Best Online Learning Platforms: Explained in detail

Catherine Cooke

16 March, 2023

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I first heard about online platforms back in early 2010, and I thought that’s a cool and convenient way to learn, from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you. However, I didn’t really look into them properly until I started considering a new career path in graphic design a couple of years later.

Being 100% honest, I was pretty confused with all the available online learning platforms out there, with its different pricing plans and features. Plus, I had my natural concerns about the quality of courses – Like ‘Will an online course platform actually teach me anything?’ or ‘Will it be recognized by a future employer?’

The 7 Best Online Learning Platforms of 2022

You may have similar questions and doubts, and perhaps you aren’t sure which platform you should choose. To help you pick the best online course platform for your needs (and budget), I’ve created this in-depth guide.

Online Learning Platforms Ranking Table

Quick warning: this article will be a long one. So if you are in a rush and don’t have 20 minutes to read it all, please check out our top recommendations below in our Online Learning Platforms Ranking Table.



Pros & Cons

1 Coursera.comCoursera Logo Guided Projects: > $9.99

Individual courses: > $49 – $79 per course

Specializations & Professional Certificates: > $39 to $89 a month

MasterTrack Certificates: > $2,000+

Degrees: > $9,000+

Coursera Plus: $59 monthly or $399 annually

> More information

  • Partnered Organizations
  • Verified Certificates
  • Free Courses
  • Affordable Degrees
  • Offline Learning

  • Prior Knowledge
  • Differences in course offerings


MasterClass logo

Annual Membership: Offers 3 different annual plans; Individual costs $180, Duo costs $240 & Family costs $276 all are billed annually.

> More information

  • Entertaining
  • VIP Instructors
  • Affordable
  • Refund Policy

  • No Free Classes or Trials
  • No Certificates


Mindvalley Logo



Individual Quests (Courses): $199 to $499
All Access Memberships Monthly ($99 a month) Yearly ($499 annually)

> More information

  • Reputable Trainers
  • Bite-sized Video Lessons
  • Engaged Learner Community

  • Limited Catalog of Courses
  • Basic Filter System



Datacamp Logo


Standard Subscription: $300 billed annually (working out at $25 a month)

Premium Subscription: $399 billed annually (working out at $33.25 a month)

> More information


  • Interactive & Engaging Content
  • Clear Pricing Plans
  • Experienced Teachers

  • No Accredited Certificates
  • Limited to Data Science Topics



Udacity logo


Udacity Nanodegrees: Starting at $399 a month. If learning is for 5-6 months, the cost can be $2,000+.

> More information

  • Top-Quality Content
  • Free Courses
  • Globally Recognized Partners
  • Career Services

  • You’ll need some budget
  • No Udacity App
  • Limited Topics


skillshare logo

Skillshare Premium: $167.88 billed annually (working out at $13.99 a month).

> More information

  • Free trial
  • Affordable
  • Engaged Community
  • Big Pool of Classes

  • No Certificates
  • Quality of courses


Udemy logo 2010





Individual courses: $12.99 to $199.99

> More information



  • Affordable
  • Free Content
  • Lifetime Access
  • Choice
  • Refund Policy

  • Official Certificates
  • Quality Control of Courses


LinkedIn Learning

linkedin learning logo



Annual Subscription: $323.88

Monthly Subscription: $39.99

Individual Courses: From $20 to $50

> More information


  • Free Trial
  • Learn at Own Pace
  • Offline Viewing

  • No Certificates
  • No Refunds on Subscriptions

codecademy logo

Pro Plan: Pay Annually – $19.99 a month billed annually ($239.88)

Pay Monthly – $39.99 a month

> More information

  • Free Courses and Plan
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Interactive Courses

  • Limited to Coding
  • No Certificates
  • No Instructor Bios

10 logo



Monthly Plan: $24.99 per month.

Annual Plan: $149.85 ($12.49 per month)

> More information

  • Free 7-day Trial
  • Interactive Learning
  • Beginner Friendly

  • STEM Topics Only
  • No Certificates


Pluralsight logo

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

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

> More information

  • Free Trial
  • Phone Support
  • Courses Learning Checks

  • Limited Topics on IT
  • No Official Certificates


edX new logo


Individual courses: From $50+

Professional Programs: From $300+

Degrees & Master’s Degrees: From $10,000+

> More information

  • Certificates
  • Free Courses
  • Partnerships
  • Refund Policy

  • Prior knowledge
  • Limited Topics


creativelive logo

Individual Classes:
 $29 – $199

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

> More information

  • Quality Content
  • Industry Icon Instructors
  • Free Live Classes

  • Only Creative Courses
  • No Certificates

14 Treehouse logo  

Individual Subscriptions: $25 to $199 per month

> More information

  • Free Trial
  • Career Focused
  • Self-Paced Learning

  • Limited Courses
  • Not Accredited Certificates

15 SimpliLearn Logo Training Options: $699 to $1,399
> More information

  • Persistent Phone Calls & Pushy marketing
  • Bad experience from previous learners

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 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.

12 Tips to Choose a Top 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.

  • 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.
  • Pricing: Do you have some budget? If not, then trying out free courses at 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.
  • 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.
  • Partnerships: Some online learning platforms like Coursera, edX and Udacity partner with Universities and Organizations to design and create its 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 with 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.
  • 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 practice interview technique.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Support: Before deciding on the right platform and course it maybe 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.
  • Languages: If you are looking for a course in languages other than English, your choice is going to be limited. Only Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer some courses in other languages like Spanish, German or Portuguese.

Best Online Learning Platforms at a Glance

I put together this table below to help you choose an Online Learning Platform based on different scenarios like Most Affordable, Career Services, Best Free courses etc. This may help you quickly decide on an online learning platform if you know what you are looking for. In case you are interested


Elearning Platform


Best for accredited certificates

Coursera & edX

Earn accredited certificates from top universities like Duke or Harvard.

Most affordable

Skillshare & MasterClass

Access to thousands (35,000+) courses for $167.88 a year.

Career Services


Besides educational content, it has career help for its students (e.g. prepare interviews and create a CV).

Largest pool of courses


No other platform offers more courses (over 155,000+).

Best free courses


Coursera and edX both offer access to its courses for free, this will mean that some of its features and the content is limited.

Best free trials


Skillshare offers a generous 1-month free trial to it 35,000+ classes. Pluralsight offers a 10-day free trial for individual learners and 14 days for teams.

Available in several languages

Udemy, LinkedIn Learning & Coursera

All these are available in several languages.

Course quality

Skillshare and Udacity


Coursera & edX

Skillshare and Udacity offer the best quality for professionally-focus programs.

Pick Coursera and edX for educationally oriented courses.

Topic-centered platforms

Datacamp is ideal for data science.

Udacity is for a career in digital skills.

Pluralsight and Codecademy for computer engineers.

Creativelive for creative professionals.

All these platforms focus on specific topic areas.

Engaging Content


Its video content is so well produced and has an engaging cinematic aura about it.

Alternative Learning


From subjects on Mind, Soul, Career and other categories that help you to transform. Programs are taught by top experts which follow a science-based learning.

In case you are interested in knowing about some interesting Facts and Statistics about Online Learning in 2022, then check out one of our latest posts here.

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.


Affordable Accredited Certificates


Coursera is one of the most popular online learning platforms out there offering top quality courses and learning programs. This e-learning platform from California has partnered with 275+ 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. Its global community of 113+ million learners is constantly growing and evolving.

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:

  • Content quality: As you can imagine, Coursera’s courses are among the best as universities such as Stanford, Duke or Yale are behind them.
  • Course flexibility: Coursera offers many types of courses, individual courses, specializations or higher education degrees.
  • Partnerships: Coursera partners with top Universities and Companies like Stanford, Yale and Google in the creation of its learning programs.
  • Accredited certificates: 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.

Coursera’s cons:

  • A bit technical: Coursera is all about higher education content, so you may find that some of its courses will require you to have previous knowledge (e.g. maths, chemistry or physics).
  • Confusing offerings: As Coursera offers a wide range of courses and learning programs, it isn’t always clear the differences between them.

Coursera Pricing

Coursera offers free individual courses, Guided Projects (starting at $9.99), Specializations & Professional Certificates (starting at $39 a month), MasterTrack Certificates (start at $2,000) then it’s Online Degrees (start at $9k and go to $50K). Finally, Coursera Plus, a subscription plan (monthly $59 or annually $399). 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 wanting to read in more detail about Coursera, please check out our detailed Coursera review.


The Celebrity-Powered PlatformMasterClass

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:

  • 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.
  • 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 Instructors: Of course, a big selling point of the MasterClass is getting to learn a craft from worldwide-recognized professionals. For example, Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking, bestselling author Dan Brown teaching writing or Spike Lee filmmaking.
  • Affordable: MasterClass is cheap if you compare it to other educational platforms. However, it also has very few courses compared to alternatives like Udemy or Skillshare.
  • Generous Refund Policy: After you purchase your MasterClass membership account, you’ll have 30 days to request a refund, not bad at all.

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.

MasterClass Pricing

MasterClass offers 3 different annual subscription plans: Individual, Duo and Family. The cheapest option is the individual plan at $180 annually (working out at $15 a month). The Duo is one account but for 2 devices at the same time costing $240 annually (working out at $20 a month). Finally, the Family account is for 6 devices at the same time costing $276 annually (working out at $23 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.


The Alternative Online Learning Platform

Mindvalley the alternative online learning platform

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 maybe 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 a couple of ways to subscribe to its All Access Memberships either with the Monthly Membership for $99 or Yearly Membership for $499.20 a year (working out at $41.60 a month). The Monthly and Yearly memberships both offer 15-day money-back guarantee, which leaves you without the risk of financially committing if you change your mind. Both of these memberships will give you full access to the Mindvalley curriculum of programs, weekly Mindvalley live sessions and full access to Mindvalley meditations.

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.


The Data Skills Platform


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 its 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 a month or $300 annually. The Teams plan is for teams of 2 or more costing and costs $300 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.


Career Advice

Udacity Platform best for career advice

Udacity’s focus is more on course quality than quantity, it currently offers less than 80 Nanodegrees (learning program) that are designed to prepare learners for a career in business and tech. It collaborates with leading businesses (e.g. Google or Nvidia) in its course creation resulting in high-quality content for its Nanodegrees.

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 189 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: A Udacity Nanodegree won’t be cheap, it’ll cost you between $700 to $2,000 depending on the program.
  • 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 189 courses for free, most of which are an introduction to its Nanodegree Programs and others focus on career and resume advice. Udacity’s Nanodegree Programs offer a couple of payment options the Monthly pay as you go for $399 or the All Access price based on the number of months Udacity believes it will take you to complete the program. The price of its Nanodegrees can vary from $600+ to $1300+. The way that Udacity’s pricing model works is that the quicker you complete the program, the less money you will pay. You can read in detail about Udacity’s Nanodegree Pricing 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. If you are wanting to read a more detailed Udacity review, you can do so here.


Best Bang for Your Buck

Skillshare sign up


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. A Skillshare membership gives you unlimited access to its full catalog of classes which costs $167.88 annually (working out at $13.99 a month). Skillshare only gives you the option to pay for its membership annually and a free trial is included when you first sign up to the platform.

In my opinion, it’s one of the better platforms for learning or improving creative skills. The one downside is commiting 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 annual premium membership is $167.88 per year (working out at $13.99 a month), you will need to pay the full amount upfront, but when you consider you have access to 35,000+ classes it’s a real bargain.
  • 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 only offers one subscription payment for its premium membership which costs $167.88 per year which works out at $13.99 a month. A free trial is available when you first sign up for a Skillshare Premium plan. Skillshare also offers plans for teams and businesses with 3 current plans. The Starter plan costs $159 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 courses 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.


The Largest Library 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 (185,000+), it would be hard not to find what you are looking for.
  • Price: Udemy is fairly affordable, individual courses start at $12.99 and can cost you up to $199.99.
  • Languages: Udemy offers a wide range of its courses in other languages (75 in total) like Spanish, German, Chinese and more. It’s a 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 nearly 600 in total, these courses are limited and normally no longer than 2 hours. Most of which are an introduction to a topic and the instructor. Its paid courses work on a pay per course bases and start from $9.99 and can go up to $199.99. It is very common that Udemy offers deals and discounts on its courses for you to take advantage of. You can read in detail about Udemy’s Pricing here.

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.

LinkedIn Learning

The Social Media Platform

Learn online with LinkedIn Learning

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.

What is 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 (working out at $26.99 a month) or the monthly plan is $39.99. 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 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/month or an annual plan for $239.88/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.


The Coding Platform

Codecademy Catalog

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.


The Problem-Solving Platform

Brilliant Learn interactively 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 anytime 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 per month), Annual ($149.85 per year that works out at $12.49 per month) Groups of 3+ ($299.87 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’re wanting to read in more detail about Brilliant and what it has to offer, then please check out our detailed Brilliant review.


The Technology Platform

Pluralsight Homepage

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 monthly which includes access to the core library of 2,500 courses and the Premium plan costs $45 monthly with access to the full library of 7,000+ courses. If you prefer to pay for either plan yearly the Standard costs $299 and the Premium costs $449. As well as individual plans, there are 3 team plans, the Starter (for 2 users minimum) costs $399 annually, the Professional (for 2 users minimum) costs $579 annually and the Enterprise (for 2 users minimum) costs $779. 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 provides high-quality courses in technology related topics, which a decent size library of courses. Its courses are for individuals as well as subscription plans for teams. To find out more you can read the detailed Pluralsight review.


The Best Coursera Alternative

edX 3000+ Courses

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).

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 and can start around $99 for short courses and can go up to $25,000 for Master’s Degrees. 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 for 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.


The Creative Community Platform

CreativeLive landing page

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 which are discounted regularly. A long 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.

In my opinion, it’s one of the best platforms out there if you just want to learn (or improve) skills, and you don’t mind paying a subscription – you’ll be able to access all the courses as long as you renew your Skillshare premium account.

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 certificate 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.


The Technology School

treehouse landing page

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 of 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 LinkedIn Learning or 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.

Read detailed Treehouse review


The Controversial Platform

Simplilearn online leanring community

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 no bad customer service.

Simplilearn’s cons:

  • Bad Reviews: Many learners have had a bad experience with Simplilearn, from bad quality of courses to overpaying for its course.
  • Persistent Sales Team: Its sales team calls you too many times and leaves you feeling harrassed.
  • 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

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 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 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 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 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. LinkedIn Learning for business offers a plan for teams (2-20 users) that can be paid for annually or monthly, which gives you access to 20,000+ courses. It also offers a custom-based plan for bigger organizations.
  7. 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.

Most Popular Online Learning Platforms

The elearning platforms popularity can vary a bit from country to country, but we took a look globally, comparing how they rank against one another in the last 12 months. We see that Udemy is leading the pack and in January 2022 it took a big jump in popularity.

Best Online Learning Platforms Google Trends

Google Trends Online Learning Platforms Comparison

Coursera is following Udemy’s lead and also increased in popularity in January 2022. MasterClass and Skillshare follow the two leaders and then comes Udacity closely behind Skillshare. It’s an interesting overview of online learning platforms and gives us an indication as to what learners worldwide are searching for.

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


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 a course
  • Udemy: Courses at Udemy are purchased individually, they will cost you between $19 to $200 depending on the course, its quality and length.
  • Udacity: Its Nanodegree programs are paid for individually, they start at $399 and can go up to a couple of thousands depending on the length of the Nanodegree.
  • LinkedIn Learning: If you aren’t interested in purchasing an annual LinkedIn Learning subscription, you can purchase courses separately, which start at $19.99.
  • edX: Similarly to the other previous platforms, edX will let you purchase courses individually. Be ready to spend between $50 to $3000 per course.

Subscription Plans

One of the most common approaches of online learning platfroms is to offer a subscription plan which can be paid for monthly or annually. The subscription plan noramlly gives you full access to the platform and its courses and its prices can start around $170+ and go up close to $400 annually.

Let’s check out the most popular subscription plans on a variety of online learning platforms:

Annual price Monthly price Number of courses Certificates Free Trial
Coursera Plus  $399 $59 a month 7,000+ Yes Try out a 7-day free trial
MasterClass Individual: $180 Duo: $240
Family: $276
No monthly option 180+  No 30-day money-back guarantee


$167.88 No monthly option 35,000+ No Try out a 7-day free trial
LinkedIn Learning ~$239.88 $39.99 20,000+ Yes, not accredited Try out a 1-month free trial
Codecademy Pro Lite: $209.88

Pro: $299.88



100+ No Try out a 7-day free trial


Standard: $299

Premium: $449






Yes, not accredited

Try out a 10-day free trial
CreativeLive Creator Pass: $149 ($12.42/month) $15 a month (annual commitment billed monthly)
$39 billed monthly
60k+ creative courses No No free trial
Datacamp Premium: $300 $25 month billed annually or $39 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 cost about $39 to $89 a month, the duration will depend on how hard you work and the amount of courses the bundle has.
  • Udacity Nanodegrees: Udacity programs are a set of courses about a topic (e.g. car engineering). You’ll need to pay a subscription for the time that you take to finish the program, normally they cost between $700 to $2,000 (depending on the duration).
  • edX MicroMasters and MicroBachelors: You can think of these as a little taster of a full Master’s or Bachelors degree. They cost $166 per credit, so a micro/program can range from $500 to $2,000.
  • 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 Premium subscription at $167.88 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

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

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.


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


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. I know what option I would pick.

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 with making 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 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


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


Course prices have a broad range. Prices can start at $19.99 for an individual course and go up to $25,000 for a certified degree program. These prices also reflect your commitment to a course. If you decide on a $19.99 individual course that is 3 weeks self-paced you may not feel so financially bound compared to a $25,000 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


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

Last Thoughts About Online Course Platforms

So with all things considered, I hope this comprehensive overview gives you a deeper knowledge of all the online learning platforms that are available to you.

If you are looking for some takeaways from this guide before you make any final decisions. I have highlighted some below:

Key areas to consider:

  • 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 its global community.


Which is the best online learning platform for free?

The best online learning platform for free learning is Coursera. The platform gives you access to 2500+ 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.

What is the No 1 online learning platform?

Coursera is the top online learning platform with more than 80 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.

What is the biggest online learning platform in the world?

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.

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

Overview Updates:

16/03/23 – 12 Tips to Choose an Online Learning Platform – Learning Format

13/03/23 – Added the biggest online learning platform FAQ

09/03/23 – Brilliant ‘Who is it for?’

03/03/23 – Codecademy ‘Who is it for?’

27/02/23 – LinkedIn Learning ‘Who is it for?’

23/02/23 – Udemy ‘Who is it for?’

06/02/23 – Skillshare ‘Who is it for?’

31/01/23 – Udacity ‘Who is it for?’

28/01/23 – Datacamp ‘Who is it for?’

26/01/23 – Mindvalley ‘Who is it for?’

24/01/23 – Coursera & MasterClass ‘Who is it for?’

17/01/23 – 11 Tips to Choose an Online Learning Platform – Support

01/01/23 – Udemy in detail Updated

27/12/22 – Skillshare in detail Updated

25/12/22 – Udacity in detail Updated

18/12/22 – Datacamp in detail Updated

18/12/22 – Mindvalley in detail Updated

14/12/22 – MasterClass in detail Updated

13/12/22 – Coursera in detail Updated

09/12/22 – 10 Tips to Choose a Top Online Learning Platform? – Flexibility

30/11/22 – 9 Tips to Choose a Top Online Learning Platform?

28/11/22 – 8 Tips to Choose a Top Online Learning Platform?

24/11/22 – 7 Tips to Choose a Top Online Learning Platform?

22/11/22 – Will it help your Career?

17/11/22 – Type of course

16/11/22 – Free vs Paid Courses

10/11/22 – Added Pluralsight for business

19/10/22 – Coursera Free Courses

17/10/22 – MasterClass Instructors

07/10/22 – Subscription Plans

27/09/22 – Updated Scholarship & Financial Aid

13/09/22 – Updated How To Find The Right Online Course For You

08/09/22 – Added No 1 Online Learning Platforms FAQ

05/09/22 – Pay per course

31/08/22 – Most Popular Online Learning Platforms

25/08/22 – General Update & Refund Policy

21/08/22 – Datacamp Updated

16/08/22 – Best Online Learning Platforms for Business

10/08/22 – Added Best Online Learning Platforms FAQ

05/08/22 – General Update

31/07/22 – General Update

26/07/22 – General Update

25/07/22 – General Update

12/07/22 – Added 7 Best Online Learning Platforms of 2022

07/07/22 – Online Learning Platforms Update

30/06/22 – The 5 Best Online Learning Platforms of 2022

26/06/22 – General Update

16/05/22 – Pluralsight Pricing

13/05/22 – edX & LinkedIn Learning Pricing

12/05/22 – Datacamp & Udemy Pricing

11/05/22 – Udacity & Skillshare Pricing

09/05/22 – Coursera & MasterClass Pricing

28/03/22 – edX & LinkedIn Learning Galleries added

25/03/22 – Udemy & Datacamp Galleries added

24/03/22 – Coursera, MasterClass, Skillshare & Udacity Galleries added

17/03/22 – Ranking Table Updated & MasterClass cost added

14/03/22 – Updated Quiz with LinkedIn Learning & Brilliant

11/03/22 – Online Learning Platforms in detail Update

14/01/22 – Brilliant Platform Added

24/12/21 – The Best Online Learning Platform Quiz

12/10/21 – Udacity Ranking Chart

08/10/21 – Online Learning Platforms Ranking

30/09/21 – Online Learning Platforms Ranking

29/09/21 – Pricing Update

23/07/21 – General Update

22/07/21 – Overview Update

24/05/21 – Mindvalley Platform

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and I have been working as a freelancer for many years now. In 2005, I graduated from a BA honours in Art & Design from BCU and then went onto complete a Master’s Degree in Teaching from UEL. The skills I gained from learning and teaching have led me to create Upskillwise, a place for learners like myself to find the best possible resources and courses to train and upskill themselves, either personally or professionally. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.
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7 days ago

Great website you’ve got here. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

19 days ago

Thanks for sharing, I am doing engineering and have to manage multiple projects at a time. It was a really difficult thing for me until I discovered these guys.

Jennifer Wan
Jennifer Wan
25 days ago

Great share! But I think you missed CourseFunnels. It is the best course creation platform I’ve ever used. It’s damn affordable and comes with dozens of profit-boosting plugins. Its tutorials helped me to learn how to create & market courses on profit. It’ll be great if I get to see my favorite tool on your blog too.

1 month ago

Thanks a lot. It helps me to get the freelancer exams for free. I will come back again to you to learn more. So keep posting this type of article.

1 month ago

Wow, what an informative article! I’m thoroughly impressed by the level of detail and insight provided. Thank you for sharing this valuable resource.

Martin Goodnews
Martin Goodnews
1 month ago

An impressive share!
Thanks, I’ve just been searching for information about this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have come upon so far.

2 months ago

I got all the required information for the information for which I was trying to find.

ochuko evidence
ochuko evidence
2 months ago

This is an informative article! Very interesting and thanks for sharing.

Kriti Singh
Kriti Singh
2 months ago

Very informative blog!

Vipil sarraf
Vipil sarraf
2 months ago

A great read for the upcoming Data Scientists. Thanks for explaining all the things in a precise and simple way. For people who have already entered the domain.

2 months ago

That is a good. Many thanks for sharing this one. A must-read post!

Eric Collins
Eric Collins
2 months ago

Your post is highly insightful, resourceful, and very well researched. Most importantly, the contents are progressively well organized and easy to read without boredom. Thanks for sharing.

Take a bow Catherine! This is a masterpiece.

-Eric Collins

2 months ago

I really like reading through a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

2 months ago

Where is Fiverr, edureka!, Google, Sololearn, and W3schools?

3 months ago

The information you give in the blog is very Nice. Thank You So Much For Sharing.

Free Resource Centre
Free Resource Centre
3 months ago

Really this is an informative post, thanks so much for this. I look forward to more posts.

Vansh Madan
Vansh Madan
3 months ago

Definitely a must-read blog for beginners, simply explained in a concise manner.

3 months ago

Pretty! This was a really wonderful post.

Siddharth Rathi
Siddharth Rathi
3 months ago

Very Useful blog for people starting in this domain.

Sue Blaske
Sue Blaske
4 months ago

thank you for the comprehensive reviews, Catherine. Did you review the Degreed platform? If not, why not (just curious)?

Alma Bach
Alma Bach
4 months ago

Of all these software/tools, I would suggest you add CourseFunnels. Its free profit-boosting plugins are a great feature that increased my sales to double. It’s a must-use software for those looking for a great way to earn some money creating engaging courses.

Alma Bach
Alma Bach
4 months ago

Thank you for sharing such a long list. But I think you missed CourseFunnels. Its 6 free profit boosting plugins is a great feature that increased my sales to double. It’s a must use software for those who are looking for a great way to earn some money creating engaging courses. Do review this one as well.

Mohit thakur
Mohit thakur
4 months ago

The information you’ve provided Catherine is very valuable as your article offers the great list of online platforms since we know that E-learning is future.

4 months ago

Thank you! Awesome! I love it!

4 months ago

Yes, you are right. E-learning is one of the easiest ways to learn.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
6 months ago

The information you’ve provided Catherine is very valuable as your article offers a good list of institutes that offer online learning platforms as we all know that online learning has a strong impact on today’s world.

7 months ago

Awesome. I loved it.

7 months ago

Hi I have read a lot from this blog thank you for sharing this information.

7 months ago

Hi I have read a lot from this blog thank you for sharing this information.

Deborah Smith
Deborah Smith
7 months ago

Catherine, if I were a math instructor I would design an assignment for my pupils to estimate the total combined hours you have saved for myself and so many others who have muddled through the quagmire of e-learning opportunities, and all which that entails. Suffice to say, I’ve no doubt the figure would be astronomical. Thank you so very much for providing this comprehensive and concise article — among your many others — which brings clarity and perspective to the big cloudy picture. As a recent retiree anxious to begin the next chapter, I can move forward in my venture… Read more »

Sofia Vallasciani
Sofia Vallasciani
8 months ago

Thanks Catherine for sharing such a insighful post.

Sofia Vallasciani

8 months ago

This is besides an in general thrilling post which I really got a crash from checking out.

Susanta Kumar
Susanta Kumar
9 months ago

Hi, Have you considered including a Google Docs, or perhaps a google form to keep track of this within the platform you’re using? Google docs has a great way of adding comments, notes and revisions.

9 months ago

Thank you for your great blog. I found your advice very useful, and I always appreciate the opportunity to learn new things from other people.

9 months ago

Greetings Catherine,

Thank you for the great post. I am doing a research on e-learning platforms and this is post is coming really handy. I noticed a mistake I would like to share with you. Maybe I misunderstood it but when I saw mindvalley has 10 million students, I wanted to fact-check it and found out they have 290K+ enrolled students the number you have is their total media following.

10 months ago

Thank you, Catherine, for putting in the time to research this, for laying it out so clearly, and for sharing it with everyone. Very much appreciated.

Sajid Ahmed
Sajid Ahmed
10 months ago

Very helpful, thank you!

11 months ago

Very interesting!

1 year ago

very informative . i am interested to read more updates

1 year ago

This is really interesting and informative.

Hemant Deka
Hemant Deka
1 year ago

Quite elaborate and made easier to understand the difference between each online eLearning platform before choosing

Helena Patarroyo
Helena Patarroyo
1 year ago

Catherine, Thank you so much for taking the time to do a detailed research about elearning platforms and sharing this valuable knowledge with us. It is a wonderful tool for decision-making about this topic.

1 year ago

Really appreciated for sharing this article. Very Informative.

1 year ago

I found this information to be very interesting and wanted to thank you for sharing it

1 year ago

i am engaged in the digital marketing courses and this blog gave me such an informative ideas. thank you keep posting,

Dettifoss IT Solutions
Dettifoss IT Solutions
1 year ago

A splendid job! Thank you for blog, you write very nice articles, I visit your website for regular updates.

1 year ago

Nice content, so much convincing and easy to grasp. Thank you for sharing.

1 year ago

A splendid job! Thank you for blog. you write very nice articles, I visit your website for regular updates.

Ruchika Singh
Ruchika Singh
1 year ago

I found the article very informative.

1 year ago

Nice content, so much convincing and easy to grasp. Thank you for sharing.

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