Skip to main content
Last update: Feb 15, 2024

Best Online Learning Platforms for 2024

Best online learning platforms
Photo of Catherine Cooke

Written by

Catherine Cooke

Catherine Cooke

Upskillwise Advisor

I'm Catherine, originally from London, now living in Spain. My professional journey led me from being a certified teacher to a yoga instructor and then a freelancer designer. These changes were made possible by online learning platforms like Skillshare and Coursera. It wasn't always easy, but so worth it and inspired me to start Upskillwise.

Photo of Catherine Cooke

Upskillwise.com is fully supported by its readers. If you register or buy a course using our links, we may receive a commission. This does not affect our ratings, methodology or partners.

I first heard about online platforms back in early 2010, the idea of learning from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, sounded pretty awesome. But I didn’t really dive deep into what they offered until a few years later, when I considered a new career path in graphic design.

To provide a well-informed and useful review of the best online learning platforms, I have invested considerable time in extensively researching various platforms’ course offerings, learning programs, instructor quality, pricing structures, and refund policies, as well as analyzing user feedback. My educational background, including a Master’s degree in Teaching and Education, along with my extensive experience in utilizing different online learning platforms, has been instrumental in compiling this detailed review.

To be completely honest, the vast number of online learning platforms and courses out there, left me a little overwhelmed about where to get started. I soon realized that each platform had different pricing plans, some focused on particular categories and others had famous instructors. Naturally, it left me with a bunch of questions like; ‘Will this online course teach me anything useful?’ or ‘Will future employers take this seriously?’

Top 5 Online Learning Platforms

Coursera

Best Overall

4.8

MasterClass

VIP Instructors

4.7

Mindvalley

Engaged Community

4.6

Udacity

Career Support

4.6

DataCamp

Data Skills

4.5

In case you still have a bunch of questions or are unsure about which platform to choose. We have made this detailed guide, which talks in-depth about each online learning platform and hopefully helps you with that decision.

5-Question Quiz to Choose an Elearning Platform

Online Learning Platforms Ranking Table

Platform

Pros & Cons

  • Partnered Organizations
  • Verified Certificates
  • Free Courses
  • Affordable Degrees
  • Prior Knowledge
  • Differences in course offerings

Guided Projects: Starting at $9.99 USD

Individual courses: Starting at $49 – $79 USD per course

Specializations & Professional Certificates: Starting at $49 USD a month

MasterTrack Certificates: Starting at $2,000+ USD

Degrees: Starting at $9,000+ USD

Coursera Plus: $59 monthly or $399 USD annually

  • Entertaining
  • VIP Instructors
  • Affordable
  • No Free Classes or Trials
  • No Certificates

Individual Plan: $120 USD billed annually.

Duo Plan: $180 USD billed annually.

Family Plan: $240 USD billed annually.

  • Reputable Trainers
  • Bite-sized Video Lessons
  • Engaged Learner Community
  • Limited Catalog of Courses
  • Basic Filter System

Monthly Plan: $49 USD All Access Membership.

Yearly Plan: $399 USD All Access Membership.

  • Top-Quality Content
  • Free Courses
  • Globally Recognized Partners
  • Career Services
  • You'll need some budget
  • No Udacity App
  • Limited Topics

Individual Plan: $249 USD a Month OR $846 USD for a 4-Month Plan.

Team Plan: $2,390 USD annually.

Team Pro: $3,830 USD annually.

Enterprise: Custom Priced.

  • Interactive & Engaging Content
  • Clear Pricing Plans
  • Experienced Teachers
  • No Accredited Certificates
  • Limited to Data Science Topics

Basic Subscription: FREE (limited access)

Premium Subscription: $300 USD billed annually (working out at $25 a month) OR $39 USD billed monthly.

  • Free trial
  • Affordable
  • Engaged Community
  • Big Pool of Classes
  • No Certificates
  • Quality of courses

Skillshare Premium Monthly: $29 USD.

Skillshare Premium Yearly: $99 USD.

  • Affordable
  • Free Content
  • Lifetime Access
  • Choice
  • Official Certificates
  • Quality Control of Courses

Individual courses: $19.99 to $199.99 USD

Personal Plan: $16.58 USD per month (7-day free trial included)

  • Free Courses and Plan
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Interactive Courses
  • Limited to Coding
  • No Certificates
  • No Instructor Background

Plus Plan: $209.88 USD billed annually (working out at $17.49 USD a month) OR $34.99 USD billed monthly.

Pro Plan: $359.88 USD billed annually (working out at $29.99 USD a month) OR $59.99 USD billed monthly.

  • Free Trial
  • Phone Support
  • Courses Learning Checks
  • Limited Topics on IT
  • No Official Certificates

Standard Plan: $299 USD per year or $29 USD monthly.

Premium Plan: $449 USD per year or $45 USD monthly.

  • Certificates
  • Free Courses
  • Partnerships
  • Refund Policy
  • Prior knowledge
  • Limited Topics

Verified Track: $50 and $300 USD

Professional Programs: Starting at $299+ USD

MicroBachelors Programs: Starting at $499 USD

XSeries Programs: Starting at $135 USD

Short Courses: Starting at $99 USD

MicroMasters Programs: Starting at $600 USD

Master’s Degrees: Starting at $10,000+ USD

  • Quality Content
  • Industry Icon Instructors
  • Free Live Classes
  • Only Creative Courses
  • No Certificates

Individual Classes: $29 – $199 USD

Creator Pass Plans: $149 USD billed annually ($12.42 USD a month) OR $15 USD a month billed monthly with an annual commitment OR $39 USD a month, billed monthly.

Brilliant

3.5
  • Free 7-day Trial
  • Interactive Learning
  • Beginner Friendly
  • STEM Topics Only
  • No Certificates

Monthly Plan: $24.99 USD per month.

Annual Plan: $149.85 USD ($12.49 USD per month).

LinkedIn Learning

3.8
  • Free Trial
  • Learn at Own Pace
  • Offline Viewing
  • No Certificates
  • No Refunds on Subscriptions

Annual Subscription: $323.88 USD

Monthly Subscription: $39.99 USD

Individual Courses: From $20 to $50 USD

Treehouse

3
  • Free Trial
  • Career Focused
  • Self-Paced Learning
  • Limited Courses
  • Not Accredited Certificates

Individual Subscriptions: $25 to $199 USD per month

Simplilearn

1.5
  • Blended Learning
  • Mobile App
  • Persistent Phone Calls & Pushy marketing
  • Bad experience from previous learners

Training Options: $699 to $1,399 USD

Available Programs & Courses

One thing to get your head around is that every online course platform offers different types of courses, specializations and programs. Let me explain to you what sort of programs you’ll encounter:

edX search 3000+ courses
Type of online learning courses
  1. Individual courses: There are 1-off classes about a certain topic. The time to complete one will vary depending on the course, but it can take from 2 or 3 weeks to a couple of months. These are the nuclear basis of every other type, of course.
  2. Course bundles: Several online learning platforms will offer a collection of courses about a certain topic. They will give you a deep understanding of a field (e.g. data analyst, Python development, etc.). They are called Specializations, Nanodegrees or Learning Paths by the different platforms.
  3. Bachelor’s Degrees: It’s also possible to earn a traditional bachelor’s degree (at edX or Coursera). As these platforms partner with universities, you’ll receive an official university diploma. Be aware that this won’t be cheap, these start at $15,000 USD per program.
  4. Master’s Degrees: Similarly to bachelor’s degrees, it’s also possible to study for a master’s degree at edX and Coursera.

13 Tips to Pick an Online Learning Platform

There are more than a handful of online learning platforms out there that prioritize different learning features. For some of us, it isn’t always obvious what it is we are really looking for from our elearning platform. So, I put together the top tips to help you choose an online learning platform which will best suit your needs.

  1. Focused topics: Some of these learning communities focus on a certain topic (e.g. data science, coding or creative crafts). Of course, if you are looking to exclusively learn about one of these topics, a specialized elearning platform may be a better option. For example, DataCamp focuses on data science, CreativeLive is centered on creative courses (e.g. photography or design) and Pluralsight and Codecademy are ideal for computer engineers.
  2. Pricing: Do you have some budget? If not, then trying out free courses on platforms like Coursera or free trials with platforms like Skillshare maybe a good place to start. It is important to point out here that if you try out free courses on platforms like Udemy, they will be limited, and you won’t have the full learning experience.
  3. Instructors: For some of us, learning with a particular teacher or instructor is what inspires us to take the course. Platforms like MasterClass have VIP and celebrity instructors teaching its classes, and it’s because of them, many learners find and take the class. Other platforms, like Coursera courses are built in partnership with top institutions and Organizations, meaning the instructors teaching these classes are the top instructors from the Universities and Organizations.
  4. Partnerships: Some online learning platforms like Coursera, edX and Udacity partner with Universities and Organizations to design and create their courses. Coursera collaborates with 275+ leading Universities and Companies like Duke and Google to make its different learning programs, for many learners, this is why they decide to study on this platform as they want a degree from Harvard. Then a platform like Udacity collaborates with industry specialists like Microsoft and AWS to design its Nanodegrees so that learners will leave with job ready skills.
  5. Job Ready: For many of us taking an online course it’s to help our already existing professional skills, or it might be to train us up for a career change. There are some online learning platforms in particular that focus on developing the skills of its learners to be ready for a job role. Platforms like Udacity offer career services which support learners in optimizing their job profile and practicing interview technique.
  6. Community: Another aspect that varies a lot among the different platforms are the communities. Not many are engaged, so interacting with other students and the instructor may not be easy. If you value an engaged community, check topic-focused platforms (e.g. Pluralsight or Datacamp) or Skillshare.
  7. Assignments, quizzes and certificates: Not all the platforms described here offer the same approach when it comes to how the courses are followed. Some offer self-graded assignments, others offer peer reviews, and a few have exams you’ll need to pass to earn a completion certificate. Make sure you understand this before committing to a learning platform.
  8. Course quality: Some elearning platforms offer better courses (quality-wise) than others. Generally speaking, Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, edX and Coursera offer (some) top-notch courses. Courses from organizations with topic-centered elearning communities like Creativelive, Pluralsight or Datacamp also will offer a bit more.
  9. Learning Format: It’s important to consider the learning format of the course or learning program, as each one can be taught in a variety of ways, from video lectures to live sessions, instructor led or self-paced learning. It’s wise to choose a platform that offers the format that best suits your learning style.
  10. Flexibility: Most online learning platforms offer a flexible learning schedule, meaning you can learn at the time that suits you. This is important for many, especially if you are scheduling your online learning around a job or family life. However, there are some platforms like Udacity and Coursera who offer particular courses or learning programs with deadlines. On the other hand, this can be quite helpful for some of us, who want an end date.
  11. Support: Before deciding on the right platform and course, it may be worth considering what support is in place before committing. That could be support from an instructor or platforms like Udacity offer mentor support when you enrol in its Nanodegree programs who work with learners providing personal technical support and feedback.
  12. Languages: If you are looking for a course in languages other than English, your choice will be limited. Only Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer some courses in other languages like Spanish, German or Portuguese.
  13. Reviews: It’s important to read reviews and seek recommendations from previous learners who have used the online learning platform or have completed your chosen course. Their experiences and insights can help you make a more informed decision.

Customer Reviews of Online Learning Platforms

To provide a comprehensive overview of online learning platforms, I wanted to check out what a bigger pool of customers were saying about the top 5 platforms. I decided to use online review platforms to see what customers were saying as it’s one of the most recognized customer review sites out there.

I was intrigued to find platforms like Mindvalley, Udacity and Datacamp had the highest 5-star ratings. I also noticed that Mindvalley had a staggering 6,867 customer reviews, which is really impressive when compared to Coursera that only has 442 customer reviews. So before I completely made up my mind, I wanted to delve a little deeper to see what customers were really saying.

Rating Coursera MasterClass Mindvalley Udacity Datacamp
5-star 14% 54% 76% 86% 77%
4-star 5% 8% 10% 10% 5%
3-star 4% 6% 4% 1% 3%
2-star 8% 5% 2% 1% 2%
1-star 69% 27% 8% 3% 13%
Overall 1.8 out of 5 stars 2.3 out of 5 stars 4.3 out of 5 stars 4.6 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Data gathered on 10/15/2023

The graph below visually illustrates how the online learning platforms compare to one another. Be mindful that some online learning platforms have a bigger pool of customer reviews, which can make the study unequal. Saying that, it’s still interesting to get an idea and feel on the customer experience.

Customer Reviews Online Learning Study
Customer Reviews Online Learning Study

Top Online Learning Platforms in Detail

However, if you would like to get to know our take on the most popular online learning platforms in a bit more detail, hang around to check out the following paragraphs.

Coursera

Affordable Accredited Certificates

Coursera
Coursera is a top online learning platform

Coursera is one of the most popular online learning platforms out there with more than 113+ million learners that is constantly growing and evolving. Its top quality courses and learning programs are partnered with 300+ leading Universities and Companies to bring flexible, affordable and job-relevant online learning. Coursera offers a wide range of learning opportunities from hands-on projects, individual courses, professional certificates and degree programs. At Coursera Plus, learners can get unlimited access to the platform’s courses and programs (except degrees and MasterTrack certificates) via a monthly or yearly subscription plan.

I have to say that their mobile app for iOS and Android is one of the best ones I’ve tried. It actually makes it really easy for students to follow courses on the go – it even has offline viewing for free courses. What makes Coursera unique is that it has its own learning management system, so they are in full control of the platform and can continually update with new features.

What are Coursera’s pros:

  • Partnerships: Coursera is partnered with 300+ top Universities and Organizations like Stanford, Yale and Google to create its learning programs.
  • Content quality: As you can imagine, Coursera’s courses are among the best as universities such as Stanford, Duke or Yale are behind them.
  • Accredited: As its learning programs are made in partnership with Universities and Companies, you’ll be able to get official certificates for your courses.
  • Free courses: You’ll be able to join almost every Coursera class for free as long as you aren’t intending to earn a completion certificate.
  • Higher-education degrees: It’s one of the few online learning platforms (alongside edX) to offer secondary education programs (e.g. bachelor’s and master’s degrees).
  • Languages: There are many languages available at Coursera as it partners with international universities too.
  • Flexibility: Coursera offers many types of courses, individual courses, specializations or higher education degrees.
  • Learn Offline: Coursera’s app allows you to download course material for when you are offline, allowing you to learn and study on the go, it’s ideal for your commute to work or a plane trip.

Coursera’s cons:

  • Prior Knowledge: Coursera is all about higher education content, so you may find that some of its courses aren’t completely beginner-friendly and will require you to have previous knowledge (e.g. maths, chemistry or physics).
  • Limited Feedback: Based on the course or learning program you choose, there maybe instances that the instructors aren’t able to provide customized feedback.
  • Confusing offerings: As Coursera offers a wide range of courses and learning programs, it isn’t always clear the differences between them.
  • Heavy Workload: Certain MasterTrack and Degree programs require commitment as the workload is no walk in the park, it’s important you consider this enrolling on a program.

Coursera Pricing

Coursera offers a wide variety of courses and learning programs that all come with a different price tag. Starting with free individual courses (with more 2,800+ courses), Guided Projects (starting at $9.99 USD), Specializations & Professional Certificates (starting at $49 USD a month), MasterTrack Certificates (starting at $2,000 USD). Finally, Online Degrees (start at $9k and go to $50K USD). If you prefer a subscription plan, then Coursera Plus, gives you unlimited access to 7,000+ courses, hands-on projects and job-ready certificate programs (costing $59 USD monthly or $399 USD annually). For any learners wanting to take a paid course, but can’t afford it, Coursera offers financial aid and scholarships. To apply, all you need to do is fill out an application including information about your educational background, career goals, and financial circumstances. You can read in detail about Coursera’s Pricing here.

How does the Coursera Platform look?

Who is it for?

Coursera is a platform that is used by a wide variety of people, including students, professionals and lifelong learners. Although more specifically it appeals to a learner wanting to earn an accredited completion certificate from a course or learning program. It also appeals to a learner who wants to enroll in a University degree or masters program. If you’re interested to reading in more detail about Coursera, please check out our detailed Coursera review.

Visit Coursera

MasterClass

The Celebrity-Powered Platform

MasterClass
MasterClass VIP Instructors

MasterClass is a unique online learning platform, it currently offers 2,500+ video lessons from 11 categories that include Food, Design & Style, Music, Business, Sports & Gaming and more. What makes MasterClass different from other e-learning platforms are its Celebrity and VIP’s teaching its classes. So if you like the idea of Anna Wintour teaching you Creativity and Leadership or Chris Voss teaching the Art of Negotiation, it’s a platform for you to consider. Its classes are well-produced and have a cinematic feel that keeps you engaged and wanting more.

A MasterClass membership will give you the option to watch classes offline, access to Sessions, a workbook which comes with each class and a dynamic global community of learners.

What are MasterClass’s pros:

  • Affordable: MasterClass membership plans start at $10 USD a month and are billed annually. A MasterClass membership will give you access to thousands of courses.
  • Well Produced: After watching 10 seconds of the first video, you’ll realize that MasterClass videos have been very nicely put together. They have a very engaging cinematic aura.
  • Top VIP Instructors: Of course, a big selling point of the MasterClass is getting to learn a craft from worldwide-recognized celebrities. If you want to learn creativity and leadership from Anna Wintour or cooking from Gordon Ramsay or maybe the art of negotiation from Chris Voss, then MasterClass has you covered.
  • Generous Refund Policy: After you purchase your MasterClass membership account, you’ll have 30 days to request a refund, not bad at all.
  • Bitesize Learning: MasterClass 180+ classes are made up of 2,500+ lessons and each one is no longer than 10 minutes long, which keeps you engaged and wanting more.
  • Fun: The first thing to note about MasterClass is that its courses and lessons are fun, perhaps this is because you get to watch celebrities teaching you something you are passionate about.

MasterClass’s cons:

  • No Free Courses: Sadly, there aren’t any free courses with MasterClass, so you won’t be able to check any course before you subscribe to it.
  • Only Certain Topics: MasterClass doesn’t have the largest range of topics available. You can find courses in sports, filmmaking, cuisine, writing, business, science and politics.
  • Can’t Read Reviews: There is a 5-star review system for all the courses; however, you can’t really read reviews from past students. So, that makes you wonder where those reviews came from, and how come all the courses are between 4.5 to 4.7.
  • No Feedback: Sadly, the MasterClass teachers won’t be giving learners any feedback, so if you are looking for that, it may be worth checking out platforms like Coursera or Udacity.

MasterClass Pricing

MasterClass offers 3 different annual subscription plans: Individual, Duo and Family. The cheapest option is the individual plan at $120 USD annually (working out at $10 USD a month). The Duo is one account but for 2 devices at the same time, costing $180 USD annually (working out at $15 USD a month). Finally, the Family account is for 6 devices at the same time, costing $240 USD annually (working out at $20 USD a month). You are entitled to a 30-day refund policy if you decide the platform isn’t for you. You can read in detail about MasterClass Pricing here.

How does the MasterClass Platform look?

Who is it for?

MasterClass appeals to anyone looking for motivation or inspiration on creative and exciting topics like Design & Style, Music, Cooking, Sports and more. As its classes are taught by industry experts and celebrities, they may appeal to those who idolize or take an interest in those specific instructors. Its classes are ideal for a learner of any skill level, from beginner to expert, and who maybe looking for personal or professional development. If you want to read in more detail, then please check out our detailed MasterClass review.

Visit MasterClass

Mindvalley

The Alternative Online Learning Platform

Mindvalley the alternative online learning platform
Mindvalley for personal growth

Mindvalley was founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani and its focus is on personal growth. It is a platform that is designed to transform every area of your life from Mind, Body, Soul, Entrepreneurship, Career and Relationships. So far, it has had a whooping 10 million students from all over the globe and has a 300+ international team creating that Mindvalley Magic.

Its learning programs are called Quests which you can either purchase individually or sign up for the ‘All access’ membership that you can pay for monthly or annually.

What are Mindvalley’s pros:

  • Free Courses: Each week Mindvalley releases free masterclasses of 60 to 90 to gt a taste of the platform.
  • Free Trial: You can try it out the platform for 15 days, then can cancel your trial within the 15-day window and get a one-click refund.
  • Bite-Sized Video Content: Its quests are 10–20 minutes long and keeps the user engaged.
  • Reputable Trainers: Mindvalley’s trainers are experienced teachers, authors and visionaries (you may if recognise some of them).
  • High-Quality Video Content: Its content is produced to a high standard, making it engaging for users.
  • Engaged Learner Community: A strong and committed community who are supportive and helpful to other learners.

Mindvalley’s cons:

  • Limited Catalogue: Its courses are based around specific topics, if you are looking for a wider range of subjects, then it may be worth checking out Skillshare or Coursera.
  • Higher Price Tag: A single quest may seem a little expensive, or even the full access membership may suit you best. But if you are on a tighter budget, then Udemy maybe the platform for you.

Mindvalley Pricing

Mindvalley offers either a monthly or annual subscription plan, which gives you full access to the platform and its Quests. The Monthly plan is priced at $49 USD and the Yearly Plan costs $399 USD (which works out at $33.25/month). Both membership plans come with a 15-day money-back guarantee, so if you do change your mind, you’ll get a full refund. On top of full access to its 100+ curriculum of Quests, you’ll get access to Mindvalley’s private social network, guided meditations and A.I guided curriculum as well.

How does the Mindvalley Platform look?

Who is it for?

Mindvalley is an online personal development platform that focuses on personal growth and transformation. It offers courses and programs on the topics Mind, Health, Productivity, Relationships and more. It’s aimed at individuals who are looking to improve their lives and achieve their goals through self-improvement and personal development. Its supportive online community helps users on their journey to learn and grow and get closer to the persona who they want to be. If you want to read in more detail, then please check out our Mindvalley review here.

Visit Mindvalley

Udacity

Career Advice

Udacity Platform best for career advice
Udacity professional development

Udacity’s focus is more on course quality than quantity, it currently offers 97 Nanodegrees and individual courses, that are designed to prepare learners for a career in business and tech. Its courses are co-created by leading businesses like Microsoft and Amazon to ensure content is high quality and industry relevant.

There are a few free courses (about 200) that you can check out to get a taste of the platform and its teaching style. Keep in mind that Udacity’s certificates aren’t accredited. However, you will receive a completion certificate when you successfully complete one of its Nanodegree programs.

What are Udacity’s pros:

  • Free courses: Udacity offers 202 courses for free, many are beginner courses, so it gives you a good taste of the platform.
  • Course quality: The quality of the courses is very high, and you’ll be able to gain practical technical knowledge.
  • VIP partners: Udacity creates its courses partnering with leading professionals and companies like Nvidia, Google or Mercedes.
  • Career advice: One of the services that paying Udacity students are offered is career advice. They’ll help you write your CV or plan the skills you need to acquire.
  • Certificates: Even if they don’t offer accredited certificates, Udacity completion diplomas are taken seriously by employers.
  • Jobs: There are several companies (e.g. Lyft, Mercedes, Nvidia or Google) that look into Udacity Alumni to fulfill job openings.

How does the Udacity Platform look?

Udacity’s cons:

  • Limited choice: There aren’t many courses available. At the moment, just under 80 Nanodegrees are offered. Also, the pool of topics isn’t the most varied, so you won’t find courses on every subject.
  • Expensive: Udacity’s subscription plans aren’t the cheapest, when you compare it to platforms like Coursera or Skillshare.
  • Community: I have the feeling that is not the most engaged community out there, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Udacity Pricing

Udacity offers 202 courses for free, most of which are beginner courses and introductions to its Nanodegree Programs. An individual plan is available to users which you can either sign up for monthly or annually. Its monthly plan costs $249 USD and its 4-month plan costs $846 USD, both plans give learners unlimited access to the course catalog, and you’ll receive program certificates for every Nanodegree you successfully complete. On top of that, Udacity offers 3 different business plans, which are all priced annually. The Team plan costs $2,390 USD, the Team Pro costs $3,830 USD and the Enterprise plan is custom priced. You can read in detail about Udacity’s subscription plans here.

Who is it for?

Udacity is a platform that provides technology and programming courses for individuals seeking to improve their skills, develop professionally or have a career change. It’s a platform aimed at professionals, students or anyone interested in learning new skills in business or technology related topics. Its Nanodegree programs are a time and financial commitment that can take up to 2 years in some cases, and you will leave with job-ready skills. It offers a bunch of free courses that are designed for beginners, that will give you a taste of a Nanodegree program. Its career services (interview prep, personalized review) make it a stand-out feature from other online learning platforms. Looking to read a more detailed Udacity review, you can do so here.

Visit Udacity

Datacamp

The Data Skills Platform

Datacamp
Datacamp online learning platform for sciente

Datacamp is an online learning platform that focuses on topics like data science and analytics. It offers high-quality engaging courses to help its users develop their data skills for a future career in the data world.

Datacamp offers subscription plans for individuals and businesses who are looking to fill in the gaps on any data knowledge they’re maybe missing. As well as paid subscription plans, it offers a Basic free plan to for you to try a limited number of courses. Recently, Datacamp has added Certification Programs that are recognized by Industry professionals, these programs were built in partnership with Industry leaders. Currently, you can choose between the Data Scientist certification and the Data Analyst, and the best part is all is included in your Datacamp subscription plan.

What are Datacamp’s pros:

  • Interactive & Engaging: Datcamp courses focus on interactive learning with many videos and engaging exercises to complete.
  • Subject Specific: Datacamp is topic specific to Data Skills, so if you want to upskill in this field, it’s your best option.
  • Experienced Experts: Over 350+ experts from the data science and analytics community.
  • Free Plan: Offering a Start For Free plan which gives you access to initial chapters of courses and assessments.
  • Clear Pricing Plans: A clear and simple pricing plan page which is pretty refreshing as not all online platforms are so transparent.
  • Wide Range: Datacamp caters to absolute beginners and learners with some knowledge. There is something for everyone.

How does the Datacamp Platform look?

Datacamp’s cons:

  • No Accredited Certificate: Datacamp doesn’t offer an official accreditation, instead a Statement of Accomplishment is given after successful completion of the course. If you are looking for a recognized validated certificate, it is best to check out platforms like edX or Coursera.
  • Video Content Lacking Detail: Some of Datacamp’s video tutorials are a little short and lacking in detail, and therefore may leave you feeling like you are missing something.

Datacamp Pricing

Datacamp offers a few different pricing plans, which can be paid for either monthly or annually. Its free Basic plan gives you access to the first chapter of each course and a selection of free courses, keep in mind this is limited. Then you have the Premium plan for individuals, costing either $39 USD a month or $300 USD annually. The Teams plan is for teams of 2 or more costing and costs $300 USD annually. Finally, there is the Enterprise plan, which you will need to contact Datacamp to get a custom quote.

Who is it for?

Datacamp is an online learning platform that appeals to a beginner or student of data science and is wanting to learn the basics. Data analysts, scientists, programmers and developers will also be attracted to the platform if they are looking to develop and improve their existing skills to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. As Datacamp also offers plans for teams and businesses, it may appeal to business professionals who want to learn how to analyze data and make data-driven decisions. If you are looking for a career or want to develop skills within Data science, then Datacamp could be the right choice. If you are curious to know more, then please check out detailed Datacamp review here.

Visit Datacamp

Skillshare

Best Bang for Your Buck

Skillshare sign up
Skillshare for membership learning

Skillshare is an online learning community that offers 35,000+ classes on a wide range of creative topics. Its topics include illustration, design, photography, video and more. Skillshare offers both a monthly or annual subscription plan, which gives you full access to the platform and its classes. Its monthly plan costs $29 USD and its annual plan costs $99 USD. A 30-day free trial is available on both the monthly and annual plans, and a 14-day refund policy on its annual plan.

In my opinion, it’s one of the better platforms for learning or improving creative skills. The one downside is committing to its membership for a full year, but you will have the free trial to try out the platform, which you can cancel before the paid membership starts if you do change your mind.

What are Skillshare’s pros:

  • Free trial: Skillshare offers a free trial on its premium plan to give you the opportunity to try it out before financially committing.
  • Choice: With over 35,000+ courses, there aren’t many alternatives (besides Udemy) that will give you as much choice as Skillshare does.
  • Price: The monthly plan costs $29 USD and the annual plan costs $99 USD (working out at $8.25 USD a month), which is great value for money when you consider you get access to 35,000+ classes.
  • Community: I find Skillshare’s community more engaged (and welcoming) than others (e.g. Udemy or MasterClass).

Skillshare’s cons:

  • Class quality: The class quality varies from class to class, as anyone can publish a Skillshare class. That means some classes like Skillshare Originals are produced by Mailchimp or Google and have bigger budgets to produce higher quality classes than a freelancer who is working for themselves.
  • Certificates: Sadly, Skillshare doesn’t offer completion course certificates for its students.

Skillshare Pricing

Skillshare provides both a monthly and annual subscription options. The monthly plan costs $29 USD and the annual plan costs $99 USD that grants you full access to the platform and its classes. A 30-day free trial is available when you first sign up to a Skillshare plan. Skillshare also offers plans for teams and businesses with 3 current plans. The Starter plan costs $159 USD per user, per year and the Enterprise is for teams of 20+ and the Revive plan for 51 or more users are both custom priced. You can read in detail about Skillshare’s Pricing here.

How does the Skillshare Platform look?

Who is it for?

Skillshare is a creative online learning platform offering classes on a variety of inspiring and hands-on topics. The platform is for anyone looking to learn new creative skills for personal or professional growth. Whether you’re a student, professional, hobbyist, or just curious, there is something for everyone. On top of that, its subscription plan is affordable and comes with a free trial, so you can try before you buy. If you like the sound of that, you can read our detailed Skillshare review here.

Visit Skillshare

Udemy

The Largest Library of Courses

Udemy
Udemy has thousands of courses

If you’ve heard of one online educational platform, chances are it’s Udemy. Udemy is probably the most popular and biggest elearning communities out there. It has over 57+ million learners and more than 213,000+ courses available.

Udemy is a global marketplace for online courses, you’ll be able to find classes about pretty much every topic and from many instructors, it even offers its courses in 75 languages including: Spanish, German, French, Chinese and more. As well as that, Udemy has its own learning management system which means they have control of updating their system and can bring out new features constantly.

What are Udemy’s pros:

  • Choice: Udemy has the largest pool of courses available, it would be hard not to find what you are looking for.
  • Price: Udemy is fairly affordable, individual courses start at $12.99 USD and can cost you up to $199.99 USD.
  • Languages: Udemy offers a wide range of its courses in other languages (75 in total) like Spanish, German, Chinese and more. It’s an online platform with a wider global reach.
  • Refund policy: There is a generous refund policy of 30 days. If you are not satisfied with the course, give it back.

Udemy’s cons:

  • Non-accredited certificates: Udemy isn’t an accredited institution, so its certificates aren’t official.
  • Content quality: Anyone can publish courses at Udemy, and even if there are content quality checks, the quality of the course can be a bit of a miss and match.

Udemy Pricing

Udemy offers a bunch of free courses, just under 500+ in total, these courses are limited and normally no longer than 2 hours. The majority of its free courses are for beginners to give you an introduction to a topic and the instructor. Its paid courses work on a pay per course bases and start from $19.99 USD and can go up to $199.99 USD. It is very common that Udemy offers deals and discounts on its courses, so take advantage, as they don’t always last that long. If you prefer to pay for a subscription plan then Udemy’s Personal Plan may suit you best, it will set you back $20 USD for the monthly fee or $198.96 USD annually. A 7-day free trial is included when you first sign up for the Personal Plan, you can read in detail here about Udemy’s Pricing.

How does the Udemy Platform look?

 

Who is it for?

Udemy is an online learning platform that offers courses on a wide range of topics, that the platform is suitable for anyone who wants to learn new skills or improve existing knowledge, regardless of their age or background. It’s designed for individuals who are motivated to learn and is suitable for beginners who are starting out, as well as more advanced learners who are looking to expand their knowledge in a particular area. It can also be a good fit for professionals who want to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, as well as employers who want to train their employees in specific skills. Its courses are affordable and paid for individually, but it is important that you do your due diligence to ensure the course quality is of a high standard and that the instructor has a decent reputation. If you want to read in more detail, please check out our detailed Udemy review here.

Visit Udemy

Codecademy

The Coding Platform

Codecademy Catalog
Coding focused elearning platform

Codecademy was founded in 2011 by Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski and currently offers courses in 14 different programming languages and 10 different subject areas.

The platform works on subscription-based plans. The plans are structured interactive lessons and daily practices and focus on building skills to be job ready where you will earn a Certificate of Completion.

What are Codecademy’s pros:

  • Free Courses: Codecademy has a basic free plan where you can enjoy interactive lessons and daily practices.
  • Beginner Friendly: Its interactive coding courses are easy to digest for complete newbies.
  • Wide Variety: Codecademy covers such a wide variety of programming languages – 14 in total, including HTML, CSS, Javascript and many more.
  • Build Your Own Portfolio: After gaining practical experience, you will create your own portfolio-worthy projects to show to potential recruiters.
  • Supportive Community: A strong sense of community with coaches, advisors or other graduates to help answer any questions and doubts you may have.

Codecademy’s cons:

  • No Instructor Bio: Limited information about the instructor who created the course.
  • Not Accredited: Codecademy courses and paths are not accredited, which means its certificates are only proof that you have successfully completed the course. If you are looking for an accredited platform to learn with, it may be worth checking out Coursera or edX.

Who is it for?

Codecademy is a platform that provides interactive coding courses for people of all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced learners. Its main focus is to make its coding courses as engaging and as digestible as possible. Its wide variety of courses are designed for complete beginners who have never written a line of code before, students who are keen to learn code as part of their studies, professionals who want to improve their coding skills to advance their careers. Codecademy may also be the platform for freelancers or entrepreneurs who want to develop their coding skills to expand job opportunities. It also offers courses in various programming languages which are all self-paced and can fit around your schedule. If you’re wanting to read in more detail about Codecademy and what it has to offer, please check out our detailed Codecademy review.

Visit Codecademy

Pluralsight

The Technology Platform

Pluralsight Homepage
Pluralsight is focused on technology

Pluralsight is an elearning platform for technology related topics like IT, Data, Information & Cybersecurity. It was founded in 2004 and its headquarters are in Farmington, Utah. It offers a core (2,500+) or expanded library (7,000+) of courses that are all self-paced with a 10-day free trial for individual learners and a 14-day trial for teams.

It focuses on giving everyone access and the opportunity to progress their skills in technology, so they can develop the skills of tomorrow.

What are Pluralsight’s pros:

  • Free trial: A 10-day free trial for individual learners and a 14-day free trial for teams.
  • Good Support: Pluralsight offers email support which is available 24/7 plus phone support and the option to submit a ticket for any question or queries you may have.
  • Variety of plans for Individuals & Businesses: The variety of subscription plans from Standard, Premium, Professional and Enterprise gives individual learners and teams options to choose the most suitable.
  • Course Learning Checks: Short self-paced quizzes to test retention of course material.
  • Offline and mobile downloads: The option to download course material and videos and view offline makes it super convenient if you are on the go or taking a trip.

Pluralsight’s cons:

  • Limited topics: Courses focus on technology-based subjects. If you are looking for a wider range of topics, it is worth checking out Udemy or Coursera.
  • No Free Courses: Pluralsight doesn’t offer any free courses, but its free trials maybe enough for you to try. the platform and its courses. If free courses are what you are looking for, then Coursera or edX maybe your best option.

Pluralsight Pricing

Pluralsights pricing model is subscription-based which you can choose to pay for Monthly or Yearly. The Standard plan costs $29 USD monthly which includes access to the core library of 2,500 courses and the Premium plan costs $45 USD monthly with access to the full library of 7,000+ courses. If you prefer to pay for either plan yearly, the Standard costs $299 USD and the Premium costs $449 USD. As well as individual plans, there are 3 team plans, the Starter (for 2 users minimum) costs $399 USD annually, the Professional (for 2 users minimum) costs $579 USD annually and the Enterprise (for 2 users minimum) costs $779 USD. All the plans come with either a 10 day or 14 day free trial for you to try, which you then can cancel at anytime.

How does the Pluralsight Platform look?

Who is it for?

Pluralsight is a platform that offers a wide range of courses across topics in technology-related fields. Its courses cater to learners of varying experience levels, from beginners to advanced professionals. The broad spectrum of topics, includes programming languages, data science and cloud computing. Many of its courses are geared towards learning a new skill for a specific job role in the technology field. Therefore, it’s a platform that would appeal to a learner looking to advance their career or have a complete career change. Pluralsight doesn’t just focus on individual learners it offers plans for teams and businesses who are looking to empower its team which developing critical tech skills. Interested to find out more, then check out our detailed Pluralsight review.

Visit Pluralsight

edX

The Best Coursera Alternative

edX 3000+ Courses
Official certificates at edX

edX isn’t short of users with over 42 million students having enrolled on one of its 3,000+ courses at some point. The concept is very similar to Coursera’s in that they make available top-university courses to everyone.

There are also a bunch of course types that you can enroll in. For example, you can access MicroBachelors, MicroMasters, Professional Certificates or Master’s Degrees. You’ll find the right one for you.

What are edX’s pros:

  • Official certificates: You’ll be able to earn accredited certificates as edX partners with universities like Harvard, Berkeley, MIT or Boston University.
  • Free courses: You’ll be able to access most courses for free (provided you aren’t looking for an official certificate).
  • Flexible learning: Many courses can be started at a time of your choosing. Also, there are several types of courses for you to register.
  • Course quality: As you can imagine, the quality of edX courses is really high as top-universities prepare them.
  • University programs: You can enroll in university degrees and earn higher education diplomas at a fraction of the cost (from $15,000 USD).

edX’s cons:

  • Technical content: Courses can get a bit technical as they are university produced.
  • Languages: There aren’t many courses in other languages than English, check out Coursera or Udemy if you require courses in Spanish, German or other languages.

edX Pricing

edX offers a wide range of programs from short courses, to boot camps, professional certificates and bachelor degrees. So with that in mind, its prices also range with verified tracks costing between $50 and $300 USD and going all the way to Master’s Degrees starting at $10,000 USD. Many of its courses (except Degree programs) give you the option to try the course for free or, as edX calls it ‘Audit Track’, this will mean the course has limited access to course material and no certificate. But if you do change your mind you can always upgrade to the paid version.

How does the edX Platform look?

Who is it for?

edX is for anyone looking to earn accredited certificates or university degrees. To find out more you can read the detailed edX review here.

Visit edX

CreativeLive

The Creative Community Platform

CreativeLive landing page
The creative learning platform

With over 10 million users, this online platform is aimed at entrepreneurs and creative professionals. It was founded in 2009 and has dual headquarters in Seattle and San Francisco. Its individual courses range from $50 and go up to $200 USD, which are discounted regularly. Along with individual courses is the creator pass (a monthly and annual subscription). Its class categories range from Photo & Video, Money & Life, Art & Design, Craft & Masker and Music & Audio.

What are CreativeLive’s pros:

  • High quality: All of CreativeLive’s videos are filmed by in-house videographers, meaning that the quality is top-notch.
  • Professional Instructors: Over 700 of the top creative professionals (best-selling authors, Grammy and Oscar winners) teach its classes.
  • Free Live Classes: All lasses are free to access while they are streaming live.
  • Accessibility: You can learn with CreativeLive using a computer or mobile, making it accessible to learn on the move, plus class videos and material are downloadable.
  • Refund Policy: A generous 30-day refund policy on individual courses and 7 days on creator pass.

CreativeLive’s cons:

  • No Certificates: CreativeLive doesn’t offer any certificates or accreditation. If that is what you are looking for it is best to check out Coursera or edX.
  • Some Individual Courses are Expensive: Some of CreativeLive’s higher end classes may seem a little expensive for what they are offering.

Who is it for?

CreativeLive is a platform for creatives and innovators with courses taught by experienced and hand-picked instructors. Its courses are not just for individuals, it is also for teams who want to improve their creative skills. To find out more, you can read the detailed CreativeLive review.

Visit CreativeLive

LinkedIn Learning

The Social Media Platform

Learn online with LinkedIn Learning
Powered by social media

What is now known as LinkedIn Learning was founded in 1995 as Lynda, a resource to support Lynda Weinman’s educational project. In 2002, it started to offer online courses (way before Netflix considered streaming entertainment), by 2004 it had more than 100 courses online, and today it offers 18,100+ courses.

It grew so much that in 2015 LinkedIn bought the project for 1.5 billion – not bad if you think that Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion USD.

What are LinkedIn Learning’s pros:

  • LinkedIn’s integration: Since it integrates with LinkedIn, many users wanting to move forward with their career may find this interesting.
  • Languages: LinkedIn Learning is available in a few languages other than English.
  • Price: You can choose to pay for an annual or monthly LinkedIn Learning subscription plan which comes with a 1-month free trial, that you can cancel at anytime.
  • Course production: Its courses are well produced, and the overall quality is higher than most of its competitors.
  • Choice: There are over 18,100+ courses available at LinkedIn Learning. There is also a big pool of topics available: from spreadsheets tips to astrophotography.

LinkedIn Learning’s cons:

  • Free courses: Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn Learning doesn’t offer free courses, it just has a 1-month free trial.
  • Community: It’s not the most engaged community one could find.

LinkedIn Learning Pricing

LinkedIn Learning pricing model is subscription-based, which can be paid for annually or monthly. The annual plan is $323.88 USD (working out at $26.99 USD a month) or the monthly plan is $39.99 USD. When you first sign up to either of these plans you have a 1-month free trial to explore the platform which you can cancel before the renewal date, and you won’t be charged anything. There are team and organization plans available, the team plan is for 2-20 seats and costs $379.99 USD per seat and the Organization plan for 21+ seats, and you will need to contact LinkedIn Learning for a custom price.

How does the LinkedIn Learning Platform look?

Who is it for?

LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform that offers a wide range of courses that focus on developing professional skills and advancing your career. The platform is designed for anyone really, that could include professionals, students, jobseekers and entrepreneurs who are looking to learn new skills or improve existing ones. The platform offers a wide range of topics but focuses under the categories business, technology and creative skills. If you are someone looking to enhance your resume and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies, it’s an ideal platform to consider. It offers a monthly plan for $39.99 USD/month or an annual plan for $239.88 USD/year which gives you unlimited access to 20,000+ courses. If you are looking to enhance your resume or acquire new job-related skills, it maybe the right platform for you. Its 1-month free trial is the perfect way to get started and if you do decide it isn’t for you, you can cancel before your free trial ends.  If you want to read in more detail, please check out our detailed LinkedIn Learning review.

Brilliant

The Problem-Solving Platform

Brilliant Learn interactively
Science & Technology courses at Brilliant

 

Brilliant.org is an online platform offering 60+ bite sized courses based around the STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). It was founded in 2012 by Sue Khim and has grown to have 4 million users. Its courses are based on active learning, answering questions and quizzes, which keeps the learner engaged and present. There are 3 different subscription plans available and the option of a 7-day free trial to try out the platform.

What are Brilliant’s pros:

  • Interactive: Courses are designed around interactive and hands-on learning
  • Free Trial: Its 7-day free trial gives you unlimited access to the platform, before financially committing.
  • Beginner Friendly: A number of its courses are for beginners wanting to learn the fundamentals of these core subjects.
  • Self Paced: You can learn with Brilliant at any time that suits you.
  • Mobile App: Allowing you to download courses and complete in offline mode.

Brilliant’s cons:

  • Limited topics: Courses focus only on STEM topics. If a bigger pool of topics is what you want, then check out Skillshare or MasterClass.
  • Only Subscription: Sadly, you can’t purchase an individual course, the only option is a monthly or annual subscription.
  • No Certificates: Brilliant doesn’t offer any completion certificates, and it doesn’t focus on career development. If that’s what you are looking for, then check out Udacity or Datacamp.

Brilliant Pricing

Brilliant offers the option of a Free and a Premium paid account. The free account is pretty limited and only gives you access to the preview of the daily online courses, which you can sync across the web and mobile app. Saying that, the free account does give you the opportunity to try out the platform before financially committing. The paid Premium offers 3 different subscription plans: Monthly ($24.99 USD per month), Annual ($149.85 USD per year that works out at $12.49 USD per month) Groups of 3+ ($299.87 USD per year). You will be entitled to a 7-day free trial on its Premium subscription when you first sign up to Brilliant. Sadly, Brilliant doesn’t offer a refund policy, it does state that it may make exceptions from time to time, but don’t count on this.

How does the Brilliant Platform look?

Who is it for?

Brilliant is a platform that offers interactive courses and practice problems in mathematics, science, computer science, and engineering. Its wide range of courses are from introductory level to advanced, so learners of all levels can find content that suits their needs. Brilliant is designed for anyone who is interested in learning and improving their skills in these subjects, that could be middle and high school students to college students and working professionals. Overall, Brilliant is for anyone who wants to enhance their knowledge and skills math, science, computer science and engineering and looking for an engaging and interactive way to do so. If you want to read in more detail about Brilliant and what it has to offer, then please check out our detailed Brilliant review.

Treehouse

The Technology School

treehouse landing page
Treehouse online learning

Treehouse was founded in 2011 by Ryan and Gillian Carson and currently offers 300+ online courses. Its courses are based around real-life projects preparing for a new career.

The platform works on subscription-based plans, which are all self-paced. All of its plans offer a 7-day free trial when you first register, which gives you full access to the platform.

What are Treehouse’s pros:

  • Free Trial: A 7-day free trial giving you full access to its library of courses and resources.
  • Real Project Experience: Treehouse courses are based around real-life projects like designing websites, web apps and mobile apps and more.
  • High-Quality Courses: Its courses are created by the in-house expert teachers at Treehouse, who create interactive and engaging courses.
  • Career Focused: Many of its courses are focused on giving you the skills to start a new career.
  • Self-Paced Learning: All Treehouse learning programs are self-paced, giving you the flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere.

Treehouse’s cons:

  • Credit Card Required: When signing up for your 7-day free trial, you will need to enter your credit/debit card (you won’t be charged until the trial ends).
  • Limited Courses: Offering only 300+ courses, if you are looking for a wider range of topics and courses, then it may be worth checking out Udemy.
  • Not Accredited: Sadly, its learning programs are not officially accredited. If this is something you are looking for, then it may be worth checking Coursera or edX.

Who is it for?

Treehouse is a platform that appeals to someone who is looking to gain tech skills in subjects like web design, web development, mobile development and more. Many of its courses are designed with beginners in mind.

Simplilearn

The Controversial Platform

Simplilearn online learning community
Simplilearn online learning platform

Simplilearn started in San Francisco and has offices in India and Singapore. It offers 400+ courses and is partnered with Universities and Companies to deliver its courses and programs. It is a controversial platform with many users feeling unhappy with the platform, the quality of the courses and poor bad customer service.

Simplilearn’s cons:

  • Bad Reviews: Many learners have had a bad experience with Simplilearn, from the bad quality of courses to overpaying for its course.
  • Persistent Sales Team: Its sales team calls you too many times and leaves you feeling harassed.
  • No Free Courses: Simplilearn doesn’t offer any free courses
  • Choice: There are a few hundred courses, it’s not the elearning platform with the largest pool of courses.

Who is it for?

Honestly, Simplilearn isn’t a platform I would recommend using, as many users have been unhappy with its service and feel like they haven’t been treated correctly.

Best Online Learning Platforms for Business

Platform

Access to

Comment

Coursera for Business

Catalog of 5,400+ courses from top Universities and Companies

Team Plan: $399 USD per user/per year

Enterprise Plan: Contact Sales for pricing

> Try Coursera for Business

Udemy for Business

Unlimited access to 20,000+ courses across tech, business, leadership and wellness.

Team: $360 USD per user/per year

Enterprise Plan: Contact Sales for pricing

Leadership Teams: Contact Sales for pricing

> Try Udemy for Business

Datacamp for Business

Access to 400+ data literacy courses including Python, R, Tableau, and PowerBI.

Teams: $12.42 USD per user/per month

Enterprise Plan: Contact Sales for pricing

> Try Datacamp for Business

Skillshare Teams

Unlimited access to 35,000+ creative classes.

Skillshare for Teams: $159 USD per user/per year

> Try Skillshare Teams

MasterClass at Work

Unlimited access to 180+ classes in a wide variety of categories.

Contact Sales for custom pricing

Try MasterClass at Work

It is true that not everyone is looking for an individual plan, some of you may be looking for an online learning platform that can help your business or your team upskill. Most platforms offer a few different plans depending on the size of your team or organization.

Coursera for business
Coursera for Businesses
  1. Coursera for Business its Team plan (5-125 users) is $399 USD per user which will get access to more than 5,000+ courses and verified certificates are available on course completion. The Enterprise plan (125+ users) offers everything in the Team plan and more, and you will need to contact sales for a custom quote.
  2. Udemy for Business offers organizations a big pool of courses in a huge variety of categories. Its Team plan (5-20 users) gives you access to 8,300+ courses for $360 USD per user. Its Enterprise plans (21 or more users) gives you access to 19,000+ courses, and is custom priced. Finally, its Leadership Development Programs offer 68+ leadership development courses, it is custom priced depending on your needs.
  3. Datacamp for Business offers a couple of different plans. Its Team plan (2 or more users) is priced at $300 USD annually, which gives you access to 380+ courses and more. Its Enterprise plan is for bigger organizations, and you will need to contact sales for pricing.
  4.  Skillshare Teams offers 1 plan which can be for a team of any size. Skillshare for Teams costs $159 USD per user, per year and gives you unlimited access to 35,000+ classes.
  5. MasterClass at Work offers a plan which is custom priced depending on the size of your team or organization and what it is you are looking for.
  6. Pluralsight for business offers a variety of plans from the Starter, Professional and Enterprise. The Starter and Professional plans are for teams of (2-10 users) and the Enterprise plan comes with advanced features and is for (11+ users). All plans can be paid for monthly or annually.

Keep in mind that many of the Business plans offer a free trial and some come with a refund policy, but please double-check this before committing to a plan.

How Much Are These Platforms?

Prices with elearning platforms can be a bit confusing as there are far too many types of courses and different approaches of paying for them. In the following paragraphs, I’ll try to explain the different payment approaches.

Pay Per Course

The most simple arrangement is to pay for each individual course that you take. This will work out cheaper for you if you are only interested in taking a one or a couple of courses.

Coursera pay per course
Coursera pay per course

But what online course platforms will let you pay per course?

  • Coursera: There are a bunch of ways you can enroll in a class or a program at Coursera, one of them is to purchase one of its courses – this will get you access to graded assignments and the option to get a completion certificate at the end. Prices are between $29 to $100 USD a course.
  • Udemy: Courses at Udemy are purchased individually, they will cost you between $19 to $200 USD depending on the course, its quality and length.
  • edX: Similarly to the other previous platforms, edX will let you purchase courses individually. Be ready to spend between $50 to $3000 USD per course.
  • LinkedIn Learning: If you aren’t interested in purchasing an annual LinkedIn Learning subscription, you can purchase courses separately, which start at $19.99 USD.

Subscription Plans

One of the most common approaches of online learning platforms is to offer a subscription plans which can be paid for monthly or annually. The subscription plan normally gives you full access to the platform and its courses, and its prices can start around $50 monthly and $100 annually.

Let’s check out the most popular subscription plans from various online learning platforms:

Annual price Monthly price Number of courses Certificates Free Trial
Coursera Plus  $399 USD $59 USD a month 7,000+ Yes Try out a 7-day free trial
MasterClass Individual: $120 USD Duo: $180 USD
Family: $240 USD
No monthly option 185+ No  30-day money-back guarantee
Mindvalley $399 USD $49 USD 100+  No 15-day risk-free trial
Skillshare

 

$99 USD $29 USD 35,000+ No Try out a 30-day free trial
Codecademy Pro Lite: $209.88 USD

Pro: $299.88 USD

$17.49 USD

$24.99 USD

100+ No Try out a 7-day free trial

Pluralsight

Standard: $299 USD

Premium: $449 USD

$29 USD

$45 USD

2,500+

7,000+

No

Yes, not accredited

Try out a 10-day free trial
CreativeLive Creator Pass: $149 USD ($12.42/month) $15 USD a month (annual commitment billed monthly)
$39 USD billed monthly
60k+ creative courses No No free trial
Datacamp Premium: $300 USD $25 USD month billed annually or $39 USD billed monthly 350+ Statements of Accomplishment No free trial, but you can try the Basic Free Plan

Course bundles Subscriptions

Some of these platforms also offer a series of courses about a certain topic that you can take to become an expert in that subject. The platforms give them several names, like career paths, Nanodegrees, specializations or micromasters, but in essence they are the same concept.

  • Coursera Specializations: Between 4 and 10 courses that relate to a common topic (e.g. machine learning), once you complete them, you’ll be awarded a certificate. They start at $49 USD per month and the duration will depend on how hard you work and the amount of courses the bundle has.
  • Udacity 4 Months: Udacity offers a 4-Month plan, which is the average time to complete a Nanodegree. If you have a Nanodegree in mind you’d like to complete, then this is the most cost-effective way of learning.
  • edX MicroMasters and MicroBachelors: You can think of these as a little taster of a full Master’s or Bachelors degree. They cost $166 USD per credit, so a micro/program can range from $500 to $2,000 USD.
  • Skillshare Learning Paths: You can focus your creative journey with Skillshare Learning Paths and deepen your skillset with a set of curated classes. They are available in a range of experience levels from beginner to advanced, which you can access through your Skillshare subscription plans either $29 USD or $168 USD annually.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Some of these online learning communities have in place Scholarships you can apply to get into the courses without having to pay tuition fees. Generally, you have to fill in a form explaining why you deserve the scholarship and provide details of your financial situation.

coursera-financial-aid
Coursera financial aid

If you don’t make it into a scholarship, it’s also possible to ask for financial aid, so you can still afford your course. Most elearning platforms have financial partners (e.g. PayPal Credit) that will help with this. However, please check the interest rate that they will charge you.

Which platforms actually offer scholarships or financial aid?

  •  Coursera: The majority of its courses (some courses don’t offer either) offer both Financial Aid or a Scholarship, which you are to apply for through the link on the course home page. You’ll need to fill out an application about your educational background, career goals and financial circumstances. The review process can take up to 15 days.
  • MasterClass: Offers MasterClass Grants that to accredited charitable organizations serving communities in need. It focuses on communities in low-income families, BIPOC youth, and current or formerly incarcerated individuals. Since 2019, MasterClass has distributed 345k+ free annual memberships.

Free vs Paid Courses

As you’ve probably seen, many of these elearning platforms offer some of their courses for free, either with free courses or trials. However, they normally come with some limitations. In recent years, I have seen many online learning platforms move away from free courses completely. Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare used to offer thousands of its courses for free, but now it isn’t the case. Udemy does still offer 500+ of its courses for free when you visit its Free Resource Center and you can read in more detail about Udemy’s free courses.

Udemy Free Resource Center
Udemy Free Resource Center

  • No certificates: You won’t be able to earn any proof of accomplishment if you are on a free course, this option is exclusive to paid plans.
  • Graded assignments: Some online course platforms will let you give a go to the assignments (even for free), but you won’t receive a grade.
  • Instructors’ feedback: Finally, some platforms won’t let you message the teacher or assistants for help if you aren’t on a paid plan/course.

Will It Help Your Career?

We live in a time when changing careers is more common than it was 30 years ago, with the average person changing careers 5–7 times during their working life. Now that’s where online learning has become more appealing than ever, due to its flexibility and affordability, to name just a few of its perks.

So, I thought it would be helpful to highlight why learning on an online course platform may help you in your career development.

Developing Your Skills For Free

If you don’t have the budget to invest in an online course for your professional development. Then there are still platforms like Coursera who generously offer courses for you to develop your existing skills or to learn something entirely new for absolutely nothing. As I mentioned before, free courses do come with limitations, and it will require your own self motivation to be present and complete the course, but if your intention is to have a career change, then this can be the motivation you need.

Coursera free courses
Coursera free courses

Online platforms like Coursera offer more than 2,500+ free courses and Skillshare offers a generous 1-month free trial. This allows you to try any course for free and explore your options before you can or decide to spend a penny.

Flexibility

One thing that is probably the most valuable to all of us is having enough time. Learning online is a guaranteed way of saving time. You have the convenience of studying from home or maybe your favorite coffee shop as long as it has decent Wi-Fi.

In addition to working from a comfortable spot, many courses like Udemy are completely on-demand, meaning you can enrol on a course at any time and learn at your own pace.

There is the added bonus of the Android and iOS app of being able to download an entire course for offline viewing. This is particularly convenient if you are planning to check the course on the go (e.g. train commuting)

Changing Needs

In our ever-changing world, the job market and types of careers available to us are evolving and developing constantly. This means that universities and businesses are focused on offering updated career and market-driven courses. Many online platforms like Udemy are regularly renewing their courses with the newest and current versions of the software that is being used for the course.

Udemy Last Updated
Udemy Last Updated

Verified Certificates

For many, learning online is an opportunity to pursue a verified certification. Your objective may be to help improve your job prospects, add to your resume or share your certificate on your LinkedIn profile.

Some online platforms are partnered with prestigious institutions and companies who create and teach their courses. If you were to choose to study with, for example, edX on one of its 3,000+ courses that are partnered with 160+ prestigious institutions you would receive your accredited certificate from Harvard or Berkeley.

edX verified certificate
edX verified certificates

Affordable

There are some online learning platforms that make studying on a course or a degree program significantly cheaper than that offered at a traditional bricks-and-mortar school. Platforms like Coursera or edX partner with established institutions like the University of Michigan and Imperial College London to offer top quality Degrees and Master’s programs. Coursera in particular offers affordable, pay-as-you-go tuition with the possibility of qualifying for a scholarship or financial aid, making it accessible for most.  A traditional on-campus degree could cost you $52,000+ compared to an online degree at $22,000 USD. I know what option I would pick.

Coursera low cost online degree
Coursera low cost online degree

Career Advice

Some of the elearning platforms highlight the possibility of getting a job after completing one of its courses. Udacity’s platform offers a service for career advice where you can get, for example, help to rewrite your CV. You also have the possibility to organize a 1-to-1 chat with one of their career advisors. Be aware that this service is only available in the US.

Udacity Career Services
Udacity career advice

Networking Opportunities

The majority of online learning platforms are designed to create an interactive environment between their learners and instructors. Studying online means you can become part of a global network of other professionals. Many of the platforms give the contact information of its instructors, like Udemy who are happy for learners to contact instructors directly to ask any questions, building good relationships whilst studying may be beneficial in your future career.

Udemy Instructor Bio
Udemy Instructor Bio

How To Find the Right Online Course for You

When deciding on the right online course it can feel a little overwhelming as there are so many options out there. So, I put together some tips to help you make the right decision.

Course Filters

All the online learning platforms have filter features that can really help to narrow down your search into the specifics that you want from your chosen course. Some platforms like Udemy have a more detailed filter system with the options: Ratings, Video Duration, Topic, Subcategory, Level, etc – (see image below)

Udemy course filters
Udemy course filters

Type of Course

It is true that each elearning community has a different focus for learning. If you look at a platform like Udemy, that focuses on offering the biggest pool of courses on a broad range of categories and subcategories from cake decorating to finance and sports. It currently has 204,000+ courses with new additions published every month. Whereas a platform like Coursera focuses on offering different learning programs from courses to professional certificates and degrees which are all accredited. Then there is MasterClass who focuses on its celebrity and VIP instructors teaching its highly produced and engaging video classes.

Udemy wide selection of courses
Udemy broad selection of courses

Read Reviews & Ratings

The majority of online platforms have reviews and ratings from previous learners about their experience of an online learning platform or taking a particular course. This really is a good way to read first-hand feedback and will give you a comprehensive overview of the course and what to expect. Platforms like Skillshare and Coursera have really visual and comprehensible review system.

Skillshare Ratings
Skillshare ratings

Course Information

Before deciding on a particular course, something we all want to read about is the course information (e.g. the syllabus, course duration, quizzes, reading material etc). All the learning platforms detail this, but some are more comprehensive than others. Udacity provides a helpful option to download the entire syllabus in a PDF format, so you can go away, read about it and then come back and make a decision.

Udacity Course Syllabus
Udacity Course Syllabus

Free Trials

Some elearning platforms offer free trials when you first sign up, this really is key for you to get to know the platform and what types of courses they have to offer. The fact that you have a certain number of days to try out its courses without any risk is something none of us can complain about. Some platforms are more generous than others, for example, Skillshare offers a 1-month free trial and Pluralsight gives you a 14-day free trial.

Skillshare Sign Up 1 month free trial
Skillshare free trial

Refunds

Some online learning platforms like Datacamp and Codecademy don’t even give the option of a refund, so please ensure you are aware of this before financially committing to a course or subscription plan. There are other platforms who are a little more generous about having a money-back guarantee, both MasterClass and Udemy offer a 30-day refund policy if you aren’t happy with the course or subscription plan. In my experience, MasterClass is a platform that returns the money hassle-free within a few days of submitting the refund request, I was quite impressed and recently resubscribed to the platform.

MasterClass 30 day refund
MasterClass 30-day money-back guarantee

Budget

Course prices have a broad range. Prices can start at $19.99 USD for an individual course and go up to $25,000 USD for a certified degree program. These prices also reflect your commitment to a course. If you decide on a $19.99 USD individual course that is 3 weeks self-paced you may not feel so financially bound compared to a $25,000 USD 2-year intensive degree program. If you aren’t ready to financially commit to a course, platforms like Coursera and Datacamp offer a bunch of free courses.

Coursera free courses
Coursera free courses

Instructors

Finding out about the instructor that will be teaching your chosen course can be critical in the experience you have. It’s important that they have the right credentials and knowledge to execute the course successfully. For example, Udemy and Skillshare courses are created, owned and managed by the instructor and each instructor has a different approach to teaching. At MasterClass its classes are taught by one of its 150+ celebrity instructors, like Anna Wintour, Chris Voss, Gordon Ramsay and more. If one of these celebrities is an icon of yours, then it’s a pretty motivating way to learn.

Masterclass Celebrity Instructors
MasterClass Celebrity Instructors

Community

If it’s helpful for you to have a supportive community during your learning experience, then you must consider this when deciding on the right online learning platform. As platforms like Skillshare and Mindvalley have a really supportive community of learners who give feedback, share ideas and collaborate with one another. Mindvalley doesn’t just keep its community online, it organizes real-world meetups and puts on events all over the globe for you to meet other like-minded learners.

Mindvalley community networks
Mindvalley Local Networks

Support

Before deciding on the right learning platform and course, it’s important to consider what support is offered to you from a online learning platform as a learner. Some platforms, like Coursera have a well established learner help center page where users can ask questions they have doubts to. Other platforms, like Udacity offer career services which maybe something you are looking for post learning to help you land your dream job.

Last Thoughts: Best Online Learning Platforms

To wrap up this comprehensive overview on Best Online Learning Platforms, I hope you now have a deeper knowledge of each online platform and what exactly they can offer you.

After reviewing all the platforms in detail, Coursera is our stand-out platform due to its wide range of courses, learning programs and its officially accredited certificates from top Universities and Institutions. Closely followed by MasterClass who offers a wide range of well-produced courses from celebrity instructors. Then there is Mindvalley if you’re looking for an alternative way of learning and want to focus on transforming different aspects of your life. Saying that, these may not be the right platforms for you, so it’s important you do your research before committing to a platform and course.

I’ve highlighted some key areas below for you to consider before making your final decision:

What to consider when choosing an Online learning platform?

  • Affordability
  • Range of course topics
  • Best free courses
  • Self-paced or instructor-paced courses
  • Accredited certificates (for some platforms)

Choosing the right online course may take a little bit of time and research, but once you find the right elearning community and course, you won’t look back. So don’t miss out on joining the wave of online learning and a global community of learners.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Online Learning Platforms FAQs

The best online learning platform for free learning is Coursera. The platform gives you access to 7,600+ courses for free which are partnered with top Universities like Yale and Stanford University and if you want to upgrade to a paid version of the course, you can easily do so.

Coursera is the top online learning platform with 113+ million learners. It partners with globally recognized Universities (like Duke, Stanford and Yale) and Organizations (like Google and IBM) to create its high-quality Courses, Degrees and Certificates. Plus, it offers thousands of courses for free.

Udemy is the largest online learning platform on the market, with more than 213,000+ courses and 70K instructors. It offers courses in every category and niche you could think of.

The best way to choose an online learning platform is by identifying your needs and the requirements you will need from an online learning platform (e.g. accredited certificate). Then explore and compare the different online learning platforms I have explained in this article and try one or more of them out.

Coursera is a reputable platform with top instructors and its courses and programs are created in partnership with leading Universities and Companies, so the teaching and course quality is almost guaranteed. Whereas at Udemy, anyone can create a course, so the course quality may not be consistent.