Best Online Learning Site: Udemy vs Coursera vs Skillshare vs Udacity vs PluralSight vs LinkedIn Learning

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Best For…
Coding & Programming
Treehouse logo
Business Skills
LinkedIn Learning logo
Learning & Teaching
Udemy logo
Web Development
SitePoint logo

Learn a new skill from an experienced professional anytime, anywhere. From accounting to coding, online courses offer unmatched flexibility and allow you to learn at your own pace.

The best online learning tools can keep your business productive and ahead of the competition by helping to train your staff affordably and easily.

Article Overview

Learn When I Want (For Less)

The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2019–2020 school year was $41,426 at private colleges, $11,260 for in-state residents at public colleges and $27,120 for out-of-state students at state schools.1 Yikes! Online learning sites are not only more affordable, but they’re also convenient because they allow you to learn whenever you have the time.

Instead of having a set schedule (like a typical class), you can take part in a class when it’s convenient for you, whether that’s after you put the kids to sleep, before work or on the weekend. You can study and learn on your own time. This is a luxury that many of us would love to have when it comes to advancing our education.

Best Online Learning Sites

Below are our top picks, depending on what you want to learn. We chose our winners based on companies’ subject specialties, pricing and more.

Best For The Coder Or Programmer: Treehouse Review

Treehouse logoVisit Website

This company is highly focused on tech/computer-centric subjects (HTML, CSS, app building and more), and can help you master skills that will translate into a new career in high-tech. If you’re looking for more general subjects, this is not the right site for you.

Treehouse adds new videos almost weekly to stay up to date. If you opt to learn coding and programming skills through Treehouse, you will be able to create and edit your own websites and apps.

Treehouse has more than 163,000 students, and you can take courses on how to create apps, write code and even how to start a business. There are no contracts. So, after you use up your 7-day free trial, you can still sign up for a month and decide if you like Treehouse.

Treehouse also has a unique apprenticeship program for companies looking for high-potential talent. They recruit, train and support individuals from local communities that have been boxed out of tech. Once these students complete Treehouse’s Tech Degree program, they do a 3-month apprenticeship at the company and then become a permanent employee.

Learn more about Treehouse in our interview with Marketer Micah Cooksey.

Pros

Cons

  • More than 300 courses
  • Hands-on practice with Code Challenge Engine
  • Members-only forums (not included with Basic)
  • Goal setting and achievement feature
  • Available on Android, iPhone, iPad and computers
  • No contracts
  • Only technical computer-centric courses available like design and development for the web
  • No discounts for long-term commitment/membership in exchange for no contracts

Here’s a look at the Treehouse interface:

Treehouse screenshot

Price

The Basic package includes on-demand, expert-led video courses, interactive practice sessions and access to their online community of fellow students. The Pro package includes everything in Basic plus offline viewing, access to beta features and unlimited access. Techdegree includes everything in Pro plus curated curriculum and projects, personalized feedback on your code, flexible scheduling and real-time support. Treehouse offers a 7-day free trial via this link.

  • Basic – $25/month
  • Pro – $49/month
  • Techdegree – $199/month
  • Teams – must contact for customized pricing

Coupon Code

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Treehouse.

Read Our In-Depth Team Treehouse Review

Best Business Skills: LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda) Review

LinkedIn Learning logoVisit Website

Lynda was founded in 1995, acquired by LinkedIn in 2015 and then rebranded as LinkedIn Learning in 2018. With access to more than 6,300 courses, you can learn software, business essentials, web development, creative skills and much more.

The video tutorials are simple to follow, and the number of tutorials is growing weekly. LinkedIn Learning’s strengths include creative projects like software programs for photography, illustrations, videos and documents. Where they fall short is the lack of cooking courses, which have become more and more popular with today’s population wanting to save money by cooking at home.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy-to-follow video tutorials
  • Offline viewing for Premium members
  • App on Windows, Android and iOS devices as well as Apple TV
  • Video streaming can be slow at times
  • Expert teachers, but not always engaging/entertaining videos

Here is an overview of Lynda From LinkedIn interface:

LinkedIn Learning Screenshot

Price

You can try a LinkedIn Learning membership out with a 30-day free trial.

  • $29.99/month (or $19.99/month for annual subscription)
    • 15,000+ expert-led courses to learn from
    • Learn on the go via mobile and computer
    • Assess progress with quizzes
    • Earn certificate at completion
    • Project files to practice
    • Offline viewing

Coupon Code

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from LinkedIn Learning.

Read Our In-Depth LinkedIn Learning Review

Best For Learning It All And Teaching: Udemy Review

Udemy logoVisit Website

If you’re looking for a site that offers a large variety of courses and also lets you share your knowledge with others, Udemy is your best bet. Udemy has it all, from photography to cooking to programming and everything in between.

You’ll be able to expand your skills of all types and levels with the help of Udemy, currently the world’s largest destination for online learning. The best way to explain Udemy is that it’s a combination of LinkedIn Learning and Treehouse.

Udemy offers tons of creative courses, while also covering the more technical career-building courses like web coding, programming, finance and graphic design. You can also learn on the go on your device to watch courses anytime, any place. For those of you who are experts, you can make a little extra money by applying to teach a class too.

Our Personal Experience

I’ve learned a lot from Udemy courses. There probably isn’t a topic you want to learn about that someone hasn’t covered there. I like that I can purchase a class and have lifetime access to it without another monthly fee. The key to using Udemy successfully is to shop for the right course. Watch the free videos from a few classes to find on that you will resonate best with. Consider the reviews with a grain of salt, but be sure to read them. – Dane M., Web Developer

Pros

Cons

  • Some free courses
  • Reviews available for each course, so you can make a more informed decision on a course before you spend the cash
  • Good customer service reputation
  • More than 100,000 courses in more than 80 languages
  • You can create your own course if you qualify and earn money if your course sells
  • Groups get a discount, so might work well for a corporate training option
  • Available on Android, iOS and computers
  • Large database of classes can be overwhelming
  • Individual classes can add up and be expensive
  • No subscription option or discounts for loyalty (if you take one course, you get no benefit for taking the next one from Udemy again)
  • If you decide to create a course, the minimum length is 30 minutes (which may be too long for some topics) and deleting lectures can be difficult

Here is a look at Udemy’s interface:

Udemy screenshot

Price

Udemy has you pay by the course anywhere from $11.99 to $200, but a majority of courses fall between $18.99 and $29.99. There are no subscription plans, contracts or monthly fees for individuals.

Instructors receive a percentage of the profit made by their course. If you decide to create a course and it gets approved, you will get a portion of the profits.

For a group membership:

  • Team Plan (5-20 users): $360/user per year
  • Enterprise Plan (21+ users): price varies by number of users

Coupon Code

Your first course with Udemy is $24 and no promocode is needed. Use this link to take advantage of this offer.

How Does Udemy Work?

Want to teach a course or maybe learn something? Check out how you can through Udemy.

Read Our In-Depth Udemy Review

Best For Web Development: SitePoint Review

SitePoint logoVisit Website

SitePoint Premium, previously known as Learnable, has numerous videos on web development (ranging from HTML to CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python and more). Your skill level will improve quickly if you stick with it.

SitePoint offers courses for various skill levels to help you jump in at the level you’re comfortable with and enhance your knowledge of your chosen subject. SitePoint offers 122 courses ranging from 30 minutes to 9 hours. You can also download e-books and keep them forever — even after your subscription is over.

There are 400+ ebooks and 5,000 Premium Screencasts, which are single video lesson courses. While taking a course, you can ask questions on the discussion thread, and the instructor should respond within 24 hours.

Our Personal Experience

Sitepoint is my first line of education for website development and design. I’ve been a member for several years and I use it consistently month in and month out. They constantly add new timely and topical courses and ebooks. The ebooks are from top names in the industry and the courses are direct and actionable. – Dane M., Web Developer

Pros

Cons

  • Free podcast and forums
  • Established learning company for IT, web development and design professionals
  • 122 courses with 30 minutes to 9 hours each
  • 400+ e-books to download and keep forever
  • Each course has a discussion board where classmates and instructors interact with you if you have questions
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Talk with Experts is a chat series — not a webinar — so it’s not as user-friendly as one might expect
  • Lack of content outside of the web and IT world
  • No mobile app

Here is a screenshot of SitePoint:

SitePoint screenshot

Price

We couldn’t find a page dedicated to SitePoint’s pricing. The best we could find was the Premium $9 monthly membership (or $72 per year). It includes unlimited downloads for books, courses and learning paths.

Coupon Code

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Sitepoint.

More Online Learning Site Reviews

Coursera | CreativeLive | Edureka | edXMasterClass | O’Reilly | Pluralsight | SkillshareUdacity

Coursera Review

Coursera logo

Visit Website

Coursera is the largest MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) site. It has many college-level online courses from reputable universities like Stanford, John Hopkins and Duke. In each course you take, you can network with other like-minded professionals. You can also proceed through the course at your own pace and develop in your area of interest. Course subjects include:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business
  • Sciences
  • Math
  • IT
  • Health
  • Languages
  • And more

After you complete a course, you receive a certificate of official recognition of your work.

Pros

Cons

  • More than 2,000 courses
  • Millions of learners
  • Available on Android and iPhone
  • Financial assistance available for some courses
  • Pricing not listed

Here is a screenshot of Coursera:

Coursera screen

Price

CreativeLive Review

CreativeLive logo

Visit Website

CreativeLive specializes in providing classes for entrepreneurs. With more than 1,500 classes, more than 10 million students are learning how to run their businesses efficiently.

Class subjects include:

  • Photo and video
  • Art and design
  • Music and audio
  • Craft and maker
  • Money and life

If you want to learn more about a creative product or obtain a new skill, CreativeLive is a good option to consider.

Pros

Cons

  • Access to live, free videos
  • Option to watch the lecture live or a recorded version
  • More than 1,500 classes
  • Photography is a common topic that users rave about
  • iOS app
  • No contracts
  • Reviews say some courses can be hit or miss
  • No refunds
  • No Android app

Here’s a look at CreativeLive’s interface:

CreativeLive screenshot

Price

CreativeLive is structured so that you pay for each course you take individually. Courses range in price from $5 to $300. You can also pay $39/month or $149/year for access to 1,500+ courses. View all courses.

Edureka Review

Edureka logo

Visit Website

If you want to boost your skills in trending technology, you’ll want to check out what Edureka has to offer. Edureka helps make sure you’re understanding the material by offering quizzes and assignments. Each course also has a star rating to help you see how other learners liked the class.

Top course categories include:

  • Big data
  • Cloud computing
  • BI and visualization
  • Software testing
  • DevOps
  • Programming & frameworks

Edureka has a lot of positive user reviews for its engaging courses and expert instructors. They also offer a corporate training program, with an impressive list of clients, including Cisco, Visa, Mercedes Benz, United Healthcare and other top companies.

Pros

Cons

  • Teaching assistants are available to help you 24/7
  • More than 250,000 hours of courses
  • Discussion forum to talk with other learners
  • Mobile app for Android and iOS
  • No contracts
  • 3-day money back guarantee
  • Many classes are live so you can’t work at your own pace
  • Some complaints about poor customer service support

Here is a look at Edureka’s interface:

Edureka screenshot

Price

Edureka charges by the course. Courses average $300 to $400. You have to contact them for their corporate training program’s pricing. View all courses.

Coupon Code

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Edureka.

edX Review

edX logo

Visit Website

edX is the second-largest MOOC. It has courses from professors from Harvard, Berkeley and more. edX specializes in the sciences but offers other course subjects as well. You can earn an online degree in your area of interest in subjects like:

  • Architecture
  • Business & Management
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Ethics
  • Music
  • Philanthropy
  • And more

After you complete a course, you receive a certificate of official recognition of your work.

Pros

Cons

  • Some courses are free
  • More than 2,500 courses
  • Specializes in the sciences
  • App for Android and iPhone
  • Receiving certificates can take a long time
  • Online community isn’t as good as Coursera’s

Here is a screenshot of edX’s interface:

edX screenshot

Price

  • Prices vary for each course but start at $50 if you want a certificate. View all options

MasterClass Review

MasterClass logo

Visit Website

When you sign up for MasterClass, you’ll be learning from the best. Serena Williams teaches you tennis, Stephen Curry teaches you basketball, Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking, Judy Blume teaches writing, Helen Mirren teaches acting, etc. These are true masters in their craft.

We’re a bit blown away by MasterClass because, for only $180 per year, you have access to all the classes offered. That means you have access to big-name professionals in their area of specialty. In our opinion, this is an extremely low price for access to all courses.

MasterClass is geared more towards creative skills, but many courses fall outside of that category. If you want to learn from an expert, MasterClass is a good place to start.

Pros

Cons

  • Very professional-looking videos
  • You get a downloadable PDF workbook with each class to supplement the videos
  • Access to student groups to discuss lessons
  • No contracts
  • 30-day refunds
  • Office hours where class instructors answer questions vary by course
  • No Android app (only iOS)

Review the MasterClass’s interface:

MasterClass screenshot

Price

O’Reilly Review

O'Reilly logo

Visit Website

O’Reilly (formerly Safari Books Online) is a technology and business learning platform. With more than 40,000 books and videos, you can learn anything from IT to photography and art.

O’Reilly has one of the largest coding libraries and course offerings, but this is largely due to some recent acquisitions, which is partly why it’s not our pick for best for coding and programming.

Ultimately, O’Reilly has a lot of resources for you to learn from, but we’ve read better customer reviews of other online learning platforms.

Pros

Cons

  • More than 40,000 books and videos
  • Online and offline access
  • iOS and Android app
  • No contracts
  • Full refund if you’re not satisfied
  • Reports of poor customer service
  • Lacks forums and other help resources

Here’s a look at O’Reilly’s interface:

O'Reilly screenshot

Price

O’Reilly has a 10-day free trial.

  • Individual Premium – $49/month or $499/year
  • Teams – $499/year/user
  • Enterprise – must contact for pricing

Pluralsight Review

Pluralsight logoVisit Website

Newer to the online learning market, Pluralsight is similar to Udemy in that they have a wide-range of topics to choose from. You can study anything from coding and web development to creative disciplines like graphic design.

Pluralsight also offers classes in architecture, IT, cybersecurity and manufacturing. Pick a path in a certain skill and measure your progress to see where you have the opportunity to grow. They also offer mentoring programs and a mobile and desktop app for learning on your phone or Apple TV.

Pros

Cons

  • 5,000+ courses
  • Skill measurement, exercises, learning checks
  • Mobile app available for learning on the go
  • Offline learning on mobile apps
  • Group discount for 2 or more
  • Mobile, desktop and Apple TV app
  • Reports of tutorials having problems loading or content is out of date
  • Not the best customer service

Here’s a look at Pluralsight’s interface:

Pluralsight screenshot

Price

Personal

  • $29/month or $299/year
  • $449/year for Premium which includes:
    • certification practice exams
    • interactive courses
    • projects

Team Professional

  • $579/user/year
  • Basic reporting and user analytics for teams.

Team Enterprise

  • $779/user/year
  • Flexibility and advanced analytics for the enterprise.

They also offer a 10-day free trial for Personal and Team Professional.

Skillshare Review

Skillshare logo

Visit Website

Skillshare has over 22,000 classes with more than 3 million members. Their pricing is one of the most affordable options out there for high-quality online courses taught by experts.

The goal is for students to “learn from doing.” What this means is that students will complete a project and share it with the class’s project gallery, similar to a class presentation. Students can communicate with one another and can get feedback from instructors.

Course topics include:

  • Design
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Photography
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Film
  • Writing

Pros

Cons

  • Free membership available with access to some classes
  • Over 22,000 classes
  • Offline access for Premium accounts
  • iOS and Android app
  • No contracts
  • You can teach on Skillshare and earn money
  • Some people feel the instructors are not well versed in what they’re teaching
  • No refunds

Here’s a look at Skillshare’s interface:

Skillshare screenshot

Price

Skillshare has a 14-day free trial.

  • Individual Premium – $19/month or $99/year
  • Team Starter (for 3-49 people) – $99/user/year
  • Enterprise – must contact sales

Udacity Review

Udacity logoVisit Website

Udacity’s programs or “nanodegrees” are like a mini certification program intended to get you prepared for jobs in the tech and data field. Their longer-term courses focus on mostly high-tech and specialized jobs that require specific skills. From self-driving car engineers to virtual reality programming, they are cutting edge in “ahead of the curve” industries.

Udacity also offers Executive programs for business leaders to quickly understand complex and technical concepts, like AI, and apply these concepts to real-world business scenarios.

Pricing and features vary by program. Udacity is big on the quality of its programs and has top-notch instructors from accredited universities and organizations. They stand by their programs and give a 50% refund if you graduate within 12 months. Also, the Plus program comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you don’t get a job within 6 months.

Pros

Cons

  • Help with job placement at high-demand, well-playing companies like Google, AT&T, Intuit and more
  • Accelerate your learning with Udacity Connect in-person classes
  • 100% money back guarantee if you don’t get a job (with Plus program)
  • Scholarships available for some Nanodegrees
  • More competitive and require an application to get in
  • Not as many “learn as you go” classes; many are intended for long-term students with set times for courses
  • More serious-minded (not intended for leisurely students)

Here’s a look at Udacity’s interface:

Udacity screenshot

Price

Varies based on the Nanodegree and Executive program you choose. See a full list here.

Online Learning For K-12 & Early College

While we’re on the subject of online learning, we want to point out Khan Academy, an online nonprofit that has excellent free courses and lessons for those in K-12 and early college. They cover math, grammar, science, history, SAT prep and more. It’s also a great free resource for teachers.

Get A Desk To Set Yourself Up For Success

More traditional learning in the classroom can be expensive, so if you’re interested in furthering employees’ skills or having them learn a new one, then an online learning site may help you without breaking the company’s budget.

If you’re learning from home, you may want to invest in a desk to keep you productive. We recommend getting a standing desk or treadmill desk to keep you healthy while you learn since some of the classes can be rather lengthy.

What type of class do you want to take with an online learning site?

Sources: [1] U.S. News & World Report

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts from Simpson College with a major in multimedia journalism and a minor in marketing. She has been writing about business solutions since 2014, covering subjects such as tax software, email marketing, office equipment and more. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2015, she started her own business and continues to learn how to run it more efficiently thanks to her work on We Rock Your Web. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Please Comment Below!

Comments (84)