The internet is a fascinating place to discover a world of information. One way to benefit from this endless source of content is to take advantage of the thousands of learning opportunities. Hundreds of websites offer literally millions of various courses.

Online studies include everything from basic arithmetic to how to lead your own Zumba class. The best online course platforms can be ranked according to cost, user-friendliness or subject variety. Here are the top 7 best online course platforms ranked according to these criteria, using the average cost of each opportunity as the primary benchmark.

1. Khan Academy

khan academy logo

The list of the best online course platforms begins with the Khan Academy. It is a library of free educational lectures available by simply registering a Khan Academy account. There is a wide array of subjects from simple math to studies in humanities.

  • The most appealing feature of Khan Academy is that it is free.
  • You can study at your own pace as the instructional material is lecture-based without a timeline for exams.
  • There are courses for everyone, be them students, teachers, and parents.

Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that focuses on lifelong learning. While there are no certificates or accolades for completing a course, it is a great place to test a subject or potential career ambition before pursuing other opportunities.

2. Open University

Free of charge course diversity is one of the most appealing aspects of the best online course platforms. Open University excels in that area. You can browse thousands of free courses, plus consider others that have a nominal fee.

  • You can hone your job skills, study for a promotion or just browse areas of personal interest.
  • Open University also offers TV, radio, and online programming courses.
  • There are interactive courses from money management y to courses on cultural concepts around the world.

Open University is one of the most popular online learning platforms in the world. They rank at or near the top in variety, with many free course opportunities. All you have to do is register for a free Open University account.

3. Udemy

the well-known white and green Udemy logo

Another popular online learning platform that specializes in free or low-cost learning is Udemy. Even those courses that have a fee are frequently offered at an appealing discount. Some courses will have a $100 fee for a course. However, if you search the web, there are already coupons available that can reduce the cost to $10 or less.

  • Udemy has a strong selection of technology-based courses. You can start as a novice and progress to become an expert computer programmer.
  • The costs for each course can range from $10 to $500, but the highest fees are for specialized courses that will help individuals build a career.
  • Udemy 10 dollar courses are predominately self-paced, with lifetime access to materials.

Check the Udemy website frequently, because new courses are added every month. Keep an eye out for coupons and special discounts. There are regular opportunities to take courses for free or for the flat rate of $10.

4. Lynda.com

Lynda.com is one of the oldest online classroom websites. Such a long term experience makes them one of the best online course platforms. The setup is a subscription-based system. You can study as many courses as you desire after paying one monthly subscription fee.

  • Because of the subscription format, you can study any number of courses at your own pace.
  • Once subscribed, you will have access to nearly 100,000 educational videos in a number of subject areas.
  • Lynda.com has a number of specific courses from tech entities such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Lynda.com is affiliated with LinkedIn, so it offers a solid foundation for career advancement. It allows you to link your study credentials with your career pursuits. There is also an entire series of government-related courses on LinkedIn in collaboration with Lynda.com specially designed for government employees.

5. Udacity

udacity logo

This is another entry in the list of the best online learning platforms. Its competitive edge is a strong direction towards technology. While Udacity has a diverse selection of courses, the largest percentage focuses on computer programming and development.

  • Udacity has a useful feature that they term as the Nanodegree program. This allows students to launch or improve their careers through accredited courses. Nonetheless, for such an in-depth program you should be ready to pay a considerable fee of several hundreds of dollars at least.
  • There is a designated catalog of Udacity for business courses which deals with real-world projects. This is a great avenue for business professionals to learn new skills or for businesses to connect with talent.
  • If you have aspirations of working in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), Udacity is currently one of the leaders in online AI instruction.

Udacity partners with Google, Microsoft, and other tech giants to promote tech-based courses. You can actually study with Udacity to pursue a job with one of their collaborating companies, yet this will cost you. To browse hundreds of courses, all you have to do is sign up for a free Udacity student account.

6. Skillshare

Another fine example of the best online course platforms out there employs a broad array of video-based courses. Skillshare is a self-proclaimed community marketplace of skills. They offer an extensive catalog of job-related content plus a number of subjects designed for personal enhancement.

  • Skillshare offers a catalog of online courses like other learning websites. However, they also provide numerous in-person workshops in large cities that you can personally attend.
  • There is a nice incentive for businesses to connect their employees with Skillshare through a Team Plan program.
  • Every course offered by Skillshare uses only industry experts. This platform is based on the concept of experience sharing with aspiring new talent.

Anyone can enroll for Skillshare courses. However, there’s a fee of around $20-$30 per course. Moreover, the best courses require a monthly subscription. A membership costs only $9.95 per month and it automatically reduces course fees by 20%. It also brings a world of professionals sharing their valuable skills with you.

7. Coursera

Founded by a Stanford University professor in 2012, Coursera has rapidly gained the reputation as one of the best online course platforms. Nearly every course in their catalog is offered in collaboration with a prominent college or university.

  • A number of Coursera classes will generate official college credit hours that can be applied to a degree program.
  • The structure of Coursera classes mirrors in-class instruction. Each course lasts from 4 to 10 weeks with an average of 2 to 3 hours of presentation time each week.
  • Coursera has the most diverse online course catalog. While most courses adhere to a timetable, there are over 100 on-demand courses available.

By offering a wide variety of subjects, Coursera has rapidly grown in worldwide popularity. The course fees are invariably much less than standard on-campus tuition rates. While it doesn’t offer the same flexibility of self-paced learning, the website creates an incentive to finish all started courses. On top of that, the benefit of earning official credits make Coursera very appealing for students.

The Bottom Line

Any entry in this list of the best online course platforms will open a wonderful window of opportunities. Simply by registering with the website, you will have thousands of available subjects at your fingertips in which you can become an expert.

You can start out with some of the free courses offered, or jump right in and build your knowledge to begin or enhance your career. Mind you that once you get started, you may find you get hooked on the appeal of lifelong learning. You never know how much you don’t know, until you start.

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