12 Best Online Learning platforms for 2020 and 2021

Online learning has gained more attention since the lockdown during the COVID19 pandemic. To figure out the most suitable learning platform for you, we have surveyed available platforms out there and brought you the list of 12 best online learning platforms. These platforms tend to be a little more flexible than traditional universities or colleges. You can even find more specific or unusual classes that you won’t get in the conventional platforms’ curriculum. Online learning is a bit more convenient than in-person learning, as you can pursue your interests, learn new job-oriented skills, or even switch your career. Here you can experience blended learning with live classes, participate in webinars by field experts, get personal support from experienced trainers, learn at your own pace with self-paced videos, and much more.

However, it would take great responsibility to find the best online learning platform that works best for you. But have no fear; we’ve done all the hard work for you and compiled the ultimate list of resources that offer good quality online classes. I am sure that if you read this article thoroughly, you would make your decision without hesitation. Please don’t forget to leave your
comment below; this will motivate us to bring more new articles.

We have chosen the 12 best online learning platforms based on three years of data (2018, 2019 & 2020) aggregated from google search trends (Figure 1). Those online learning platforms were then evaluated based on ease of use, affordability, content quality, and Learning experience. Also, reviews provided by the world’s most powerful consumer platforms like trustpilot.com, mouthshut.com, indeed.com, bitdegree.org, g2.com, and pcmag.com were taken into consideration.

best online learning platforms_1

Figure 1. Global google search trends revealing the popularity of the online learning platforms.

Let’s begin our evaluation with the platform popularity as per the Google search trends and then conclude by choosing one of the best online learning platforms suitable for you:

  1. Udemy
  2. Coursera
  3. Edx
  4. MasterClass
  5. Pluralsight
  6. LinkedIn Learning
  7. Udacity
  8. Skillshare
  9. Codecademy
  10. Edureka
  11. Simplilearn
  12. Intellipaat

It is one of the world’s leading online learning platforms, with more than 35 million students and 57,000 instructors coming from 180+ countries. Overall, there have been more than 400 million course enrollments, where courses are being taught in over 65 languages. Every course is available on-demand so that students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device. Overall, Udemy has courses for almost every discipline, but always read the reviews before buying one; you might find it very eye-opening.

Ease of Use:

There are many different criteria that we could use as a starting point for our Udemy review and find out whether Udemy could be be one of the best online learning platforms and are Udemy courses worth it. The best criterion, to begin with, could be how easy it is to use and navigate the platform. The Udemy home page layout is ok and pretty straightforward, further avoiding any confusion for the coming user; you can either choose the category and subcategory from a drop-down menu or enter the keywords into a search bar.

When you navigate to the course page, you can preview video, course requirements, description, user reviews, etc. Once you are convienced that the course is better suitable for you, you can start learning by adding the course into your cart, sign in (if not) and complete the purchase with the checkout process.

As per the g2.com review, it gives Udemy a good score of 9.2 for ease of use. Their landing page is itself pretty straightforward – you’d see a promotional banner, a list of courses, and some user reviews at the bottom of the page. The layout itself is ok – it doesn’t make you feel lost and confused.

Content quality:

Another important aspect is content quality; if you look at the user reviews, they are somewhat of a mixed opinion going around. According to bitdegree.com, most people say that majority of the courses on Udemy are genuinely worth it. However, some (a small number of reviews) claim Udemy courses do not offer the best quality. According to g2.com reviews, about 86% of users find the course content and video content interactive and informative. Overall, about 41% of users on indeed.com found courses on Udemy helpful for their career preparation.

Price:

Udemy has an option of a free course trial, where you can get online free video content. If you want to get a certificate of completion, participate in questions and answers, or perform tests and assessments, you should extend your enrollment with the paid option. If you are not satisfied, then you can request a full refund within the first 30 days of purchase. Once you pay, you’d get lifetime access to the course, and the platform gives students certificates of completion at the end.

Though there are some free courses on Udemy, they might be introductory or could mean that they are on promotion. According to the reviews from indeed.com, the courses on Udemy are affordable to 74% of learners and are 15% less expensive (on average) than other course providers, according to g2.com. However, learners are charged course-wise, and price, in general, varies consistently.

Learning Experience:

A person’s learning experience depends on the actual course they’ve chosen to learn. However, Udemy offers its instructors some advice about student engagement and the general quality of learning. Even though in the case of teaching, it seems to have a One-size-fits-all approach, no personalization. Also, there appears to be minimal interaction between instructors and students.

Learner Ratings:

Feedback / Review sites : [Reviews] with 5 Star ratings

Trustpilot.com : [500+]
2.7/5
Mouthshut.com : [500+]
3.7/5
Indeed.com : [900+]
4.5/5
Bitdegree.org : [300+]
4.5/5
G2.com : [300+]
4.5/5
Pcmag.com :
4.5/5

Coursera is one of the largest and one of the best online learning platforms with more than 4000 courses from over 200 universities and companies to provide a real learning experience to give you real-world benefits. It is not just a place to take classes like college courses, but it does offer real academic courses from real professors and universities at a considerably affordable cost of getting an online degree.  In some cases, you can even earn certifications or degrees entirely through Coursera, potentially leading to your professional benefits.

There are several types of courses and programs offered: Regular courses, specializations (which focus on skills mastery), professional certificates (aimed at helping job-seekers rise above the rest), master track certificates (which include modules from masters programs) and online degrees from universities. The cost and time required to complete each type of course or program varies widely.

Ease of use:

What could be our expectations for the best online learning platforms? first and foremost is ease of use. Their website is simple and easily understandable. As once you enter the website’s main landing (front) page, you can see their catchphrase – “100% online learning from the world’s best universities and companies”. Moreover, their interface works fine – you can either pick what you want to learn from a drop-down menu or enter the keywords into the search bar. You can choose the topics, primary and subtitle languages, types, and so on.

The online learning platform itself is intuitive and easy to navigate; also, g2.com gives a score of 9.0 based on user ratings for ease of use. When you purchase or choose to audit a course (trial period), you will get a learning interface that is simple, clean, and easy to read and navigate. You can easily track your progress, see due dates for quizzes, and see how long each lesson will take to complete.

According to the newsletter from learntocode.com, Coursera has empowered its online learning platform by Artificial Intelligence-based machine learning algorithms like:

  • Coursera’s course recommendation: Coursera has built-in advanced models, giving you personalized guidance on courses to pursue next. Their AI-powered nudges help you create learning goals and track your progress, plus targeted review material recommendations when you fail a quiz.
  • Coursera’s career learning path: It shows you a progression of job roles from entry-level to experienced professionals in certain career fields (e.g., data scientist, project manager, network engineer). The skills you need to learn to progress in this career are mapped to the relevant learning programs on Coursera.

Content quality:

The quality of the content dictates both the platform’s reputation and its overall success to be one of the best online learning platforms. The quality of the content is produced by certified professionals who have spent their entire lives in their respective fields. All videos are produced in-house and are not recorded by teachers themselves; thus, the videos have a high production value

Courses are organized into digestible lessons; each lesson has videos, readings, quizzes, etc. Most of the course reviews on Coursera tend to agree – people seem to be very happy and satisfied with the quality of learning that they receive. The only thing that some students point out is that few of the courses have outdated content. I came across this comment for some SEO and data science courses at their respective review section and even as reviewed by students at g2.com.

Price:

There are hundreds of free courses that give you access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. Paid courses provide additional quizzes and projects as well as a shareable Course Certificate upon completion. If you can’t afford to pay for a course, you can apply for financial aid.

According to indeed.com, about 78% of reviewers found Coursera courses affordable, and about 16% of reviewers on g2.com found their courses less expensive than other course providers. However, some students in their reviews on trustpilot.com and mouthshut.com complained about a lack of customer support on billing and subscription.

Learning Experience:

The Coursera offers are a great way to incentivize and motivate the students not to let go of their goals and finish their studies. Their course timetables are flexible; you can choose to work and study at your own pace and try to find the right balance between taking courses and your full-time job.

Some people wonder that “is a Coursera certificate worth it?” and it depends! Usually, this comes down to the actual learning experience. Which Coursera seems to cover. You can also attach the certificate to your LinkedIn profile, so it’s a great bonus to your profile for potential future employment.

Learner Ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [100+]
1.7/5
Mouthshut.com : [300+]
4/5
Indeed.com : [900+]
4.6/5
Bitdegree.org : [300~]
4.9/5
G2.com : [100+]
4.5/5
Pcmag.com :
4/5

edX was founded by Harvard and MIT; it offers 2500+ online courses from more than 140 institutions. Moreover, edX has been home to more than 20 million learners. With edX, you can take thousands of online courses from top universities and organizations. The courses are taught at edX by the world’s leading experts and professors from UC Berkeley, Microsoft, The Smithsonian, Harvard, MIT, and more.

What makes edX unique and allow us to consider it for being one of the best online learning platforms? It is that the edX is completely free to take any course through an audit option. If you want to earn a certificate and showcase your skills on the resume, you have to pay extra. You can take courses at your own pace. If you want to connect with other students, check out discussion forums. Most edX courses consist of video lectures, reading materials, assignments, quizzes, and exams.

Besides courses, edX offers micro-credentials or micro-degrees: MicroMasters, MicroBachelots, Xseries, Professional Certificate, and Executive Education. You can also get an online Master’s Degree in edX.

Ease of Use:

edX’s homepage highlights its most popular subject areas. There, you can browse through edX 30+ subjects or different types of degree programs. You can also search for specific keywords in the search bar to find the courses you’re looking for.

Navigating the courses is a bit more complicated than with its direct competitor Coursera, especially within the discussion forums. Ultimately, however, it is just a matter of getting used to the format. If you want to demonstrate how their platform works, then you can start by enrolling in the Demo course https://www.edx.org/course/demox.

The video lectures of most courses are accessible via YouTube and are available to download for offline learning. According to educato.org, the course availability could be confusing for some learners, as many edX courses will eventually be “archived.” This means that the course is still accessible, but it is no longer actively supervised by the respective university (i.e., no exams or certificates available). Thus, this might also be the reason for giving 8.7 and 8.6 ratings by g2.com to the ease of use and quality of support.

Content quality:

edX course videos are high-quality with clear audio. Some courses even show footage from real in-person courses at universities, so you’re getting the same learning as a college student without the tuition price tag.

According to edX, “To publish a course on edX.org, you must have an agreement with edX and specific approval from your organization,” which means that just anyone cannot create a course on edX. The tutor has to have an affiliation with the university or high-profit organization like Google, IBM, Amazon, or an institution.

Price:

edX is one of the leading host for massive open online courses (MOOCs), which makes it as one of the best online learning platforms. You can take any edX course, except for professional education courses, for free. To enroll in the course without paying, you would need to select the course information page’s audit option. You will get access to all course materials (lectures, videos, readings, and ungraded assignments), but you won’t be offered a certificate of completion and graded assignments.

If you want to enroll in the verified track but cannot afford to pay the full price, you can apply for financial aid. Most courses and programs are eligible for financial assistance of up to 90 percent of the total cost.

Applying for financial assistance on edX is a simple, straightforward process. All you have to do is enroll in the course’s audit track and complete the financial assistance application. Your application will be reviewed within 2-4 days. If you get approved, you will receive an email with a financial aid code that you will need to apply to the payment form. Financial aid could be approved up to 5 times each year.

According to indeed.com, about 68% of students find courses on edX affordable. The reviews at g2.com state that their courses are about 38% less expensive than average online course providers.

Learning Experience:

This factor usually dependents on many different variables when it comes to learning on edX. According to g2.com, reviewers seem to be somewhat divisive regarding their learning experiences on the platform. Actually, it isn’t a middle ground – people are either really happy with the results or leave extremely disappointed edx.org reviews on other websites. According to indeed.com, about 41% of reviewers think that courses on edX are good for career preparation.

Learner Ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [1000+]
4.1/5
Mouthshut.com : [300+]
3.5/5
Indeed.com : [100+]
4.5/5
Bitdegree.org : [200+]
4.3/5
G2.com : [50+]
4.5/5
Pcmag.com :
3/5

The MasterClass is worth to be considered as one of the best online platforms. Where you can learn from creative professionals at the top of their game, at a pace that suits you. Unlike any other online learning platforms, Masterclass targets a different audience: creatives looking to learn and gaining inspiration along the way. I would say just in one-sentence that on MasterClass, you will find the world’s most successful people, such as Gordon Ramsay teaching cooking and James Patterson teaching writing.

But does the hype around MasterClass live up to the reality of taking their classes? Let’s find out this by reviewing fromlearner’s angle, beginning with content quality, pricing, learning experience, and student reviews.

Content quality:

The MasterClass online learning platform has efficiently recorded instructors’ knowledge with their subject of expertise and produced high-quality courses for users worldwide. The MasterClass courses are shot professionally in a way so that you might feel like you’re watching a high production level TV show instead of an online course. Multiple user reviews on MasterClass will tell you that the learning site in question takes the term “quality” to a whole new level.

There is a wide variety of topics to choose from, and each category has different classes with different instructors. There are nine categories, including music & entertainment, writing, and film & TV; new videos are regularly added. Courses on this online learning platform are in groups of lessons; most classes contain 20 to 25 lessons, which provides about 3 to 5 hours of video content in total.

The video lessons also include workbooks that can be downloaded as PDF files. The workbooks summarize the key points of each video lesson and provide extra references and sometimes homework assignments. You can join discussions, share your work, and connect with other students taking this class.

The MasterClass could be accessed online, on your phone, on an Amazon Fire TV, on a Roku streaming media player, or an Apple TV by downloading the app.

Price:

The annual MasterClass membership costs $180 per year. When you signup, you will get an all-course access pass. Currently, MasterClass has 85+ classes and are adding new on an almost weekly basis. Previously, there was an option to take a free trial, but that is no longer available. However, they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not completely happy. You can also gift someone a MasterClass course using a special option on their website.

Each MasterClass has between 3 and 5 hours of video content, so per hour it’s still much cheaper than any college course. Admittedly, no matter how you look at it, MasterClass is expensive. Sure, you could go ahead and compare its prices with those of, say, edX – the latter is much more expensive, for sure!

Learning Experience:

At MasterClass, you won’t necessarily find career-changing skills (like coding or marketing); there are other online learning platforms for this purpose. Here, you get to explore the creative and artistic fields through premium video lessons. You will get new ideas and things you often won’t find in traditional courses, this makes edX one of the best online learning platforms. You can use your personal experiences in your work and communicate more effectively, as it is a great platform to advance to a new level if you already have basic skills.

While MasterClass sounds like a fantastic online learning platform, it does come with a few disadvantages as well. According to the reviews from techinjury.com, the major shortcoming of the MasterClass is the lack of interactions with the teachers. Understandably, celebrity tutors can’t provide personal feedback to all of the students, but feedback is still an essential part of the learning process. The classes are one-way communication. Moreover, no one grades the work, so you have no idea how well or how bad you did.

Learner Ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [500~]
4.1/5
Bitdegree.org [600+]
3.6/5
Pcmag.com :
4/5

While other course providers tend to cover a wide range of topics, PluralSight is hyper-focused on IT/ tech-related skills and trends, which is its biggest asset that makes it stand in the list of best online learning platforms. So, suppose if you want to start a career or update your current skills such as web development, software development, IT networking, coding, cybersecurity, or big data, then PluralSight is the place to be. It has courses created by 1,500+ industry experts and partners (e.g., Google, Adobe, Microsoft, and Oracle). PluralSight has over 6,500+ courses, with an average of 80+ new courses added monthly, and has enrolled over 100,000’s students.

While PluralSight isn’t the cheapest online course provider available, they make up for it with their high-quality course content, learning paths, and certificates of completion on all courses.

Ease of use:

The platform’s interface is relatively clean, professional, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Their homepage seems pretty generic; from the menu section, you can browse by topic (e.g., software development, IT ops, data professional) and click through to view all Pluralsight learning paths, courses, and assessments. Once you click on the desired category, you will be presented with a list of courses that are available to be taken. When you click on a course page, the information seems to be very clearly structured and segmented, and I could see their basic course info, a course description, author details, what you will be learning.

Actually, watching the course videos takes place in an interface similar to YouTube, with the video on the left and a playlist of lessons on the right. Pluralsight also offers channels to help organize your learning journey. These are essentially your custom playlists of videos and courses.  There’s also a Skills profile where you can track your progress, connect social media profiles, and set an avatar.

Content quality:

One point at which Pluralsight stands out to be one of the best online platforms from other platforms is the quality of their content. In this aspect, the images and audio are as clean and crisp as possible.

According to g2.com, students say that the courses are very informative and interesting and hold the highest standard for the quality side. It’s very rare to find a complaint, and even then, it is mostly addressed towards the prices, rather than the content itself.

Price:

Pluralsight offers a paid subscription; the free option is available only with 10-day free trial. With the paid subscription, you’ll unlock the entire course library, learning paths, skill and role IQs, mobile and TV apps, offline viewing, and much more.

The paid subscription plans range from individual to business (professional or enterprise). They have different price rates accordingly; for individual students, there are three different pricing options – monthly, annual, and premium. Both the monthly and the annual plans have the same features, but if you choose the annual plan, you will save 14%. Also, if you are not satisfied, then the subscription can be canceled at any time.

The PluralSight also has a premium plan, with an annual payment option. It offers three additional features – certification practice exams, projects, and interactive courses. According to indeed.com, only 39% of students say that their courses are affordable, which means more than 60% of users believe their courses are expensive. Similarly, reviewers on g2.com think that their courses are about 35% more costly than other course providers.

Learning experience:

Lewis Keegan’s (skillcounter.com) warns learners on PluralSight courses, which might be tough enough to complete as they go from beginner to intermediate levels quickly. So if you can handle a steep learning curve and enjoy a bit of a challenge, then PluralSight is a great place to start. However, if you know absolutely nothing about basics, such as coding, then pcmag.com recommends starting with a free, less-overwhelming, newbie-friendly coding class like Free Code Camp.

Another great benefit of PluralSight is that they offer a 5-minute test assessment to see your competency level. Students will then receive a unique learning path that is individually catered to their existing skills and understanding of a topic.

If you have 100% completion of the course, you can generate a certificate of completion. These certificates can be submitted as CEUs (continuing education units) or CPE (continuing professional education) credits to CompTIA, PMI, ISACA, and (ISC)2.

Learner Ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [800+]
3.4/5
Mouthshut.com : [<50]
3.2/5
Indeed.com : [<50]
5/5
G2.com : [800+]
4.6/5
Pcmag.com :
4/5

LinkedIn learning used to be Lynda.com; Lynda was one of the best online learning platforms that hosted courses on enhancing your software skills and graphic design, including technique in Photoshop or AutoCAD. Today, you can still find some of those legendary courses from Lynda.com on LinkedIn Learning. However, the new site seems to be loaded with tons of courses and a wide range of content that teaches business skills and everything from management training to entrepreneurship.

LinkedIn Learning offers 16,000+ free and paid courses on more than 170 topics; even more content is added weekly; everything is included within the LinkedIn Premium Plan.

LinkedIn Learning offers both in-depth courses and bite-size video tutorials, making it easy to learn at your own pace. The courses are tailored to individuals who want to learn new skills or expand their expertise and organizations that are looking for a source of training for their employees.

Ease of use:

Since the site follows a pretty standard layout, everything is where you would expect it to be – learning options on top, featured and recommended courses in the middle, and some self-promo at the bottom of the page.

Once you’ve registered on the platform, you start by picking general skills that interest you. Then, the platform gives you recommendations on specific courses based on your interests. There are also several other ways to discover courses depending upon your most relevant skills with business, creative, and tech courses. Apart from that, the courses could be selected based on subjects or your topic of interest or software instead.

They also have learning paths, which are sets of courses grouped together to provide how-to information from top to bottom on a given topic. These types of interconnected course series are common on large MOOC sites, and they are generally called “micro-credential programs.”

As you enroll in the course, the course pages that you land on are pretty standard. The instructor info section looks good, where you can find out quite a lot about the person that will be teaching you. Other than that, you have the pretty standard course descriptions, lecture lists, lesson previews, and so on.

Content quality:

The LinkedIn learning courses have good quality content; about 89% and 94% of reviewers on g2.com think their courses are interactive and have good video content. Their content is applicable both for the beginner and intermediate learners and mainly focuses on job oriented skills.

According to many LinkedIn Learning and g2.com reviews, the students claim that their courses are mostly average. Also, a significant amount of LinkedIn Learning reviewers are disappointed with the lack of more advanced courses. However, I think that the perception of quality mostly depends upon your expectations and the instructor’s expertise. Luckily, you have a 30-day free trial to decide if the content lives up to your expectations. After that, you can cancel anytime.

Price:

The pricing of LinkedIn Learning is fully subscription-based, unlike some other MOOC platforms such as edX or Coursera. This means that you are not paying for individual courses. Instead, you pay for a subscription that gives you access to absolutely all of the courses on this online learning platform.

They have a monthly subscription that costs about $31.49; if you go with the yearly payment option, it comes at a discounted price. About 60% of users on indeed.com think that their courses are affordable. It’s also important to note that LinkedIn Learning is accessible for free through a one-month free trial. After the trial period, however, LinkedIn Learning is no longer free.

Learning experience:

About 56% of the users on indeed.com mentioned that their courses are good for careers; also, about 54% think they have good teachers. Although learners can obtain continuing education units (CEUs) through LinkedIn Learning, they will not receive accredited certificates or degrees through these offerings.

Perhaps a lack of accredited certification wouldn’t be as big as an issue of LinkedIn Learning. According to LinkedIn Learning reviews, most other, similar online learning platforms offer certification at a similar price. Also, LinkedIn is still the most important social brand for connecting professionals. The name is also quite known, and people will instantly recognize your certification’s quality when they hear it.

Learner ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [<50]
2.4/5
Mouthshut.com : [100+]
4.3/5
Indeed.com : [300+]
4.6/5
Bitdegree.org : [100+]
4.2/5
G2.com : [400+]
4.4/5
Pcmag.com :
4/5

Here at Udacity, you can get real employable skills based on real-world projects. It was founded by Stanford University and other reputable Institutions; over time, it has built integrity and transparency among its users; thus it stands in the list of best online learning platforms. It was one of the first to offer a completely online degree in Computer Science.

Today, Udacity is exclusively offering online certification programs called NanoDegrees that are cost and time-effective alternative to traditional degrees. Moreover, their nano-degree programs are comparable to edX’s MicroMaster’s programs and Coursera’s MasterTrack programs. There is even a graduate scheme that allows companies to hire Udacity graduates.

Overall, Udacity has about 200+ free courses built with 200+ Industry experts partners (Google, Amazon, Kaggle, Nvidia, and more). Everyone likes to get an impression of that platform from free courses before deciding to purchase; this criterion attracts many users generating high traffic to the site, ranking it in the google search trends, and considering it one the best online learning platforms.

Moreover, they have over 100+ Enterprise customers worldwide and have created more than 100,000 Udacity graduates. Now, let’s analyze their online learning platform from the ease of use to their content, price, and learning experience.

Ease of use:

Udacity interface is neat, informative, distraction-free, and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate. I wish it could have more filters when searching for courses. Also, checking the course reviews is limited, as we can see only top reviews; you cannot read reviews according to their star ratings.

Their course page is also easy to use with a sidebar to easily navigate the course lessons. The courses’ information can be found on the course page. However, sometimes, you need to dig a bit to find it, as you have to subscribe to their newsletter to download the detailed syllabus.

Udacity offers students courses that they can start at any time and follow along at your own pace and ask for help from mentors 24/7. However, the Nanodegree courses (with a Udacity certificate) might have a fixed schedule.

Content quality:

Udacity produces its own content with reputed institutions and business partners. Thus, their courses’ quality could be assured; they even provide transcripts of their videos. According to g2.com, about more than 90% of users are satisfied with the interactive and video content that they provide.

Udacity offers courses in the following six main categories (all technical): Artificial intelligence, Autonomous systems, Business, Data Science, Programming and Cloud Computing; dozens of subcategories (e.g., Product management, UX design or Digital marketing) and hundreds of courses. In the case of their branded degree program, like Nanodegrees, they have 40+ and single paid courses; you will also get a certificate at completion. However, these certificates aren’t recognized by universities as they aren’t accredited.

According to bitdegree.org, there are a few Udacity reviews mostly on free courses (excluding Nanodegree’s) claim to have experienced poor customer support, or a lack of, in general. This somewhat explains that free courses rarely get any support in most online learning platforms. However, I think that they shouldn’t be overlooked, as it builds their reputation among a large community of free course users, as they might eventually get converted to paid ones.

Price:

As Udacity offers students around 200+ courses free course, you can just register and start learning. However, as I’ve mentioned in the previous section, users have complained that these courses rarely have student-to-student or student-to-teacher interaction. Though when it comes to the actual prices for Nanodegrees, things take a quick leap as Udacity’s courses aren’t always the cheapest out there.

A Nanodegree course subscription can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months. This means that if the Nanodegree has a lengthier course term, the price could go pretty high. There are no courses that would “ease” you into the potentially overwhelming prices.

So, how can you save money if their courses are not affordable? I would suggest you find an organization that can give you Udacity’s discount or coupon code. If possible, you can finish Nanodegree faster; this could save you a few months’ payments. However, officially you can apply for the scholarship program of Udacity; I hope this could ease prices by a bit; you might even end up getting a Nanodegree for free.

Learning experience:

All courses on Udacity come with real-life projects that you can apply the learnings to; you can participate in quizzes, assignments and get feedback from experienced reviewers. Even if Udacity doesn’t have accredited certificates, many companies value Udacity’s Nanodegrees. Like other online learning platforms we reviewed before, they don’t have accredited programs, but their certificates still have a good impression among employers which favours them to be one of the best online learning platforms.

In the case of free courses, even though there is negative feedback on customer support and community interactions, they have a good trust rating on trustpilot.com as students there have given quite a positive outlook on most of the free courses offered by Udacity. Thus, this shows that the platform does take care of its quality, even their free courses.

Learner Ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [800+]
4.7/5
Mouthshut.com : [100+]
3.6/5
Indeed.com : [100+]
4.5/5
Bitdegree.org : [200+]
4.7/5
G2.com : [200+]
4.3/5

Skillshare is one of the best online learning platforms for learning new skills or improving existing ones. Skillshare is working hard to deliver quality information to their students and make sure they complete practical assignments and apply new skills to real-world problems.

With about more than 22,000 courses and more than 4 million students enrolled, Skillshare covers almost any subject you could think of; their broad category is Animation, Design Illustration, Lifestyle, Photo & Film, Business, Writing, and Programming.

Ease of use:

It is one of the first aspects whenever you visit the site to see how user-friendly and accessible it is? So, on the front page of the site, you can see all of the different categories of the courses available for you to learn, also there are some featured courses. Overall, the front page seems nice with a simplistic design and goes straight to the point.

Once you sign in and visit the course page (of a specific course you want to enroll into), you can find an introductory video from the instructor and the lesson list in the right panel. Honestly, the interface is pretty neat, quite inviting, and easy to navigate. As once you scroll down, you’ll see the course description, an overview of the instructor, and related courses.

The video player is up to the expectation and is well-featured. You have access to closed captions, and you can do things like post a note on the video, speed up playback, and rewind if you didn’t catch something. Underneath the video is other information, including an instructor profile, links to supplementary information, and project details (see below for more on those). While we are on the page, you can’t see the overall review score while browsing the courses. You have to click on the reviews section and click on each rating individually.  

Overall, SkillShare has a decent, functional learning environment, and it works well. There is also an app that is slick and useful and keeps your training progress synced with what you do on your computer.

For any queries, you can access their extensive knowledge-base, as lots of FAQs and instructional articles are available. However, some users are not satisfied due to no live support, as it is only on the courtesy of a ticket system.

Content quality:

There are courses direct from companies like Mailchimp and Squarespace and well-known figures like Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki. Though anyone can create a course on Skillshare, the quality and production values might vary from course to course.  The courses available also provide study material or project details, it also again depends on the individual course, as some courses provide extra material, while others do not give you much.

However, you can assess the courses of your interest from their reviews section. According to Bitdegree.org, the best strategy is to look at the number of students in each course (presumably a sign of quality); this will assist you before going to the individual reviews.

According to Bitdegree.org, a lot of Skillshare reviews highlight the fact that their courses are very basic as some instructors don’t disclose whether the course is aimed at beginners or advanced level students.

Price:

SkillShare is one of the best onilne learning platforms that offers great value for money. The pricing here works somewhat differently from most other similar online learning platforms as it offers a subscription-based pricing model. This means that once you pay a fixed fee per month or year for unlimited access to every course and workshop on the platform.

SkillShare offers two types of subscriptions, a free one and a premium one. The free subscription allows you to interact with all of the free content. However, there isn’t all that much of it to begin with. Skillshare also offers an interesting referral scheme, where you can offer your friends a two-month free trial, gaining a free month for yourself for each who signs up.

Many students claim that they are having issues with how the company charges them, those reviews often seem to relate to people who’ve neglected to cancel membership subscriptions.

Learning experience:

Most Skillshare classes are half an hour or an hour long, so it won’t take much of your time. And even the half an hour courses are broken up into parts so that it’s easier to go and watch a bit when you have time and come back and finish watching it later. However, SkillShare’s courses are not accredited, and you won’t get any certificate at the end. You will get something better, though – skills that can be applied in real life. It is more in common with Udemy than with Coursera and edX, both of which allow you to download certificates and connect to them from your LinkedIn profile.

Moreover, along with the conventional courses, Skillshare has many other interactive models like Live Sessions, workshops, and even discussion groups:

Skillshare Live Sessions are available to all premium members, which enable students to grow, learn, connect, and explore within a creative community (https://www.skillshare.com/live). Each live session lasts approximately 60 minutes or less. It will be a good experience if you decide to join the live sessions, as you will be able to ask questions in real-time and work alongside teachers to learn new skills and techniques.

Skillshare also offers a great variety of workshops (https://www.skillshare.com/workshops).  Workshops often last for a few weeks, and they are perfect for students interested in a more intense learning experience and want to get more feedback from teachers. The Top Skillshare Teachers usually run workshops most of them are already included in your Premium subscription, and you are free to join them.

Learner ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [1000+]
3.3/5
Bitdegree.org : [200+]
4.2/5
G2.com : [<50]
3.9/5
Pcmag.com :
3.5/5

Coding is a tough skill; I am sure if you’ve done any research about learning how to code, you would have come across Codecademy, as it is one of the largest online coding schools. Codecademy offers students 14 different programming languages; you can learn them at your own leisure. It includes some of the most popular languages dominating the job market, such as Java or Python.

The academy was set up for aspiring coders to provide easy access to affordable and quality computer programming education. Since the launch, Codecademy has implemented significant changes and improvements in its course structure, teaching style, and more to cope with the advancing technology and industrial needs.

Ease of Use:

The educational platform’s landing page seems to be pretty generic. You can signup there; they also offer an obligatory video introduction about their company and even some testimonials giving you a small reason why to choose Codecademy. After you sign up, Codecademy offers recommendations on where to start, or you can view its full catalog. The catalog was easy to navigate (you could sort the courses by languages, subjects, and memberships plans); the course buttons presented only the essential information. Not many Codecademy reviews mention this, but I found their course layout to be unique.

The course pages themselves are great, too. They have a very minimal amount of essential information displayed on them; you can easily understand how to follow up with the possible course of action  (enroll in the course, read the summary, etc.).

As you enroll in one of the courses, you get a text editor with instructions to start coding; they will also guide you along the way. Codecademy keeps learners motivated by awarding badges for their achievements throughout the course; you can find them on your dashboard. Each lesson comes with clickable hints that will assist you in going if you get stuck, also; you can find a dedicated Q&A forum with each lesson that serves you to troubleshoot code together with your classmates. Your course progress and skills that you’ve mastered will be displayed on your dashboard.

What makes it stand in the list of one of the best online learning platforms is that Codecademy makes learning the basics of coding easy and stress-free. Usually, when you learn a programming language, you have to download and set up a coding environment (IDE: Integrated Development Environment). This can be slightly troublesome for absolute beginners; However, Codecademy has done everything for you online. You have to simply write your code and test it in the integrated browser. Thus, whenever the Codecademy platform is considered for reviewing its usability, g2.com gives it the highest ratings of 9.2.

Content quality:

Code Cademy is completely free to sign up. If you are not sure where you want to start, they allow you to view all the courses they offer for free. So, You have the option to sort the courses according to your objective.

They have more than enough content and tutorials (HTML, CSS, Sass, JavaScript, Rails, AngularJS, ReactJS, Ruby, Command Line, Git, SQL, Python, and Java) to keep yourself busy and to determine whether you like the coding stuff and want to give the real go.

Codecademy constantly updates its courses and aims to bring in new and relevant learning material into the site. According to the content ratings from g2.com, about 94% of the users think that it has good interactive content, while 83% of users find its video content satisfactory that supplements the course material. Overall, Codecademy seems to maintain its content quality, as they stress upon the students’ learning quality thinking it is imperative.

Price:

One of the biggest advantages of Codecademy over other online learning platforms is that they have a lot of free courses than others. As discussed before, free courses attract learners to get acquainted with the platform and then find courses of interest, which gives that platform the highest search hits, further favoring it to be in the list of the best online learning platforms. Moreover, for taking free classes, you don’t have to sign up for a monthly subscription or pay by the class.

So when you are just starting to learn to code and are unsure whether it could interest you or not, then it is good to try out some completely free classes. And when a course is free, it automatically has a higher ROI (since the investment is just time, not time + money). According to indeed.com, about 73% of users think that the courses on Codecademy are affordable than that of courses offered by other course providers.

Moreover, Codecademy offers its users three different ways to learn on their site – free courses, Codecademy Pro, and Codecademy Intensive. The Codecademy Pro membership is subscription-based, as it charges monthly. Whereas, Codecademy Intensive plan costs per course. Additionally, it could cost more depending on the subject matter, course topic complexity, etc.

Learning experience:

Since the inception of the other two paid plans, Codecademy uses to have most of the courses free of charge. According to reviews, by the time the number of free courses has experienced a downfall. Even then, you can still find some courses on the site that can be accessed and taken free of charge. Moreover, the material’s pace is geared to the rank beginner, so if you have a strong computer science background, you may find some modules on basic concepts to be a little slow and tedious. In this case, you can enter into one of the below premium plans.

The Codecademy Pro includes various quizzes, personal projects, learning paths, especially for those who want to take their learning experiences one step further.

The Codecademy Pro Intensive is a step forward version of the pro-only plan. Here, you will find (in addition to the previous features) extra curriculums, deadlines, designated Slack channels, exams, and so on. It’s a boot camp version of what you want to learn.

However, there are few intensive reviews on both the free and premium versions, as people still wonder and ask, is Codecademy Pro worth it, or is Codecademy good? But, I would say that before you make any decisions of your own, kindly go through their reviews.

Learner ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [800+]
4.5/5
Indeed.com : [<50]
4.7/5
Bitdegree.org : [200+]
4/5
G2.com : [100+]
4.4/5
Pcmag.com :
3.7/5

Edureka is a popular and one of the best online learning platforms with over 800’000+ students from over 150+ countries with thousands of hours of training videos. There are over 19 different course categories, with a wide range of projects and assignments. That includes all kinds of specialized or niche specific programs like cloud computing, blockchain courses, Big Data, artificial intelligence, and many others. Moreover, they are specialized in digital marketing, IT, and technology courses.

Ease of use:

Edureka values transparency; they make sure that you get what you pay for. The homepage is always the first impression; Edureka has a user-friendly and accessible homepage with navigation panels categorizing their programs by trending courses, career-related programs, newly added courses,  student reviews, and much more.

When you go to their course-pages, it displays essential information about the course, like its practical scope, the career paths available in it, skills required to enlist in the course, and everything else. The platform also displays the entire program syllabus to let you know what will be covered in the class. Overall, it will help you go through relevant courses that interest you the most, and then you can choose the better one that suits your skills, career, and salary expectations.

Edureka’s courses are led by instructors online in real-time, so once you pick the course, then you also have to choose the batch of the time slots that suits you to enroll in. As you are in the course, the page will show the course completion rate, which is one of the essential metrics showing how many people finish the course and how many don’t. According to the g2.com reviews on ease of use of Edureka’s platform, the users find their platform worth rating it to 8.0.

Content quality:

Edureka uses live screen-sharing, demonstrations, and a Q&A to help students engage with each session’s material. Throughout the course, you can connect with your learning manager for any queries that you might have. As the sessions are live-streaming, if you miss any, you can find all of the coursework and sessions in a learning repository; you can access it at any time. You’ll be given homework assignments and an industry-related case study to exercise what you’ve been learning.

Edureka also provides pre-created content (Courseware) on standard topics that can be used as part of a curriculum. According to g2.com reviews, about 80% of the students think their content libraries are worth it. With the consistent effort to maintain the content quality and implementing the blended learning approach, Edureka stands to be in the list of one of the best online learning platforms.

After the course completion, you will get a new skill-set certification and their assistance to leverage new skills on your resume.

Price:

Edureka offers courses with an individual course subscription, so you can subscribe to as many courses as you like by paying it from your dashboard wallet. They also have a corporate training feature under their program called Edureka for business.

If you want to just learn from free course videos, then you can find them uploaded on their youtube channel (youtube.com/c/edurekaIN).

Learning experience:

Most of the students taking online classes prefer a part-time course schedule, and as Edureka has flexibility with the course timings, it could be one of the reasons students choose this platform. You can select from 6-weekday classes or two classes/week (if you’re only comfortable with weekends) with even different timings throughout the day that suits you better according to your schedule.

As you begin with the interactive live classes, you will be able to witness step-by-step demonstrations led by qualified and experienced professionals. There you can also be a part of live Q&A sessions. This is not over yet, as it’s not only about live classes, but their employees also keep in personal touch with every one of you to make sure that you practice as much as possible. So, they provide a fair amount of practical assignments and quizzes to understand the concepts you learned in a better way.

According to the review post from updateland.com, Edureka has some interesting job placement policies. Some of the courses they offer, they assure you with the interview calls (e.g., Post-Graduate Program in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning).

Learner ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [1400+]
4.6/5
Mouthshut.com : [4800+]
3.6/5
Indeed.com : [<50]
4.4/5
G2.com : [<50]
4.5/5

Simplilearn is one of the leading online certification providers with 1,000,000+ professionals trained from 150+ countries. It offers over 400+ courses, 40+ global accreditation, and has a team of over 2,000+ qualified trainers. They aim to provide training and coaching to the working professionals who cannot take a full-time course due to their work priorities. Also, Simplilearn assists in improving their resume and enhancing their knowledge to achieve their career goals.

Ease of use:

The Simplilearn’s online learning platform’s design and layout are accessible to navigate; it has a simple categorical distribution of course levels in the navigation panels from Post-graduate to certificate programs. The header bar of the homepage has a list of 13 categories; if you dig into any specific category, the catalog narrows down from course categories to popular courses, masters programs, and university programs.

Opening an account is straightforward, as you need to add just your basic information. You can also login via your LinkedIn profile. From the specific category, you can select the course you like and be directed to the course curriculum, intro video, course advisor, reviews, and so on. I think this is particularly helpful if you are researching and comparing different courses. Further, you can find the course content for every lesson in short with the topic information and time duration. You can download the syllabus if you want to read more about the course. However, some courses may require prior knowledge or qualifications to enroll in.

For every Simplilearn course, there is a review section with the star ratings from past students, although I didn’t find it much helpful as they have added only the 5-star positive reviews, and there is no way to see or read other reviews with a low rating. Other online learning platforms like Coursera and Skillshare has more transparency towards displaying all reviews.

Content quality:

Every course on Simplilearn is taught by instructors who have over 15-20 years in their particular field. Also, the course is designed and updated regularly by 2,000+ renowned industry experts. Undoubtedly the content produced is very high quality as experienced instructors are creating it alongside accreditation bodies.

As Simplilearn has self-paced and blended learning course types, it has graded assignments, quizzes, and even final exams. Their courses have mixed video content led by an instructor, hands-on projects, and 24/7 teaching assistant and support. You’ll have to put in some work to pass the course.

Price:

Simplilearn’s live instructor-led training (ILT) courses and a live project testing environment or Cloudlabs require a premium subscription; once subscribed, you will have lifetime access to the course materials. Simplilearn also has an Online Classroom Flexi-Pass subscription, which grants you three months unlimited access to live ILT sessions (available in Batches) and six months unlimited access to self-paced learning.

Moreover, they also provide you with a 7-day free trial so that you can experience the course and services before completing the purchase. You can access all learning modules of both self-paced and instructor-led training courses during the free-trial period.

Simplilearn also offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, but if you have accessed more than 25% of the video content or downloaded the e-book, or attended more than a day of ILT sessions, then the money-back guarantee is voided. Though the company has strict policies, its customer satisfaction rate is relatively high, as trustpilot.com has the highest number of reviews (>8000) than that of Udemy or Coursera with a satisfactory score of 9.2.

Learning experience:

Simplilearn works on the self-paced approach, so you have different learning styles to choose from; you can choose to learn from Flexipass courses and live-online instructor-led experience with other students. You can also access the courses anywhere and anytime with its mobile application.

The Flexi-Pass courses offered by Simplilearn includes both self-paced online classes and live instructor-led training (ILT) sessions. Their Flexi-Pass courses include projects, job-ready tasks taken from the industry, in which learners can test and develop their projects in a maintenance-free online sandbox called CloudLabs.

Moreover, despite its thinner catalog, you won’t find the kind of courses like micro-credential programs that Simplilearn offers on the other online learning platforms. The Simplilearn courses have been accredited, and their certificates are recognized by major bodies like the ITIL, AXELOS, PMP by PMI, and Prince2 by AXELOS.

User ratings:

Trustpilot.com : [8000+]
4.6/5
Mouthshut.com : [12000+]
4.4/5
Indeed.com : [100~]
4.1/5
Pcmag.com :
4.5/5

I have also not seen much review posts or concerned information on Intellipaat; However, when I came across the highest-reviewed online learning platforms on consumer review sites like mouthshut.com and indeed.com, Intellipaat was one of them. So decided to go ahead and get google trend insights; accordingly, it was evaluated and included in the top performing 12 best  online learning platforms.

To date, Intellipaat has trained more than 600,000 happy learners. Intellipaat has become a pioneer in developing courses in collaboration with IT moguls such as IBM, Microsoft, etc. and rendering 150+ technical training courses, including Hadoop, Big Data, Data Science, Cloud Computing, Salesforce, and other niche technologies. It also provides professional help to ensure learners find lucrative jobs by conducting mock interview sessions and helping each candidate create a high-quality resume.

Ease of use:

This online learning platform is quite user-friendly and straightforward; you can search for a course from the search bar directly. However, I expected to see a course category in the header bar’s menu list that could give more clarity on the courses available category-wise. Moreover, the homepage shows the categorical distribution of course levels in grid form, beginning with the trending live expert classes, Post-graduate programs, Master courses, and Popular courses.

You can signup with a Facebook or Google account. Once you are logged in, you can enroll in the available free courses to experience the course quality and see which courses interest you the most. However, the free courses available are mostly foundation courses. On the course page, you will find information about the course and its curriculum. Also, they have a career service panel, which is part of their paid program. You can find reviews for the course in the form of video testimonials; following the reviews section, you can find the course advisor details.

Price:

Intellipaat follows an individual course subscription pattern; there are also some free foundation courses. You can enroll in a free course and make your decision to purchase the paid one. There are two learning methods, the live-class and the offline self-paced class having pre-created video lectures.

However, if you want to request a refund, you should not have attended the online classroom training for more than one day’s session or have accessed/downloaded course material from the learning portal. Also, you have to raise a refund request within seven days of the first session’s commencement. In the case of self-paced courses, a refund is not applicable.

Content quality:

Intellipaat provides online and classroom training, combined with a unique approach to ideation and creation. The course content is from basic to the advanced level with practical knowledge and strategically designed to cover essential aspects as per the industrial requirement. Also, it offers its learners lifelong support and lifetime access to the course materials.

Intellipaat also invites individual course creators; they seem to be more concerned about the quality of the content delivered. They have mentioned that Intellipaat requires experienced personals and passionate course creators with a high level of expertise and good oral communication skills.

Learning experience:

At Intellipaat, you can attend live Instructor ExpertClasses, Workshops, and Courses created by Industry Experts; they also have a free option (excluding live classes) and get a course completion certificate. For the premium users, once training is over, you can select the trainer to join and undergo learning with the experience people in the industry to understand the concepts you learned in a better way.

Along with the experienced trainer and structured course content, you can get 24×7 email support for Q&A, assignments, quizzes, and project works. Also, there are Self-paced Lectures; if you don’t need a trainer, you can easily learn from it.

Learner Ratings

Trustpilot.com : [300~]
4.5/5
Mouthshut.com : [3400+]
4.3/5
Indeed.com : [300+]
4.3/5

Let’s Conclude: Choosing Best Online Learning Platform

All 12 online learning platforms were ranked based on global search popularity as recorded by the google search trends. Further, they were evaluated for ease of use, content quality, price, learning experience and reviews / ratings as given by learners on some of the best consumer feedback platforms. Altogether, it clearly states that the Udemy, Coursera, and edX platforms are ranked on a google search based on popularity (Figure 2). They have a variety of courses from various niches; as we go down in our list with the decrease in the search popularity, learning platforms seems to become more niche specific.

However, suppose you consider popularity according to the reviews (Figure 2). In that case, you will find that the niche-specific learning platforms have the highest reviews and ratings (Figure 2). Those online learning platforms seem to be more concerned with their quality and support services. Thus, their prices could be higher as they provide blended learning, including live classes, self-paced learning, and individual support; sometimes, they offer a personal trainer. According to a survey by Simplilearn.com, it was found that about 56% of sudents are more likely to select live classroom components, while only 44% use self-paced video courses with no live component.

best online learning platforms_2

Figure 2. A comparative account of best online learning platforms based on Google search trends, review trends from consumer feedback platforms followed by ratings.

So if you have budget constraints and are ok with the self-paced learning, you can go with the Google trends (Figure 2). If you need blended learning and are ok with spending some extra bucks for personal experience, follow the review and rating trend (Figure 2). Also, the review and ratings could guide you to make the right decision and to choose the best online learning platform. Further, if you are opting to choose any online courses, kindly try our course comparison facility over here. I hope now you could have clarity on which way you should go; kindly let me know in the comments below. Happy learning!

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