. As a result, its learning resources have superior quality out of a lot of online course platforms.

Whether you want to learn about topics like personal development, computer science or data science, Coursera has a relatively even coverage of topics, making it a good place to discover new skills, and also to earn accreditation. Its degree programs allow you earn your Master’s or Bachelor’s in several fields. Students will receive a digital copy of an online degree as if they earned it from the actual institution running the course.

Many courses are free, although you’ll need to pay for a course to get accreditation. Seems fair, with pricing at about 39-79 dollars. Students can ask for scholarship or financial aid, and one could even find discounts for their classes online.

#1: edX

A thriving community is built around edX’s top-quality courses and certification programs.

EdX is also supported by prominent universities, so its library is packed with engaging, well-designed content. In fact, it’s simply one of the absolute best course platforms for academic learning.

Out of its competing learning platforms, edX functions more like a virtual classroom. In addition to the excellent subject coverage in their video courses, the platform fosters an environment of collaboration, with students encouraged to create discussion forums and connect with each other on social media. You can take an online course here for free, but only the paid Verified Tracks are eligible for certification.

For schools, edX offers its learning software technology as a 30-day trial run.

Conclusion – Our Top 5 Best Online Learning Platforms

The key to deciding on the best online learning platforms is factoring in your interests. Web development is Codecademy’s domain, so coders will best learn there. If you’d like to nourish your artistic skillset, go with Skillshare. To push ahead with academic subjects, Coursera and edX are your bets. And Udemy’s there to offer loads of options.

Of course, you can go with other options like LinkedIn Learning, but each online learning platform on this list stands among the best for their specific focus.

Photo credits: eOffice