16 Best Online Course Platforms for Self-Development

16 Best Online Course Platforms for Self-Development

 

Updated: May 2024

 

October. Long, cosy 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 of the year 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.

 

  1. Coursera
  2. Domestika
  3. Master Class
  4. LinkedIn Learning
  5. Study
  6. Wondrium
  7. Future Learn
  8. Creative Live
  9. Alison
  10. Lead Academy
  11. Mindvalley
  12. Learn from Fiverr
  13. edX
  14. SkillShare
  15. Upskillist
  16. Discover by Teachable 

 

  1. Coursera

 

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.

 

You can also earn an entire degree from one of the top-notch universities in the UK and US, or earn credits towards a traditional degree if you're already enrolled at a Bachelor's or Master's programme. 

 

Pricing: Guided Projects with job skills and industry tools start at $9.99. The subscription for courses in specific skills or professional certificates costs $335/year, which equals to $49/month. You can also find some courses for free. MasterTrack Certificates issued by universities start at $2000, and earning a BA or MA degree will cost you $9000+. 

 

Certificate: Free after you pay for the subscription. 


 

  1. Domestika

 

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: $39.99 per course (they often have discounts where you can buy one for as little as $5.99). You can also subscribe to Domestika Plus for $8.33/month ($99.99/year) in the yearly plan, or $15.99 in the monthly plan. It gives you free access to over 1000 courses and grants you a certificate for each completed course.

 

Certificate: Free after you buy the course (no extra payment for the certificate alone once you pay for the course itself, which we likey). 

 


 

  1. Master Class

 

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: £10/month (Yes, that little!)The only limitations are that you can’t download videos for offline viewing and can only access the platform from 1 device at the same time. 

  • Plus:  £14/month - allows you to download videos and watch on 2 devices simultaneously.

  • Premium:  £19/month - you can access the platform from 6 devices at the same time (best option for organised classes).

Subscription for all plans is billed annually. 

 

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! 


 

  1. LinkedIn Learning

 

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:  The prices are quoted individually, based on individual needs. Since LinkedIn Learning is aimed at developing your career skills, you can pitch the idea to your employer and have them purchase access for the team. 

 

Certificate: Free once you purchase the plan. 

 


 

  1. Study

 

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!

 

Pricing: $29.99/month for the Basic Plan

 

Certificate: Free once you subscribe. 


 

  1. Wondrium

 

Still convinced Netflix is better? Well, you might love Wondrium, then. It is literally the Netflix for courses - even the design is 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 the impression you’re watching a film - you soak in the knowledge without even realising it!

 

We can’t stress enough how amazing Wondrium is. You will simply have to go and see for yourself. 

 

Pricing:  You can test out the platform during the 14-day free trial. Aftereards, there are 3 types of plans:

  • Monthly: £18/month
  • Quarterly: £13.33/month (billed £40 quarterly)
  • Annual: £11.25/month (billed £135 annually)

 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. 

 


  1. Future Learn

 

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 (€34.99/month) 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. 


 

  1. Creative Live

 

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 specifically focus on that, the quality of teaching is great.

 

You can choose from 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. There are also subscription plans available:

 

  • $10.75/month (billed annually, $129 in total)

  • $29/month (can subscribe for one month, without needing to commit annually)

 

Certificate: Not provided, the courses are for your own development and pleasure :) 


 

  1. Alison

 

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, and the courses are easy to find and navigate through. 

 

They offer two types of courses: 

 

  • Certificate: 2-3 hours of learning

  • Diploma: 8-10 hours 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. There is also an option to remove ads for €499 in a one-off payment lasting for a lifetime. 

 

Certificate: As mentioned above, you can choose between two options:
 

Certificate Diploma

Digital: €22

Digital: €69

Printed: €31

Printed: €112

Framed: €43

Framed: €134



 

  1. Lead Academy

 

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 £125, but the prices may vary or be subject to change (there are often promotions, where you can sign up for a course for as little as £29). There is also the option to subscribe for £99/year, or purchase lifetime membership for £149. 

 

Certificate: You have to pay an additional fee to obtain a certificate, aside from buying the course itself.

  • CPD UK & IPHM Accredited and Quality License Scheme Endorsed Hardcopy & PDF Certificate + Transcript + Enrolment Letter: £170 (more widely recognised)

  • CPD & IPHM Accredited Hardcopy & PDF Certificate + Transcript + Enrolment Letter: £105

  • CPD & IPHM Accredited Hardcopy Certificate + Transcript + Enrolment Letter: £77

 

Dual certificates:

  • CPD UK & IPHM Accredited Certificate - PDF version: £12
  • CPD UK & IPHM Accredited Certificate - hard copy: £35
  • CPD UK & IPHM Accredited Certificate - PDF version + Hard copy: £42
  • CPD UK & IPHM Accredited Certificate - framed hard copy: £55 



 

  1. Mindvalley

 

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. Most Mindvalley reviews so far have been good.

 

Pricing: You can enjoy a 15-day free trial. After that, the pricing for individual courses differs, but you can also subscribe for $399/year (paid upfront) or $49/month (equals to $588/year).

 

Certificate: As the courses revolve mostly around spirituality and mindfulness, certificates are not provided. 



 

  1. Learn from Fiverr

 

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 $14.

 

Certificate: None provided. 



 

  1. edX

 

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. There is also the possibility to pitch edX for Business to your employer and have them cover the costs of a course relevant to your role. 

 

Certificate: If you access a course for free, you will need to pay extra to receive a certificate of completion. 



 

  1. SkillShare

 

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 of 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 an annual subscription for $168/year ($14/month). There is also SkillShare for teams - a business solution where employers can grant access to the platform to their entire workforce. 

 

Certificate: None provided. 



 

  1. Upskillist (formerly Shaw Academy)

 

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 Upskillist.

 

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 €59.99/month. There is also Upskillist for Enterprise, so feel free to pitch it to your employer.

 

Certificate: Upskillist offers globally recognised certificates for every course. 



 

  1. Discover by Teachable

 

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 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! 

 

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 a successful development. Let’s get down to business!

 


Feeling inspired? Visit our blog for more career advice! How can you be sure the information we provide is top-notch? We are a group of professionals working with recruiters, career coaches, and HR specialists from all over the world! 

Trust our experience and let us help you find a new job in Europe!