The Top Ten Online Learning Platforms In 2021

  • Ezra
  • April 6th, 2021

Looking to pick up some new skills at home using an online learning platform? Here are Ezra's top ten e-learning choices to pick from in 2021, whether you're interested in boosting some professional skillsets or are just looking for a new hobby.

The Top Ten Online Learning Platforms In 2021

Online platforms have become an incredibly popular option for independent learning and personal development over the past couple of years. They allow people to study from home in their own time with the help of valuable learning resources or even online course structures that encourage them to study all aspects of a particular skill or subject.

E-learning is also a powerful way to accelerate your professional growth. By supplementing your knowledge with professional courses and instructors over the internet, you can develop brand-new skills and build on existing experience to be more efficient and productive in your career.

Accredited vs non-accredited platforms

 

One of the big considerations when it comes to picking a top online learning platform is if they are an accredited platform. To become accredited, a learning institution needs to meet a minimum standard of excellence set by an accrediting organization. This takes factors such as academic quality, integrity, learning experience, student experience, and ethics into consideration. Ezra’s own coaching app, for example, uses only fully accredited and professional career coaches, whereas signing up for a more informal or less focused platform will be less clear cut in terms of credentials.

An accredited platform will have been vetted for its high standards and student success. This offers more peace of mind to students and ensures that they will get a quality experience when enrolling on a course. However, if an institution is non-accredited, then there is no way to verify any of its claims, experience, or integrity. As such, you may be declined when applying for certifications or licenses as some governing bodies only accept applications from people who have studied with an accredited institute. In some cases this might not be a problem (if you’re after something more generalised like soft skills development, or a hobby instructor) but it is something to be aware of to make sure you get the most out of the e-learning solution you choose.

Our top ten picks for 2021

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the top online learning platforms and their pros and cons.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning Platform

Pros

  • Recognizable brand
  • Personalized course recommendations
  • Integrates well into your professional profile on LinkedIn
  • Certification options
  • Free trial available

Cons

  • Difficult to determine the quality of a course without research

Pricing

$29.99/month or $24.00/month if paid annually.

Treehouse

Treehouse Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • A diverse range of development and coding-focused courses
  • Partners with big names such as Microsoft and Google Developers
  • High-quality content created by in-house experts
  • Project-based approach for learning practical skills

Cons

  • No lifetime access to courses
  • Primarily video-focused

Pricing

Plans range from $25 to $199 per month.

Skillshare

Skillshare Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Great community support with a discussion forum
  • Inexpensive and gives you access to many courses
  • Reliable course quality

Cons

  • No formal recognition after completing a course
  • Limited support options via email

Pricing

$15 per month to access all courses.

edX and Open edX

edX Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Robust mobile app available
  • Online interactive classes
  • Courses are university-level in terms of quality and content

Cons

  • The system is somewhat outdated and lacking in features

Pricing

No cost for regular courses. Between $50 and $300 for professional courses.

Udemy

 

Udemy Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Self-paced learning focus
  • Mobile app for remote learning
  • Courses for almost every subject

Cons

  • Limited student-instructor interaction
  • The quality of courses can be inconsistent

Pricing

Courses priced between $20 and $200.

MasterClass

MasterClass Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Unlimited courses for a single annual fee
  • Excellent course quality
  • Massive variety of different courses
  • Celebrity appearances
  • Suitable for all student levels

Cons

  • No professional certification
  • Course quality can vary

Pricing

$180 annual subscription cost.

Coursera

Coursera Platform

Pros

  • Millions of users across the world
  • Many different learning activities available
  • Awards certifications and degrees
  • High-quality educational tools
  • Interaction with instructors

Cons

  • Not as much course variety as other platforms

Pricing

Between $39 to $79 per month.

Pluralsight

PluralSight Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Mini-degree approach is an innovative take on online courses
  • Over 7,500 individual classes across hundreds of paths
  • Access to the entire library of classes
  • Specialized focus means quality courses in every subject

Cons

  • Generally focused on technology-related subjects such as software development and cybersecurity

Pricing

$29 per month or $299 for the whole year. $449 per year for a premium option with interactive courses and industry-standard practice exams.

Alison

Alison Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Ad-supported platform means it’s free to use
  • Offers a comprehensive range of classes on many different subjects
  • Great for all learning levels
  • Courses can be sorted by type, category, or even job
  • Millions of learners and thousands of courses

Cons

  • Not optimized for mobile devices
  • Advertisements can get annoying unless you pay for a premium subscription

Pricing

The ad-free premium subscription is $7.99 per month.

Udacity

Udacity Online Learning Platform

Pros

  • Excellent course quality
  • Collaborations with industry leaders such as Google, Amazon, and Nvidia
  • Extremely easy to use and follow
  • Hundreds of free courses to get started
  • Certifications available

Cons

  • Institute is not accredited due to their status as a private online educator
  • Limited topics in computer science and business
  • Some programs are quite expensive

Pricing

$399 per month to access nanodegrees. $339 per month if the full course is prepaid.

Choosing the best online learning platform for your needs

There are many different online learning platforms to pick from. They each offer a variety of unique courses and some of them will feel more academic or professional than others. It’s important to pick a course based on the type of knowledge that you’d like to learn, and also to choose an accredited institution if you plan to seek certification or a license after completing the course.

We suggest taking a look at each individual platform and looking for the courses that you’re interested in. Reviews are also helpful as one platform may be stronger in certain subjects or courses than another. When it comes to courses from individual instructors (such as on platforms like Skillshare and MasterClass) the quality of your learning experience will change drastically depending on who is teaching you. As such, it can be difficult to directly compare these types of platforms due to the variation in course quality.

We firmly believe that these are the top online learning platforms to choose from. Once you’ve decided on a budget and a direction for your online learning, you’ll find that it’s a fantastic way to help your professional growth, opening you up to new career possibilities.

Related Articles