Best Online Learning Site: Treehouse vs Lynda vs Udemy vs PluralSight vs Udacity vs Skillshare & More!

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Best for Coding and Programming
Treehouse logo
Best for Creative and Artistic People
LinkedIn Learning logo
Best for Learning & Teaching
Udemy logo
Best for 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.

Learn When You Want (For Less)

The average in-state public college cost about $25,290 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s about 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.

Learn A New Skill

Are you applying for a job that requires that you know how to use specific software or a specialized technique? These online learning tools are great for that. You can learn at your own pace, so when the time for the interview comes, your potential new employer will see that you meet all the requirements!

Best For The Coder Or Programmer: Treehouse Review

Treehouse logoVisit Website

 

Treehouse screenshot

Treehouse is the best online learning tool for those who want to learn web code and programming. By learning these skills, you will be able to create and edit your own websites and apps. Treehouse adds new videos almost weekly to stay up to date.

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 has more than 287,000 students and is focused on creating coders who build websites and programs. 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.

Pros

Cons

  • More than 1,000 videos
  • Hands on practice with Code Challenge Engine
  • Members only forums (Pro only)
  • 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 contract

Price

The Basic package includes all of the features listed above. The Pro package includes everything Basic plus video talks with industry professionals, help from forums, offline viewing and more. Tree House offers a 7-day free trial via this link.

  • Basic – $25/month
  • Pro – $49/month

Coupon Code

There are no Treehouse coupons available.

Group memberships are also available, but you must contact their sales team via their contact form on their website (click on link above).

Read our in-depth Team Treehouse Review

Best For The Creative Or Artistic Person: LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda) Review

LinkedIn Learning logoVisit Website

Lynda screenshot

If you’re looking to build more creative and artistic skills, LinkedIn Learning is the site for you. 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.

LinkedIn Learning’s clients include Adobe, Full Sail University, NBC, Patagonia, United States Office of Government Ethics and the University of Southern California.

Pros

Cons

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

Price

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

  • $29.99/month
    • 10,000+ expert-led courses to learn from
    • Learn on the go via mobile, tablet, TV and computer
    • Assess progress with quizzes
    • Earn certificate at completion
    • Project files to practice
    • Offline viewing

Coupon Code

There are not any active LinkedIn Learning coupons at this time.

Read our in-depth LinkedIn Learning Review

Best For Learning It All And Teaching: Udemy Review

Udemy logoVisit Website

Udemy screenshot

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 Lynda 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.

Udemy’s clients include PayPal, Booking.com, Century21, Lyft and Apple. For those of you who are experts, you can make a little extra money by applying to teach a class too.

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 65,000 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 to take 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

Price

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.

Group Memberships

Contact Udemy for a demo and group pricing.

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 screenshot

SitePoint Premium, previously known as Learnable, is the best option if you’re looking to further your web development skills. With numerous videos on web development (ranging from HTML to CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Phython 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 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 109 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.

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
  • 109 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 is not as user-friendly as one might expect
  • Lack of content outside of the web and IT world
  • No mobile app

Price

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.

Previously SitePoint had an annual option of $99/year, but we’re not seeing that available any longer.

Coupon Code

There are no Sitepoint coupons available.

Honorable Mention Online Learning Sites

CreativeLive | Edureka | MasterClassPluralsight | Safari Books Online | SkillshareUdacity

CreativeLive Review

CreativeLive logo

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CreativeLive screenshot

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

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 $299/year for access to 1,500+ courses. View all courses.

Edureka Review

Edureka logo

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Edureka screenshot

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. They also boast about having 626,745 satisfied learners, which is comforting.

Top course categories include:

  • Big data
  • Cloud computing
  • BI and visualization
  • Software testing
  • DevOps
  • 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 concern 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. Finally, if you have any first-hand experience with this company, we’d love to hear about it.

Pros

Cons

  • Option to watch the lecture live or a recorded version
  • 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
  • Could not find any

Price

Edureka charges by the course. Courses average $300 to $400. View all courses.

MasterClass Review

MasterClass logo

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MasterClass screenshot

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.

Subjects range from photography to jazz to chess to different types of writing to different types of acting and much more. MasterClass is geared more towards creative skills but there are many courses that fall outside of that category. If you want to truly learn from an expert, MasterClass is a good place to start.

Pros

Cons

  • Very professional looking videos
  • No contracts
  • 30-day refunds
  • Office hours where class instructors answer questions vary by course
  • No app

Price

Pluralsight Review

Pluralsight logoVisit Website

Pluralsight screenshot

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.

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

Price

$29/month or $299/year for individuals. Business plans start at $499/user annually and include group insights, single sign on and expert mentoring (coming soon). They also offer a 10-day free trial for both.

Safari Books Online Review

Safari Books logo

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Safari screenshot

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.

Safari 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, Safari has a lot of resources for you to learn from, but we have read better customer reviews of other online learning platforms.

Pros

Cons

  • More than 40,000 books and videos
  • iOS and Android app
  • No contract
  • Reports of poor customer service
  • Lacks forums and other help resources
  • No refunds

Price

Safari Books has a 10-day free trial.

Skillshare Review

Skillshare logo

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Skillshare screenshot

Skillshare has over 18,000 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 communicate 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:

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

Pros

Cons

  • Free membership available with access to some classes
  • Over 18,000 classes
  • Offline access for Premium accounts
  • iOS and Android app
  • No contracts
  • Some people feel the instructors are not well versed in what they’re teaching
  • No direct teacher-student interaction
  • No refunds

Price

Skillshare has a one-month free trial.

  • Premium – $15/month or $99/year

Udacity Review

Udacity logoVisit Website

Udacity screenshot

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.

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)
  • More competitive and require an application to get in
  • Not as much “learn as you go” classes, intended for long-term students with set times for courses
  • More serious-minded (not intended for leisurely students)

Price

Starts at $199/month for Nanodegree program, add on $100/month for Pro (job guarantee) and $99/month (in-person training)

College vs Online Learning Sites

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. Want to learn more (pun intended)? Check out our education archives, where you can dive deeper on this topic.

We also 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 are you looking to take with an online learning site?

Kimberly has always enjoyed testing out the latest tech gadgets and loves seeing how things evolve. She’s a fast learner when it comes to the latest fads and likes sharing her findings with others. Although she loves technology, she also enjoys escaping the online world and likes to spend time outside away from the gadgets.

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Shawn Fumo
FYI, it looks like CreativeLive has rolled out a membership plan where you pay $300 a year for almost all their courses (except a few bound by contract). I’ve been buying their courses on sale but I’m seriously considering paying for the year.

I’ve watched some good photography courses on Lynda but there aren’t reviews and they have a bit more focus on software. The CL courses have usually been high quality and the reviews point out the ones that have issues.

John
Great comparisons, Kimberly! It’d be nice if you could include other ones like TutsPlus and Plantoost.
Farooq Rasheed
Great article, everything at one place. Keep up thr great work, thanks
longpinkytoes
@Kimberly Alt
i’m pretty sure you meant “Formerly Lynda” instead of “Formally Lynda”
since LinkedIn just acquired them this year [2018], and the name
LinkedIn Learning sounds formal, where Lynda sounds accessible
aaron ralls
Pluralsight has an offline mode with the mobile app that allows you to download courses.
Clint
Hey I have used a few of the sites on this list and id say your views were spot on. I used teamtreamhouse for a year after using Lynda and pluralsite and found it to be better for programming as you said.
I tried a udemy course as well but that site is hit or miss.

Im using safari at the moment and wonder what you think of edx.org and its cert courses from various companies and universities

Ravi
Hello! There is an Android app for Skillshare
Leon Sandler
The good thing about Pluralsight and Lynda is it can be watched on you 4k TV using Apple 4K TV (or 4th gen) for both, or Roku (Ultra 4K or any) for Lynda.. Instead of streaming Netflix shows you could be learning!
longpinkytoes
this needs more exposure, watching anything on a cheap, huge screen
is more immersive than a phone, tablet, or monitor. good looking out.
[hint: costco grand opening roku flatscreen sales]
Tatiana
Great comparison! Thanks a lot!! I’ve tried only CreativeLive and Lynda and Lynda’s courses were way more moring and dry, I did not finish it. However maybe it is just me. CL is pricey though but some courses which are on sale or live can be worth watching. Do read reviews and watch demo videos before buying.
Aureleus
Damn, Kimberly, you did an excellent job of comparing and contrast the MOCC. I prefer the most of all Udemy, tried Udacity and other courses, but they had no reviews and mainly Udemy I found the best on the price-quality ratio. I’m also using some very best free course online like BitDegree, these guys are kicking-a** and offer interactive, gamified lessons.
Veerareddy
I am looking for Azure portal administration and related courses. I have .NET development experience of 5 yrs but more interested admin side rather than development. Please advise which course is better in Azure.
Namra Jain
Should I opt for the courses which are running online or should I do masters from better college/university in canada
Khairul Anam
That’s depend, what is your career aspiration? What is your goal?

Some career path doesn’t really put much important in having a higher education degree and more toward pro cert, some vice versa.

Ernesto E Simbulan
I was looking for udemy vs. Masterclass.com. I hope to find an objective review for these 2 learning sites.
Ann
Have you heard of Skillcrush, it is just for coding/web dev but I’d be curious about your perspective?
pablo
what about edureka?
pablo
you don’t talk about certification. It seems to me that certification can be very helpful for job seekers.
Matk
Is there a chance to get some nice graphs of the above please? It could really help
Jeremy
Pretty sure Udacity.com is 50% refund for people who graduate in 12 months or less. Not for those who don’t graduate.
Leighton Cooper
What about Questia.com and Books24x7. Those two should be added
Badar saleem
udemy is the best fully organized and highly good and cheap courses…
xiangshuii
You may try use allavsoft to download Videos from LearnNowOnline to MP4, AVI, MP3 etc.
Aaron
UDEMY: I completed a few courses at udemy.com, but became reluctant to do any more, without being able to put my finger on why. But reading this article, and user the user posts, I’ve been able to ferrett out the reasons:
1. The reviews of the courses are suspect. Udemy provides a platform for teachers and tutors (of a great variety of topics) to post their self-created content, and get paid for it, so it’s pointless to opine on whether udemy ITSELF is good or bad, because, obviously, any given course is only as good as its creator. And here is where user reviews can give good pointers, but I found the reviews to be suspect: I got the feeling that bad reviews were hidden in some way or deleted — by udemy themselves, as udemy (a business after all) is more interested in folks buying than not buying.
2. In one of the courses I signed up for — about using a software called ‘Scrivener’ — I found HUGE benefit in communicating with other students in the udemy-provided chat forums. During the course, I voiced criticism NOT of the course, NOR of the trainer, but the slowness of Scrivener on Windows or Mac, and opined that Scrivener on Linux was very quick and snappy, and also free of cost to the user. Well, the trainer was offering two courses on Scrivener, one for Windows and one for Mac (I did both), but none on Linux. And after my criticism of the slowness of Scrivener on Mac & Win, and my praise of Scrivener on Linux (and also that the makers of Scrivener offered the Linux version for free), I was banned from the chat forums, with no warning and no explanation. The bad taste that event left is probably why I pay almost no attention to udemy these days. I remember that I learned as much from fellow students (as they must have done from me) as I did from the course itself, and being excluded was a big loss).

So, in summary, I won’t say give udemy a miss — just be warned that there seems to be no way to decipher whether a course is “worth its salt” beforehand. They advertise a 30-day money back guarantee, but for courses on special, one tends to want to snap up the low-price deal, and to start the course later, possibly past the 30-day trial period. And then one cannot know the true worth of the course until one has completed it, after which a refund may not be possible. So user reviews REALLY need to be credible, and I found that I couldn’t rely on them.

*Oh, I felt I was swindled by one of the courses I took, on web construction, for which I paid the special price of $50 (full price $200), but it turned out NOT to be as promised. Months later, the trainer (of that course) offered an improved version of the course, but the content of the original course, which included a dubious get-rich scheme using the skills I would acquire, just killed my trust for that particular trainer’s courses, and made me that much more suspicious and careful about investing my precious time on any udemy course. (The money isn’t really important, but the time wasted can never be replaced.)

Eduardo
I think safaribooksonline should also be in comparison
iLoveCoding
This is a great writeup. I may have to try Udemy out. My experience with treehouse was horrific. Here is my story. I started using Teamtreehouse 25 months ago and learned a decent amount from it. I also learned a lot from great free resources like The New Boston ( YouTube channel ), LevelUpTuts ( YouTube channel ), and codeacademy. I became one of the top students in the top 100 out of 400,000+ people. I was #1 in the world for WordPress and Digital Literacy for a long time. Teamtreehouse decided to screw the users pretty badly by moving a ton of their content to “pro”. They basically were trying to make users pay double for what they originally signed up for. Someone posted in the forums about it and I voiced my disappointment in the decision. A few days later I tried logging in my account and it was vanished. They kicked me out of their own site and didn’t even send an email. Sending no email while holding onto my payment information is beyond unprofessional. I recommend staying away from this site. They are trying to squeeze their users wallets dry and will delete you if you share an opinion that they don’t agree with. I have ran big sites and if a user is upset their is usually a good reason. Deleting the user for sharing an opinion shows a level of incompetence and shows this company only cares about money. Stay away from teamtreehouse!
ilovelibertyfreedom
Allz of them are good, and then I subscribe all of them, and then use Allavsoft to download them for offline use.