Best Online Learning Platforms

One of the most important assets of a business is its people. Hiring the right people who are a good fit for your business culture can be challenging. But once you’ve cleared that hurdle, it’s time to invest in you and your team so that you can avoid the costly ramifications of high turnover: re-hiring, re-training and onboarding, development and the ground lost when you have a job vacancy for an extended period of time. This is where securing one of the best online learning platforms for growing skillets and training comes into play.

According to OnStaff USA, training directly impacts employee satisfaction and engagement, both critical to an organization’s retention and success. Gallup data shows that the employee engagement which hit new highs during the pandemic has dropped back to just slightly higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 35%, to 36%.

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What is an Online Learning Platform?

An online learning platform gives businesses a leg up with continuing education for you and your employees, elevating the knowledge across a wide range of subject matter. More importantly, skill-building can lead to more engaged employees, eager to put new knowledge to work. Online learning may be live instruction or recorded content that can be viewed whenever it’s convenient for a team or individual learner through a portal. If you or your employees are looking for training and growing, why wouldn’t you invest in an online learning platform?

What are the Best Online Learning Platforms?

Every business has specific needs, especially if their “in-house” employee training is lacking entirely or if it just needs to be shored up. The most economical way to elevate the skills of you and your team is through an online learning platform. Whether you’re looking for flexibility to offer content and training that is relevant to different departments, or you have people in specific roles that need skill-building tools, there is enough range in online learning platforms to accommodate you. The following list contains the best online learning platforms and will compare them based on area of focus, price, and features:

1. Udemy

Beginner to Expert: Best overall

With more than 155,000 video courses, Udemy lands at the top of our list for best online learning platforms. Design, development, marketing, IT and software, personal development, business, photography, and music makes Udemy a go-to resource for a wide range of skill-building – beginner and advanced. Content is taught by over 1,500 experts and real-world practitioners and is geared toward all learning styles.

Udemy

With the world’s largest selection of courses it’s no surprise that more than 28 million students have learned basic or advanced Python – a computer programming language – through videos, articles, coding exercises, and more in these popular courses.

Pricing does vary from course to course, however, thousands of courses are available across a variety of topics starting at $14.99 or you can schedule a demo of Udemy for Business for unlimited access to the top 5,5000+ sources, anytime and on any device.

2. Pluralsight

It’s in the Details: Best for Data Learning

Drawing the smarts of industry experts, Pluralsight offers thousands of courses designed to “upskill” your technology knowledge at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels in software development, machine learning and AI, information and cybersecurity, and more. Labs and interactive courses provide hands-on opportunities to learn by doing. You’ll also find course content aligned with industry certifications.

Pluralsight

Individual Plans

  • Standard — $29/month for access to the core course library, paths and skills assessments.
  • Premium — $45/month for access to the full library of core and expanded courses, exams, projects and hands-on learning.

Team Plans

  • Starter — $399 per user/annually, features access to the core library.
  • Professional — $579 per user/annually, includes basic reporting and user analytics for teams.
  • Enterprise — $799 per user/ annually, includes flexibility and advanced analytics.

3. Skillshare

 Explore Your Passion: Best for Creative Fields

Looking to drive a culture of creativity? Look no further than Skillshare. From animation to UI/UX design with loads of creative content in between, Skillshare is there to help bring your vision to life. Find the support of fellow creatives through online learning that opens the door to unlimited access to thousands of ad-free classes with a premium membership starting at $13.99/month, after a free seven-day trial.

Skillshare

The online learning portal is user-friendly to ease onboarding and management of your team as they navigate to digestible, flexible and hands-on content.

Sign up for Skillshare today! New members get the first seven days of Skillshare Premium for free.

4. MasterClass

High-Profile Teachers: Best for Celebrity Lessons

Arts & Entertainment. Home & lifestyle. Business or Writing.  MasterClass has assembled an impressive roster of subject-matter experts for your personal and professional development. And if you miss a live session, you can always view on-demand at a time that’s convenient for you.

MasterClass

Let’s look at how you and your team can build skills with this online learning platform:

  • With a license, you get 12 months of access to MasterClass content via a convenient admin control.  
  • For gifts, unique codes are converted to personal accounts, once they are redeemed, so there’s no management or administration needed from you.
  • For smaller teams or to reward your customers, opt for gift memberships. Get instruction for “soft” business skills like negotiation, communication and leadership.
  • Group rates are available (5-35% off) with the purchase of five or more annual memberships.
  • Have 20 or more who can benefit from training or deserve a special perk? Contact Sales to learn more.

5. Coursera

Reaching New Goals: Best for College-level Classes

If you’re looking for unlimited access to more than 100 subject areas to empower your team to master new skills, look into Coursera for Teams. This online learning platform suits businesses with 5 to 125 learners.  A 2019 users’ survey shows that 87% of those learning for professional development report career benefits like promotions, raises, and starting a new career.

Coursera

Platform highlights include:

  • Over 4,000 courses from top universities
  • Guided projects, assessments, and quizzes
  • Verified certificates upon course completion

Team Pricing: $399 per user/year – For teams and smaller organizations with unlimited access to the entire course catalog.

6. EdX

Access to Top Schools: Best Pedigree

From skills-based training to graduate-level courses and a path to a master’s degree, edX is the go-to for discerning learners. Starting at $349 per learner/per year, you get access to an impressive catalog of self-paced courses and professional certificates. Enterprise pricing is also available for larger organizations.

EdX

Plan individualized curriculums with the platform’s content experts to ensure you and your team members are gaining the most value from learning tracks like:

  • Project Management
  • Innovation
  • Computer Science
  • Business and Leadership
  • Much more

Track usage and progress on one convenient dashboard and send custom messages of encouragement. You’ll also benefit from personalized content recommendations that help you map your team’s needs.

7. Udacity

Future Forward: Best for Tech

For real-world experience shared in an online learning platform, Udacity teams with industry technology partners such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Intel to teach skills in all facets of digital technologies.

Udacity

Featured programs include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cloud Computing
  • Robotics Software
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more

Start with pre-assessments to design custom learning programs that meet your or your employee’s skills where they are and get them to where you want them to be. If you’re looking for tech-specific training that can start to build the skills of your workforce for tomorrow, check out Udacity.

8. Brilliant

You’ve Got Issues: Best for Problem Solving

Brilliant encourages its online learning platform users to “forget everything you memorized and learn how STEM actually works.” Interactive visualizations, hands-on lessons, and instant feedback stand in place of lectures for rapid improvement.

Brilliant

Try a free preview for access to:

  • New problems every day in the Today tab
  • Math, science, and computer science wiki
  • Synced progress across web and mobile apps
  • Community discussion

Add to the features with a Premium account to unlock all courses and daily challenges. Guide courses include:

  • Foundational and advanced math  
  • Foundational and advanced science
  • Foundational and advanced computer science

Try Brilliant today, or give a gift subscription or learn more about group plans!

9. Codecademy

Technical Learning: Best for Developers and Learning Code

Complex challenges for technical skills are brought down to a manageable size to help you tackle your obstacles to doing better business with Codecademy‘s online learning platform. Beginner courses teach data analysis, full-stack engineering, Java, HTML, and more. Intermediate courses build on the fundamentals to elevate skills even further.

Codecademy
  • Free basic account that gives you access to interactive lessons, limited practice and peer support.
  • Pro account is $19.99/month and opens up members-only content, real-world projects, step-by-step guidance and certificates of complete.
  • Teams gives you everything accessible via a Pro account plus team performance reports, unlimited license switching and flexible start dates. You will need to get a quote for 50 or more users.

10. LinkedIn Learning

All Business: Best for Professionals

You can get more out of a social platform meant for professionals; it’s also an online learning platform business-, creative- and technology-based training. Formerly known as Lynda.com, a premier online learning service, that LinkedIn acquired allows you to identify opportunities to enhance your business’s performance, or you may decide it’s improved customer service. LinkedIn Learning has a track for that. Or human resources. Same. Or leadership and management. LinkedIn has you covered. But it doesn’t stop there.

LinkedIn Learning

If you have a creative department, graphic design, illustration, animation, and web design are among the creative topics. Cloud computing, database management, mobile development, and security are just a few tech-related topics.

Features include:

  • Access to 16,000+ courses taught by real‑world professionals
  • Personalized recommended learning
  • Certificates of completion
  • Interactive learning
  • Much more

Pricing:

  • Monthly at $29.99/month
  • Annually at $239.88 ($19.99/month, a 33% savings!)

Start a 1-month free trial today!

11. Curiosity Stream

Award-winning Streaming: Best for Video Documentaries

Want to encourage your team to think outside the box? Some of the best ideas are those adapted from prior innovations, other industries, and different walks of life. Curiosity Stream can unlock the imagination in new ways with video documentaries, ranging from science and technology to nature and history, and more. With an affordable subscription, you gain instant access to thousands of titles sure to entertain and inspire.

Curiosity Stream

Pricing:

  • Monthly — $2.99 for Standard (high-definition streaming) and $9.99 UD for Premium (4K Streaming)
  • Annual — $19.99 for Standard (high-definition streaming), and $69.99 for Premium (4K Streaming)
  • For companies looking to buy access for a group, discounts begin at 10 subscriptions:
    • 1–9: $19.99 /per subscription
    • 10–49: $14.99 /per subscription
    •  50–1,000: $11.99 /per subscription
    • 1,001+: Get a quote

You can also buy individual gift cards that are redeemable for an annual subscription to recognition peak performers or as a customer appreciation gesture:

  • HD Annual — $19.99/12 months of high-definition streaming
  • 4K Annual — $69.99/22 months of ultra high-definition streaming

Online Learning Platforms FAQs

How Much Do Online Learning Platforms Cost?

An online learning platform is an investment in yourself and in your business that can pay dividends across your business with more engaged and loyal employees with valuable skill sets. There is a wide range of pricing, based on the number of learners you have and the length of time you want to provide learning opportunities.

What Kind of Features Do Online Learning Platforms Have?

Typical features at a business or team level include a dedicated dashboard for monitoring progress, customizable learning tracks, collaboration with a content manager who can help you define curriculum, and some certification-level courses. All open access to industry professionals or academic leaders to ensure you are learning from a range of subject matter experts.

How Do You Choose the Best Online Learning Platforms?

The best place to start is to evaluate your specific needs: Are you looking to enhance your skillset as a business owner, reward individuals, or advance the skills of your entire team? Is it one specific group, like mid-level managers, that can benefit from skill-building, or do you see opportunity across departments? Do you have beginners that need to level up or more seasoned pros who need exposure to new technologies in a rapidly changing field like IT? The best place to start is with a free trial that could be tested by a hand-picked few to determine whether it’s a good match for your team.

Online Learning Platforms Summary

Businesses, large and small, are enjoying the benefits of ongoing training through an online learning platform. It’s easy, convenient, and customizable based on your business goals. An evolving workforce that is shifting to full- or part-time remote, looping in your team with an online learning platform is a great substitute for in-person training with more flexibility and mobility. In most cases, it’s more economical than hiring live facilitators with varying levels of expertise and rigid training calendars. Access to the best teachers has never been easier!

With more than 155,000 video courses we recommend checking out Udemy to begin your online training today!


Last updated on by Joshua Holdeman

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Joshua Holdeman
About the author

Joshua Holdeman is a DevOps Engineer, Sr. Software Engineer, and Digital Marketing Consultant. With over 12 years in the industry and backed by hundreds of digital marketing projects and websites developed under his direction, he brings experience and knowledge allowing for the recommendation of high-impact business software, tools, and programs to help non-profit organizations, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to launch or grow their business. Before starting this blog, Josh was the Sr. Software Engineer for a world leader in a marketing and graphic communications franchise system.

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