Let’s take a look at a thorough overview of all the very best online course platforms, ensuring you find the perfect one for your needs. To learn even more about them, you can click the link at the end of each overview to read our in-depth review of each platform.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Coursera is kinda like the godfather of all online course platforms. Started in 2011 by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, the platform has grown over the last few years to boast of over 25 million learners, 149 partnering universities and over 2,000 courses, making it the largest provider of MOOCs on the world wide web.
Providing courses in a range of subjects and skills (around 11 categories), most courses on Coursera are free (except for specialization courses), with purchasing a course (anywhere between $40-150) leading to a few additional benefits such as grading of assignments, feedback from mentors and a verified course completion certificate. (It should be noted that verified Coursera certificates can majorly boost your resume, with companies such as LinkedIn, IBM, AWS, and other giants acknowledging them). Currently, prices are decided by the institutes offering the course, with specializations requiring a monthly subscription. However, the platform does provide financial aid and scholarships to students in need.
What sets Coursera apart is that offers proper online master’s degree programs (MasterTrack certificates) from a host of renowned universities such as HEC Paris and the University of Illinois. It also provides certificates and online bachelor’s and masters’ degrees. Coursera is also, as mentioned earlier, the largest MOOC provider in every sense, with the most partners, most language options, and most pathways of learning. Even edX, its closest competitor, only provides around 2,200 courses, while Coursera provides over 3,000 of them! How’s that for large?
Coursera’s closest competitor, edX is a not-for-profit online platform that provides over 1,600 free incredible online courses from its 100+ university and industry partners. Founded by a combination of sugar, spice and everything nice at Harvard and MIT, edX boasts a learners’ base of 12 million and is the go-to platform for quality free courses across 20 disciplines.
One of the best parts about edX is that it is an open-source platform, meaning that its partners have the authority to continuously update their courses to better serve their learners. Also, in addition to its various courses (professional certificates programs, online master’s degrees, Global Freshman Academy and the XSeries courses), edX offers a MicroMasters degree program (job and skill-specific graduate-level courses) which are provided by some of its partner universities and recognized by all of its partner industries.
Like Coursera, edX offers students the option of buying the course for a verified certificate. It also offers financial aid up to 90% of the course fee to students in need.
Third on our list is Udacity, another one of the best online learning sites available to students today. Founded in 2012 by the man behind Google’s self-drive car, Udacity offers students the chance to learn from various industry experts and giants such as Amazon and Google. Mainly aimed at working professionals, Udacity offers courses that are more technological and scientific in nature, such as programming, robotics, and data analysis. These offered courses fall under six different schools – data science, artificial intelligence, business, programming, autonomous systems and cloud computing.
Udacity offers around 200 free courses, though like most portals, you’ll have to pay to receive a certificate or take up graded projects. Udacity also offers what is called a “Nanodegree program”, wherein students can study a specific subject by paying a monthly subscription (courses take anywhere between 6-12 months to complete). These programs are skill-oriented programs that are aimed at learners looking for IT-based skill development. Udacity has also partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology to provide Masters’ degree courses Computer Science.
Udacity has different pricing options for its various programs. Nanodegrees require a monthly subscription (the courses in the degree are free of cost) whereas a Masters’ degree from Georgia Tech will set you back by $6,600 for 6 full terms. It does not offer financial aid, but offers various discounts and offers on various occasions.
With over 80,000 students, 200 partners and 100+ enterprise customers worldwide, Udacity is definitely one of the top guns in the field.