Which Online Learning Platform is Best in 2021- Your Ultimate Guide

Online learning platforms are more popular than ever and why shouldn’t they be?

They are widely accessible, offer flexible learning, and are even more economical than traditional learning options.

Any person who owns a smartphone or PC and fast internet can now avail of this convenient, affordable learning option- right from the comfort of their home!

So, what does this mean for you?

Your dream of career progression by upskilling, or that wish of learning a new language can become true from these platforms. E-learning platforms are helping millions of learners around the world in both brushing up existing skills and learning new ones. If you want, you can be one of them too.

You need to determine which online learning platform is best for you.
which online learning platform is best
Image by Steven Weirather from Pixabay

Since there are several different options available, the process of selection can be a little confusing. The pricing models are varied, so are the course structures. Some platforms are strictly English language-based while others offer to learn in other languages. Not to forget the whole accredited vs. nonaccredited aspect of online learning!

Don’t worry, our ultimate guide to online learning platforms can clear away the confusion. You will find all the important features of the 7 leading platforms in this article. You can use the information to compare the platforms and figure out which online learning platform is best for you. Let’s get started!

Plural Sight

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Plural Sight is your source for high-quality education related to technology. With a collection of 7500+ courses, it offers the opportunity to develop skills in Data, IT, Cyber Security, Cloud computing, and various other topics. And the good news? Courses are designed by Plural Sight’s team of 1500+ industry specialists. You can be sure of receiving the best technical training online.

Is there more?

Yes. Such high valued, at-your-own-pace kind of learning is available for everyone. And that too at an affordable monthly rate of $30.  Whether you are a beginner or an expert, a business or an individual, Plural Sight has expertly crafted assessments, courses, and learning pathways to equip you with the futuristic skills you need. So we can say that it also falls under the category of best online skill learning platforms.

The best part?

Before committing to the platform, you can avail the 10-day free trial period they offer. It will give you complete access to their resource libraries. Browsing through the learning material will help you better decide if the platform is worth your money or not.

Plural Sight Overview

Course StructureSelf-paced courses. There are video courses, discussions, exercises, Skill and Role IQ in Monthly and Annual subscriptions. The Premium Subscription has all of the above along with projects and interactive courses.
InstructorsMore than 1500 field experts with teaching ability. Selected through a strict criterion.
LanguagesCourses are in English with an option for subtitles in other languages.
Quality of ContentHigh valued as courses are designed by specialists of the industry
PricingStandard is $29 per month and 299 per year premium is $45 per month and $499 per year
Course Range7500+ courses

Plural Sight Pros:

  • Courses available for individuals as well as businesses.
  • A proper support system through phone and 24/7 email support.
  • A 10-day free trial that gives full access to the entire course collection
  • Learning on the go possible as the course material can be downloaded and viewed offline.
  • Has the unique Role IQ feature which tests your technical competency. The learning pathway is then tailored accordingly.
  • Short assessments to keep a check on course learning.

Plural Sight Cons:

  • Course range limited to technology-based topics only. For bigger course pools, Udemy and Coursera are better options to look at.
  • Only paid courses available. For free courses, Skillshare can be your alternative.
  • Does not offer accredited certification.

Is Plural Sight for You?

You must be wondering, if Plural Sight can be the answer to ‘which online learning platform is best?’.

Here’s the truth, Plural Sight can be the best option if you are already in the Tech industry and skill enhancement for a particular job role is what you want. The platform’s Skill and Role IQ assessment features ensure you get a career-focused course, best suited to your needs.

Skillshare

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A popular e-learning site, Skillshare can help you upskill and increase your knowledge.  The course range is wide, stretching to over 35000 courses, and delivers knowledge about thousands of applicable skills.

Skillshare allows you to learn creative skills that can be applied. Graphic designing, animation, creative writing. But it’s not limited to that and gives skills related to computer and coding, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle. You can have a look at the complete and honest skillshare review as well.

Skillshare Overview

Skillshare Overview

Course StructureCourse material delivered through small video lessons
InstructorsProfessionals and entrepreneurs from different parts of the world
LanguagesThe courses are mainly in English.
Quality of ContentContent quality varies as the instructors develop their own courses.
Pricing13.99$ per month
Course RangeMore than 3500 courses are available

Pros:

  • Free courses are available.10% of the courses can be benefitted from without a Skillshare premium membership. That is over 3000 of classes, ready to be availed at no cost!
  • Diverse range of classes are offered.The platform boasts of over 35,000 courses in different categories. More variety means more choices. Great for people who want options.
  • Courses are affordable. Modest pricing specially if you opt for yearly payment ($216) where the per month cost is $18 – lesser than half of what you would pay on a monthly plan ($42).
  • The option of a free trial. Skillshare Premium membership gives a 30-day free trial period. It enables new users to use the platform, take as many courses as they like and then decide if it is a right match for them.
  • There is a project in every course.A task related to the skill you are learning is an essential part of every class. Your takeaway from the course is a completed project that showcases your newly acquired skill.

Cons:

  • Certificates are not provided.
  • There is variation in course quality.
  • Length of classes is short.

Is Skillshare for You?

So, does Skillshare qualify

If you are after skills and knowledge but not formal education, Skillshare is the best choice in online skill learning platforms. Its wide range of affordable courses can improve your skillset and do wonders for your personal and professional life.

Udemy

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With an impressive collection of 180,000 courses and more than 40 million students to date, Udemy is a renowned skills learning platform.

Udemy Overview

Course StructureLectures by instructors can be in the form of videos and slides. Additional resources Quizzes and assignments to supplement the learning process
InstructorsUdemy enables anyone, who has knowledge and passion for teaching, to become an instructor.
LanguagesA remarkable range of languages.English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian, Indonesian, and Thai.
Quality of ContentQuality check is done by Udemy, but course quality remains inconsistent.
PricingCourses start from $12.99 and go up to $199.9
Course Range180,000 courses

Pros

  • A lifetime access is granted for every course you buy.
  • Wide variety of course options.
  • Around 600 courses available for free.
  • A 30-day refund policy incase you are not satisfied with the course.
  • Great discounts on courses offered frequently.

Cons:

  • No official certification
  • Quality control may suffer

Is Udemy for you?

If someone asks you, which online learning platform is best, then Udemy would be one of your choices.

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Coursera

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Coursera is the online learning platform synonymous with a high-quality education.

Coursera Overview

Course StructureExtensively planned by Coursera’s partner educational institutes. Course material delivered through video lessons.Quizzes and graded assignments discussion forums.
InstructorsReputable experts from the best universities and organizations such as Stanford University and Google.
LanguagesCourses are available in a broad range of languages. English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Russian.
Quality of contentThe course material is of the highest quality. Tested first by Beta testers and reviewed before being offered to the public.
Pricing Prices vary according to the type of learning program. Courses can start from $9.99 but degrees can go up to $50,000.Options of one-off payment and monthly/ annual subscriptions.
Course range3500+ courses along with degrees and specializations.6 types of programs: Courses, Online Degrees, Specializations, Guided Projects, Professional and Master Track Certificate

Pros

  • Around 2000 courses are free.
  • Offline learning possible with the mobile app- even viewing of free courses offline possible.
  • Courses available in different languages.
  • Highest quality learning programs developed by some of the most prestigious universities.
  • Officially accredited certificates.
  • Variety of educational programs offered to suit different type of students.

Cons

  • Few courses are not suitable for beginners as they require previous knowledge.
  • The cost of learning program is varied and gets confusing to understand.

edX

edx

edX is a credible e-learning platform founded by a team of professors from Harvard and MIT. It is a place for formal education. The 3000+ courses being offered are designed and delivered by partnering with esteemed universities and organizations.

Learners can choose courses from a wide variety of subjects. The top courses of edX are in the subjects of Data Science, Psychology, Computer Science, Healthcare, and Business.

There are two options for enrollment, the Audit Track and Pursue the Verified Track.  The Audit track lets you study for free but gives limited access to course material. Additionally, no certificate is provided.

Whereas in Pursue the Verified track, students have complete access to course content and assignments. They also receive an accredited certificate at the completion of the course. This track also has a 14-day refund policy.

edX Overview:

Course StructureWeek-based learning arrangements comprising small videos and interactive exercises. Instructor paced courses have everything preset, e.g., dates of exams/ assignments, and when course material will be available. Duration of course is between 8 to 12 weeks. In courses that are self-paced, there is no binding on exam dates or availability of course material. The course duration is anywhere between 3 and 12 months.
InstructorsLeading experts in their fields. From renowned and trusted partners of edX such as Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard
LanguagesThe majority of courses are in EnglishFew courses in Spanish, French and Chinese are available with subtitles in English
Quality of ContentTop-notch quality as the content is developed by leading universities and businesses.
PricingDifferent pricing options according to course typePursue Verified Track can be between $50 and $300Master’s degree program between $10,000 and $25,00
Course Range3000 + courses are offered. Subjects range include humanities, statistics, data analysis, engineering, computer sciences, and many others.

Pros

  • The certificates provided are accredited and useful additions for your CV and LinkedIn profile
  • Professional learning programs are available such as master’s degree, Micro Bachelors and Micro Masters programs, Professional Certificate Programs and Global Freshman Academy.
  • Most courses can be availed for free through the Audit this Course feature
  • The 14-day refund policy on verified courses
  • Courses are designed and taught by distinguished universities and organizations like Berkeley, Harvard, and Microsoft

Cons

  • The topic range is somewhat limited as edX focuses mainly on science related topics.
  • Variation in structure of courses as they are created by different partners of edX

LinkedIn Learning

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LinkedIn Learning was formally known as Lynda, which was one of the earliest e-learning platforms. It was bought by LinkedIn in 2015 and renamed LinkedIn learning.

Prior to this, LinkedIn had essentially been a useful network to connect professionals from all over the world. By introducing an online learning platform, LinkedIn tried to offer the same professionals a place to develop skills related to their careers.

Subsequently, LinkedIn learning became a source for personalized learning opportunities

LinkedIn Learning Overview: Skills learning platform

Course StructureCourses are self-paced, flexible, and downloadableDelivered in the form of video lessons. The content can be accessed repeatedly. Exercise files and quizzes to learn by practicing. Courses are self-paced, flexible, and downloadableDelivered in the form of video lessons. The content can be accessed repeatedly. Exercise files and quizzes to learn by practicing  
InstructorsExperts in the subjects they teach. Evaluated before becoming a part of LinkedIn learning.  
LanguagesEnglish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Chinese  
Quality of ContentHigh-quality content directed, produced, and edited by leading                                                                                                                      professionals           
PricingDifferent options are available. Individual course payment or monthly/ annual subscriptions          Monthly subscription at $39.99/ month. Annual subscription at $24.99/ month (Saving of 38%)  
Course RangeMore than 16,000 courses in Technology, Creative and Business topics.

Pros:

  • Courses available in a few languages other than English.
  • The option of 1-month free trial.
  • Courses can be downloaded and accessed offline.
  • Self-paced learning.

Cons:

  • No free courses available.
  • Does not have a highly engaged community.
  • The certificate provided is not accredited.
  • Courses limited to business, technology, and creative topics.

Crucial Question: Is LinkedIn learning the best online learning platform?

Now that we have learned about LinkedIn learning in detail, the real question is:

‘Is it the platform that is one of the best online skill learning platforms to suit your needs?’

It can be if your need is for a platform that lets you develop skills that are technology, business, or creativity related. Or if you are a working individual who cannot commit to full-time learning. It is also especially useful if you wish to enhance skills and knowledge related to a specific career track. However, LinkedIn learning is not for those looking for accredited courses but still, it is one the best online skill learning platforms.

Simplilearn

From a blog about project management training Simplilearn has come a long way in the world of best online skill learning platforms.

Simplilearn Overview

Course StructureBlended learning that needs committed participation. The course has video lessons and instructor-led classes. Projects and discussions. Graded assignments and quizzes as well as exams.
InstructorsField experts with 15-20 years of experience
LanguagesCourses only in English
Quality of contentContent quality is high as the courses are accredited and designed by top minds of the industry
PricingDifferent prices according to course type-ranging from $600 to $3000
Course rangeMore than 400 courses offered in topics like Data Science, Project Management,

Pros

  • Utilizes blended learning approach which (a) benefits different type of learners (b) increases engagement of learners.
  • Simplilearn’s community is connected and actively supports each other.
  • Has a mobile app which enables on the go learning for students.
  • A responsive customer support.

Cons

  • Course range is limited to IT related topics.
  • No option of free courses.
  • Classes available in English only.
  • Courses are on the pricier side.

Conclusion

Are you still wondering which online learning platform is best? Well, we have presented in front of you a list of amazing a list of top 7 online skill learning platforms. Every single platform has its own specialty and provides a complete range of different courses. Now its up to you what you are looking for and what are your future aspirations.