Even before the pandemic hits the world, the Learning Management System (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) was already available and ready to be utilized by every individual who needed it.
As for me stuck working from home, I decided to research the best online learning platforms.
Online Learning Platforms
Online learning platforms are the traditional learning that was modified and placed into the comfort of your own gadgets. It offers various engaging services like tools, handouts, and such. The payments can also be made online.
This method is rapidly rising from the market to bridge the education gap anywhere in the world. It utilizes modern technology to provide convenience and easy access.
Last 2015, the online learning platform’s global market was worth $107 billion, and it is believed that it will continue to increase by 2025 with the worth of $325 billion.
Well, if you want to invest in best online learning platforms, then you might want to start doing it anytime soon.
How to Determine the Best Online Learning Platforms
Knowing the best online learning platforms can only be hard if you do not do your own research.
These are a few helpful tips that I usually do to be able to utilize the online learning platforms very well:
1. Know Your Needs
When determining the best online learning platforms for you, you should know for yourself what you really need. What I usually do in this, I write down a list, and once I finish it, everything usually falls into place.
Do not avail of a service you find striking at first because eventually, you might find yourself not really need it in the long run. You can opt to free trials; some e learning platforms provide free trials.
2. Know How to Compare the Services
Comparing is very crucial because there are numerous online learning platforms to choose from. You cannot compare two different platforms because they are obviously not offering the same services.
The online platforms that you are going to compare should go to the same category to save your time and reduce the danger of making a wrong move that might cost you a lot.
3. Know if they Provide Excellent Customer Service
Another critical point to consider is if the learning platform provides excellent customer service. We’ll never know what type of issue might arise, either on their end or yours. This does not usually happen all the time but better be safe than sorry.
Every service has an online review or testimonies; better check that on the net to know if they’ll come to your rescue.
There might come a time that you will need some maintenance, troubleshoot, or an upgrade in the site courses. So, it is best to have a customer service that will be able to support you.
4. Know Your Budget
Lastly, this is also considered a primary factor in choosing your best online learning platform. This will help you minimize your search and let you explore all that fits your budget.
Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Online Learning Platform
After plotting everything, the next thing you need to do is watch out for the online learning platform’s best features.
These are the features to note for:
1. Utilization of Different Education Tools
Either you want to learn or want to share your knowledge, the platform needs to utilize various educational tools to supply the requirements and inclinations one may need.
2. User-Friendly Features
Every individual enrolled in an online platform needs to access their courses in an instant. It is wise to choose an online learning platform that is not complicated and very easy to use. The dashboards and other choices must be easy to navigate and have a distinct design.
3. Easy Access Courses Sites
Having a feature like this effectively helps every individual by letting them freely choose what course they want. It can also be ready to use templates or themes that will easily allow you to formulate and organize a course you want to present.
4. Detailed Reports or Updates
This feature will provide the clients or the students a detailed evaluation and progress from their e courses. It will be able to help them suggest or know what are the areas lacking.
5. Access to Online Communities
This might be one of the features to really look out for when it comes to e learning. Access to online communities promotes the sharing of knowledge. It is a space for meaningful and engaging online learning.
The 12 Best Online Learning Platforms Explained and Ranked
Skillshare is one of the largest online course in specializing in creative education, such as illustration, design, animation, film making, photography, and writing.
The cost of Skillshare is $99 per year membership fee that provides 20,000 online classes. You can also pay $15 a month. If you want to test it out, there is also a 2-month free trial.
- Pros – offers best online courses and reputable instructors. Also, if you are finding a platform to share your creative knowledge, then this might be the one for you because most of their audience are involved in creative.
- Cons – when it comes to customer support, they might be lacking. You can only reach them via email that sometimes takes time. If you have an urgent query, unfortunately, it cannot be entertained right away.
Udemy was found in May 2010 and now has 50 million students, 57,000 instructors, and has around 150,000 courses.
Udemy’s online courses will vary because you are paying solely for the course; some can go from $15 to $30 up to $200. So, if you are only concerned about learning a specific skill than having a class with a lot of sub or related e learning, then Udemy might be the one for you.
- Pros – Not only that, it has a lot of courses, but it is also offered in 65 languages. They also secure a free 24/7 customer support for any queries you may have and a wide collection of useful articles.
- Cons – There are not enough reviews for the courses in Udemy, so you will never be sure with regards to the quality of the service you will get. Also, since the prices are placed mostly by the instructors, it will be inconsistent.
Coursera is labeled as a professional learning platform that provides access to academic courses. It consists of online classes from some of the prominent universities and companies.
Coursera has three different tiers, but they also offer free courses: The individual course that lasts 4 to 6 weeks, costing $29-$99. The specialized course program lasts 4 to 6 months, costing $39-$79 a month, and an online course degree that lasts from 1 to 3 years, costing $15 to $25,000.
- Pros – partnered with some well-known institutions and companies. Their courses will allow you to acquire a Masters Degree and specializations.
- Cons – some of the instructors or professors are not great in front of the camera. Certificates and courses can still be a bit expensive. To add more, the programs can be a little bit overwhelming for beginners.
edX is established by Harvard and MIT. It caters to a wide array of individuals, including most of the top tier universities and businesses.
You can take online courses for free except for the professional education ones. In order to acquire graded assignments and certificates you need to settle the fee.
The cost of edX is between $50 and $300; there is also an additional fee if you will be upgrading your course.
- Pros – the site is very user-friendly. It is also an established name in the business and is known to provide university-level courses.
- Cons – there are reviews that the platform crashes a lot, and some of the courses don’t have quality at all. I’ve read a few saying that they enrolled in a course and didn’t learn what the course is really about. To add more, they have poor customer support with regards to refunds.
Udacity was founded in 2011 and accumulated 11.5 million users; usually specializes in IT and similar course. It has around 200 courses that are free of charge.
Udacity features Nanodegree, wherein you get to study a subject of your choice for 6 to 12 months and receive a certificate of completion.
The cost of Udacity Nanodegree is $200 a month.
- Pros – when you visit Udacity, you will be greeted with a straightforward design. This will not bombard you from unnecessary information that can cloud your judgment. It also has a good quality of courses, either paid or free.
- Cons – it lacks the sense of community that is supposed to make you feel motivated to learn more because you can converse with others. Many reviews are stating that the free courses are usually neglected in terms of customer support. Also, the price for a Nanodegree that lasts for 6 to 12 months is $2,400, which might be expensive.
6. Course Hero
Course Hero has been in the business for 14 years now. It is a service that provides notes, textbook answers, lesson plans, old test, flashcards, and study guides.
Course Hero can be used freely but with only limited content.
They offer three types of pricing: The annual membership costs $9.95 a month. The three-month membership will cost $19.95 a month. Lastly, the monthly membership is $39.95 a month.
- Pros – provides a fair refund policy stating that if it’s your first time using their platform and then your GPA still dropped compared to the last semester, they will give you a full refund. They also offer 24/7 tutors and offer scholarships if you meet their requirements.
- Cons – expensive premium membership cost while having a low pay for the tutors even if available 24/7.
Chegg is an online platform that was established in 2005. It offers electronic and actual 9,000 textbook rentals, teaching, and other student assistance.
The cost of Chegg is $14.95 a month; there is also an option of buying a study pack that costs $19.95 per month. You also need to pay for the tutor that costs around $15 per week for 30 minutes.
- Pros – Chegg also offers a 24/7 tutor. They launched a quick way to review math problems.
- Cons – there is not much review from a student. However, it is reported that the number of tutors is not equal to the students making it a tight competition when a student will suddenly turn up.
Bitdegree is slowly gaining the interest of public. Their platform utilizes blockchain. Blockchain is the technology used by Bitcoin to have a safe, public, and unidentified transactions. They offer unique courses, blockchain certification, scholarships, and more.
The cost of Bitdegree depends on what course you will avail because it has its own individual pricing. They offer free courses, and some have free certifications. They also provide micro-scholarships if you can’t afford their courses.
- Pros – number one is their easy to use platform; the courses site is very aesthetically pleasing; flexible choice when it comes to availing their services. It can also be suitable for self-paced learners.
- Cons – this platform just launched last 2017; their brand still needs to take the time to rise in the market.
Pluralsight was founded in 2004 as a classroom education, but later on, it was changed to an online education platform. They were able to reach more than 150 countries and provide IT courses and other technology-related fields.
The cost of Pluralsight is $29 per month or $299 for annual billing.
- Pros – if you ever need assistance, they can provide quick help. They also offer various exercise files, and you can create a discussion forum to engage with other students.
- Cons – the platform is more focused in the technology field. If you are a beginner, you might have a hard time understanding the courses. Also, there are other courses that are not updated.
Treehouse offers 300 plus technical courses on coding and development. They have over 50,000 students. They are partnered with prominent names such as Amazon Alexa, Google Developers, and such.
The cost of Treehouse will range from $25 to $199 per month with three different plans you want to avail.
- Pros – the primary focus is the technology courses. They provide various in-house professionals that will teach you. It is also very affordable, having a low monthly fee, and has a student community.
- Cons – if you are not that familiar with how programming works, this platform can be overwhelming. It has limited courses compared to other online learning platforms.
11. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a non-profit platform that can also provide various online courses. Salman Khan founded it in 2008. He hosted tutoring videos that target a small audience, and later on, it indeed grew.
The platform is 100% free.
- Pros – it contains various quality contents, and there are no ads. As mentioned, you don’t need to worry about paying for anything because it is absolutely free.
- Cons – design may be the least important feature, but they can also try improving it so it can be easier to navigate. They can add more courses on some topics, as well.
LinkedIn Learning was formerly Lynda. All of its contents are migrated to LinkedIn Learning to have a better experience. It boasts about effectively catering to working professionals.
The premium membership costs $29.99 per month and $24 per month when paying annually. They offer a 1-month free trial to students that comes with quizzes, recommendations, and such.
- Pros – the website is very user-friendly. It is easy to roam around and looks very professional. If you are finding a platform, to begin with, this might help.
- Cons – There are limited pricing plans, and there are not enough course difficulties to level up the student’s skills.
Now that you’ve seen the rankings and the pros and cons of the 12 best online learning platforms, you will be able to determine who stood out from the rest. This is the primary reason why comparing products or services is very crucial. If it’s done right, it will help you decide which is the right one for you.
For me, Coursera may be the best online learning platform for it fits my list. It doesn’t just specialize in a specific course, and you can also get a certified degree if you avail of the service. Even if it is not too great for beginners, as long as I’m eager to learn, I think it won’t stop me.
But again, it will still depend on you. I’ve already mentioned the factors you can consider to help you. I hope you’ll be able to find the one for you!
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