The most effective online learning platforms in 2021

Over the past year, the best online learning platforms have risen to prominence as students increasingly rely on digital courses for all of their educational requirements. As the number of platforms has grown and the level of competition has increased, massive open online courses (MOOCs). Have become more sophisticated and diverse, with a wide range of courses now available in foreign languages, flower arranging, astronomy, and other fields, as well as information technology (IT) programs.

We’ve personally tried and tested each of the recommendations below, and we’ve ranked them based on factors such as teaching methods, interactive elements, and overall course quality. We discovered that the greatest online learning platforms often excel in a single area: Udemy, for example, is fantastic for diversity and value for money, but Udacity is ideal for anybody who wants to get an in-depth understanding of complicated computer systems.

It is impossible to rank every internet course currently available, but we have done with this list to demonstrate which learning platform is best suited to which learning style. Despite the fact that many of these platforms rely on student motivation, some of them have a high level of tutor-student interaction, which may encourage those who require regular feedback.

In addition to this more broad list, we’ve also produced more extensive recommendations on topics such as the best online piano lessons and the best study Spanish online courses because we feel there are other platforms that are better for these specific subjects than the ones on this broad list. In a similar vein, we have compiled a separate list of the best online tutoring services for anyone looking to receive one-on-one assistance from educators.

Udemy is the most comprehensive online learning platform available.

Udemy (pronounced you-de-mee) is a popular online learning platform that offers diverse reasonably priced courses in everything from coding to dance. The site has over 35 million users worldwide. Although the variety of courses available may not be immediately apparent when you first arrive on the website, you can use the search function to locate a course that matches your skill level, language proficiency, personal preferences, and financial constraints. 

You will be able to preview a course in order to determine whether or not it is right for you, and then you will be asked to pay for it (there are a small handful of free ones, too). Prices for courses range from approximately $18 to $25 per course, but students on a tight budget may want to look for more cost-effective options.

Because there are no deadlines to meet, you can complete your courses on your own schedule. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access them from a desktop, laptop, or smartphone, allowing you to dip in and out whenever you want. However, they are not available offline. Despite the fact that the courses are not accredited, you will receive a certificate upon completion.

Due to the large number of learning options available on a single easily navigable platform, Udemy offers a slightly more structured approach to learning than, for example, YouTube. The courses lack a strong interactive component and are primarily comprised of pre-recorded videos; however, the quality of the courses varies.

Udacity is the most effective online learning platform for technical subjects.

However, even though this is by far the most expensive platform that we tested, you get a lot of value for your money with this option. The majority of the courses are focused on technology-related topics, with courses available in cloud computing, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence projects, and autonomous systems. When we first tried it out, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of tutor interaction that was made available. You will be able to ask questions of experts, and you will also be required to submit projects for evaluation, which will then be graded.

The video lessons and interactive quiz elements have a modern and up-to-date look and feel to them. Overall, there is a limited selection of courses (referred to as “micro degrees” by Udacity), but it is possible that this is one of the reasons why they all appear to be in such good condition. Students and engineers working in the technology industry will benefit from classes on topics such as self-driving cars and data science for modern business.

Although a monthly subscription will set you back $399, there are frequently discounts available. Because Udacity states that many of its courses would take around three months to complete, you may wind up spending more than $1000 before completing the company’s online courses. However, if you are serious about advancing your tech career prospects, we believe this platform is well worth the investment of time and money.

Certificates are awarded at the conclusion of the course, though none of the certificates are recognized by any official organizations. You will, however, complete a ‘project’ at the end of the course that will showcase your newfound knowledge and talents to the instructor.

LinkedIn Learning is the most effective online learning tool for professional growth.

When you upgrade to a LinkedIn premium membership, you will have access to this learning platform as part of the package. As a result, purchasing this membership grants you access to all of these classes as well as certain networking benefits on the website (such as the ability to know who has seen your profile).

A premium subscription will cost you $29.99 per month, or $239.88 for the entire year, whichever is greater. There is an opportunity to purchase courses on a one-time basis, but it is not significantly less expensive than the regular cost of a month-long membership — you can also frequently take advantage of a free 30-day trial on the site.

Courses are taught using pre-recorded videos, with certain courses requiring students to download and study extra resources. We discovered that a significant amount of content is geared toward professional development and managerial abilities. Although you may take lessons on topics such as coding, web development, art, and Photoshop, the great bulk of the information on this site is geared around improving your ability to manage your time and communicate effectively.

There is little interaction with instructors in this course, which is accomplished through the Q&A page on the learning platform. However, despite the fact that the courses appear to be well-maintained and current, there does not seems to be a large number of actively involved teachers answering queries on the site. Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll be awarded a certificate that you can use to promote yourself on LinkedIn.

Shaw Academy: The most effective online learning platform for simulating a traditional classroom environment.

In contrast to most other learning platforms,

 Shaw Academy does not simply display pre-recorded videos to you. Instead, you must participate in live webinars provided by professors, which are around one hour in length. These workshops are frequently followed by brief Q+A sessions, during which you can ask questions and receive clarifications.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled lesson, you can make up for lost time. In many cases, there are two lecture slots covering the same topic (for example, one at 2 pm and another at 7 pm), so you may be able to tune in later rather than earlier.

Shaw Academy is a newcomer to the realm of online learning platforms, and as a result, it has a more limited course catalog than its competitors. It is, however, quite diverse, with themes ranging from technology to art to wellness to money to marketing can be found. There is also a free four-week trial period available, however because lessons typically take ten weeks to complete, you may need to extend this period if you want to complete the entire program.

Shaw Academy, like a number of other sites, provides certification opportunities. APSU in Clarksville, Tennessee, and, as of 2020, three additional worldwide certification bodies: Continuing Professional Development (CPD), the International Accreditation Organization (IAO), and the International Council of Specialized Online Certifications (ICSCOC) accredit these credentials (ICSOC).

Because payment is dependent on monthly subscriptions, you will not be able to purchase a single course. This is one of the more costly alternatives, starting at $69.99 each month, making it one of the more costly alternatives.

edX: The most effective online learning platform for obtaining low-cost academic credentials

This platform, which Harvard and MIT founded in 2012, has collaborated with institutions such as Oxford University, Brown University, the Sorbonne, and Columbia University. Despite these prestigious affiliations, a large portion of the content on edX is still available for free, allowing you to easily browse course content, which is delivered through a combination of videos and quizzes, without having to pay anything.

The only catch is that if you want one of the prestigious edX certificates, you’ll have to pay a little money. The free ‘audit’ version of courses will not result in you receiving a signed document, but completing the paid-for verified version will result in you receiving a tangible certificate. In addition to this, you’ll often have the opportunity to submit projects and receive comments on them. On the other h

and, prices are quite variable, with some validated courses accessible for $169 and other degrees costing thousands of dollars.

This lack of transparency about the price system, along with a confusing UI that makes it difficult to identify courses that you might be interested in, was the most significant issue we found with edX. Additionally, the quality of courses might differ significantly, while the big-name universities tend to provide outstanding instruction.

Skillshare is the most effective online learning platform for creatives today.

Skillshare is a simple-to-use learning tool that will swiftly fulfill your hunger for new information. It is heavily focused on the arts, and courses are presented through a series of video lectures that are clearly titled so that you know exactly what you’re getting into before you start. 

In addition to written versions of the videos available in the transcripts tab, which may be useful for catching up on bits of the film you might have missed or for supplementing your notes, the majority of the courses are straightforward and interesting. This subscription ($19.99 a month or $99 yearly) is all-inclusive, which means you get access to tons of stuff and can dip into it whenever you want – excellent for those of us who are naturally curious.

On the other hand, some courses just skim the surface of the subject; they do not provide the same degree of learning as a dedicated course on the subject, and Skillshare cannot ensure that your course teacher will be able to provide direct feedback. The fact that tutors oversee several courses means that they simply do not have time to react to individual questions. However, you can try to communicate with other students on the forum.

Some courses appear to have been abandoned by their creators or have not been updated in a long time, indicating that the platform may benefit from a little more quality control. Don’t expect to receive a diploma for finishing a course, though, but if you’re looking for a platform where you can quickly learn a variety of artistic talents (don’t expect to learn physics or arithmetic here), this might be the place for you.

Coursera: The most flexible online learning platform for higher education

Coursera offers hundreds of classes, but it also offers programs that have been selected and certified by well-known colleges and corporations. Consider the universities of Stanford, Penn, Google, IBM, and Imperial College London. Some of these colleges provide easy online degree courses that are priced in accordance with traditional pricing and begin at $20,000.

This isn’t Coursera’s sole offering; the site also has a membership plan option that costs roughly $59 a month or $399 yearly. Subscribing to this will get you access to the majority of the platform’s online courses. You may not be able to obtain those expensive degrees, but you will be able to enroll in some shorter, well-regarded courses given by the universities above. 

When you complete the course, you will be given a certificate with the course name on it. You may also purchase individual courses rather than a membership. However, this is normally roughly the same price as a monthly membership cost.

There are some fantastic courses on this site. However, some older programs need to be updated. When we tested it, we found it impossible to elicit feedback from our professor or even form a nice comradery with other students. Coursera, on the other hand, offers a really rigorous review system, so you can see how students found the course. 

Students write informative comments detailing what they liked and disliked about the classes, and professors and instructors are assessed individually, as are the courses they teach.


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