Today, many online learning platforms are offering diverse courses for career advancement. Here are 6 e-learning hubs worth checking out in 2024.
By Michael Akuchie
Technology has empowered us to break the boundaries of learning. Instead of relying on the traditional method of an instructor being present in the room, students can comfortably learn today from their homes. But that is only one advantage, students can also learn at their preferred pace. This means that students can determine the speed at which they learn, although the instructors always provide a set timeline. For instance, learners can decide to spend as little as an hour or six hours on weekly curriculums, but they always have to keep the timeframe in mind.
While traditional educational institutions like universities offer a wide range of courses, online learning platforms have more modern catalogues that equip learners with relevant skills to succeed in today’s world. It is common for online learning platforms to offer certificates in popular fields like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), entrepreneurship, and software development among others.
Starting a new online course is a fresh adventure that one must adequately prepare for. The first step is deciding on one’s preferred field of study and then exploring the platforms that offer the course. Given that there are many outlets to choose from, it can get confusing, especially for first-time online learners. To simplify the process and set learners up for success, I have compiled a list of six platforms that offer diverse courses. This list sheds light on their pricing, certificate availability, and teaching style.
Udemy is a global online learning platform where instructors can create courses and individuals can take these courses to advance their careers. As an international hub of learning, Udemy offers courses in multiple languages, catering to learners across the world. The lectures act as a building block for every course. The lectures can be presented in videos, text, slides, or a combination of the three. Also, instructors can include resources like links to informative materials, thereby helping students enhance their learning efforts. Although Udemy is not an accredited institution, many of its courses are prepared by experts in their respective fields.
Some of Udemy’s best-selling courses include Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, English Language, Cybersecurity, and Data Analysis. Udemy courses can be taken on macOS and Windows OS laptops and mobile, using Android and iOS-enabled smartphones. Users can opt for either a personal subscription plan that grants monthly or annual access to courses or simply purchase a course and gain lifetime access to it. Courses typically cost between $11.99 and $199.99, though discounts are sometimes offered.
US-based SkillShare is an e-learning platform where people can sharpen their knowledge of various skills in creative fields like UI/UX design, Creative Writing, Photography, Animation, Music, and more. Like Udemy, students get to learn from experts in their respective areas. As expected, classes are online-based and can be taken at the student’s pace. Additionally, learners get to participate in a hands-on project after the lecture is completed so they have a practical sense of what has been taught. It is worth mentioning that learners can share these projects with the rest of the classroom, so brace for feedback.
However, SkillShare does not offer free courses, though there is a 30-day free trial following each successful signup. Monthly and annual access costs $29 and $99 respectively. Companies can also take advantage of SkillShare through its Teams plan which grants access to multiple users. The Teams membership plan costs $159 per user yearly.
Designed for those looking to advance their careers through an online course, professional certificate, or degree, Coursera is another e-learning platform worth checking out in 2024. Coursera partners with many industry-leading corporations and renowned universities to offer professional certification and Bachelor’s/Master’s degrees. Users can get certification or degrees in fields, for example, certification in Project Management and Master of Business Administration.
Regarding pricing, Coursera has a broad range of plans. For instance, access to the professional certification starts from $49 and can last for up to 6 months. The Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees courses start from $3,000 and go up to $50,000 depending on the field. Learners who want to take multiple courses at once can pay $59 monthly or $299 annually to use Coursera Plus. For those who may not have the financial muscle to take up any of the above options, Coursera offers thousands of free courses with a special feature called Guided Projects. Closely related to tutorials, Guided Projects are brief training sessions designed to help learners become proficient in certain skills by making them take on a practical task. While the courses are free, learners should note that they can only acquire certificates when they upgrade to a paid plan. Coursera also offers financial aid to learners who cannot afford the certificate fee.
Alison is considered one the largest online learning platforms globally, thanks to its user base of over 30 million students across 195 countries. Alison allows users to access its wide range of courses for free, though it charges a fee for certificates. Those new to the platform can explore up to 4,000 courses across 9 categories. One can opt for certificate courses which typically require 2 to 3 hours of learning or diploma courses which can be completed between 8 and 10 hours.
Areas of study under certificate courses include media studies, public relations, and computer programming. Diploma courses cover professional subjects like workplace safety and health, food safety, nursing and patient care, and more. Alison offers the certificates in three distinct categories: digital, printed, and framed. For certificate courses, learners will be charged $22 (digital), $31 (printed), and $43 (framed) respectively. For diploma courses, the fee is $69 (digital), $112 (printed), and $134 (framed). As mentioned, certificate payment is completely optional.
Udacity caters to people looking to upskill in technology and business fields. Its courses are called Nanodegrees and have been carefully curated so learners can progress at their preferred pace. Udacity’s Nanodegrees are developed in collaboration with world-class companies like Google and are taught by industry experts. Its programmes typically run from a month to six months depending on the curriculum. Aside from gaining access to courses, Udacity learners can also explore a feature called Career Services. As the title suggests, Career Services helps learners with resume and cover letter reviews along with LinkedIn profile assessments.
Learning on Udacity is quite expensive as it operates a subscription-based model. Students have to pay $249 monthly or pay $846 upfront for four months and save 15%. Also, the courses are limited to technology and business fields like AI, project management, data analysis, and digital marketing. Those looking for courses other than the current offerings should look elsewhere.
LinkedIn Learning is the result of a merger between Lynda.com, one of the world’s oldest e-learning platforms, and LinkedIn in 2017. Today, LinkedIn offers over 21,000 courses that cut across 8 tracks (job seekers, remote work, management and leadership, stress reduction, educators, talent acquisition professionals, sales professionals, and small businesses). Courses on this platform can be taught using short videos or in-depth courses taught by expert instructors. LinkedIn Learning can be accessed by any device at any time, thereby offering learners a great deal of flexibility.
Regarding pricing, LinkedIn Learning offers a couple of payment options. Students can opt for the monthly plan which goes for $40, or the annual plan which costs $328.88 but goes for $26.99 monthly. Learners can also buy individual courses which cost between $20 and $50. Certificates are offered upon course completion. While there is no free plan, users can get a month-long free trial after supplying their card details for future billing. Before choosing this platform, learners must note that having a LinkedIn account is mandatory.
Michael Akuchie is a tech journalist with four years of experience covering cybersecurity, AI, automotive trends, and startups. He reads human-angle stories in his spare time. He’s on X (fka Twitter) as @Michael_Akuchie & michael_akuchie on Instagram.
Cover photo: Academy of Mine