7 best online learning
7 best online learning

Whether you’re planning to learn some new marketable skills or simply want to explore a subject for fun, online learning platforms are a good and simply accessible resource for learning on your own schedule. As another to online colleges, these platforms tend to be a bit more flexible and should even offer more specific or unusual classes you wouldn’t find at a conventional college, but it’s important that prospective students compare their options to search out what’s best for them.

From Masterclass to Coursera, here are just some of our recommendations for the simplest online learning platforms, so you'll be able to join up today.

  • Best Overall: Udemy
  • Best for Creative Fields: Skillshare
  • Best for Celebrity Lessons: MasterClass
  • Best for faculty Classes: Coursera
  • Best Pedigree: EdX
  • Best for Tech: Udacity
  • Best for Data Learning: Pluralsight


If you wish to find out something, it’s probably on Udemy. the positioning is a smaller amount of a unified “platform” and more of a portal or repository where students can access run out 100,000 courses on every topic imaginable.

Language, arts, music, and fitness courses will be found alongside lessons on programming and IT, business skills, teaching, productivity, and far more. There are even categories for private development and lifestyle, which cover life skills and other techniques that aren’t necessarily the sort of thing you’d get in an educational setting.

There’s not one standard format for a Udemy course—the platform allows instructors to style multimedia lectures with audio, video, and text elements, plus readings, quizzes, and other activities. Udemy allows students to preview classes they’re inquisitive about and does offer a 30-day refund if you’re dissatisfied.

Because each class is formed and taught individually, they’re also priced separately: Lifetime access to one course can range from inexpensive (about $11 to $15) to pricey (roughly $200 or more).


While many online platforms basically provide college-style classes, Skillshare is a smaller amount formal and aimed more at improving creative skills.

There are business and marketing classes on the platform, but the bulk are courses in creative fields, taught by practicing experts in those fields: photography, film, animation, visual arts, writing, interior design, and more. the main target is on teaching practical skills that students can then use to make their own projects. Most courses involve a series of video lessons, combined with assignments for college kids to practice their skills.

Skillshare contains a subscription model, instead of a per-course payment plan, so students who join up can take as many or as few courses as they require while they’re subscribed. the present pricing is $32 per month, or if you obtain one year upfront, the price is $168 (which works dead set around $14 per month).

That being said, the platform does offer a collection of free classes in addition, from short, 20-minute videos to longer tutorials of an hour or more. They’re not as in-depth, but they’re an honest thanks to try potentially interesting topics.


Although MasterClass offers over just creative courses, its marquee offerings are those that put A-list actors, writers, artists, musicians, and more within the teacher’s seat.

And, these aren’t just one-off “talk” style classes: Most courses have around 20 lessons, a bit like a conventional one, so you get to essentially dive deep into your topic of choice. If you would like to find out about these often-opaque professions, there’s no better way than to listen to about it straight from the folks that are successful already.

These courses are video-based, with practical advice and demonstrations mixed in with straightforward lectures, workbooks, and sophistication discussions. you'll get TV writing advice from Shonda Rhimes, learn to cook from Gordon Ramsay, take a movie class from Martin Scorsese, or explore creative leadership with Anna Wintour.

Since MasterClass may be a subscription-based platform, you'll take as many sessions as you would like within a monthly subscription. the worth is about $15 per month for unlimited access, but students must join up for one year at a time.


Coursera isn’t just an area to require classes that are like college courses—it actually offers real academic courses from real professors and universities at a fraction of the price of getting a web degree.

The platform partners with over 200 universities and corporations to produce real learning experiences that may hook up with real-world benefits. In some cases, you'll even earn certifications or degrees entirely through Coursera, which may then potentially cause professional benefits like raises, promotions, and more. whether or not you’re not searching for professional development reasons, Coursera offers challenging and interesting classes on many topics, so you'll be able to explore interests you would possibly not have had before.

The platform allows for multimedia courses, so professors can construct classes, upload videos, assign and grade quizzes and homework assignments, and other elements that might be present in an exceedingly “real” online college class.

Each course is individually priced (the cheapest start around $30 to $40 and increase from there), although there are some instances where you'll purchase a bundle of courses without delay (and sometimes at a discount) as a “track” or certification/degree program. you'll also get unlimited access to over 3,000 courses with Coursera Plus for $399 a year. It’s just about the closest you’ll get to the net college experience without enrolling in college.

5. EDX

EdX incorporates a high-end pedigree—it was founded by Harvard and MIT—but an accessible system.

Real college courses, created and taught by real college instructors, are available in an exceedingly huge array of fields and topics. they are doing lean slightly toward STEM fields, but there are lots of languages, humanities, and humanities topics, too. Partnering with several universities, EdX offers professional degree certificates, plus “micro” degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, largely as a tool for professional development.


Through a partnership with Arizona State University, they also offer a “Global Freshman Academy” to earn transferrable undergrad credits for select lessons. Classes are like “real” online courses: Lectures, written communication, assignments, discussions, and quizzes are some of the weather you will encounter.

The big point for EdX is that the bulk of their courses are free—but there’s a catch. If you’re just taking the category for your own learning experience, the free version will probably work, but if you would like to possess formal verification for professional reasons, the “verified certificate” option costs about $49 per class.

Each course does have an officer “start date,” cycling over and yet again, but once the session begins, students can proceed at their own pace.


Tech skills are among the foremost marketable classes you'll be able to tackle your own time, and Udacity has courses altogether of the foremost in-demand fields.

The platform is meant as a variation on the “coding bootcamp” kind of learning, with programs focused on web development, programming, cloud computing, and data science. Whether you’re a complete newbie trying to develop a brand new skill set, or you’re looking to expand your knowledge of a particular topic, there’s probably a course at the correct level for you.

Each program includes hands-on practice, real-world applications and examples, individual code reviews, and real instructors and career coaches who can address your individual needs.

Udacity’s platform may be a little different than a number of the others on the market. instead of specializing in individual classes, their primary offering could be a “nanodegree”—a bootcamp-esque programs which incorporates multiple lessons, projects, personalized reviews, class discussions, and one-on-one technical mentoring by experts. Most programs require one to 5 months of part-time study, reckoning on the topic.

All these features do include a tag, though: It's about $399 monthly, or roughly $597 for college kids who buy the total four months directly.


Designed with working professionals in mind, Pluralsight offers courses in subjects like software development, data science, information and cybersecurity, and more.

Students can take individual courses, but Pluralsight strongly encourages you to require one amongst its “paths.” These programs are like mini-degrees: a series of connected courses in a very specific area of experience, like individual programming languages, security certifications, creative skills specifically software, and so on. These preset paths take the guesswork out of learning—plus, you'll be able to do a fast pretest to line your skill level, which adds more customization.

The course library includes quite 7,500 individual classes across many paths, and whether or not you’re not able to tackle a full-length pack, you'll dip your toe in with individual courses that are only a pair hours long.

Regardless of how few or what number classes (or paths) you wish to pursue, the value is that the same about $29 per month for a private plan (or roughly $299 for a whole year at a small discount). There’s a premium option, too, for around $449 p.a., which incorporates all the regular features and courses, plus additional interactive courses and industry-standard practice exams for several professional certifications.