The increase in the user number in online learning platforms has been incredible in the last few years. Whether you’re interested in pursuing a new skill or are willing to work on a new topic, the e-learning forums provide excellent solutions. The premium features such as flexible schedules to learn, pre-recorded lectures, guidance from industry experts, etc., have made these platforms a reliable source of knowledge building among learners.
In the market, you’ll find a plethora of courses from the learning forums, helping aspirants to upskill themselves. If you’re up for learning a new skill and considering looking at the best options, this is the right place for you. Here, we will guide you through the top learning platforms for students in 2023 and why they’re worth it.
- ▪ What is an Online Learning Platform?
- ▪ Difference between Online Learning Platforms, Online Course Platforms and Learning Management Systems
- ▪ Advantages of Online Learning
- ▪ How Does Online Learning Help the Students?
- ▪ Learning Management System (LMS)
- ▪ Features of Online Learning Platforms
- ▪ Best Online Learning Platforms for Students in 2023
- ▪ Tips to Choose the Best Online Learning Platforms
- ▪ Wrapping Up
What is an Online Learning Platform?
Before getting into the names of the best online learning platforms in recent times, we need to have a fair idea about an e-learning platform.
An e-learning platform is a digital space that lets creators create, sell, market and deliver their online learning courses. Similarly, students can sign up, enrol themselves in a course and complete it to achieve an advance in their professional path.
Better denoted as an online learning marketplace, that allows teachers and learners to connect and have an engaging learning time.
A learning platform typically presents the following features:
- Comprehensive interface and safe learning environment for students
- Interactive reading modules, discussion forums, assessment tools
- Analytics reports
- Cloud-hosted platform
- Licences, Accesses and Validity
Based on your needs and the skills you’re willing to pursue, you can pick a course and enrol yourself to get access to the included features. Some forums also feature dedicated 1-1 mentor support from experts to help you with your doubts.
Difference between Online Learning Platforms, Online Course Platforms and Learning Management Systems
The evolution in the ed-tech space has been awesome in the past few years. With so many upskilling options available in the market, the learning space is surely heating up! The overall interest in the course pursued by aspirants is huge. But, you need to understand the differences between the best online learning platforms, online course platforms and learning management systems.
Here’s a brief comparison between the three for your understanding.
Online learning platforms are typically referred to as online education marketplaces that let users find the course of their choice and enrol in it. These platforms have a lot to do with audience building, marketing and sales and provide pricing, user data and branding. It’s from a learner’s perspective, the place to find and buy a course of their interest. From an educator’s perspective, it’s a forum to share their knowledge.
Online course platforms, on the other hand, adopt the perspective of an instructor or online educator. Here, the educator has the flexibility to manage their course materials and learning resources. The educator also picks a customized design option for their website that makes their course presentable.
An LMS or, a learning management system is a web-based software or technology used to create, structure, plan, implement and assess a particular learning procedure. It enables the educator to smoothly deliver their e-learning course and the students to sign in on the portal and access the required materials.
Advantages of Online Learning
Lately, there have been a lot of debates on online vs offline learning. While both of them have their respective advantages, we will focus on the benefits of online learning.
Perfect for busy professionals: The online education platforms are perfect destinations for busy professionals who have difficulty taking time off work and focusing on courses. The online courses provide flexibility and self-paced programs that avoid the extensive commitments of schoolwork.
Unlimited Lecture Access: The online learning platforms provide unlimited access to course lectures and resources with respective subscription plans. The pre-recorded classes help students view the sessions in case they have missed them or they need them for revision purposes.
Global Learning Experience: Most online learning platforms provide a dedicated discussion forum that lets you share and gain knowledge from your fellow learners from all over the globe. It offers you an immersive learning experience.
Besides these, the expert training from qualified professionals, and accredited certifications help you grow your professional side.
How Does Online Learning Help the Students?
Online learning platforms have their unique way to support students with their studies. Here’s how:
- Personalised materials: Many of the course selling platforms have the feature of personalised online education. Different students have separate needs for education on how to learn and what to learn. Personalised online learning can address this need of the students.
- Interactive Sessions: One of the best ways through which online learning helps students is interactive discussion rounds with students and teachers. With multimedia 3D content, it’s easy to engage the learners in the sessions and derive benefits.
- Amalgamated Content: Online learning might step ahead of digital education in this one step. The main mode of imparting digital education is through amalgamated content using texts, audio, graphics, video content etc. All these shift the boredom from just textbooks towards a more engaging learning methodology.
Learning Management System (LMS)
With the world of e-learning evolving so fast, it might get hard sometimes to cope with the latest technologies. But thanks to LMS software, that makes it possible. Perfect for e-learning practices, an LMS is used to create, plan and implement an online course.
It helps the instructors with a method to deliver their content and allows the students to use interactive features to access the content and complete the course they have enrolled in. What are some of the features that you can experience?
- Video conferencing
- Threaded discussions
- Discussion forums
- Graded assignments, to name a few.
LMS is frequently picked among businesses of all sizes in the e-learning domain to upgrade traditional education methods and carry out an efficient process of sharing and gaining knowledge.
Features of Online Learning Platforms
The online learning platforms come with engaging features to hook learners like you to its content and help you draw the best e-learning experience. Here are some of the prominent features of a digital education platform to adhere to the best practices.
- Comprehensive interface: The platforms come with an easy-to-use interface to help students navigate easily and maintain smooth functioning.
- Custom branding: A touch of personalization encourages students to you to feel a touch of belonging and rely on the website rather than depending on a third-party tool.
- Offline reading: Despite being an online education platform, the top e-learning sites allow access to offline reading to help you with prominent revisions when required.
- Interactive elements: Engaging elements like assessments, quizzes, video lectures, etc, studied the course to keep students enticed.
- Assessment tools: The modules come with quizzes and assessments that keep students interested and let the teachers review their tasks to have an overall understanding of their progress.
- Analytics: The online learning platforms also provide detailed analytics reports and insights into the learning pattern of every student.
- Content security: The platforms provide complete content protection through DRM security that only enables users with access codes to view the resources.
Best Online Learning Platforms for Students in 2023
In the below section let us have a look at the best online learning platforms in 2023 that can be the perfect destination for your upskilling needs.
One of the most popular online learning platforms that help students to learn in-demand skills and get ahead in the competitive market, is Coursera. Launched in April 2012, the platform has over 118 million active users.
The forum has collaborated with over 200 leading universities across the globe to create premium courses in adherence to market needs.
- Premium Courses: Quality courses offered in collaboration with top universities across the globe including the University of Melbourne, the University of Michigan, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, etc.
- Course Content: 3000+ course options from top partner universities are available on the platform that includes assignments, quizzes, homework etc.
- Pricing: Guided projects, professional certificate courses and higher university programs starting at the respective rates of $10/month, $39/month and $2000/month.
A prominent name in the e-learning space is Udemy. Founded in January 2010, the teaching and learning marketplace has a current user base of over 57 million.
The platform provides a wide range of courses including tech, business, design, trending topics etc., and it’s perfect to pursue skill-based learning. The forum opens the doors for instructors to upload their teaching materials, track student progress and give them feedback.
- Skill-based courses: Udemy helps students gather ideas about the top in-demand courses in the market. It allows instructors to sign up on the platform and create a course with strict adherence to quality.
- Course content: The course comes with dedicated instructor support where they can track the progress of the students, including graded quizzes and assessments to analyse the overall standing of the learners.
- Pricing: Udemy business has two pricing plans for its users. For a Team of 5-20 users, it’s 360$ per user/year. For an enterprise of more than 21 users, the price might be customised.
3. Linkedin Learning
There will only be a few to not know about Linkedin Learning. One of the finest online learning platforms in existence today, Lynda.com was merged with Linkedin in 2017 to create this platform.
The top-notch learning space provides a wide range of courses on business, creativity, technology, etc to help students achieve sound personal and professional growth.
- Top quality courses: The platform offers standard courses from qualified professionals that can help learners upskill themselves and improve their chances for better job opportunities.
- Course content: The modules come with micro-learning videos, interactive quizzes, practice exercises and completion certificates that the learner can share on their LinkedIn profile to attract new business opportunities.
- Pricing: The annual pricing plan in LinkedIn Learning is $26.99/month and it is $39.99/month for a monthly plan.
Another popular learning platform is Skillshare. Founded in November 2010, the platform has over 12 million members with more than 8000 teachers providing professional courses to aspirants.
The perfect destination for creative enthusiasts, Skillshare offers various courses on creative arts, business, technology and lifestyle.
- Diverse course categories: Skillshare offers a range of courses on various niches including:
- Creative Arts: Fine art, cooking, music production etc.
- Technology: Data Science, Web Design, e-commerce
- Business: Finance, Accounting, Project Management
- Lifestyle: Teaching, languages, gaming, wellness.
- Content: The course lectures include small videos, class projects and interactive rounds of interaction through the dedicated discussion forum.
- Pricing: After a 7-day free trial, the pricing plan is $32/month or $168/year to have access to all the courses.
Founded in May 2012, edX is one of the leading online learning platforms for students in 2023. It has a current user base of around 42 million.
edX offers more than 3000 courses, grouped into at least 300 program categories. It has partnered with top institutions across the globe to create exclusive courses in various domains like science, business, linguistics, architecture, etc, to help aspirants with their professional and personal needs.
- Premium Courses: The platform offers in-demand courses to help learners gain marketable skills, partnering with 160+ institutions such as MIT, IBM and Berkeley.
- Content: The course modules come with interactive exercises and graded assignments to help learners track their overall progress and issue an accredited certificate after the course completion.
- Pricing: edX has free courses and for paid programs, the cost can be between $50 and $300. If you’re willing to pursue a Master’s degree it can go up to $10,000 and $25,000.
Founded in October 2014, one of the finest online learning platforms in current times is Masterclass. It has around 2 million users across the globe.
The standout online learning platform offers above 180 courses across 11 categories, taught by qualified instructors and celebrity teachers who share their experiences to enrich students’ learning time.
- Courses: The courses are offered by top industry experts to help candidates with superior upskilling. There is a wide range of topics including writing, cooking, music, sports and more.
- Content: The modules are aided with engaging video lessons to keep you hooked until the end. There are around 20 video lectures for each class, with each being not more than 10 minutes duration.
- Pricing: The annual membership has three different pricing plans. It’s $180 for individuals, $240 for duos, and $276 for families.
Founded in 2004, Pluralsight is one of the leading online learning platforms in today’s world. With over 18,000 business customers using the forum, the platform is perfect for aspirants learning in-demand skills.
The platform provides many interesting things to learn online and the expert-led courses are backed with quality support to help individuals derive the best learning experience.
- Expert-led courses: There are various courses instructed by top industry professionals to help learners hone their skills and build the proficiency needed to stand out in this competitive market.
- Content: The modules come with graded assignments and accredited certificates to help learners with a world-class learning experience.
- Pricing: The standard pricing plan for Pluralsight is $29/month or $299/year. The premium plan is $449/year or $45/month.
One of the other top online education platforms is Udacity. Founded in June 2011, the platform has a staggering user base of over 1.5 million. The online learning platform provides an innovative learning environment to the candidates to help them with their interests.
The primary offering of Udacity is a ‘nano degree’, an intensive program that comes with projects, class discussions and expert monitoring.
- Nanodegree: Most of the courses offered by the platform need you to have study time between a month and five, based on the subject. The programs are backed by career coaches, to help you with your queries.
- Course Content: The modules come with real-world applications, hands-on practice, code review, and multiple projects to help students track their overall progress.
- Pricing: The pricing plan starts from $399 a month. If the tenure is for 5-6 months, the pricing can get to $2000 or above.
Founded in 2013, one of the best learning platforms in the e-learning space is Datacamp, with an active user base of more than 10 million. With various types of learning available on the market today, DataCamp adopts an engaging approach to provide skill-based courses to learners.
The online study platform focuses on topics related to data science and analytics and helps individuals to scale up in the data world.
- Data courses: The platform offers skill-based learning courses to let aspirants learn at their pace which includes a wide range from non-coding essentials to data science and machine learning.
- Content: The interactive course modules from experts come with a comprehensive methodology having assessments to track progress, practice sets and real-world problems to help students with practical learning.
- Pricing: The individual pricing cost in the Premium plan is $39/month or $300 annually. The cost for a team plan of two or more is $300 annually.
One of the must mention in the list of best online learning platforms is Simplilearn. Founded in 2010, it is an exclusive online boot camp partnering with the world’s leading institutions, to help students get ahead in the professional world.
The e-learning platform comes with skill-based courses suitable for the digital economy that encompasses emerging technologies, development courses, data science programs and so on.
- High-quality courses: The premium online boot camp offers a range of courses including post-graduate degrees, master’s programs and certification courses. Some leading partners are Microsoft, Purdue University, IBM, etc.
- Content: The modules come with an industry-backed curriculum guided by leading practitioners. The inclusion of capstone projects revolving around real-world scenarios offers a solid hands-on experience to the learners.
- Pricing: The pricing differs based on the program you decide to pursue. EMI options are available.
The digital education platform was founded in December 2012 and currently has an active user base of over 17 million. The platform aims to equip learners with new skills in collaboration with world-class experts and universities.
One of the best online education platforms, FutureLearn provides in-depth courses on new skills to encourage individuals and professionals to boost their professional journey. The dedicated discussion forum helps you learn from a global classroom of millions.
- Courses: The platform offers flexible online courses, and expert tracks to enrich the students with a superior learning experience. The course topics are diverse including healthcare, business management, Data Analytics, Teaching, etc.
- Content: The courses are well-backed with clear video lectures, fine readings and solid book references with quality content. Industry professionals share their insights with students to help them in their journey.
- Pricing: The pricing plan will differ based on the course picked by the candidate.
Besides the learning platforms, are you in search of one that benefits your exam preparation? Oswal.io is your go-to place, then! How does it help you to prepare for the exam?
- Lets you prepare for all 11 subjects included in the curriculum.
- You get exposure to 80,000+ questions encompassing different question types.
- 8 types of questions for you to practise and upgrade exam preparation.
Tips to Choose the Best Online Learning Platforms
The above eleven are the best e-learning platforms in recent times with a huge user base benefitting from the top programs offered by industry experts. Precisely, there are abundant courses online featuring various learning schemes and suiting a different target audience.
How do you pick the platform of your choice? Consider checking out the following tips that might assist you with your decision.
Check out the focused topic options: The online learning platforms offer a range of courses on various topics. It’s good to check out if they are having focused course options. For example, DataCamp specialises in Data Science courses, Skillshare is ideal for creative enthusiasts and Pluralsight is a perfect destination for computer engineers.
If you’re interested in knowing solely about a topic, choosing a niche-based platform is best.
Pricing: Consider checking out the pricing options before selecting a course. Do you have a budget? Then starting with some free trials at Coursera or Skillshare will be fine. However, for free courses with Udemy, the learning experience might not be complete.
Instructors: The top online learning platforms appoint the best faculties to teach the in-demand courses and equip candidates with relevant skills. Platforms like Masterclass have top-qualified VIP instructors while in Coursera there are partnered universities offering the programs. Consider analysing what exactly you’re looking for before finalising a course.
Course Content: Not every education platform adopts the same learning approach. An immersive learning experience needs to have graded assignments, quizzes, and case studies to help you understand the concepts. Any course lacking these elements might not be a good fit.
Language: In case you’re interested in pursuing a course outside English, the choices will be limited. The online learning platforms that offer courses in other languages like Spanish, German or Portuguese are Linkedin Learning, Udemy and Coursera.
With the market expanding rapidly over the past few years, it’s a real need for individuals to scale up in their professional paths. The finest online learning platforms for students provide the best solutions to satisfy your professional development needs.
Each e-learning platform shapes its course contents on certain features and a particular USP. The key is to pick the right one for you, suiting your needs and preparing you for a better tomorrow.
Have you tried any of these platforms to pursue a new skill? If yes, which one is it? And if not, find your best pick soon and enrol yourself towards a brighter career path!