Online Learning Platforms: What You Need to Know

Jeanclaude Gaddahfi

Online learning platforms provide students with a safe environment to take courses online.

Because these online learning platforms offer learners the ability to search and purchase online courses directly, they are often referred to as ‘online course marketplaces’.

While some of these course marketplaces allow you to create your own online courses, most are primarily educational and are centered around university-level education.

Top Tips for Choosing an Online Learning Platform

There are many educational platforms available for learning online, so choosing the right one can be difficult. Allow me to give you a few tips for making the right choice.

  • Focused topics:

There are also learning communities focused on a particular topic (e.g. data science, programming, creative crafts). Obviously, if you are only interested in learning about one of these topics, a specialized e-learning platform may be more appropriate. Examples include DataCamp, CreativeLive, Pluralsight, and Codecademy. Each has a particular focus (e.g. data science, design, photography), and Computer Engineers will find Pluralsight and Codecademy useful.


Your options are limited if you want to study a language other than English. Only LinkedIn Learning offers a few courses in other languages, such as Spanish, German, and Portuguese, besides Udemy and Coursera.


There are a lot of differences among the different platforms when it comes to community aspects. Students are not engaged, so interacting with the instructor and other students is difficult. You may want to check topic-focused learning platforms (e.g. Pluralsight or Datacamp) or Skillshare if you value an engaged community.


Have you set a budget? Alternatively, you could try a free MOOC like Coursera or edX. You can choose between paying a set fee for each course (such as Udemy), or getting a subscription (such as LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare).

Assignments, quizzes, and certificates

All of the platforms described here follow different approaches when it comes to implementing the courses. You can choose from self-graded assignments, peer reviews, and exams that you must pass in order to receive a completion certificate. Be aware of this before you sign up for a platform.

Course quality

Elearning platforms with better quality courses are often more expensive. The courses offered by Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, edX, and Coursera are generally of high quality. Companies such as Creativelive, Pluralsight, and Datacamp, which offer topic-based learning communities, will offer additional courses.

As you can see, there are a wide range of available options with various strengths and weaknesses. While reading every bit of detail that describes each platform and tool may seem time-consuming, conducting some research on those that catch your eye is highly recommended before you make your final choice.

Most platforms allow you to test-drive their products before buying them, so be sure to take advantage of that! You should choose the option that best meets your needs and fits well within your budget.




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