October 09, 2022
Online education might have seemed like an optional pastime a few years ago but today it is becoming essential for everyone, especially professionals hoping to perform better at their job and looking to improve their career prospects. As companies expect their employees to constantly improve, upskilling yourself via online tools has never been more useful and, thanks to great e-learning platforms, more simple and straightforward.
But to the uninitiated, the seemingly endless number of choices of such platforms can be intimidating. Here you can find the 7 best e-learning platforms to build your skills and stay ahead of the game.
Perhaps the most popular and by far the largest provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Coursera has been a great resource for many e-learners since 2012. Started by two Stanford University professors, the platforms boasts of an active catalogue of over 2700+ courses, nearly half of which are learning programs which allow you to access the entire content for free, and the rest allow you to view selected content free of cost via the audit mode. Certificates of completion are offered for all courses as well so that learners may include it in their CV but this requires a nominal fee depending on the course (with the opportunity to apply for financial aid). Coursera offers courses, specializations and guided projects that can serve as a great start for anybody looking to begin their e-learning journey.
Not far behind Coursera is another MOOC provider by the name of edX, founded by scientists from Harvard and MIT. While it is similar to the former in many respects, it sets itself apart by offering several courses from more prestigious universities and with more comprehensive content than other MOOC providers. Learners will have to pay to access the courses but edX offers financial assistance of up to 90% of the course fees for those who may find it difficult to afford them. edX is also unique in that it offers a variety of MicroMasters degrees which help learners gain graduate level credentials and develop the right skills to advance their career.
While Coursera and edX offer courses in the manner of a college or university, Udemy takes a different approach in that it offers that are tailored towards providing job-related skills. Even though the platform has sought to get corporate trainers to create courses geared towards improving the performance and skillset of their employees, most users of Udemy are students hoping to get their desired job after their studies. Udemy does not require its course creators and instructors to represent any university and as such there are plenty of independent teachers and industry professionals who leverage the platform to share practical insights. The site offers great price discounts for most of its popular courses so beginners who are new to e-learning may find the site to be more attractive than others.
For a platform that’s more geared towards employee training, OpenSesame is the right place to go. Founded in 2011, the site is both an online marketplace to buy and sell courses as well as an avenue for employees to gain the right skills via training courses. Instead of having to spend copious amounts of money and effort, companies can access the right training courses they need to get their employees up to speed with regard to their skills and knowhow. Learners, who also tend to be industry professionals, can access the training material through its Learning Management System (LMS). With highly adaptable courses, OpenSesame can be the right platform if you are looking to train yourselves for the challenges at your workplace.
Describing itself as a “career accelerator that gets graduates careers in tech”, Thinkful is an e-learning platform that offers a unique proposition to its prospective enrolees: Pay absolutely nothing to study until you start your new job or career. As wonderful as that offer might be for students who may not be so keen on shilling a great amount of money for an online course or be able to even afford it, the platform goes a step further to tell its learners that if they don’t get a job in six months or less after completion of the course, they won’t ever have to pay a cent of tuition. While Thinkful offers courses primarily in tech such as UI Design and Data Science, it also has great offerings for those interested in Digital Marketing and Product Management.
If you are inclined towards learning the creative arts, lifestyle and design and aren’t too concerned with getting a certificate for the same, Skillshare is a great platform for you. Offering plenty of free courses, the platform also has a subscription service whereby you can access a plethora of terrific premium courses anytime anywhere. Unlike other e-learning platforms which teach via lectures, Skillshare prides itself on its interactive learning community with members connecting with each other and learning beyond the course material via groups. While most of the content is provided by established creative professionals, the site also offers courses of its own creation under the name Skillshare Originals.
Previously known as Lynda before its acquisition, LinkedIn Learning is an e-learning platform which offers its courses primarily via video and taught by industry leaders and experts in software, creative and business skills. As the platform is a subsidiary of LinkedIn, prospective learners are required to have a LinkedIn profile to access and enrol for courses. Thanks to its association with the professional networking service, learners who complete courses from the platform can seamlessly exhibit their mastery of skills through certifications offered by the service on their LinkedIn profile and thereby attract recruiters who are in need of skilled professionals.
Demonstrating the necessary skills and mastery over your domain could mean the difference between acceptance and rejection at a job interview. E-learning platforms play a crucial role in building a great profile for your professional life and if you can leverage the opportunities afforded to you by these services, the sky is the limit for your career and professional development.
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