10 Best Online Learning Platforms 2023 [Review]

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Review of the top 10 Best Online Learning Platforms

We bring to you a review of the best online learning platforms for 2023!

The best online learning platform is Coursera, which offers a wide range of study areas.

As we navigate the digital age, the realm of education is continually expanding, blending seamlessly with technology to create innovative and accessible learning opportunities.

The rise of e-learning platforms marks a significant shift in how we acquire knowledge, offering a vast range of courses at our fingertips, irrespective of our geographic location. These platforms serve as versatile portals, providing an array of courses from academic subjects to professional skills and creative hobbies.

They offer flexible, self-paced learning formats that cater to various learning styles and individual schedules, bringing the best of global education to our computer screens. The focus of our exploration today revolves around the keyword, “best online learning platforms,” highlighting the unique features, benefits, and potential drawbacks of each one.

Top 10 Best Online Learning Platforms for 2023

  • Overall Best: Coursera
  • Best for Niche Topics: Udemy
  • Best for Creative Fields: Skillshare
  • Best for Celebrity Lessons: MasterClass
  • Best for STEM: EdX
  • Best for Career Building: Udacity
  • Best for Data Learning: Pluralsight

1. Coursera – Best Overall

Best online learning platform - Coursera

Coursera is a comprehensive e-learning platform that collaborates with universities and organizations worldwide to offer a wide range of courses, specializations, and degrees. It takes the first spot on our list of the best online learning platforms.

  • Courses: 5,800+
  • Price: Guided projects start at $10 per course, professional certificate courses start at $39 a month, and higher university-issued certificates begin at $2,000 per course
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Accredited Institution: Coursera is not accredited, but partners with accredited institutions

Coursera Overview

In order to offer authentic learning opportunities that have a connection to practical advantages, of all the popular online educational platforms, the Coursera platform collaborates with over 300 colleges and businesses. Some certificates or degrees can even be earned fully through Coursera, with the potential to result in professional advantages like pay increases, job promotions, and more.

Coursera provides difficult and fascinating programs on a wide range of subjects, so you can pursue whatever interests you may haveā€”even if you’re not searching for professional advancement.

Professors can create classes, post videos, administer quizzes and homework, and incorporate other features that would be found in a “real” online college class thanks to the platform’s support for multimedia courses.

Pros:

  • Broad course selection including academic and professional courses
  • Courses from top universities and institutions
  • Self-paced learning

Cons:

  • Not all courses are free
  • Certificate of completion often comes at a cost

Related: Top 10 Online Schools In South Africa

2. Udemy – Best for Niche Topics

Best Online learning platforms - UDEMY for niche topics

Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching, offering over 130,000 courses in various fields from business to music and more. Udemy takes the second spot on our list of the top 10 best online learning platforms.

  • Courses: 210,000+
  • Price: $15 to $200 or more per course
  • Certificate: For some courses
  • Accredited Institution: No

Udemy Overview

On Udemy, you can probably learn whatever it is that you want to learn. The website is less of a centralized platform and more of a gateway or repository where students can access more than 213,000 courses on any subject they can think of.

The website allows instructors to create multimedia lectures including audio, video, and text elements, as well as readings, quizzes, and other activities. As a result, there is no set framework for an Udemy course. Students can preview lessons on Udemy if they’re interested, and if they’re not satisfied, they can get a 30-day refund.

Each course is designed and taught uniquely, and is therefore charged separately: A single course’s lifetime access might cost as little as $15 or as much as $200.

Pros:

  • Massive variety of courses
  • Lifetime access to purchased courses
  • Regularly discounted prices

Cons:

  • Course quality varies as anyone can be an instructor
  • No formal accreditation for most courses

Related: Top 15 Best Colleges That Pay You to Attend Online

3. SkillShare – Best for Creative Fields

Best Online learning platforms - SkillShare for creative fields

Skillshare is one of the best online learning platforms for students, as it specializes in creative courses including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more.

  • Courses: 35,000+
  • Price: $14 per month ($159 per year)
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Accredited Institution: No

SkillShare Overview

The majority of the lessons offered on the Skillshare platform, though, are in the creative industries, and they are taught by professionals in those professions, including those in writing, photography, cinema, animation, the visual arts, and interior design. The platform also offers courses in business and marketing. Teaching useful skills that students may utilize to produce their own projects is the main objective. The majority of courses consist of a number of video lessons along with homework that allows students to put their newfound knowledge into practice.

Because Skillshare uses a subscription model rather than a per-course pricing structure, students who sign up can enroll in as many or as few courses as they like while they are subscribers. At this time, the cost is $159 per year, or roughly $14 per month.

Pros:

  • Ideal for creative learners
  • Project-based classes to apply what you’ve learned
  • Many classes have high production value

Cons:

  • Limited academic or professional development courses
  • Most valuable content is behind a paywall

Related:

4. MasterClass – Best for Celebrity Lessons

Best e-learning platforms - mASTERCLASS FOR CELEBRITY LESSONS

MasterClass is our next pick when it comes to the best online learning platforms. It offers courses taught by industry leaders and celebrities in their respective fields.

  • Courses: 180+ 
  • Price: $15 to $23 per month 
  • Certificate: No
  • Accredited Institution: No

MasterClass Overview

You can attend as many sessions as you’d like while your subscription is ongoing because MasterClass is a subscription-based platform. Although you must sign up for a full year, the cost for unrestricted access is roughly $15 per month.

Pros:

  • Access to courses from industry leaders and celebrities
  • High-quality production values

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other platforms
  • No formal accreditation

5. EdX – Best for STEM

EDX Best e-learning websites for STEM

EdX is a non-profit e-learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT, offering university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines.

  • Available Courses: 3,500+
  • Price: Begins at $50 to receive a verified official certificate 
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Accredited Institution: Yes

EDX Overview

Given that Harvard and MIT founded it, EdX has a prestigious history yet a user-friendly platform.

There are numerous sectors and themes where real college courses are offered, developed by real college professors.

The majority of EdX’s courses are offered for free, which is a key selling factor, but there is a catch. The free version should work if you’re merely taking the course for personal growth. However, the “verified certificate” alternative costs roughly $49 per class if you require official documentation for business purposes.

Pros:

  • High-quality academic courses
  • Courses from top institutions worldwide
  • Some courses offer certificates

Cons:

  • Limited vocational or hobby courses
  • Some may find the pace challenging

6. Udacity – Best For Career Building

UDACITY learning platform for career building

Udacity is best known for its “Nanodegree” programs in tech-related fields like data science, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. So, when you think of the best online learning programs for technology, think Udacity.

  • Courses: 200+
  • Price: Starts at $399 a month
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Accredited Institution: No

Udacity Overview

One of the most marketable courses you can take online is IT skills, and Udacity offers courses in all the most in-demand industries.

With courses concentrating on web development, programming, cloud computing, and data science, the platform is an adaptation of the “coding bootcamp” learning method. There is certainly a course at the proper level for you, whether you’re an absolute beginner seeking to learn a new skill set or you’re looking to increase your knowledge of a particular subject.

However, there is a cost associated with each of these features: If students purchase three months of access, it costs around $399 per month, or $1017 total.

Pros:

  • Specializes in tech-related fields
  • Collaborations with tech giants like Google and IBM

Cons:

  • Nanodegrees can be expensive
  • Limited non-tech related courses

7. Pluralsight – Best for Data Learning

Best online learning platforms - PluralSite

Pluralsight focuses on technology and software development courses, including programming, design, and cybersecurity. It ranks among the best online learning platforms for data learning courses.

  • Courses: 7,000+
  • Price: $229 to $500 per year
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Accredited Institution: No

Pluralsight Overview

Pluralsight offers courses in topics including software development, data science, information and cybersecurity, among others. It was created with working professionals in mind.

Although individual courses are available, Pluralsight strongly advises that you choose one of its “paths.” These courses are structured like mini-degrees and cover a variety of topics, including different programming languages, security certifications, creative software talents, etc. These pre-determined learning tracks eliminate the element of guesswork, and you may even add further customisation by taking a simple pretest to determine your skill level.

Pros:

  • Deep library of courses in tech and creative fields
  • Skill assessments and learning paths

Cons:

  • Narrower focus on tech and creative fields
  • Subscription-based

8. Kajabi

Kajabi is not just a learning platform, but an all-in-one business platform where you can create, market, and sell your online courses.

Pros:

  • Robust tools for creating and selling online courses
  • Strong community and support network

Cons:

  • More complex to navigate for beginners
  • More expensive than other platforms

9. LearnUpon

LearnUpon is one of the top online learning platforms as it is designed for organizations to create courses and track employee performance.

LearnUpon Overview

Pros:

  • Powerful for corporate learning
  • Tracks learner progress and performance

Cons:

  • Not suited for individual learners
  • Some may find the interface less intuitive

10. Moodle

Moodle takes our last spot on the list of the best online learning platforms. It is a free and open-source learning management system designed to provide educators, administrators, and learners with a robust, secure, and integrated system to create personalized learning environments.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable and flexible
  • Large user community

Cons:

  • Can be difficult for beginners to set up
  • The user interface may seem less modern compared to other platforms

Compare the Best Online Learning Platforms

CompanyCoursesPriceCertificateAccredited
Coursera: Best Overall3,000+Guided projects start at $10 per course, professional certificate courses start at $39 a month, and university-issued certificates begin at $2,000 per courseYesYes
Udemy: Best for Niche Topics210,000+ $15 to $200 or more per course For some coursesNo
Skillshare: Best for Creative Fields35,000+$14 per month ($159 per year) No No
MasterClass: Best for Celebrity Lessons180+ $10 to $20 per monthNo No
EdX: Best for STEM4,100+Begins at $50 to receive a verified official certificateYesYes
Udacity: Best for Career Building200+Starts at $399 a monthYesNo
Pluralsight: Best for Data Learning7,000+$299 to $500 per year Yes No 

Also Read: Top 15 Degrees That Guarantee a Job

How to Choose the Best Online Learning Platform – What to Look For

Selecting the right online learning platform can significantly enhance your learning experience and overall satisfaction. So, how do you choose the best online learning platforms? Here are key factors to consider when making your choice:

1. Course Selection: Look at the range of courses offered by the platform. Some platforms specialize in specific areas, such as technology or creative skills, while others provide a broad range of topics. Ensure the platform caters to your area of interest or field of study.

2. Accreditation: If you’re looking for courses that will contribute towards a professional or academic qualification, check if the courses are accredited by a recognized institution or professional body.

3. Quality of Content: Consider the reputation of the course creators and the platform itself. Look at user reviews and ratings to get an idea of the course quality.

4. Course Format: Different platforms use different teaching formats, such as video lectures, interactive tasks, quizzes, and forums. Choose a platform that uses a format that suits your learning style.

5. Flexibility: Look for platforms that offer self-paced learning, especially if you’re balancing studies with other responsibilities.

6. Cost: Online platforms can vary greatly in cost. Some offer courses for free, some charge per course, while others operate on a subscription basis. Understand the cost structure and ensure it fits your budget.

7. Support: Good platforms provide support to their students, such as discussion forums, access to instructors, or resources for further learning.

8. Certificates: If you want to show evidence of learning, check whether the platform provides certificates upon course completion.

9. User Experience: A platform should be easy to navigate and provide a good learning environment. Free trials can help you get a sense of the user experience before committing.

10. Skills Assessment: Some platforms offer skills assessments to help you understand your current level and suggest appropriate courses.

Remember, the “best” platform depends on your unique learning needs, goals, and preferences. What works for one person may not work for another, so take the time to research and choose the right platform for you.

best educational online learning platforms

Frequently Asked Questions About E-Learning Platforms

The following are the commonly asked questions about the best online learning platforms.

What is the best online learning platform?

The “best” online learning platform can vary depending on individual learning needs, goals, and interests. Platforms like Coursera and EdX are great for academic courses, Udemy and Skillshare are known for a wide variety of topics, and platforms like Udacity and Pluralsight specialize in tech-related fields.

Are online learning platforms free?

Many online learning platforms offer some free courses, but often, the majority of their offerings are paid. It’s also common for platforms to provide access to course materials for free, but charge a fee for certification. Platforms like Coursera and EdX have “audit” options for free learning, but for a certificate, you need to pay.

Do employers recognize online course certificates?

More and more employers are recognizing online course certificates, especially as online learning becomes more prevalent. However, the recognition can vary depending on the employer, the field of work, and the reputation of the online learning platform.

How long does it take to complete an online course?

The duration of an online course varies greatly depending on the course material and your pace of learning. Some courses can be completed in a few hours, while others might take weeks or even months. Most platforms provide an estimated course completion time.

Can I interact with instructors on online learning platforms?

It depends on the platform and the specific course. Some platforms offer direct interaction with instructors through Q&A sections, forums, or live webinars. Others are more self-guided, with pre-recorded videos and automated quizzes.

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Best Online Learning Platforms (Our Take)

E-learning platforms have revolutionized the way we perceive education and skill acquisition, transforming learning into a flexible, accessible, and often enjoyable experience.

Coursera has taken our first spot on the list of the best online learning platforms. The best online learning platform is Coursera, as it offers a wide range of study areas.

Despite their unique pros and cons, each platform plays a vital role in democratizing education, making learning a truly lifelong journey. Choose the one that aligns best with your learning needs and career goals to tap into the wealth of knowledge they offer.

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