It’s no secret that online learning has become more popular than ever due to the pandemic. Now you can learn anything online, but finding the best online learning platforms with so many courses can be tricky.
According to Report Linker, the global e-learning market is expected to reach $457.8 Billion by 2026.
In the past, education options were very limited. You had to go to school and University for most professions and qualifications. Instead of at your own pace, you also had to learn on their schedules.
But, these days, luckily, we are spoilt for choice. So, whether you want to learn new skills, start an online business, transition to another career path, or find an alternative to higher learning, you can do it with online courses at a fraction of the price.
In this blog post, we will discuss the best online learning platforms in 2023.
Whether you’re looking for a platform that offers professional certificate programs or one that specializes in freelancing or online business courses, we have you covered!
Productivity Tip: If you find the course instructor is too slow, speed up the video! You can choose 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, or 2x speeds on most platforms. It also helps you complete the courses much faster.
I used to work at a University in Australia in Data Integrity and Government Reporting as part of Student Administration for close to a decade. That was before I quit my job to work as a freelance writer and travel the world.
Each year, the number of students decreased, and so did the number of courses available.
I worked during five different organization restructures. Each time they fired about 10-20% of the total staff due to constant cuts in Government funding.
The reality was that in Australia, there was a decline in the number of people going to University as many more options became available.
The only thing that kept Universities from going out of business was the increase in International Students. They must pay about five times higher tuition rates for an identical education in the same classrooms.
I also saw the gradual shift at Universities. Students stopped being referred to as simply students and instead were called ‘clients.’
The system moved from one of education to a business.
Higher learning was all about profit.
When I quit my job in 2016, I had zero freelance experience or online skills. I only had very niche skills, which didn’t translate to any online work.
So I spent the next six months doing hundreds of online courses on many different topics. I wanted to learn skills for freelancing that would let me work online, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do.
Then, I ended up drawn to Copywriting, Content Writing, SEO, and Digital Marketing.
I primarily used Udemy, LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), and Skillshare.
The total I spent for six months of courses was less than the price of just ONE University subject.
Having a degree is no longer as important as it used to be
If you want to be an employee, you likely still need a degree.
But, if you would prefer to be a business owner – you are your own boss.
In my experience, 99% of the time, clients care about results, not qualifications.
Also, technology evolves fast.
If I were to have done a 3-year degree program in Digital marketing, my knowledge would already have been outdated by the time I graduated.
I believe that there is no need to go to University these days. That is unless you wish to work in a job that needs accreditation. For example, a doctor, lawyer, accountant, nurse, scientist, etc.
Everything else can be learned through online courses, at your own pace, without going into huge student debt.
While it may seem intimidating, especially if you have no experience, you can learn any skills you like, follow your passion, and start a new career!
If I can do it, you can do it too!
Are you ready to get started? So, let’s get into the best online learning platforms to gain new skills.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through any of the links. Thank you for your support!
Here are my picks for the best online learning platforms in 2023:
- Udemy – Best Overall Online Learning Platform
- LinkedIn Learning – Best Professional Online Learning Platform
- Skillshare – Best Creative Online Learning Platform
- Coursera – Best Academic Online Learning Platform
- MasterClass – Best Celebrity Teachers Online Learning Platform
Best Overall Online Learning Platform
Available On: Web, iOS, Android
Udemy is an online learning platform with over 185,000 courses. It teaches 49 million students and 10.5+ businesses around the world. Udemy covers a broad selection of topics, and there are new courses added each month.
Udemy is the biggest online learning platform with the best online course library. It is perfect if you want to learn new skills, start an online business, further your existing knowledge, or learn a new hobby.
The best thing about Udemy is the rating system. Other students leave detailed feedback, and you can also see the course rating out of 5.
You can sort by most popular, trending, and new courses to find the best on the platform for each topic.
There are free and paid courses at very affordable prices.
The platform offers a certificate of completion for every course, although it is not officially accredited. Certificates are only available for paid courses.
Categories: Development, Business, Finance & Accounting, IT & Software, Office Productivity, Personal Development, Design, Marketing, Lifestyle, Photography & Video, Health & Fitness, Music, Teaching & Academics
- Courses are very affordable, starting from $19.99
- Massive library of free courses on a large selection of topics
- Lifetime access to courses (not available for subscription)
- 30-Day no questions asked money-back guarantee on all courses
- Over 185,000 courses to choose from
- Certificate of completion
- Constant year-round sales and discounts (up to 90% off courses)
- It can be expensive if you plan to do many courses (although there is now a monthly subscription option)
- Anyone can teach a course on Udemy, even without any experience – it’s important to watch the preview lessons and check reviews to find high-quality video lessons
Udemy has recently introduced the ‘Personal Plan’ monthly subscription that gives you access to 6000+ top-rated courses on 1700+ topics.
There is a 7-day free trial, and then it is $29.99 per month.
If you plan to do many courses, this is the best option.
All courses are curated and have a 4.4 or higher average course rating
Udemy Business has access to over 15,000 courses for teams of all sizes, starting at $360 per user per year for teams of 5-20.
Udemy also offers both paid and free individual courses. For these courses, Teachers on Udemy set their own prices.
They can vary from $19.99 to $199.99, and you keep the course for life.
Free courses are usually 1-hour introductory or beginner classes offered by teachers, and then the complete or advanced courses are paid courses.
Udemy also regularly has sales on courses, especially for holidays and special events, where most courses on the platform have significant discounts.
Best Professional Online Learning Platform
Available On: Web, iOS, Android
LinkedIn Learning courses are taught by industry experts with real-world experience. The classes cover Business, Technology, and Creative topics.
It is one of the best online course platforms for professional learning. There are over 17,800 courses and learning paths, with more added each week.
You can learn on your own time, whether you want to watch byte-sized videos on your commute or in-depth courses all at once.
LinkedIn Learning makes going from beginner to professional easy with ‘Learning Paths.’ First, you choose what career you want to study, and then you have a self-paced learning path with a list of courses and the order to complete them.
It lets you know how many different courses (items) there are in the learning path and how many hours of content there are for all the lessons.
Then you move through the courses one by one at your own pace.
LinkedIn offers certificates of completion for every course that you can display on your LinkedIn profile to highlight your skills.
But now, they have also partnered with select Universities to offer official academic credit. You’ll need to share the LinkedIn Learning certificate of completion, then you complete the University’s assessment of your learning to receive academic credit.
Business Analysis and Strategy, Business Software and Tools, Career Development, Customer Service, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Leadership and Management, Marketing, Professional Development, Project Management, Sales, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Training and Education.
AEC, Animation and Illustration, Audio and Music, Graphic Design, Motion Graphics and VFX, Photography, Product and Manufacturing, User Experience, Video, Visualization and Real-Time, Web Design.
Cloud Computing, Data Science, Database Management, DevOps, IT Help Desk, Mobile Development, Network and System Administration, Security, Software Development, Web Development.
- Large variety of courses that are constantly updated
- Free generous one-month trial
- Teaches current industry-relevant skills
- There are transcripts of lessons – which can save you from having to take notes
- Learn at your own pace
- Monthly subscription for access to all courses on the platform
- Can connect with like-minded students in the learning community, as well as industry professional teachers
- LinkedIn Learning was originally Lynda.com and has now shifted from a creative online learning platform to a business-focused one.
- The UI is often confusing and counterintuitive
- Course certificates aren’t industry-recognized (all you need to do is play all the videos from start to finish without undertaking any assessment)
- Doesn’t have advanced courses for some career paths (beyond the intermediate level) and will require you to do further studies on other platforms
LinkedIn Learning offers a 1-month free trial.
After that, it is $39.99 monthly.
If you pay annually, there is a 33% discount (with an average price of $26.99 per month).
There are also further discounts if you need to train your team.
Best Creative Online Learning Platform
Available On: Web, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android
Skillshare is the best online learning platform for creatives. It offers over 23,000 classes and courses taught by creative experts and has free and paid classes.
Whether you want to deepen your existing passions or explore new skills, you’ll find inspiration on Skillshare.
Most courses have class projects, where you can take the knowledge and apply it to real-world creative projects. In addition, you can get feedback from the instructor and your peers taking the class while creating a network of like-minded people.
You’ll feel empowered to grow and learn the new skills you’ve always dreamed of in a creative, inclusive, and welcoming environment.
The short video lessons focus on what is important – actually learning new skills while being inspired to do it on your own time around your routine.
Categories: Animation, Film & Video, Web Development, Graphic Design, Illustration, Music, Photography, UI/UX Design, Fine Art, Business Analytics, Creative Writing, Freelance & Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Leadership & Management, Productivity, Lifestyle
Stream or download classes to watch anywhere offline with apps from the App Store or Google Play Store.
- Self-paced courses – learn anytime from anywhere
- iOS & Android app for offline access
- Strong community of creatives all supporting each other
- Virtual workshops available to learn in a live online class environment
- Very affordable classes
- Course materials
- Shared and safe environment to receive honest and constructive feedback from peers
- There are some free courses available
- A subscription gives you access to the entire SkillShare library
- Free-trial available
- Anyone can teach a class on the platform – there is no quality control
- Some courses have very poor video and audio quality
- There are intrusive ads for free courses
Skillshare has some free classes available, although they are somewhat limited.
There is also a monthly and yearly premium membership subscription, which gives access to all courses on the platform.
There is a 7-Day free trial of unlimited classes taught by working professionals and industry leaders.
The pricing starts at $159 per year per person.
For a limited time, try Skillshare free for one month.
Best Academic Online Learning Platform
Available On: Web, iOS, Android
Coursera is different from other online course platforms as it offers credit for degrees and professional certificates from world-class universities and companies.
It offers over 5000 classes and online courses to help you start, switch, or advance your career. If you need a formal qualification and don’t want to attend a traditional university, Coursera is the clear choice among the best online learning platforms.
Coursera collaborates with over 200 universities and companies, including Google, IBM, Stanford, University of Illinois, Penn, and more.
No prior experience is necessary to start a new field that you are passionate about learning. Learning is inclusive for everyone. Luckily, online pricing for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees is also more affordable than a traditional University.
As well as traditional degrees, there are also many one-day courses where you can learn anything from business analytics to graphic design.
Education should be accessible to everyone, and Coursera agrees. There are many 100% free online courses, including the hugely popular ‘The Science of Well-Being’ course from Yale and ‘Machine Learning’ from Stanford University.
According to the Coursera Impact Report from 2020, 87% of people learning for professional development have benefits in their professional life, including a promotion, raise, or starting a new career.
If you are looking for official accreditation and want to earn an online degree, Coursera is the best option.
Categories: Data Science, Business, Computer Science, Information Technology, Language Learning, Health, Personal Development, Physical Science and Engineering, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Math and Logic
- 100% online courses offer flexible, accessible learning on your schedule
- No prior experience is needed to get started – perfect for beginners
- Access courses and video lectures offline and on mobile
- Courses available in multiple languages
- Intuitive experience – includes interactive assessments, quizzes, and peer-reviewed assignments
- Earn a verified University-branded certificate upon successful completion of a course
- Guided projects provide hands-on learning opportunities
- Skill Development Dashboards allow you to track and measure skill development
- A wide range of free classes is available
- University degree courses can be expensive, which makes online higher learning restrictive (although it is still cheaper than a traditional university)
- Pricing is confusing
- The UI can be difficult to navigate
- Some courses are more advanced than others and require prior knowledge
Coursera for Business offer team pricing for $399 per user per year for teams and smaller organizations with unlimited access to the course catalog
They also have custom pricing for enterprises on inquiry.
For peace of mind, there is a 14-Day refund guarantee.
For Bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees, the prices vary depending on the University.
Best Celebrity Teachers Online Learning Platform
Available On: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV
If you want to learn from the best of the best who are leaders, icons, and inspiring artists, then MasterClass is hands down the best and one of the most popular online learning platforms.
For many celebrity teachers, it is the first time they are teaching students industry secrets and giving an insight into how to be successful and follow in their footsteps.
There are high-quality courses in every category. A few include Neil Gaiman teaches the art of storytelling, Steph Curry teaches basketball, Gordon Ramsey teaches cooking, Lewis Hamilton teaches a winning mindset, and Natalie Portman teaches acting. There is even an inclusive leadership class from Bill Clinton.
MasterClass offers 150+ classes across 11 different categories, and there is something for everyone.
There are about 20 lessons per course, with each high-quality video lesson broken down into an approximate 10-minute lesson.
The interface is very user-friendly and easy to navigate, and the production quality of the lessons is Hollywood-worthy.
Each class comes with a workbook with additional material and exercises to complete.
One of the best things about MasterClass is that the courses are highly engaging and with absolutely zero unnecessary content. They are straightforward and won’t put you to sleep, unlike some other courses!
While there is no free trial, MasterClass offers a 30-day refund policy, so there is no risk if you decide it is not for you.
If you subscribe to their mailing list, MasterClass has also started offering samples of their favorite curated courses.
Categories: Food, Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment, Music, Business, Sports & Gaming, Writing, Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government, Wellness
- Stream from anywhere, anytime.
- Membership gains unlimited access to all 150+ classes, as well as any future ones within the year
- Excellent production quality much higher than any other online learning platforms
- Watch video content at your own pace – with 10-minute videos
- Learn from the best in the world in their chosen professions
- Get inspired as well as learning
- 30-Day Refund Policy
- There is no monthly membership option – you have to pay for an annual membership
- The individual plan doesn’t allow download for offline viewing (Only Duo and Family plans do)
- No Free-trial option
- There are no certificates for completing courses
There are 3 different pricing plans available for an annual premium subscription:
- Individual – $15 per month for 1 account, 1 device
- Duo – $20 per month for 1 account, 2 devices
- Family – $23 per month for 1 account, 6 devices
While the prices are advertised per month, MasterClass only bills annually, meaning you have to pay upfront for an entire year.
The Duo or Family accounts provide the best value, especially if you can find someone to split the membership cost.
Turn your creative passion into a dream with MasterClass and learn from passionate instructors who have achieved their dreams no matter how crazy or impossible they may have seemed.
Final Thoughts – Best Online Learning Platforms
With the pandemic, e-learning has now become more popular than ever. It is also now accepted as a credible alternative to in-person learning.
I’ve been doing online courses since 2017 when I was stuck in my dead-end 9-5 job, which had no ‘online skills’ to transition to working online.
Since then, I’ve taught myself everything professionally and for personal interests and hobbies using online learning platforms such as Udemy, Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning), SkillShare, and MasterClass.
Whatever you want to learn, you can do so online at affordable prices and learn at your own pace instead of structuring your life around class timetables.
If you want to work towards degree programs, then online course platforms such as Coursera and LinkedIn offer accreditation towards an online degree.
While it may seem impossible to reach your goals, you can do so in your own time and at your own pace. Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare per day, within 6 or 12 months, you could have changed career paths or started your own online business.
Take the first step towards your dreams and try the best online learning platforms listed above today.
If I can quit my 9-5 corporate job in my 30s, learn digital marketing, and copywriting, and start an online business while I travel the world, you can do it too!
Good luck. You got this!
There are many great free online learning platforms available. A few of our favorites include Udemy, Coursera, and edX. While they mostly have paid courses, they all offer many free classes.
There are many online learning platforms geared specifically for adults. LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), Udemy, and Coursera are the most popular. They offer a wide variety of courses, both for personal and professional development.
Udemy is the world’s largest online course platform, with over 40 million students enrolled and over 56,000 instructors. They offer a wide variety of free and paid personal and professional development courses.
Coursera is a reputable and trusted online learning platform with over 82 million registered users and 2800 employees. They offer a wide variety of courses, both for personal and professional development. All their courses are taught by experienced instructors, and many of them are from top universities where you can receive accreditation. So you can be sure that you’re getting a quality education when you enroll in a Coursera course.
There is no one best way to learn online information. It depends on your learning style and preferences. For example, some people prefer to watch video lessons, while others prefer reading texts or listening to audio recordings. There are many great online resources available for all different types of learners. Try out a few and see which works best for you.
Skyler Benson is a full-time blogger. Join Skyler on SkylerBenson.com and learn how to start an online business and create a life of freedom. Before starting this blog, Skyler worked online as a freelance content writer. He worked with digital marketing agencies and B2B companies for four years. Skyler reviews the best software for your online business and teaches you how to write better and start your freelancing career.