The Top Ten Online Learning Platforms
Looking to pick up some new skills at home using an online learning platform? Here are Ezra's top ten e-learning choices to pick from in 2021, whether you're interested in boosting some professional skill sets or are just looking for a new hobby.
Online platforms have become an incredibly popular option for independent learning and personal development over the past couple of years. You can study from home on your own time with the help of valuable learning resources. There are even online courses that encourage you to study a skill or subject from all angles.
E-learning is also a powerful way to accelerate your professional growth. By supplementing your knowledge with professional courses and instructors over the internet, you can develop brand-new skills and build on existing experience to be more efficient and productive in your career.
Accredited vs non-accredited platforms
One main thing to consider when picking an online learning platform to try is whether or not they are accredited. To become accredited, a learning institution needs to meet a minimum standard of excellence set by an accrediting organization. This factors in things like academic quality, integrity, learning experience, student experience, and ethics. Ezra's own coaching app, for example, uses only fully accredited and professional career coaches, whereas signing up for a more informal or less focused platform will be less clear cut in terms of credentials.
Accredited platforms are vetted for their high standards and student success rates. Students get more peace of mind and a guaranteed quality experience when enrolling on an accredited course. If an institution is non-accredited, there is no way to verify any of its claims, experience, or integrity. This could cause you to be declined when applying for certifications or licenses, since some governing bodies only accept applications from students of accredited institutes. Sometimes this isn’t a problem (if you're after something more generalized like soft skills development, or a hobby instructor) but it is something to be aware of to make sure you get the most out of the e-learning solution you choose.
Our top ten picks for 2021
Let’s look at some of the top online learning platforms and their pros and cons:
Personalized course recommendations
Integrates well into your professional profile on LinkedIn
Free trial available
Difficult to determine the quality of a course without research
$29.99/month or $24.00/month if paid annually.
A diverse range of development and coding-focused courses
Partners with big names such as Microsoft and Google Developers
High-quality content created by in-house experts
Project-based approach for learning practical skills
No lifetime access to courses
Plans range from $25 to $199 per month.
Great community support with a discussion forum
Inexpensive and gives you access to many courses
Reliable course quality
No formal recognition after completing a course
Limited support options via email
$15 per month to access all courses.
edX and Open edX
Robust mobile app available
Online interactive classes
Courses are university-level in terms of quality and content
The system is somewhat outdated and lacking in features
No cost for regular courses. Between $50 and $300 for professional courses.
Self-paced learning focus
Mobile app for remote learning
Courses for almost every subject
Limited student-instructor interaction
The quality of courses can be inconsistent
Courses priced between $20 and $200.
Unlimited courses for a single annual fee
Excellent course quality
Massive variety of different courses
Suitable for all student levels
No professional certification
Course quality can vary
$180 annual subscription cost.
Millions of users across the world
Many different learning activities available
Awards certifications and degrees
High-quality educational tools
Interaction with instructors
Not as much course variety as other platforms
Between $39 to $79 per month.
Mini-degree approach is an innovative take on online courses
Over 7,500 individual classes across hundreds of paths
Access to the entire library of classes
Specialized focus means quality courses in every subject
Generally focused on technology-related subjects such as software development and cybersecurity
$29 per month or $299 for the whole year. $449 per year for a premium option with interactive courses and industry-standard practice exams.
Ad-supported platform means it’s free to use
Offers a comprehensive range of classes on many different subjects
Great for all learning levels
Courses can be sorted by type, category, or even job
Millions of learners and thousands of courses
Not optimized for mobile devices
Advertisements can become annoying unless you pay for a premium subscription
The ad-free premium subscription is $7.99 per month.
Excellent course quality
Collaborations with industry leaders such as Google, Amazon, and Nvidia
Extremely easy to use and follow
Hundreds of free courses to get started
Institute is not accredited due to their status as a private online educator
Limited topics in computer science and business
Some programs are quite expensive
$399 per month to access nanodegrees. $339 per month if the full course is prepaid.
Choosing the best online learning platform for your needs
Each online learning platform offers a variety of unique courses you can choose from. Some will feel more academic, some more professional. But it’s important to pick a course based on the type of knowledge that you’d like to gain, and to choose an accredited institution if you plan to seek certification or a license after completing your course.
Take a look at each individual platform to check out the courses you’re interested in. How do course descriptions vary between platforms? Reviews also help, since one platform may be stronger in certain subjects than another. When it comes to courses from individual instructors (like on Skillshare or MasterClass) your learning experience will depend on your teacher. Because of this, it’s hard to directly compare platforms, since course quality will vary.
We firmly believe these are the top online learning platforms to choose from. Once you’ve set your budget and a direction for your online learning, you’ll find that it’s a fantastic way tohelp your professional growth, opening you up to new career possibilities.
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