Professional development is key to having a successful career. Especially, in the current climate, where thanks to tech and other market drivers, role requirements fluctuate. Whether you have free time in-between jobs or after hours, don’t rush to plomp yourself in front of the TV. Instead, you can invest just 20 to 30 minutes a day into learning something new. And the best way to do so is through online learning platforms.
The 6 Very Best Online Learning Platforms
If you’ve been searching for different online learning platforms, the sheer number of options is overwhelming. So how do you pick one that could really help you get ahead with your job search?
Well, we did some legwork for you and rounded up the 6 best online learning sites according to its users and external reviewers.
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post are affiliate ones, meaning we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you choose to sign for a paid tool. But keep in mind, these are the best online courses platforms that we have discovered though tedious research.
Coursera’s tagline is “world-class learning for anyone everywhere”. They offer a wide range of courses taught by university professors (including folks from the Ivy League) and other subject-matter experts.
Even better, because they offer degrees, certifications, and master track programs, it’s easy to communicate your accomplishments in the skills and educational sections of your resume.
Finally, because Coursera classes are associated with top universities and instructors, you can do a bit of ‘name-dropping’ in your job search as well.
Varies: from free to $20K+ for an online MBA
- Hundreds of courses available in high-demand job fields including data science, cybersecurity, product management, online marketing, and more!
- Coursera certificates are recognized by most employers and you can include them on your LinkedIn profile in a few clicks.
- There are many free course options, including those from reputable Unis (Yale, Duke, etc) and companies (e.g. IBM, Google, SAS.)
- 87% of learners have stated that using Coursera helped them start a new career path or get into a new career field.
- Apart from general courses, you can obtain professional certificates offered through partner organizations including Google, Facebook, HubSpot, IBM, Johns Hopkins, and others.
- Some reviews on TrustPilot note that the website is difficult to navigate. Due to the sheer volume of options, discovering suitable & related courses can be challenging. Their approach to curating content could be better.
- Also, some users point out inconsistent course quality. While this isn’t Coursera’s issue per se as they just host content, the company could do a better job with verifying the audio/video quality of the submitted e-courses.
Best for: Taking courses to improve your existing skillset or building skills for a career change.
Skillshare is an online learning platform with a heavy focus on creative courses. The company describes itself as a place where members can come for inspiration, and take the next step in their creative journey. While their primary focus is ‘creative fields’ and “Lifestyle” courses, recently SkillShare also branched into other verticals including business & tech. They have several interesting courses around Freelancing & Entrepreneurship for those considering a remote side-hustle. Plus, a growing bevy of tech courses — mobile app development, web design, data science, and game design are among well-reviewed e-courses.
Subscription-based with a free and premium membership tier at $19 monthly.
- Has a great selection of niche courses for designers & artists that may not be available elsewhere.
- Good content curation — finding relevant courses is easy. You can browse by subject, teacher, skills, or any custom keyword combos.
- First-hand knowledge — most courses are taught by subject-matter experts, rather than prof instructors. Meaning there’s a greater focus on hands-on skills than theoretical knowledge.
- If you want to go on a deeper dive into a particular subject area can sign up for workshops, essentially clusters of related courses.
- Curated lists of courses provide students with a clear pathway for mastering certain skills.
- Does not provide certificates of completion or accreditation to tout to an employer.
- Most courses are designed more for enrichment than career growth.
Best for: Folks working in creative fields or aspiring to break into one.
Masterclass offers online courses taught by recognized “masters” — Hollywood actors, published authors, star chefs, and successful entrepreneurs among others. Their roaster of tutors is unique and high-profile when compared to other popular online learning platforms. Keira Knightley, Annie Leibovitz, Margaret Atwood, Marc Jacobs are among the instructors.
Still, the selection of coursework is a bit more modest with the most popular course categories being art, cook, business basics, and writing among others.
$180 annually for unlimited access.
- The credibility of the instructors is unquestionable, so your training could really stand out on a resume.
- Audio lessons are available for busy job seekers who can’t engage with a screen.
- Apart from lessons, you also get access to guides, interviews, and other supporting materials from the greatest artists, creators, and subject matter experts still alive today.
- All courses are styled as audio/video lectures with no engagement, assignments, and quizzes. This makes learning a little harder to retain.
- In general, there are fewer classes when compared to other platforms. The majority are more ‘lifestyle’ than career-oriented.
Best for: People who want to take a deep-dive into a topic of interest.
Udemy touts itself as the leading global marketplace of online courses. They offer many skills development courses in the areas of business, finance, technology, and other disciplines. Plus, you can find many personal classes too, ranging from dog training to knitting.
Courses are created by individual instructors, with varying levels of skills and credentials. Some training is delivered by professional instructors (with certificates of complexion issued), while others are taught by less proficient tutors.
Per-course. Courses range from free to $200.
Subscriptions are available for Udemy Pro — a corporate offering for 5+ people.
- More than 130K video courses available. So you are sure to find courses relevant to your career path & goals.
- You can switch between “short” courses and longer training or even certification programs (available for tech mainly).
- Top courses are filtered to the top of the home page, so you can easily see trending content. Everything else is organized into 13 main categories and multiple sub-categories. You can also run an on-site search if you are after something specific.
- Course descriptions contain clear information on prerequisites, objectives, reviews, and preview videos. Typically, you can get a good sense of what to expect difficulty-wise from the preview page.
- No individual subscriptions available. If you are interested in a lot of stuff, expect to pay quite a lot of learning.
- Course quality is similar to one on SkillShare and LinkedIn Learning. The two platforms, however, offer a more cost-effective watch-all-you-want monthly or annual subscription.
Best for: Experienced professionals who are interested in developing personal and professional skills to pursue future goals.
5. LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning (former Lynda.com) is an online library of video courses, taught by industry experts. Job seekers can bolster their skills by taking classes in areas such as technology, business, and creative arts among others. You can get access to it with a LinkedIn Premium subscription, also handy for job search.
$29.99 monthly or $19.99 monthly billed annually.
Free trial available.
- Features an array of courses for developing soft and technical skills. Some of the training is created by in-the-know industry experts (e.g. Guy Kawasaki) and a vetted team of professional trainers and tutors.
- The course selection here is in line with the current job market demands. Loads of courses are specifically career-oriented.
- All-in-one cohesive experience: you can use LinkedIn for networking, learning, and building an online presence for yourself.
- According to some reviews on G2, there is a lack of university-style courses that really dig deep into topics. Many are overview classes or short-workshops.
- A quick swipe through the courses indicates that video and audio quality can vary significantly. Just like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning could spend a bit more time on reviewing submitted content.
Best for: Taking courses towards a very specific career goal.
Treehouse is a technology-focused learning platform. Its target audience is coders, IT specialists, and other emerging tech experts. To help students in this niche progress within their careers, they offer courses and boot camp style ‘techdegree’ programs, as well as team learning options for business. Students can take a quiz to get course recommendations or explore a curated library of classes.
7-day free trial, then $25 per month.
- Created by tech experts to meet the needs of technical job seekers by teaching in-demand skills and best practices.
- Coding boot camps are an excellent way to build up practical skills, plus create a small project portfolio.
- Specific learning tracks are offered to map students’ educational paths with peer review, real-world projects, and a custom curriculum.
- Regular code challenges are a nice way of diversifying video learning. Plus, they are more fun to do than regular homework.
- Course certificates are only issued if you are on a pricier Techdegree plan ($199/mo).
- You cannot pursue more than one learning track at a time. This can be a bit limiting if you decided to branch out into another topic of interest.
Best For: Developers with at least some coding experience.
We admit the process of finding the best online courses is a bit subjective. To make this piece as relevant as possible, we focused on online learning platforms that cater to a variety of learning styles, interests, and student preferences. These may not be the only available options, but we have identified these as the best online schools.