October. Long, cozy evenings are coming. You can of course escape them by switching into a mole’s lifestyle and going to bed at 8:30 PM. You can also try to battle them with a mug of hot tea, fuzzy socks, and the good old Netflix and chill.
But, you can also use this somehow depressing and grim time for self-development. The best way to boost your employability and help your job search along is to engage in courses. Long nights boost productivity for some. Whether you’re a night owl and thrive after the sun goes down, or you’ve just realised that it’s already October and you still haven’t made any improvements in your life despite your New Year’s Resolution (10 months ago) to be a better person, invest in yourself this spooky season.
If your excuse to choose Netflix over an online course platform was that you don’t know any, we’re here to change that. Since we are aware of how many different platforms there are out there, and it can take hours just to find them all, and then decide which one suits you best, we’ve got your back. We have prepared the ultimate list of best online course platforms out there. We will describe each of them in a nutshell, compile their characteristics, features, and pricing.
Ready? Steady? Let’s go!
Disclaimer: Please notice that the prices come in different currencies, as the platforms are from different countries. Most of them are given in EUR, but we left the prices in USD and GBP as they are for accuracy.
A platform created in collaboration with world’s top universities and leading enterprises. You can be taught by professors from Columbia and Duke Universities, or educated by specialists from Google, IBM, and Microsoft. The courses themselves are offered in different languages, which distinguishes Coursera from other platforms, the majority of which only provides lessons in English. Because of how many renowned universities and well-known companies co-create the platform, certificates obtained from Coursera are widely recognised by employers. The topics are mostly academic, there are many categories to choose from, from Data Science to Arts & Humanities.
Pricing: €25 - €90 per course and €335/year if you choose to subscribe (which equals to €49/month). You can find some courses for free - you won’t get a certificate for them, but you can complete them just for yourself.
Certificate: Free after you pay for the subscription.
Domestika is another one of the leading online course platforms. Whereas Coursera focuses on academic topics, here you can also find courses focused on all kinds of hobbies - even fashion, crocheting, or calligraphy. What we love about Domestika is that it lets you create bundles, where you choose particular courses from the same topic and buy them all together to get significant discounts. For example, if you are interested in Design, you can pick a few of the courses from the wide variety offered, and buy them together with a 72% discount (compared to how much they would cost if you purchased each one separately). Another great thing is that they allow you to buy gift cards - if a birthday is coming up and you’ve run out of ideas, you can gift someone a particular course, or a card with which they can pick whatever classes they like!
Pricing: €39.90 per course (they often have discounts where you can buy one for as little as €9.90), or €49.90/month for Domestika PRO - it gives you a 20% discount on all courses, and once you go PRO, a few randomly-chosen courses become available for free every month. It’s a good opportunity to try new things!
Certificate: Free after you buy the course (no extra payment for the certificate alone once you pay for the course itself, which we likey).
A platform different from all others. Why? Because with this one, there is a 99% chance you will know your teachers! How? Because Master Class is aimed mostly at cultivating hobbies, and the topics vary from food to writing, true icons of each domain are invited to lead the classes. You can cook with Gordon Ramsay, write with Margaret Atwood, or learn songwriting with Alicia Keys. How exciting is that! You might think that given how famous and qualified the teachers are, Master Class will require you to pay handsomely for their services. Well… not at all! The pricing is very reasonable given the high quality of teaching. See below!
Pricing: The are 3 kinds of plans you can choose from:
Standard: €16/month (Yes, that little!)The only limitations are that you can’t download videos for offline watching and can only access the platform from 1 device at the same time.
Plus: €20/month - allows you to download videos and watch on 2 devices simultaneously.
Premium: €24 - you can access the platform from 6 devices at the same time (best option for organised classes).
Certificate: As the courses are mostly hobby-related, there are no certificates. But hey, you can say you’ve received tennis classes from Serena Williams herself!
We have talked about hobbies, then let’s move to professional skills for a moment. LinkedIn offers courses that are focused solely on career development - you can search for them by typing your current position, and it will suggest the best topics for you. The best part? Since you mostly strive for certificates so that you can include them in your LinkedIn profile, what certificates are better to aim for than the ones prepared by LinkedIn itself? The issue of the credibility of certifications provided by various online learning platforms is a broad topic, but in this case, you have the certainty that they will be recognised (and appreciated!) by the employers, and that all the time you have spent learning didn’t go to waste.
Pricing: €29.98/month (becomes €19.99/month if you opt for the yearly subscription - that equals to around €240/year).
Certificate: Free once you purchase the plan.
We’ve had leisure, we’ve had professional - now is the time for academic! Study is a great platform that offers courses in subjects you remember from high school or university - History, Maths, Science, and more. The idea is that if for whatever reason you had skipped a certain stage of your education, you can catch up with what you had missed now. Since the site is American, the degrees gained through Study might not be officially recognised in Europe, but it is still a great opportunity to develop! As an adult, you don’t get the chance to casually walk into class and listen about World War II anymore. While some celebrate the fact that they never have to solve a single equation in their life again, others miss the formulas and numbers. Study gives you the chance to pick up your favourite school subject and expand your knowledge in your free time. You can choose from different levels: Middle School, High School, and College. So if you’ve never learnt Business or Psychology at school and want to start now - you can begin from scratch!
Certificate: Free once you subscribe.
Still convinced Netflix is better? Well, you might love Wondrium, then. It is literally the Netflix for courses - the design is even similar! The selection of topics is very broad - you can even find categories as original as Health & Mindfulness, Philosophy & Religion, or Travel & Cultures. One thing is for sure: there is absolutely NO WAY you won’t find at least one course that you won’t find fascinating. Each video comes with a short trailer outlining the details of the course, so you can really feel like you’re navigating Netflix. The videos themselves are also structured in a way that gives you an impression you’re watching a film - you soak in the knowledge without even realising! We can’t stress enough how amazing Wondrium is. You will simply have to go and see for yourself.
Pricing: €18/month (becomes €13.33 if you choose the quarterly subscription option). You can also opt for the plan for the whole year, which will cost you €89 ( only €7.42/month). Cheaper than Netflix. Just saying.
Certificate: Since the platform offers courses that serve more to satisfy your inner thirst for knowledge of all kinds rather than provide typically professional training, there are no certificates available.
If you liked Coursera, you are going to love Future Learn as well. They are similar in many aspects - both create their courses based on cooperation with top universities and organisations. However, they collaborate with different schools and companies. Coursera mostly focuses on American universities, while on Future Learn you can find many British ones. Therefore, if you live in Europe, you might find it easier for an online degree gained through Future Learn to be recognised by European employers/educators. Because, yes, except for individual courses on various topics, you can also get an entire degree with this platform! And we saved the best thing for the last: you can do the courses for free, you only need to upgrade for extra benefits.
Pricing: €159.99/year for the Unlimited programme (you receive a certificate of completion, plus get lifelong access to a course - with the free version you can access it for its entire duration plus 14 additional days after it ends).
Certificate: Free once you upgrade to Unlimited.
Any creative souls out there? If deep down, you are an artist stuck in the body of a business developer or an accountant, Creative Live is there to support you! When you get home from work, get a nice big mug of hot chocolate and power up this great online learning platform. They offer courses in the creative domain and because they focus just on that, the quality of teaching is great. They offer all kinds of topics: crafts, design, photography, even business (because if you decide to freelance or start your own business in the creative domain, you will need the skills, and Creative Live fully understands that!).
Pricing: $29-$149/course. They offer very flexible payment options (because they get that sometimes, we do live month by month - especially as artists!).
$12.42/month (billed annually, $149 in total)
$15/month (billed monthly, but the commitment is for the whole year, $180 in total)
$39/month (can only subscribe for one month, without needing to commit annually)
Certificate: Not provided, the courses are for your own development and pleasure :)
In contrast to Creative Access, Alison is more for those who prefer the practical side of life (but not only!). They offer courses in domains such as languages or IT - even health, which is not a common category for online learning platforms in general. The website is very user-friendly, the courses easy to find and navigate through. They offer two types of courses:
Certificate: less than 3h of learning
Diploma: 8-15h of learning - sometimes longer!
The different options give you the flexibility of choosing how much time you can dedicate to exploring the subject, or how deeply you want to dig into it.
Pricing: You can access all the courses on Alison for free! You can upgrade to Premium for €7.99/month to receive certain benefits.
Certificate: As mentioned above, you can choose between two options:
Probably one of the online course platforms with the broadest selection of topics. When you click on the “Courses by Subject” tab, the list goes on for miles, and each category expands into a couple of sub-categories. The courses have no fixed schedules, so you can learn at your own tempo and adjust the lessons around your daily activities. The interesting feature is that Lead Academy also offers courses in very technical professions, such as nail artist, massage therapist, or yoga practitioner.
Pricing: most courses cost £185, but the prices may vary or be subject to change (there are often promotions).
Certificate: You have to pay an additional fee to obtain a certificate, aside from buying the course itself.
Endorsed Certificate from Quality License Scheme: £65 (more widely recognised)
PDF Certificate of Achievement from Lead Academy: £12
Printed Certificate of Achievement from Lead Academy: £35
This one differs significantly from all the others mentioned in this post. Whereas all the other online course platforms focus on honing skills, whether practical or creative or academic, Mindvalley focuses solely on lifestyle. They offer courses in focus, problem-solving, leadership - even healing heartbreak. The topics are highly spiritual: when you’re not in the mood to work on your intellect, focus on your mind and soul. It is a great alternative for when you're too overwhelmed with everything to even think about anything other than relaxation and meditation.
Pricing: the pricing for individual courses differs, but you can also subscribe:
Standard Membership: $499/year (paid upfront) or $99/month (equals to $1188/year).
Pro Membership: $999/year
Certificate: As the courses revolve mostly around spirituality and mindfulness, certificates are not provided.
Do you know Fiverr? It’s a great website connecting freelancers with businesses in need of their services. If you are a copywriter, photographer, graphic designer, or do any other form of freelance work, you might already have an account there (and if you don’t, you really should consider creating one!). Aside from being an amazing meeting point for business owners and creators, it also runs an online course platform. The topics they offer vary: marketing, websites, writing, and more. Whether you would like to expand your professional knowledge or develop your skills for leisure, you will definitely find something for yourself.
Pricing: There is no option to subscribe - each course has to be bought separately. Prices per course start at $21.
Certificate: None provided.
The courses at edX are entirely delivered by professors from top universities from all over the world. If you have always dreamed of securing a spot at Berkeley, Harvard, Oxford, or Cambridge, but your plans didn’t quite pan out, you can benefit from online courses organised by those schools about any topic that interests you with edX! And we do mean every topic: we would need a separate 3000-word blog just to list all of the available categories to choose from, so we will just redirect you to their website. Additionally, edX offers both singular courses and entire degrees and programmes you can complete online.
Pricing: Because the courses are organised by different universities from various countries (including, for example, Japan), the prices vary. You can access some of the courses for free and pay for upgrades.
Certificate: If you access a course for free, you will need to pay extra to receive a certificate of completion.
The courses you can take at SkillShare are divided into 3 categories: CREATE, where you can develop (you guessed it) your creative skills such as illustration or video-making, BUILD, which will improve your business game with courses in entrepreneurship and management, and THRIVE, a category all about lifestyle and productivity. You can find videos that will be a couple hours long, but also some that are as short as 15 minutes! SkillShare gives you the opportunity to choose the area you wish to develop in, the particular topic, and the time you are able to dedicate to learning. They really do think about everything.
Pricing: SkillShare offers a monthly subscription for $13.99/month. There are also certain courses you can access for free.
Certificate: None provided.
Would you like to gain Photoshop skills? Perhaps practice some yoga? Or maybe you’ve recently been thinking about getting into knitting? Well, regardless of whether you are interested in only one of those things or all of them - you can find all three at Shaw Academy. If neither sounds exciting, don’t worry. You will definitely find something that catches your eye, because they have A LOT to offer. Even Tarot reading.
Pricing: You can access each course for €49.99/month.
Certificate: Shaw Academy offers globally recognised certificates for every course.
Last on our list - but definitely not least. Discover offers a broad range of courses. What distinguishes it from other platforms is that it puts a strong emphasis on the Creators of the courses themselves - if you have an idea for your own online course and would like to share your valuable knowledge with others, Teachable is ready to support you in this undertaking. You can find inspiration for your own course among all kinds of topics other Creators have to offer you.
Pricing: Because the pricing for each course depends on the Creator themselves, the prices per course vary. Some courses can be accessed for free.
Certification: As courses can be organised and delivered also by people who are passionate about what they do and not just by classified organisations or universities, certificates are not provided.
We know the stats and a load of information we have just provided you with is a lot to take in. But since we have combined literally all of the online learning platforms we could possibly find on the Internet into one place, all you need to do is go through them at your own pace, try each one out, and decide which ones speak to you the most!
All right, maybe it’s not necessarily true that this post includes all of the platforms with online courses we could find… We are planning to release another post soon - one directed to all of the tech fans out there! Watch out for our article about best online learning platforms for those who are into data, technology, and programming - coming soon!
When it comes to those we have mentioned here, do you have any favourites? Have you maybe attended courses on any of those platforms already? If so, did you enjoy them? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
We wish you all successful development. Let’s get down to business!