E-learning is soon to lose its E. In 2020 learning online is likely to be more common that attending a class in a brick-and-mortar school. And that’s good news! It means that more people will get access to more information, and education will become even more affordable and widespread. If you are going to be one of the millions of people who will delve for knowledge on the internet, here are the platforms to start from.
Udemy is one of the best-recognized learning platforms that unites students, teachers, and businesses. With an ever-growing base of available courses that have already hit over 65,000 and more than 15 million students, it’s understandable.
The reason for such popularity is that Udemy’s plans are very diverse. It offers small cute courses to individual students, like learning to play the piano or basics of Python, that from time to time go on sale or even can be available free. On the other hand, they also have robust (and not so cheap) plans for businesses that allow training employees en masse and tracking their individual engagement while adjusting the programs to accommodate various individual needs.
2. My Admissions Essay
This site provides support for high-school and college students that don’t feel confident about their writing skills. The primary focus is essay writing help, including but not limited to personal statements required for college admission. However, tests and math problems are also on the list of issues that My Admissions Essay can help you to tackle.
Writers providing exemplary answers on the platform all have the academic background and are proficient in their respective fields, so if you struggle with a particular format of essay or don’t even know what your instructor expects from you, you can rely on writer’s expertise.
This platform with a tell-tale name is all about sharing skills through interactions rather than lecturing – just as you would teach a child or a friend. The only difference is that it’s done via video tutorials and not face-to-face. Skillshare is a subscription-based community with free and premium plans and a special program for teams.
The courses aren’t accredited, so you cannot receive a nice and shiny certificate at the end of the program, yet that’s not the point of Skillshare. With its artistic leaning, it was never meant to provide formal education. However, if you just need to know how to bake chocolate chip cookies or how to draw pencil portraits, it’s skills that you’re after, not certificates, anyway.
Moreover, if you have a unique skill – for example, you know a magnificent pattern for a crochet tea-cozy, you can register as a teacher and easily share it with a wide and appreciative audience.
Instructables isn’t theoretical. This website is for doers. It doesn’t explain why – it just gives you a step-by-step tutorial on how. Instructables is a free community and you need to register only if you wish to add tutorials. If you need to learn something – anything! – instructions on how to make everything with your own hands are available to you on demand. Workshops, arts, circuitry, recipes, and handicrafts to do in class for teachers – everything from storage bed to circuit board Christmas tree.
Although it lacks the course structure of a traditional learning platform, Instructables can be used to learn. Just go to the “Teachers” section and take your pick among the projects in Math, Science, Electronics, Coding, or Robotics. For beginners, it has great value, plus it’s absolutely free.
Coursera is the most reputable of all platforms, probably because it works with universities and offers accredited online courses, specializations, and even degrees in a variety of subjects. If you want a certificate of completion, you will have to pay for the course.
Otherwise, the knowledge is free and its scope includes school and college-level subjects. The format of online courses also strives to emulate that of a college course with webinars, video-recorded lectures, peer-reviewed assignments, weekly readings, and community discussion forums. Coursera is a great choice if you need structure, guidance, and peers because it provides all of it.
Treehouse is another platform devoted to the democratization of learning and accessibility of education. Although it is paid, it does have a 7-day free trial and quite a spectrum of subscription plans to choose from ($25 to $199). Unlike many other platforms on this list, Treehouse has a narrow focus – coding and development. That is why 300+ courses and 278 workshops in 23 topics should not look like a humble offering.
Moreover, Treehouse’s partners include some big names, like Microsoft, IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, and Google Developers. Keeping in mind that Treehouse’s most pricy plan targets absolute beginners who want to learn coding and get a job in development, those partnerships look very promising.
Since we are talking about coding and narrow focus, Codecademy is a learning platform that one cannot ignore. It targets everyone who wants to learn programming and work in IT, regardless of their previous level of expertise. Beginners are welcome. The courses are comprehensively grouped by subject matter: either coding language or the learner’s purpose, such as game development, web development, data science, computer science, etc. Codecadamy creators say that they’ve taught 45 million students who now work at Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and other leading companies of the IT industry.
Basic courses are available free, yet if you want real-time projects and feedback, Pro subscription is only $15 a month. There is also a special plan for teams.
8. LinkedIn Learning
This platform, formerly known as Lynda, has a rich history in e-learning. Over 15,000 of available courses make up three main categories: Business, Technology, and Creative. The service is paid with a month of a free trial available.
Its focus has always been on working professionals who want to keep up with the demands of the market and regularly update their skills. To accommodate them, LinkedIn Learning has several specific features, such as a possibility to add a finished course to your LinkedIn profile or a bite size of videos that a full-time employed person can watch on the go. Trending courses include some very on-topic and applicable things like Data Analytics and Advanced Excel Functions and Formulas.
This platform monetizes on some of Udemy’s limitations and offers more control to instructors, for example, they can decide their course pricing. The platform is quite popular and boasts 3 million students, 7,500 instructors, and 20,000 courses, despite its poor navigation. Unless you were given a direct link to a specific course (say from the instructor’s social media account), it’s quite a challenge to find what you need.
The course categories include Tech and Programming, Business and Marketing, and Health and Fitness, however, the overall scope is much more diverse – you can find everything from house de-cluttering to novel writing. The prices also vary widely. Some pricier courses sometimes can be snatched way cheaper on deals, so if you are a student – look out for those.
10. Khan Academy
Of course, no list is complete without Khan Academy – a non-profit organization dedicated to making education accessible for everyone. Courses are created by expert educators with years of practice and available free after the registration. The primary focus is K12 and college prep with a topical breakdown into Science & Engineering, Computing, Arts & Humanities, Economics & Finance, and Test prep.
You can join as a student, a teacher, a parent, or as a giver who can pledge a small sum to support the noble goal of spreading free knowledge to kids who cannot afford formal schooling.