People often note that the internet is full of information. But when one looks into it, there’s often more nuggets of information than goldmines. To be sure, those nuggets of information are important. But it can be hard to find high quality sites to get a more in depth look at various subjects.
However, in the following list we’ll examine the best of the best in online study. We’ll rank them according to scope, cost and efficiency.
Cram ranks somewhat lower on the list not out of any inherent issues. But instead, it’s because of some fundamental differences with other items on this list. Most of the other items focus on educational institutions. Cram is instead an online tool which can help people get the most out of those resources.
Cram’s a free system which gives people the ability to make online flashcards. It’s usable through web browsers and mobile apps. One can create flashcard sets which operate in a similar way to traditional flashcards. But it’s just as easy to use shared flashcards. And there’s a wide variety of free sets available from other users.
In fact, there’s so many sets available that one can often learn a subject’s basics just from the cards. And this is especially true for memorization heavy subjects like new languages or professional vocabulary. This makes it among the best online learning sites to use alongside other sites.
- Flashcards can be created in many different languages.
- Partnered with the National Tutoring Association.
edX is the only fully MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). It can be somewhat difficult to fully understand what a MOOC offers. But one can essentially think of it as a full rethinking of traditional education.
edX works in partnership with a number of universities. They provide resources and often staff. But students don’t have to pay in order to access these resources. Most courses are free, if one’s only looking for education. It’s only when students need testing or certification that fees come into play.
But even then, costs are fairly low. Full certification usually costs around $50 to $300. The exact cost varies by each individual course. This pricing system makes it among the best online learning sites for free access. The main points include the following.
- The only true MOOC.
- University tier resources.
- Allows for free self guided study.
6. Open Culture
Open Culture puts a heavy emphasis on lectures. They have over 45,000 hours of audio and video lectures available for free. This makes it among the best online learning sites for people who learn best by listening.
And it’s also among the best online learning sites for people who like to browse. Their free content currently sits at over 1,300 courses. However, this is also part of why it sits somewhat low on the list.
Open Culture is an ideal choice for self guided learners who get the most out of a lecture style format. However, this self guided style doesn’t appeal to everyone. As such, one should consider it a little higher or lower depending on personal learning style. Open Culture’s highlights are as follows.
- Lecture focused format.
- Over 1,300 courses.
Many of the listed options help students achieve professional success. But Lynda puts special emphasis on professional growth. In fact, Lynda has heavy ties with LinkedIn. So one can be sure that courses will help build up a professional resume or portfolio.
However, one shouldn’t assume that courses are all centered around computer science. Lynda has one of the more varied listings out of any option. Computer science is an option. But so are animation, marketing, photography and many other subjects.
Additionally, it uses a membership payment plan. One can begin with a 30 day free trial. From there, it costs $20 to $30 per month. The exact cost depends on whether one goes for a basic or premium membership. Lynda’s top features include the following.
- Focused on professional advancement.
- Includes both arts and sciences.
- Free trial and low monthly payment plan.
Udacity sits among the more focuses options on this list. They do have a fairly broad range of courses available. But the vast majority of their options put heavy focus on technology. And they put heavy emphasis on various subjects related to computer science. For example, they offer specialized courses in almost all programming languages.
It’s among the best online learning sites for people interested in the computer industry. And they’ve even branched out with freelancing opportunities for students. This makes it the only listing where students have a chance of making money while taking classes. Though on average a course should cost around $50. The following bullet points illustrate their strengths.
- Heavy emphasis on computer science.
- Freelancing opportunities.
- Average cost of $50.
3. MIT OpenCourseware
MIT OpenCourseWare provides some impressive resources. A large amount of OpenCourseWare comes directly from professors at MIT. These include luminaries in any number of fields. But the system has a particular emphasis on computer science and technology.
However, it ranks a little lower on the list due to that specialization. One should rank it higher or lower depending on specific interests. However, it’s among the best online learning sites for students interested in technology. The courses strengths are as follows.
- Full backing from MIT educators.
- A wealth of information on science and technology.
Udemy comes very close to a top listing. The site currently offers over 55,000 courses. And that number continues to grow at a steady pace.
But even more notable than the numbers is Udemy’s variety. They have classes in almost anything one could imagine. From standard technical or scientific issues all the way to animal behavior studies.
Many of these courses feature a tiered system. This means that students can take a course and then decide if they want to push to the next level. If so, students can often find more advanced secondary courses. Finally, Udemy’s courses are quite inexpensive. The average course only costs $12. Their most notable features are as follows.
- Over 55,000 courses.
- Tiered learning structure.
- Average course price of $12.
Coursera easily wins the title of best of the best. In large part because it perfects so many items from the other best online learning sites.
For example, some of the items on this list feature full university collaboration. All of them have a lot to offer. But Coursera has perfected the idea. They’re currently partnered with over 140 academic institutions. And this includes some of the world’s most prestigious universities.
Those numbers show in available courses as well. Coursera offers 2,000 courses. And users can take them anywhere thanks to mobile app support. Finally, course prices usually sit at around $49. Their most notable features include the following.
- Heavy academic backing.
- Wide course selection.
- Relatively inexpensive.
It should be clear that there’s a lot to consider when choosing between these options. However, at the same time one can look at it as an opportunity. Each of the choices highlights one or more learning styles. By going over the options one can gain a moment of reflection.
The same goes for discussing these options with other readers. Sharing one’s thoughts and experiences helps in many different ways. People get a chance to help others and themselves.