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7 Best Online Courses Platforms to Sign Up in 2022

Due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the educational landscape worldwide has experienced quite a revolution. The development and growth of the e-learning industry have moved the educational process from physical to virtual platforms.

In 2000, virtual learning saw a 900% growth. It became the fastest-growing market in the education sector. On some estimates, the global online teaching industry was predicted to exceed a staggering $243 billion in 2022. And by 2026, the industry was projected to reach $336.98 billion. 

Whether you endeavor to expand your knowledge, grow your career, or explore a topic, the online courses platforms are the greatest and easiest accessible resources for learning.

Before listing our recommendations, let's get to the basics first.

What is an online learning platform?

An online learning platform is a space or portal containing educational content with recorded or live instruction on a specific subject. Also referred to as "e-learning," it is typically membership-based; however, there are also options where users can learn immediately without registering. 

It is also a website or a mobile application that allows users to study their topics of interest wholly online and remotely. It usually targets adult professionals who have already concluded their traditional schooling. While some online learning platforms offer full certificate or degree programs, most focus on teaching individual courses.

How much does signing up to an online learning platform cost?

While some online courses are offered free, online learning platforms come with an extensive range of prices. However, in general, they are usually cheaper compared to traditional universities and colleges that offer the same list of courses. 

Payment for online courses platforms can be by class, course package, or subscription. Subscribing to a platform means that users can pay a flat rate (monthly or annually) to access unlimited individual courses at a given time. 

What are the benefits of online learning?

Learning online is advantageous, offering several benefits such as:

  • Self-paced, where users can move and learn at their own time and pace
  • Comfortability, where users can learn in whatever environment they choose to
  • Immediacy, where users can learn whenever they want
  • Breadth, where users have the opportunity to explore any topic and subject
  • Cost, where users can avail themselves free and often less expensive courses

What features do online learning platforms offer? 

Online learning platforms structure their courses differently, but they usually have features in common. Among these are: 

  • video-based, which means that they have audio and video lectures as the basic foundation of their classes
  • for creative courses or computer science, online platforms have a built-in way for their students to practice new skills and get instructor feedback
  • discussion boards and supplemental readings, quizzes, and exams
  • self-paced, either in part or in full
  • no need to tune in to live lectures
  • some platforms offer one-on-one tutoring or coaching

What is essential is to find a platform that works on your terms, especially the independence you want as a student.

The growth in the e-learning industry pushed the increase of available online learning platforms in the market. It gets overwhelming to have a lot of options. Hence, we have selected the fields that are useful to adults and young professionals and learners to explore personal interests and gain measurable skills for professional advancement. 

Here are some recommendations for the best online courses platforms where you can sign up today:

Best Overall: Udemy

Udemy is a portal or repository of over 183,000 courses where students and professional adults can learn and explore every imaginable topic. From language, arts, music, and fitness, alongside programming and IT, business, teaching, and productivity, Udemy has different categories for personal development, lifestyle, and other techniques not necessarily found and learned in the academic setting. 

This online course platform allows instructors to design multimedia lectures with video, text elements, audio, readings, exams, and other activities to measure students' performance. It also enables students to preview classes they are interested in and offers a 30-day refund if they are dissatisfied. 

Since each course is created and taught individually, they are priced separately. Limited access to a single class can range from USD 11 to USD 15, or roughly USD 200 for expensive courses. 

Best for College Classes: Coursera

If you want to take classes similar to college courses or actual academic courses from real professors and universities, then Coursera is the platform for you.

Coursera partners with over 200 universities and companies to provide an authentic academic experience, making you connect to real-world benefits. You can earn certifications or degrees entirely in Coursera, which leads to professional benefits such as salary raises and promotions. However, it also offers challenging and exciting courses on various topics. 

Each course is priced individually, but you can also purchase a bundle of classes as a track or certification and degree program. This online learning platform is the closest you can get when learning online and without enrolling in college. 

Best for Tech: Udacity

One of the most marketable classes you can take is technical skills, and Udacity offers most of the in-demand fields in tech. This learning platform is based on the "coding boot camp" learning style with programs focusing on web development, programming, data science, and cloud computing. Whether you have zero knowledge and are trying to develop a new skill set or are an advanced learner, there is always a course at the right level for you. 

Each course has hands-on practice, examples, code reviews, and real-world applications taught by instructors or coaches who can address your needs. 

Best for Creative Fields: Skillshare

While many online courses platforms provide college-style classesSkillshare is informal and endeavors to improve creative skills. Even though most are in photography, film, animation, interior design, and visual arts, there are also business and marketing courses. The focus of this platform is to teach practical skills that students can use to create their projects. Most classes comprise video lessons with assignments for students to practice their skills. 

Skillshare offers a subscription model rather than a per-course payment. Students who sign up can enroll in as many courses as they want. It also provides free classes, from 20-minute short videos to one-hour video tutorials. However, free online courses are not as in-depth as the paid ones but worth giving a shot.

Best for Celebrity Lessons: Masterclass

Masterclass offers more than just creative courses because its instructors are the A-list of actors, writers, musicians, and artists. The courses are not just one-off talk-style classes. Most of the classes have 20 lessons, much like the traditional ones. If you want to learn about these often obscure professions, the best way to learn and find out is to hear it straight from the successful people in the field. 

The methods are video-based, with practical advice and demonstrations with lectures, workbooks, and class discussions. Shonda Rhimes could give you TV writing advice, Gordon Ramsay on cooking, Martin Scorsese on film, and Anna Wintour on creative leadership. 

Masterclass is a subscription-based online learning platform wherein you can take as many lessons are you want within a month. 

Best Pedigree: EdX

Founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, EdX has a high-end pedigree but an accessible system. Actual college courses are created and taught by college instructors from various fields and topics. 

EdX partners with several universities; hence it offers professional degree certificates that are "micro" degree programs at the bachelor's and master's levels. They also provide a "Global Freshman Academy" to earn transferrable undergrad credits for select lessons through a partnership with Arizona State University.

The courses' approach is similar to other platforms' online classes: lectures, assignments, quizzes, discussions, and reading materials. The best selling point is the majority of courses are free of charge. However, it was OK if taking the class was for your own learning experience. But if you want to have a formal validation for professional reasons, you need a verified certificate that will cost you around USD 49 per class. 

Best for Data Learning: Pluralsight

Like Udacity in terms of providing tech skill courses, Pluralsight offers classes and subjects that focus on data science, information, and cyber security. 

Students can take individual courses; however, Pluralsight encourages you to take one of its offered paths. These paths are like mini-degrees, a series of related studies in a particular expertise, such as programming languages, creative skills, and security certifications. You may take a pretest to test your skill level, adding more customization. Its course library includes more than 7500 classes across hundreds of paths. 

Regardless of how many classes (or paths) you want to pursue, the price is USD 8.75 per month for a personal plan or roughly USD 105 for a year, as it is offering a discount of 33%. Moreover, a premium option costs USD 159, giving you regular features on courses plus additional interactive courses and industry-standard practice exams for various professional certifications. 

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