What Are Online Learning Courses Like?
If you haven’t yet explored the wealth of information provided by online learning platforms, you’re very late to the party! Given this tiny little snag called the pandemic, you must’ve had some online courses. It’s similar to online platforms, yet a bit different.
You’re probably never going to meet your instructor or peers in person, but you’ll definitely spend some time in front of your computer. Online learning is anachronous in some ways because most of the materials are already there, and you can do them at your own pace. You don’t have to pretend you’ve been awake for longer than the two minutes it took you to start your web browser, and nobody will ask you to start your camera. Lessons are commonly presented as pre-recorded videos, and you might get some homework too.
After you’ve finished watching the course, answering questions, and maybe writing a course assignment, you’ll get feedback from your instructors in written form or via a video call. Don’t forget your certificate!
Benefits of Learning Online
In the age of autodidacticism, online learning is the best among the rest, with tons of advantages attached:
- The variety! There’s a course for literally EVERYTHING out there. From coding to foreign languages to superhero study – whatever tickles your fancy can be found out there. Even if you’re unsure about what you’re looking for, just scrolling through the list can be highly inspiring!
- It’s affordable. You wouldn’t believe how many courses are available for free. Otherwise, even if there are some fees, they’re usually quite low, and there are discounts to be found!
- Taught by experts. Some of the best universities out there put up a good deal of great content online and will even give you a diploma when you’re done. Wouldn’t you want to listen to Oxford and Harvard professors talk? I certainly would!
- It’s balanced. Work-life balance is a mess these days, but if you have access to online learning, you don’t have to worry about your commute time or the logistics of getting there and back. It’s all a few clicks away. Learning online allows you to keep your job, as you can choose when to attend lessons. On the other hand, you can stop and take a break whenever you need one, which promotes better learning overall.
- No need to relocate. Commuting is dreary, but relocation can be nightmarish. None of that is necessary with online learning!
- Easily customized. Depending on your learning style, you might be looking for different types of courses. Listening, watching, interacting – with all the variability of resources, you can easily personalize your learning experience.
- Efficient and effective. Nobody is really forcing you to take a course online, so if you do, you’ll most likely be self-motivated to learn, which will make the whole process much more effective than taking a course jUsT fOr CrEdITs.
If you’re not convinced yet, I dare you to look at some of the learning platforms listed below and not find something of interest! I double-dare you! 😊
Best Online Learning Platforms for Students of All Backgrounds
Whether you’re at a university, already working, or retired, you can be an online student – all you need is an internet connection and a learning mindset. There are different platforms offering a wide variety of content catering to the whole spectrum of learning styles and interests, so let’s take a look at some of them.
- Coursera. Have you really started living if you haven’t seen Coursera and spent hours searching through their database? Basically, anyone who’s someone in the big world of universities has something to offer through the platform. Universities put up their own courses with pre-recorded instruction videos and accompanying tasks. Anyone can access and complete the lectures with a simple login. However, you should know that to get a real certificate; you might need to pay for your course. Still, given the quality of content on Coursera, these fees are well justified.
- Udemy. Now there’s one of the most popular learning platforms out there, although it is a bit of a double-edged sword for instructors. The platform is solely geared towards students: If you’re one, you’ll find literally everything up there, including lots of soft skill courses. They have a range of different sources and materials (texts, PDFs, video lectures, PowerPoints) that are designed for self-paced learning. Courses are not for free, although they are reasonably priced. However, be aware that interaction with instructors is limited. The dark side hits the instructors, who cannot have any sort of personal branding and who also don’t get a good deal of the money people pay for their courses. If you support fair education and payment, maybe this one is not for you.
- Skillshare. Skillshare is a course marketplace where instructors (mostly creatives of all kinds) come and share their knowledge and skills. Courses are divided into four categories: Creative arts, technology, business, and lifestyle, and range between 45 and 60 minutes per lesson. You can pay monthly or annually, and your subscription gives you access to multiple courses at the same time. The platform also promotes student interaction and the exchange of feedback.
- Domestika. Here’s a little gem especially for artsy people. Whether you’re a veteran with a personal style or are just looking for a new hobby, you should check out Domestika – your personal art platform. They have tons of creative arts and crafts courses (both digital and traditional arts) at very affordable rates. Courses are pre-recorded, so you can work at your own pace, rewind and replay if you get stuck, and, most importantly, enjoy!
- Codecademy. Looking for coding courses? And for free? Look no further than Codecademy, where you get to learn coding basics from experts for free. The platform is beginner-friendly and covers all frontend and backend programming languages, including HTML, Java, PHP, Python, Sass, Ruby, and many others. It makes coding languages seem simple even to people like me who are actively boycotted by technology. The platform is highly interactive, and you get to practice as soon as you’re introduced to new material. You can also work on projects and assignments.
- PluralSight. Similar to Codecademy, PluralSight is aimed at people looking to improve their technology skills. The platform is curated by a multitude of tech experts who have created thousands of courses covering coding, IT administration, and web and software development. The platform also offers assessment tests to check how good you are for a specific role. They are also connected to some of the biggest tech names like Google and Oracle, and although courses are not free, they are so incredibly detailed that they’re worth every dime.
- MasterClass. While it offers online courses covering a wide range of topics, MasterClass comes with something quite special: VIP instructors. Now, who wouldn’t want to learn creative writing with Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood? The classes are produced in almost cinematic quality and designed to be accessible to people of all levels. Not for free, but totally worth it!
- Teachable. While we’re talking about online learning, you might also be interested in sharing what you already know. Teachable is a straightforward platform designed with instructors in mind. At fair rates (including the free version), you can upload materials, provide lessons and tasks, and reach your audiences.
By the way, you’d be surprised at how many learning resources you can find on YouTube – just sayin’ 😉.
Looking for Free Online Learning Sites?
Then you’re already at the right place. StudySmarter is an online learning platform covering various courses and subject matter, catering to high school and university students. You can learn through our expert-written and curated original study sets, test yourself with flashcards, and get in touch with the community to create new materials yourself.
StudySmarter is highly proud of its user-friendly, customizable platform, where you can upload and edit your own materials in ways that support your learning. We also care about our students’ well-being and have a branch of articles devoted to self-optimization, lifestyle, and common student issues and questions such as studying abroad or expanding horizons.
Online Learning – There Really are no Downsides
… except for the lack of attention that comes with online anything, not just online learning. For that, we suggest a digital detox!
Online learning is a highly versatile approach to education and self-governance in one’s studies. There’s hardly a subject you cannot find online, and a wealth of expert instructors make learning interesting and effective. Other pros include accessibility, affordability, and self-paced learning, which guarantees high success rates.
Don’t wait around; the world of knowledge is already waiting for you!