Best Resources and Platforms to Learn Anything Online

30 in 30 Dec 13, 2020

The resources I am going to share today are among the numerous resources you can find online. I have personally experimented on all of these, that's why I wanted to share with you my thoughts on each. Most of the resources here do offer a variety of subjects, from cooking to arts, design, programming, business and so much more. So try them out because whatever you're thinking to learn...they have got it. Some of the resources here are free and a few others are paid.

These online learning resources are sometimes referred to as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). In the early beginning when they started most MOOCs were under universities and they provided access to free online learning from anywhere you were in the world. All you needed was a computer with Internet access. Nowadays, they're still all free, with some of them charging a small fee if you want to get a certificate of completion.

KHAN Academy

When I first started to learn to code Khan Academy was among the first platforms I used. This is a website that was started by Salman Khan in 2008. The early beginnings of the project were just a few videos he posted on YouTube to teach his relatives. Slowly the project grew and more people got interested in them, Khan Academy was formed.

Khan Academy is a non-profit whose mission is to provide free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.

I would say the platform is more tailored to those in elementary and high school but anyone can take a Khan Academy course. They offer courses in Humanities, Maths, Sciences, Computer, Economics, Reading, Languages, etc. A few years ago they started offering courses that go to as low as kindergarten level.

It's also good to know that Khan Academy translates their courses to a lot of other languages. As of right now, their courses have been translated into over 50 languages.

UDEMY

One of the most popular platforms out there. I credit a lot of what I know now from the amazing courses I took on Udemy. This platform offers both free and paid courses. Most of their top instructors offer paid courses, but you can easily find good free courses too.

Udemy offers courses in almost anything imaginable, from painting to cooking, writing, programming, music, personal development, office productivity, design, you name it...Udemy got it.

It can be somehow intimidating to decide which course to take. As of right now, Udemy has got over 100,000 courses. Some of the courses might be out of date so it's important to check those details especially if time is a factor in your specific course.

Anyone can be a Udemy instructor, as long as you can teach, you can publish a course in Udemy. So though they have a lot of great instructors, you will also find some mediocre courses.

Courses in Udemy can range from 30 mins to 70 hours long. Yes, 70hours! So depending on what time you have, you can get a course at any time duration.

I advise to start on Udemy by taking those courses that aren't more than 10 hours long, then later you can buy or free enroll in longer courses. A lot of students buy and enroll in these courses but they end up not studying at all or not finishing them.

Price: $0 - $50 on average. Though you might see some courses listed on Udemy that are over $50 or over $100, those courses usually go down in price whenever there is a sale. And those sales happen almost every week. So don't buy any course that will be higher than let's $30 because if you come back next week you will see the same course is on sale for $9.99. One trick you can use is by opening Udemy in an incognito window and see their pricing for new users. I have about 20 courses I bought from Udemy and all of them were between $10 and $15.

Also, don't forget they have got a lot of free courses, so you don't have to pay if you don't want to. However, premium courses will be priced for sure.

SKILLSHARE

Another one of my favorite resources. I like Skillshare's nice user interface and it won't overwhelm you like Udemy. Anyone can submit a course on Skillshare. Just like Udemy, Skillshare also offers a lot of courses. In general, most Skillshare courses tend to be on the shorter side between 1 hour and 6hours, though there are a few exceptions. They have courses in the creative field like art, photography animation but also they have got courses in business, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and even computer programming. In general, they cover quite a bigger audience, so that subject you're planning on learning about, they probably have it.

Price: Just like Udemy, they also have got a lot of free courses. The difference is in their paid plans. Unlike Udemy, Skillshare doesn't sell individual courses, they sell monthly subscription starting at $8.25/month if you pay yearly or $19/month if you pay per monthly basis.

Don't forget to take their 7-14days free trial before paying for any of their plans.

PLURALSIGHT

Pluralsight offers mostly tech courses. They have extensive courses that cover Microsoft platforms like C# programming, databases, security, etc. They also have courses in infrastructure stuff like DevOps, AWS, etc. They also offer design, multimedia, architecture, manufacturing, etc. that cover software like Blender, Maya, SolidWorks and a lot of Adobe CC.

I have enjoyed most of the Pluralsight courses since they come from experts in the fields. Their instructors are normally people who have worked in the industry, they're not just teachers. Unlike Skillshare and Udemy, you have to go through a process to be an instructor on Pluralsight. Pluralsight courses are shorter in duration, most of their courses run from 1hour to 6hours. I haven't seen any course which was more than 10 hours.

Pluralsight have got individual courses and also they have different paths someone can take. They do offer courses on a lot of professional software like Adobe, Maya, SQL Server, AutoCAD, Excel, etc. And their programming courses cover almost every programming language and framework. You should definitely take a look at their different paths offered if interested in either development, IT certification, manufacturing, architecture, business, design, etc.

Pricing: Their monthly plans start at $29/month. They have got special plans for businesses too.

Before paying you might want to try their 10-days free trial.

LYNDA / LINKEDIN LEARNING

Lynda is another online learning platform. It was bought by LinkedIn and rebranded as LinkedIn Learning but they both still exist. Lynda might be one of the oldest MOOCs on this list since it was started in 1995.

All the courses in Lynda / LinkedIn Learning fall under the Business, Creative, and Technology categories.

Courses are offered by independent instructors who are recruited by the Lynda / LinkedIn Learning team. Their courses also tend to run on the shorter side with courses ranging from 1 hour to about 5 hours or so.

LinkedIn Learning monthly plans start at $29.99, but if you pay for the whole year the fee is $19.99 per month.

If you live in the United States and have a public library membership, you maybe able to access Lynda / LinkedIn Learning free of charge.

EDX

EDX is a MOOC that was started by MIT and Harvard. They offer courses on Data Science, Computer Science, Business, Humanities, Engineering, etc. Like all other MOOCs, all the courses offered are free of charge and you can take them from anywhere in the world. They also offer a paid certificate if you choose to get one when you complete the course. They have partnered with so many other institutions from around the world and that's where you will be taking classes from. As of this year, they have close to 3000 courses from their over 100 partner institutions.

Harvard, MIT, and Stanford are among the biggest universities offering classes on EDX. EDX is a nonprofit and they also have an open-source platform called Open EDX where other schools or institutions can develop and share their courses.

UDACITY

Udacity is a for-profit MOOC organization. Unlike EDX and Coursera, Udacity charges students to take their online courses but they have also got about 200 free courses. Most of their programs are career-oriented, as they offer tracks in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data Science, Business, and Programming. One of their popular programs is the "Nanodegree" whereby a student takes a specific track and completes it in 6 months or over. So you can try Udacity by taking one among their many free classes or if you re interested in a specific track you can enroll by paying a tuition fee.

COURSERA

Coursera, another MOOC, is a product of Stanford University. Courses in Coursera are offered by real-world professors. Coursera offers courses and certifications in a lot of courses, and these courses come from different universities in the world. Think of any course you can take in a college or university, you can probably take it too from Coursera. Big-name schools that offer their classes on Coursera are Stanford, University of Michigan, University of Sao Paolo, University of London, Yonsei University in Korea, etc.

Apart from individual courses, Coursera also offers some specializations which are collections of courses in one specific field.

As of today, they offer close to 4000 courses and they have partnered with over 200 universities and institutions.

MIT OPENCOURSEWARE (MIT OCW)

This is an initiative by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to make education accessible for all. The MIT OpenCourseWare publishes all of the MIT undergraduate and graduate classes online and free for all. So when you visit the website you should be able to access their database of classes that started in 2002. Like they say on their website "OCW makes the materials used in the teaching of MIT's subjects available on the Web."

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That's the end of my list. I will keep updating it as time goes.

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PS: I wanted to add Stanford Online, an initiative just like that of MIT but they have since moved their Stanford Online Lagunita to EDX...So the free courses you used to access under Stanford Online (Lagunita) are now on the Stanford EDX

My verdict: If I had to recommend to someone a platform, I would say Udemy worked pretty well for me. Find the course that is right for you in terms of length and the materials covered. Also, make sure it's up to date. However, if you like a more formal setting with homework and assignments you should take either EDX or Coursera courses.

BONUS: MAGOOSH

While you're still here, please check out Magoosh. Magoosh is an online test preparation platform that is effective, accessible, and even enjoyable. By using Magoosh, students can raise their test scores and become one step closer to getting into their dream schools, whether it be graduate or undergraduate.

Magoosh is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date college test preparation resources for exams like - the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, and more! Along with their test prep, they offer a variety of free resources for test takers.

...🥑

There is no technology that is really too hard, it's just technology that hasn't been explained well yet

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Ami Amigo

Ami Amigo (pseudonym) is one of the main contributors to this blog. He is a tech aficionado, developer, blogger and an online instructor. Ami Amigo studied Computer Science and Philosophy in college

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