Lifelong learning is a crucial aspect of career development because it helps professionals remain current, while their willingness to gain new skills and advance professionally helps them win points with their employers. But, most people struggle to find enough time to continue their education, and this is where online courses can help; they allow you to reap the benefits of continuous education from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace.
Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of the best websites with online courses that allow you to pick up new skills and succeed in the workplace.
Udemy is one of the most popular online learning platforms and is the go-to place for millions of professionals who are interested in advancing their careers. It offers more than 45,000 courses in various sectors, including coding, marketing, business etc. What’s important to note is that Udemy is not an accredited organisation which means that you won’t be able to get certified for the courses you take, but many of the instructors are experts in their fields which means that a course from Udemy will be very useful and provide a lot of information.
Coursera is one of the most vibrant platforms in the online learning sector. More than 25 million learners have trusted this organisation with their education needs, while the site’s partnership with 149 universities gives it a prestige that many would envy. Online classes here vary depending on what you want and they can generally be distinguished into three types: courses, specialisations and degrees.
To complete a course you’ll generally need four to six weeks, while specialisations take longer and need half a year to complete. Online degrees operate in collaboration with some of the best universities in the world and require a couple of years to complete.
Lynda is a Linkedin company and a leading online courses provider that allows professionals across all sectors to learn and further their skills. What you should know about this platform is that it’s not free and that it does not operate on a per course basis. Users are instead asked to pay a monthly fee and get unlimited access to the 6,000 courses available. Bear in mind that you can cancel your subscription and reactivate it whenever you want.
Alison is driven by the belief that education can help improve people’s lives and as such, strives to offer the best quality online classes anybody can find online. Many of the courses here can lead to a certificate or a diploma, while courses are also organised into ‘learning paths’ (e.g.,. marketing, biology and nursing) to help professionals broaden their skillset, progress their knowledge and master specific subjects.
Udacity is one of the biggest e-learning platforms; it offers a wide range of courses and ‘nanodegrees’ which let students master in-demand skills. Udacity believes that with their nanodegrees anyone can get a job in under six months and is willing to give you your money back if you are unable to get employed in that time frame. But what really makes Udacity unique is that it’s driven by the belief that education is necessary at all stages of a professional’s life.
EdX is one of the most prestigious e-learning platforms as it was founded by Harvard University and MIT. Of course, EdX has now moved beyond these two universities and offers top-notch courses from many of the world’s best universities and institutions. There are a myriad of courses available for every level, and you can filter results by partners (universities & institutions) if you are interested in adding a specific university to your CV. Moreover, if English is not your mother language, you’d be happy to know that there are courses available in multiple languages.
7. Open Culture
Open Culture has a wealth of resources as it does not just host hundreds of online courses, but also movies, textbooks and ebooks. The online course section features 1200 free classes from some of the world’s most renowned universities. The courses are ready to download and you can choose from a great variety material available that ranges from lectures on literary theory from Yale University to business related concepts such as branding, social media and corporate finance.
8. Khan Academy
Another leading online learning resource, Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organisation that believes in a free world-class education. It’s one of the most popular websites for professionals from across the world as the platform can be tailored and personalised to help motivate you. The website also offers instructional videos and practice exercises. Topics covered range from math to science, engineering, economics and finance.
9. Academic Earth
Academic Earth is a wonderful website for online learning with a list of courses that is carefully curated and hand-selected by the organisation’s staff to ensure that their users get the best education possible. Courses vary and there’s something for everyone whether you are interested in exploring something new to change your career or advance in a specific area of your current field.
10. Stanford Online
Stanford Online is more than just the online version of the University of Stanford. It’s a massive resource that offers professional education opportunities that can cater to the needs of individuals from many different sectors. The platform also operates in conjunction with many of the University’s schools and departments, and the world famous standard of education at Stanford is maintained on their online platform. Courses are extremely varied and range from theoretical to applied.
11. Harvard Extension School
Similarly, Harvard Extension School works in conjunction with the university and strives to offer the same standard of ivy league education. The primary drive behind Harvard Extension School is to offer classes that can help students gain a new perspective on their chosen field and as such materials are carefully selected by professors and Harvard staff. There are 800 courses available from various faculties including arts and humanities, business studies and management, computer science, engineering and math.
12. Open Yale Courses
Open Yale Courses are slightly different to Harvard Extension School and Online Stanford in the sense that this is not a platform curated specifically for distance learners, but rather it’s a platform where some of the Universities best lectures have been uploaded. You’ll find videos from some of the most prestigious professors in each sector and gain the kind of insight that Yale students get on a daily basis. There are dozens of courses available, and you can filter either by course title, professor or date.
13. MIT Open CourseWare
MIT Open CourseWare is MIT’s online course content platform. It features extremely varied content and the extensive database (more than 2300 courses) has been built to cater to the needs of a diverse audience. You’ll find that there’s something useful to learn at every turn and that being able to put MIT on your CV will go a long way to helping you get a leg over the competition.
14. University of Oxford Podcasts
Oxford Podcasts are the free resources from Oxford University. It has more than 5,000 hours of material which you can download to watch or listen to for free. The database is regularly updated and neatly organised so that you can find podcasts that are of interest to you in a relatively stress-free way.
15. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS)
MOOCS feature hundreds of online courses that allow students around the world to take university courses. In many ways, these classes are similar to getting a degree, but they typically do not offer accreditation. What makes MOOCS effective is that they are open and free, and the sheer amount of courses available makes the website attractive to anyone who’s interested in trying something new.
Memrise is different because it’s designed to create a unique learning experience. They use different approaches to online teaching to activate parts of the brain to allow their students to learn fast. They also rely on continuous testing and sensory memories to help the brain store and recall information more easily. Although their courses for professionals are quite limited and not as extensive as some other websites, it’s worth looking at what they offer.
17. Six Sigma Training Online
Six Sigma is a disciplined approach that has been proven to help employees boost performance and improve results in their organisation. Six Sigma offers four types of certification which range based on the level of experience you’ll gain, these certificates start from the ‘white belt’ certificate and go all the way up to the ‘black belt’ certificate.
OpenLearn is the Open University’s online platform and it features over a thousand free courses spread across various subjects and sectors. OpenLearn is a great platform for online courses for professionals who have time limitations as their courses can be tailored to your specific needs; there’s no starting or ending date, so it’s up to you to create a schedule that works for you.
German-based Iversity offers many online classes in English as well as German and other European languages. The courses here are very interactive and they allow students to learn from one another. Iversity is driven by the belief that learning and education are social processes and need to be treated as such.
Codecademy is one of the most popular online learning websites to educate yourself. Although it’s very specific to coding skills, coding is becoming increasingly important and that in the near future, many professionals might need to have some coding skills or at least be able to read code, so why not get a head start?
Lifelong learning can help professionals achieve their goals and improve their careers. You need to identify what skills you need to improve and find a website that caters to your needs.
What course could have the biggest impact on your career? Let me know in the comment section below.