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|Coding & Programming|
|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.
- Learning On A Budget
- Best Learning Sites
- More Options To Consider
- Free Online Learning For K-12
- Why Not Get A New Desk?
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.
Below are our top picks, depending on what you want to learn. We chose our winners based on companies’ subject specialties, pricing 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’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.
Here’s a look at the Treehouse interface:
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
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.
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 $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
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
Here is a look at Udemy’s interface:
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
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’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
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 (or $72 per year). 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 $39/month or $149/year for access to 1,500+ courses. View all courses.
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
- 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.
Here is a look at Edureka’s interface:
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.
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:
- Business & Management
- Computer Science
- 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. 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.
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’ve 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.
- Individual Premium – $49/month or $499/year
- Teams – $499/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, 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.
Here’s a look at Pluralsight’s interface:
- $29/month or $299/year
- $449/year for Premium which includes:
- certification practice exams
- interactive courses
- Basic reporting and user analytics for teams.
- Flexibility and advanced analytics for the enterprise.
They also offer a 10-day free trial for Personal and Team Professional.
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:
Here’s a look at Skillshare’s interface:
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’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.
Here’s a look at Udacity’s interface:
Varies based on the Nanodegree and Executive program you choose. See a full list here.
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.
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:  U.S. News & World Report
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