Best Online Learning Platforms of 2024

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Table Of Contents

Online learning platforms are a popular trend that continues to grow as more people seek educational paths outside of the classroom. According to research by Technavio, the e-learning market size in the US is expected to grow by $36.54 billion between 2021 and 2025.

Learning online also provides flexibility, allowing you to complete courses while still working or fulfilling other duties. The best online platforms are ones that meet your education and financial needs and feature teaching styles compatible with how you learn.

Keep reading to learn more about the best online learning platforms available and how to find the right one for you your needs.

What Is An Online Learning Platform?

An online learning (or e-learning) platform is a web-based program, app, or portal featuring a learning environment with online courses and training for students. E-learning platforms are typically membership-based and allow students to register for various courses as needed or desired. Depending on the platform, courses may be available individually or as part of a degree or certificate program. Online learning platforms exist for both children and adult learners.

The Best Online Learning Platforms

Reviews of The Best Online Learning Platforms 

Udemy - Best Overall

Udemy is a popular online learning platform featuring video courses on every topic imaginable. More than 40 million people have signed up for Udemy courses for over 480 million total course enrollments. Udemy courses are available in over 65 languages currently.

Where It Excels

Udemy features one of the largest course libraries of any online learning platform, with over 155,000 video courses available. There is basically a course for everyone on Udemy. Course topics range from computer and software development, business, marketing, and math to music production, yoga, and photography.

With Udemy, students can sign up for individual courses instead of a membership. Instead of paying a premium for an entire library of video courses, you just pay for the course you want to take.

Where It Falls Short

Udemy places few restrictions on its course instructors. Almost anyone can sign up to become a Udemy instructor. There is an identity verification process to become an instructor, but other than that, individuals can choose topics and create their own Udemy courses with little to no restrictions.

Courses are sold individually with the price set by the instructor. Depending on the specific course, you could pay upwards of $200 for access to one course.

Who Is It For?

Students: Because of the variety of courses offered, Udemy courses appeal to a variety of students.

Instructors: Becoming an instructor requires verifying your ID and choosing an acceptable course topic. Each course created goes through a review process to ensure its quality. There is no fee to become an instructor and share the revenue each time someone signs up for the course.


  • Free to $200 or more per course (varies based on the course)
  • Free Trial: There is no free trial available.

get started with udemy

LinkedIn Learning - Best For Learning New Skills 

LinkedIn is known more for being one of the largest professional networks with over 750 million members. In 2015, LinkedIn acquired online learning company Lynda and repacked educational content under the name LinkedIn Learning. Professionals teach over16,000 online courses through LinkedIn Learning. Courses are primarily focused on topics related to business, technology, and creative skills.

Where It Excels

LinkedIn Learning’s subscription-based service provides several ways to consume courses, including short videos to help students better absorb the materials presented, audio-only learning, and more in-depth content. Courses are available to download and watch offline at more convenient times. Many courses feature exercises and quizzes to reinforce and test what you’ve learned online.

Where It Falls Short

Even though industry professionals teach the courses, LinkedIn Learning doesn’t offer certifications. When you complete a course, you’ll receive a certificate which you can add to your LinkedIn profile, but it may not be worth much in the eyes of current or future employers.

Who Is It For?

Students: LinkedIn Learning is for professionals who want to add new skills to their resumes or enhance their current skills.

Instructors: You can apply online to become a LinkedIn Learning instructor. Along with providing some personal information and answering questions related to your experience, you also need to submit a three to five-minute sample video so they can assess your teaching and delivery style.


  • $29.99/month (or $19.99/month when billed annually)
  • Free trial: One-month free trial

get started with linkedin learning

MasterClass - Best For Celebrity Lessons

MasterClass is an online learning platform featuring courses and classes taught by world-famous celebrities and experts. For example, learn how to cook with Gordon Ramsey or how to play tennis from Serena Williams.

Where It Excels

MasterClass provides a unique educational opportunity that few experience — Learn from the experts you idolize and adore. This isn’t textbook learning. Instead, with MasterClass, you learn from people who’ve had incredible success doing what they are teaching you.

There are over 100 classes included with a membership, with new classes added each month. Each class comes with a workbook and is available to download and watch offline. Plus, Masterclass is accessible via desktop, mobile phone, or TV.

Where It Falls Short

MasterClass is a great option to learn new skills and hobbies, but it won’t earn you a degree, certificate, or credit towards any educational or work goals. The online platform is meant more as a quick introduction to a specific skill, not a deep dive. Because all of the lessons are recorded, there’s no communication between students and celebrity instructors.

Who Is It For?

Students: MasterClass is for anyone who wants to learn a new skill, sport, or hobby from their favorite celebrities or industry experts.

Instructors: MasterClass handpicks its instructors, including Alicia Keys, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Malcolm Gladwell, James Patterson, Thomas Keller, Bob Iger, Stephen Curry, and much more.


  • Yearly membership: $180, billed annually
  • Free Trial: There is no free trial per se, but you can sign up to receive sample lessons by email.

Get started with masterclass

Coursera - Best For College Classes

Coursera is an online education platform that partners with over 200 top universities and companies to provide high-level online courses. The platform offers over 5,000 courses, including over 40 certificate and 25 online degree programs.

Where It Excels

Coursera provides educational options from some of the most prestigious schools in the country, like Stanford, Princeton, Duke, the University of Michigan, and more. There’s also an option to audit select courses, which means you can gain a top-level college education without ever being accepted by the school.

Where It Falls Short

You can’t just sign up for a course and pay for it. You must first be accepted into a program by Coursera.

Who Is It For?

Students: Individuals who want high-level college instruction from professors at accredited institutions.

Instructors: You can only be a Coursera instructor if you work for one of its partner institutions.


  • Individual Courses: $29 and up for individual courses
  • Full programs: Pricing varies based on the program
  • Coursera Plus subscription: $399/year (or $59/month)

Free trial: 7-day free trial. You can also audit select Coursera courses for free, although you won’t receive credit or receive a grade.

get started with coursera

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Khan Academy - Best For Children

Khan Academy is a non-profit organization founded by Salman Khan in 2008. The online platform features free online courses and test preparation content for students in grades K-14.

Where It Excels

Khan Academy’s best feature is that it’s completely free. So whether you need help learning math, reading, science, history, or several other subjects, parents don’t have to worry about paying outrageous fees for educational content.

Where It Falls Short

Khan Academy content covers several subjects buy it’s missing some topics like music and foreign languages.

Who Is It For?

Students: Geared towards children up to college-age students

Instructors: Khan Academy instructors come from various backgrounds and are employees, not independent contractors.


  • Free

get started with khan academy

Skillshare - Best For Creatives

Skillshare is an online learning community featuring free and paid courses focused primarily on creative skills. Founder and CEO Michael Karnjanaprakorn launched the peer-to-peer learning platform in 2012. Skillshare now boasts thousands of online classes and millions of users.

Where It Excels

Skillshare sets itself apart from other platforms with its focus on courses for creatives. You’ll find a host of course categories from animation and writing to photography, business, and more. Free courses are accessible online or through Skillshares app. Many of the courses come with extra resources like worksheets and community sharing features.

Where It Falls Short

Courses often come with extra community features, but teachers aren’t required to use them so you may be out of luck when it comes to interaction depending on the course.

Who Is It For?

Students: Skillshare is geared towards individuals who want to learn or expand their creative abilities and knowledge.

Instructors: Skillshare teachers are real-life creatives sharing skills they’ve mastered. You can create your own course. Pay is based on how many people watch your class, so much of the marketing is on the teacher.


  • Limited access classes: free
  • Premium membership: $168 annually / $32 monthly
  • Team plans: Starting at $139 per user/year
  • 7-day free trial of unlimited classes

get started with skillshare

edX and Open edX - Best Quality

edX is a nonprofit online learning platform featuring university level courses. Created by MIT and Harvard professors in 2012, the platform features more than 3,000 courses enjoyed by 35 million students. Oped edX is the open source creation learner management system (LMS) developed by edX. It’s used to host Massisve Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other courses.

Where It Excels

edX offers both free courses and fee-based courses that offer a certificate upon successful completion of the course. There are microdegree progams on edX, which are more for career advancement goals, not earning a degree, although you can earn college credit. You can also find some actual undergraduate and graduate degree programs on edX with a little searching, often at a lower price than attending the school itself.

Where It Falls Short

Most edX online courses lack interaction with professors and instructors. Also, certificates earned are helpful, but aren’t the same as ones you would get from a traditional school and may not be looked upon as highly.

Who Is It For?

Students: edX is perfect for individuals who want access to learning from worldclass instructors. Open edx is for schools, organiztions, and companies to host their own online learning content.

Instructors: edX instructors are professors, teaching assistants, and other notable individuals that work directly for partner schools and organizations.


  • Course auditng: free
  • Professional certificate program: Starting at $150
  • MicroBachelors program: Starting at $500
  • MicroMasters program: Starting at $600
  • Master’s degree: starting at $10,000

get started with edX

ExpertRating - Best For Online Certifications

ExpertRating is an industry leader for online certification training. The online platform has been testing employees since 2000 with 3 million tests delivered annually. ExpertRating is an ISO 9001:2015 company.

Where it Excels

Nobody does online certification testing like ExpertRating. The platform features training for individuals looking for certification as well as employers in the market for skills assessment and pre-employment testing. A wide range of certificates are available, including in the areas of fitness, healthcare, management, office skills, personal development, entrepreneurship. ExpertRating also offers instructor-led online courses in career advanacing topics.

Where It Falls Short

ExpertRating is Iso-certified, but none of the courses are accredited. Depending on what training you are looking for, you may want to find an accredited program elsewhere.

Who Is It For?

Students: ExpertRating is for individuals seeking professional certification in a variety of skills.

Instructors: Courses are prepared by subject-matter experts who are specialized in their respective fields. These experts are professionals, professors, or self-made individuals who have very well excelled in their areas.


  • Tests: Starting at $9.99
  • Pre employment testing plans (for employers): Starting at $10 per test session
  • Online courses: Starting at $29.99
  • There’s an option to take a free test, but doesn’t come with a certificate.

get started with expertrating

General Assembly - Best For Computer Science 

General Assembly is an online learning platform geared towards technology and data sciences. The company offers in-person and online training with full-time, part-time, and on-demand learning options. The company vegas as a coworking space in 2011 and grew into a global learning platform with over 70,000 alumni and 20,000 course instructors.

Where It Excels

Learning options are overflowing with General Assembly. The company has 30 campuses worldwide for in-person classes, training events, and workshops. Whether you are looking for full-time training to quickly pursue a new career path or just taking a few courses to enhance your skills, General Assembly has you covered.

Where It Falls Short

A few paragraphs about how the company excels and key features.

Who Is It For?

Students: Individuals looking to learn or enhance career skills quickly.

Instructors: Course instructors are from industry leading companies and undergo extensive training before leading General Assemlby courses.


  • Online courses: Pricing varies, from $750 to $15,000+
  • Free Trial: NA

get started with general assembly

Future Learn - Best For Auditing Courses

Future Learn is another online platform offering courses featuring instructors from top universities and industry experts. Based in the UK, Future Learn partners with prestigious Universities like King’s College London, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, and more.

Where It Excels

Future Learn’s short courses provide a flexible way to learn new skills quickly. Many of the courses allow you to learn at your own pace, so students can take their time immersing themselves in the coursework. Courses also offer community features for group-based learning and interaction.

Where It Falls Short

Future Learn’s course catalog is impressive, but not as extensive as some of its competitors. Also, there is currently no Futue Learn mobile app for taking courses on the go.

Who Is It For?

Students: Future Learn is geared towards students who want to learn new skills, change careers, or pursue a new hobby.

Instructors: Courses are taught by experts from Future Learn partner schools and organizations.


  • Select courses: Free
  • Certificate courses: Starting at $49
  • Unlimited subscription: $279/year
  • 7-day free trial

get started with future learn

Considerations To Make When Choosing An Online Learning Platform

Take time to research each online learning platform before making a decision. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right platform for you.

Instructor Qualifications

People often overlook who is teaching when picking an online course or platform, but the instructor has an enormous impact on your experience as a student. Because it’s online, you want to learn from someone who is comfortable speaking and presenting information online and engaging. It’s equally important to find a teacher who is an expert on the subject matter and can present information in a thoughtful and enlightening manner. Do yourself a favor and look at who is teaching the course and what kind of qualifications they hold before making your choice.

Course Curriculum and Teaching Style

The course curriculum dictates what’s been taught in the online course. So always look at the curriculum to make sure the course covers what you are trying to learn and features up-to-date materials.

The teaching style is also important to consider because you may learn better with particular styles of teaching. For example, a visual learner may not excel in a course that simply recites information without accompanying visual teaching aids.

Student Requirements

Requirements of students may vary depending on the online platform or course chosen. In addition, the school or platform may have specific requirements like attendance, class participation, reading, assignments, and more. Find out what requirements are mandatory for students and whether the workload aligns with what you’re looking for and can handle.

Course Accreditation

Depending on where you work or organization affiliation, you may need to take a course that offers specific accreditation, like a degree or certificate. Options may include regional and distance learning accreditation. Research what accreditation you need to accomplish your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Zoom good for online teaching?

Zoom’s popularity increased in 2020 because of the pandemic and continues to be a top choice for individuals, businesses, and schools to stay connected.

Is Google Classroom an online platform?

Google Classroom is a free application used by schools and universities for online learning.

What platforms are used for online learning?

The online learning market continues to grow each year. There are countless online learning platforms available, including Skillshare, eDX, Coursera, Future Learn, Google Classroom, Udemy, Moodle, General Assembly, ExpertRating, Codeacademy, Learnable, LinkedIn Learning, and more.

Which is the right online learning platform for you?

Choose an online learning platform that helps you achieve your desired learning outcome, fits your budget, and fits your learning style.

The Bottom Line

Online learning continues to be popular, especially in the age of social distancing and on-demand learning. If you’re looking for an online learning platform to expand or learn new skills, get certified, or learn for the fun of it, compare the options above to your specific needs. Find the right choice that works for you, taking advantage of free trials when available.