When it comes to online learning and gaining knowledge through online programs, I have it covered. There are over 10 massive sites that offer you hundreds and thousands of online courses, some for free and some for a small fee.
When we think sites like Udemy and the volume of courses they sell, it’s downright insane. 2018 revenue report shows that Udemy had over 30 million students, over 100,000 courses with around 42,000 instructors on their platform.
I have gathered below an extensive list of some of the biggest and best online course websites you can find online. The list covers sites that sell online courses.
Here’s a rundown on the sites that are covered in detail in this post:
- LinkedIn Learning (former Lynda)
- Khan Academy
Udemy is one of the biggest players in the online course market and no wonder. These are some of the statistics found from their site:
- 40M Students
- 130K Courses
- 50K Instructors
- 245M Course enrollments
- 30M Minutes of video
- 60+ Languages
- 4,000+ Enterprise customers
- 80%of Fortune 100 companies trust us for employee upskilling
Those are some very impressive figures, and what needs a closer look is the number of courses they offer — 130k online courses from 50K instructors.
Udemy has courses on 60+ languages, making the platform suitable for many.
Top categories on Udemy:
- IT and software
- Personal Development
How much do courses cost on Udemy?
Every instructor sets a price for a course they’ve created based on the global price matrix set by Udemy. The courses are priced in the range of $19,99-199,99. What this means is that courses will cost a maximum of $199,99.
From this perspective, Udemy offers courses at an affordable price. While this is good for the course buyer, it’s not too good for the course creator.
If you want to buy a course, you first need to create an account for Udemy, and then you can buy a course and start learning.
While Skillshare is not as gigantic as Udemy, it’s a platform worth considering. Skillshare has stated on their site the following:
- 4M+ Students
- 5M+ Paid to teachers
- 22,000+ Classes
What’s probably one of the best features of Skillshare is that you can start using them for free. You can have up to one month of free use of their service (Premium membership). After the initial free month, the service will cost
Even though Skillshare has free classes that you can start watching right away, usually, there’s only one lesson open for learning, and the rest are locked behind the membership fee.
If you want to buy courses from Skillshare, you first have to make an account for them, and then you are shown the pricing.
Skillshare is priced at $8/month ($96 billed annually) or $14/month if you are not ready to pay the yearly subscription.
Pluralsight is strongly focused on IT and technology courses and career development. The site is working with major tech companies like Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, Google, etc.
If you are interested in developing your IT-skills and make yourself skilled in technology, Pluralsight is an awesome course site to check.
Pluralsight has course categories such as:
- Software development
- IT Ops
- Data professional
- Information & Cyber Security
Few statistics from the site:
- 1,500+ expert authors
- Trusted by 70% of the Fortune 500 companies, more than 17,700 business accounts.
- 1,400+ employees
- Headquartered in Utah
When thinking about getting a course on software development, I would be hesitant to get it from Udemy. And would probably lean towards Pluralsight, just because the company is specialized in technology.
Pluralsight has a few different plans and different pricing models for personal and businesses.
Personal plans cost $29/month or $299/year. On the business side, you select either professional or enterprise. Professional plan costs $499/ month/user and enterprise plan costs $779/month/user.
You can start using the site for free with some limitations. You have ten days and 200 minutes of viewing available to you. After the 10 days, the trial will convert to a paid subscription that will auto-renew until the subscription is canceled.
Masterclass is a very different beast in the online course market. Masterclass has online courses from the world’s most famous people ever. Christina Aquilera teaches you singing, Samuel L. Jackson teaches you acting, and Usher teaches you the art of performance.
As you can see from the list above, these are some highly-paid talents that you can only dream of having as a teacher (results may/will wary).
While there might not be as many courses as some other platforms have, the emphasis on this platform is the star-quality the teachers bring. There are over 60 teachers from various industries, sharing their knowledge on the topic they know the best.
Masterclass is priced at 16.67€/month. I tried to find U.S pricing but didn’t find any. So a rough estimate would be $15/month. Before you buy, remember that the service billed annually.
Coursera offers courses from universities and companies. Some courses will grant you professional certificates, and some even give you university degrees. Coursera has courses from universities like Penn, Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan, etc. Companies include the likes of Google, IBM, SAS, etc.
Some statistics from the site:
- 40M learners
- 190+ University partners
- 3,600+ Courses
- 390 Specializations
- 15+ Certificates
- 14+ Degrees
Just looking at the numbers, we can see that Coursera is a big player when it comes to certificates and degrees. Not many course site offers a valid accredited certificate or a degree online. Coursera is one of those. You can get an accredited university bachelor’s or master’s degree from the site, but it might not be 100% online. Also, the cost is pretty high, as it starts at $15,000 (USD).
What makes Coursera stand out from the crowd is the fact that they offer accredited courses and degrees. These types of certificates, licenses, and degrees are something potential employers appreciate.
You can start as low as $39/month, but when it comes to degrees, the price starts at $15,000 and can get up to $25,000. You can begin to use Coursera for free for 7-days by creating an account for the site. After the 7-day free trial period, you will be charged accordingly.
Udacity is focused on technology-related courses and education. Udacity has its own program called Nanodegree program. The program has real-world projects from industry experts, 1-on-1 technical mentoring, personal career coach and career services, and flexible learning program.
Some of the most popular Nanodegree programs include:
- UX Designer
- Front end web developer
- Full stack web developer
- Data engineer
- Intro to machine learning
Some statistics from the site:
- 80,000+ Udacity graduates
- 200+ Industry experts partnering with Udacity
- 100+ Enterprise customers worldwide
Udacity offers different schools for different categories, such as:
- School of data science
- School of artificial intelligence
- School of programming
- School of autonomous systems
- School of cloud computing
Udacitys’ pricing model differs a bit from most of the sites. As Udacity offers its own Nanodegree programs, every program seems to be priced $399/month, regardless of which program you decide to get for yourself.
Programs are self-paced, meaning that you can go through the programs whenever you have the time and the will.
LinkedIn Learning doesn’ differentiate itself too much from a platform like Skillshare. Maybe the only difference that can be said is that LinkedIn Learning emphasis that the courses are taught by recognized industry experts.
Some of the top course categories:
- Developer (software and technology)
LinkedIn Learning helps you learn about business, software, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. LinkedIn Learning provides access to 15,000+ expert-led courses, you can also receive a certificate (not an accredited one) when you complete a course, and you can use the platform from your mobile phone too.
LinkedIn Learning Pricing
You can access the courses by getting yourself either a monthly or annual subscription. The monthly plan costs €30,73/month, or €20,49/month (billed annually). You can start your subscription with a 1-month free trial.
Khan Academy is a non-profit online course site. The organization has roughly 150 person staff, and its mission is to provide a free, world‑class education for anyone, anywhere.
While it seems the focus is on providing education for kids, it’s not to say that an older person can also use their platform too.
Khan Academy provides courses on topics such as:
- Math by grade (specific courses for certain age groups)
- Science & engineering
- Arts & humanities
- Test prep
- Economics & finance
- College, careers, & more
Khan Academy works by donations as its a non-profit organization. You can donate with a credit card or with PayPal. They also offer you the option to donate either monthly or one time.
According to the 2018 annual financial report, roughly 12% of donations went for general and administrative (including fundraising), and the rest 88% went for the program. The program raised funds somewhat 49M in 2018.
edX is a non-profit organization like Khan Academy. With the difference that it was founded by Harvard and MIT. The site has courses from universities like MIT, Harvard University, Berkeley, Boston University, etc. While the edX is non-profit, education and courses still cost a lot of money.
For example, applying for a master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University sets you back $24,000 and takes around 2-3 years to complete. It’s fully online and has 6 modules to complete.
- Computer science
- Data science
- Business management
edX doesn’t have one set of prices but is priced per degree or a course. Courses do earn you a certificate, but it’s not an accredited one, more like nice to have one.
Alison is a site that offers certificates like ISO 9001 and diplomas. While the platform is totally free to use. If you want a certificate or a diploma on your course completion, then you have to shell out some cash.
Accreditation inside Alison is made with transparency in mind. Employers can see and take the same tests the course student had, and see what the students have learned inside the course. Employers can also watch employees take these tests again and see if the knowledge and skills they acquired are still valid.
It’s also stated on their site that Alison students get jobs. Meaning that employers trust on the courses and knowledge provided by the platform.
Alison also offers a premium program at the price of €7,99/month. Maybe the biggest benefit is that you will get 50% off the price of certification.
Codecademy is an online course site specifically for coders and people who want to learn how to code. Codecademy has been used by more than 45M learners already. If you are into coding, Codecademy is one of the best sites to learn just that.
- Web development
- Data science
- Game development
Offering by code language:
- HTML & CSS
The site offers 12-month, 6-month, and monthly subscriptions. The subscription is called the Pro Membership program and offers you members-only content, a step-by-step roadmap, real-world projects, and community support.
Memrise is an online course site for learning a language. 43M people from 189 countries already use Memrise to learn a language. Besides learning a language, you can also learn things about animals, astronomy, plants, trees, and fruits.
Memrise is a different beast altogether. While most sites are focused on courses that give you the knowledge, Memrise focuses on language and teaching you a new skill. You can find exotic courses from this site such as baby animal names, butterflies of northern Europe, 400+ top birdsongs.
As you can see from the list, Memrise differs hugely from the rest of the group and positively so.
Memrise offers a subscription service where you can pay monthly, annually, or once and get lifetime access to all of the courses on Memrise. The monthly subscription costs $8,99/month, or annually €5,00/month (billed annually). Lifetime access costs €109,99.
A final note
Thanks to the internet, we, as lifelong students have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to learning online. The online course industry is booming with supply, and combining all courses from all the different platforms out there, we can safely say that every topic imaginable is covered to some extent.
While these sites are one of the biggest ones in the online course industry, we shouldn’t forget that some of the best courses can be found from solo entrepreneurs and small online business owners.
Online courses offer you diplomas, licenses, certificates, degrees, and at the end, knowledge, and skills. Sites like Coursera, Udacity, and edX offer you university-level degrees, and you can get those from the comfort of your sofa.
What should be remembered, though, is that do employers recognize the certificate or diploma you got from an online course program. While most employers do recognize top universities, it’s still your best interest to check the programs thoroughly before enrolling in one.
Online courses provide you the ease of access, access to top-class professionals, a way to learn from the industry experts. This is made possible with sites like Masterclass, LinkedIn Learning, and Alison.
There’s no shortage of online course sites, and there’s certainly no shortage of online courses. The question that remains is which site to choose. Which site has the best offering for you?
My recommendation is to choose a site that is specialized in your topic. If you are into coding, Codecademy is a brilliant site to start with. If you are into design, Skillshare could be your thing.
It’s really about the topic you want to learn. It’s not about if there’s a course on the topic, it’s from who do you want to learn from.
One key thing to remember at the end is, will you get support of any kind from the course creator or not. Enrolling to a course can quickly become overwhelming, and in the worst-case scenario, you will quit the course and lose money. So be careful when you choose a course for yourself. Support will probably be the number thing you need, so make sure it has a community of some kind.