Last Updated: January 28, 2023
With technological advancements, the concept of the traditional education system has entirely changed. Being physically present is one of many learning options, especially with the higher adoption of smartphones and the internet. Nowadays, you must go online to access quality education whenever you want.
Although it is not easy to understand the notion of leaving behind the conventional education system, this approach has proven helpful for millions of students. A recent Babson Survey Research Group survey highlights that more than 30% of higher education students in the U.S. take at least one distance course. It means we’re entering a new and revolutionized era of online education.
As COVID-19 hit, online learning platforms have become one of the most demanded products on the global market. Online education is flexible that offers a wide selection of programs, but choosing the right e-learning platform is not a small feat.
Whether working in an academic sector or deciding to train your employees through online learning sessions, you need to choose the right online learning platform to get more from your efforts. If you’re wondering how to select the perfect e-learning platform, we have covered you. Please scroll down to learn about some of the best online learning platforms.
What is an Online Learning Platform, and How Is It Different from Learning Management System?
Before diving into the best online learning platforms, we will discuss what an e-learning platform is. Unfortunately, people often conflate online learning platforms with learning management systems.
Online learning platforms (aka online course marketplaces) are the digital spaces that allow course creators to deliver their online courses. These platforms have many features, such as online lectures, learning interactions, assignments, quizzes, completion certificates, etc.
Online learning platforms are equally suitable for both learners and businesses. They help course creators to sell their courses and receive payment simultaneously.
Learning Management System
In contrast, learning management systems focus on training and educating many learners and employees. Unlike an online learning platform, a learning management system focuses less on marketing and selling. Learning management systems also allow course creators to assign content to learners and track their progress under one roof.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Online Learning Platform
It is wiser to consider the following factors when choosing an e-learning platform for mastering your subject:
Course content is the first and foremost thing to consider when looking for the best online courses. All online courses are unique in approach to any given subject.
The structure of an online learning platform is also necessary because it leads to effective professional development and a better online learning experience. In addition, a progressive and structured environment helps learners focus on their learning sessions.
The community of an online learning platform can make the learning process much more effective and impactful. For example, asking questions from your peers can help you learn from another perspective. In addition, teamwork is much more effective and motivating than going alone.
Price is also a key factor when selecting an online course platform that can work well for you. Paid online courses tend to be more effective and engaging than free ones. Different online course platforms have various pricing features. For example, some work on a subscription model, and others give you lifetime access.
Best Online Learning Platforms
Now that you have a greater understanding of an online learning platform and how to choose the best online course platform. Once you have selected your course of interest, you can choose from the best online learning platforms to master your preferred subject.
With 14000+ courses, Udemy is one of the best online learning platforms in the global market. This learning platform is equally suitable for both businesses and education sectors. Udemy has more than 60,000 instructors that cover every niche you can think of. From graphic designing and web development to personal development, you can learn anything on Udemy.
Udemy Business is a go-to place for business owners who don’t have time to design their courses. An exclusive range of skilled-based classes on Udemy and its affordability make Udemy Business ideal for business owners and L&D professionals.
Pros of Udemy
- An exclusive selection of courses
- Completion certificates
- Integration with LMSs
- Easy to use
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No subscription
Cons of Udemy
- Lack of interactivity
- Availability of only video-based content
- Lack of course creation functions
The price of each course on Udemy may range between $9 and $200.
Thinkific is another reliable online learning platform due to its flexibility. For example, the platform does not offer a gallery of courses; instead, it enables course creators to create learning products and design a custom learning experience for their teams.
Above all, Thinkific teaches everything from how to create an online course to how to advertise and sell it more effectively.
Pros of Thinkific
- Flexible learning environment
- Intuitive system to help creators design their online courses
- Learn to create and sell courses for free
Cons of Thinkific
- Lack of course library
Thinkific offer free tutorials on how to create and sell an online curriculum. But if you want to create an online course on Thinkific, you can choose from various tiers, ranging from free to $99 per month.
With millions of students from all over the world, Coursera is another best online learning platforms. This e-learning platform also partners with 200 top businesses and universities to provide the best online courses across various niches.
The majority of the Coursera courses are tailored to business-related topics. To be an instructor on Coursera, you need to be a top-class professor or teacher at one of Coursera’s partner universities.
Pros of Coursera
- A classic academic style of learning
- Financial help for low-income learners
- Recognized completion certificates
- Different learning styles
- High-quality and well-reputed courses
- A wide range of subjects, from computer science to arts
Cons of Coursera
- Time limits on some courses
- Lack of certificates for free courses
Coursera offers three different pricing plans which are:
Single Learning Program: $49 to $79 per month
Coursera Plus Annual: $59 per month
Coursera Plus Monthly: $399 per year
If you have dipped your toes into the online learning platform, you must be familiar with Skillshare. With more than 5 million learners and 35,000+ courses, Skillshare is the biggest and most reliable platform in the online education space. The main objective of this platform is to provide individuals, small businesses, and entrepreneurs with easily accessible educational resources.
Skillshare has a community of 8,000 instructors specializing in courses for creative professionals. The platform is more focused on collaboration and social learning.
Pros of Skillshare
- Multiple marketing integrations
- Analytics and engagement reports
- An excellent community of learners
- An extensive collection of pools
- An easy-to-use mobile app for on-the-go learning
Cons of Skillshare
- Lack of LMS integration
- It does not offer completion certificates
Skillshare offers three different pricing plans, which are:
Starter: $159 per user per year (supports 2-19 users)
Enterprise: Contacts sales to get a custom quote (supports 20+ users)
Revive: Contact sales to get a custom quote (supports 51+ users)
Emerged as Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning has become one of the biggest e-learning platforms around the globe. This online course platform features more than 17,000 courses that cover every niche around creativity, technology, and business.
LinkedIn Learning is the ideal platform for learning how to use complex software and Adobe apps such as InDesign and photoshop.
Pros of LinkedIn Learning
- Quality control measures
- Completion certificates that can be shared on the LinkedIn profile
- Quizzes and hands-on practice exercises for increased interactivity
- Appealing learning styles (videos and scrolling transcript)
- An extensive collection of courses
Cons of LinkedIn Learning
- Lack of interaction with instructors or fellow learners
- Lack of analytics, marketing, and LMS integrations
The monthly subscription plan of LinkedIn Learning costs up $39.99/month. You can also go with an annual subscription plan that can cost up to $26.99 per month.
With 100+ courses, MasterClass is an ideal online learning platform for anyone who wants to learn from the world’s best practitioners. The platform is more focused on practical work. MasterClass works well for those who want to expose themselves as masters of different crafts.
Pros of MasterClass
- Unique content with high-quality videos
- Workbooks with in-depth information are available
- Celebrity instructors
Cons of MasterClass
- A limited range of courses
- Lack of progressive learning environment
Like most online learning platforms, MasterClass also offers three different pricing plans:
Individual Plan: $15 per month
Duo Plan: $20 per month
Family Plan: $23 per month
The Bottom Line
The list mentioned above of the best online learning platforms proves that you can learn about any imaginable subject whenever you want. Moreover, online learning platforms are highly flexible that offer a wide selection of courses to cater to the needs of every learner. Moreover, these platforms don’t only allow you to create an online curriculum but also help you monetize it in your way.
We would not hesitate to say that you only need the right e-learning platform to polish your skills and enhance your knowledge.