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|Coding and Programming|
|Creative and Artistic People|
|Learning & Teaching|
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.
The average in-state public college cost about $25,290 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s nearly half as much as the average of $50,900 for a private college. Yikes! Online learning sites are not only more affordable, 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.
Below are our top picks, depending on what you want to learn. We chose our winners based on companies’ subject specialties, price and more.
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 are 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 50,000 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.
Learn more about treehouse in our interview with Marketer Micah Cooksey.
Here’s a look at the Treehouse interface:
The Basic package includes all of the features listed above. The Pro package includes everything included in Basic plus offline viewing, access to beta features and unlimited access. Techdegree includes everything in Pro plus currated 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
Group memberships are also available, but you must contact their sales team via their contact form on their website (click on link above).
Lynda was founded in 1995, acquired by LinkedIn in 2015, and then rebranded as LinkedIn Learning in 2018. LinkedIn Learning offers courses that teach you how to edit photos and use video software. With access to more than 6,300 courses, you can learn software, business, creative skills and 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.
Here is an overview of Lynda From LinkedIn interface:
You can try a LinkedIn Learning membership out with a 30-day free trial.
- $29.99/month (or $24.99/month for annual subscription)
- 13,000+ 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
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 is a combination of LinkedIn Learning and Treehouse.
Udemy covers the 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.
Here is a look at Udemy’s interface:
Udemy has you pay by the course anywhere from $11.99 to $200. 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): $240/user per year
- Enterprise Plan (21+ users): price varies by number of users
How Does Udemy Work?
Want to teach a course or maybe learn something? Check out how you can through Udemy.
SitePoint offers courses for various skill levels to help you jump in at the level you are comfortable with and enhance your knowledge of your chosen subject. SitePoint offers 122 courses and 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 170+ ebooks at the time of update 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.
Here is a screenshot of SitePoint:
We couldn’t find a page dedicated to SitePoint’s pricing. The best we could find was the Premium $9 monthly membership, which is typically $15. It includes unlimited downloads for books, courses and learning paths.
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
- And more
After you complete a course, you receive a certificate of official recognition of your work.
Here is a screenshot of Coursera:
- Price varies for each course, view all options
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.
Here’s a look at CreativeLive’s interface:
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 $299/year for access to 1,500+ courses. View all courses.
Edureka doesn’t appear to be as popular as other online learning sites. We couldn’t find as many reviews for them, but the ones we did find, seemed very positive.
Top course categories include:
- Big data
- Cloud computing
- BI and visualization
- Software testing
- Programming & frameworks
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.
Overall, we get a good feeling from Edureka, but we have some concerns that this company might be “too good to be true.” The lack of other online reviews seems a bit odd. However, if you’re looking to learn Hadoop or big data, this could be a great option for you.
Here is a look at Edureka’s interface:
Edureka charges by the course. Courses average $300 to $400. View all courses.
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:
- And more
After you complete a course, you receive a certificate of official recognition of your work.
Here is a screenshot of edX’s interface:
- Prices vary for each course but start at $50 if you want a certificate, view all options
When you sign up for MasterClass, you’ll be learning from the best. 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 truly, MasterClass is a good place to start.
Review the MasterClass’s interface:
- $180/year or
- $90 for a single class
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 have read better customer reviews of other online learning platforms.
Here’s a look at O’Reilly’s interface:
O’Reilly has a 10-day free trial.
- Pro – $39/month or $299/year
- Teams – $399/year/user
- Enterprise – must contact for pricing
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 and cyber security 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.
Here’s a look at Pluralsight’s interface:
- $35/month or $299/year
- $449/year for Premium which includes:
- certification practice exams
- interactive courses
They also offer a 10-day free trial for both.
Skillshare has over 26,000 classes with more than 3 million members. 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’ project gallery, similar to a class presentation in a way.
Students can communicate with one another but aren’t able to talk directly with the teacher. We aren’t crazy about this because we feel that the best way to learn is to be able to speak directly with your teacher.
Course topics include:
Here’s a look at Skillshare’s interface:
Skillshare has a one-month free trial.
- Premium – $15/month or $99/year
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.
Pricing and features vary by program. Udacity is big on the quality of their 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. In addition, the Plus program comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you don’t get a job within 6 months.
Here’s a look at Udacity’s interface:
Varies based on the Nanodegree program you choose. See a full list here.
More traditional learning in the classroom can be expensive. We aren’t saying that these online learning sites should replace a four-year education or two-year degree. But we are saying that 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.
What type of class are you looking to take with an online learning site?
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