The 10 Best Educational Websites for Taking Online Courses in 2020

Look to the web for learning new skills and gaining fresh knowledge

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Back in the day, if you wanted to learn something new, you'd go to school for it. Today, educational institutions offer their full programs and individual courses online. Experts in almost every field create programs and courses online to share their knowledge with a worldwide audience.

Both educational institutions and individual experts who want to offer their courses online need somewhere to host it and get it out to people who want to learn. This is why there are many platforms dedicated to offering online courses. Some focus on tighter niches like green technology. Others include courses in a variety of fields.

Whatever you're interested in learning, you can find a course about it from the educational course sites listed below. From beginner levels to intermediate and advanced, there's something for everybody.

01
of 10

Udemy

Udemy

Udemy

What We Like
  • Diversity of content.

  • Top-notch faculty and institutions.

  • Some courses are inexpensive.

What We Don't Like
  • Very little free content.

  • The "anyone can be an instructor" approach means lesser-known instructors will be hit-or-miss.

Udemy is the online education site that tops this list for being a popular and valuable resource. You can search over 100,000 courses on different topics. Download the Udemy app to take your learning mobile for quick lessons and study sessions when you're on the go.

Some Udemy courses are free, and others start as low as $12. If you're an expert looking to create and launch a course of your own, you can become an instructor with Udemy and take advantage of their massive user base to attract students.

02
of 10

Coursera

Coursera

Coursera

What We Like
  • Excellent courses taught by national leaders.

  • Reasonable price points.

  • Academic rigor is reasonably strong.

What We Don't Like
  • Topics are heavily focused on programming and science.

If you're looking to take courses from over 140 of the country's top universities and organizations, then Coursera is for you. Coursera has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and others to offer universal access to the world's best education.

You'll find over 3,900 paid and unpaid courses on Coursera in over 180 fields related to computer science, business, social sciences, and more. Coursera also has mobile apps available so you can learn at your pace.

03
of 10

Lynda

Lynda

Lynda

What We Like
  • All-you-can-eat model for one monthly subscription cost.

  • Focus on professional development.

What We Don't Like
  • Hit-or-miss content based on the skill and expertise of the course designer.

Lynda is a popular educational hub for professionals looking to learn new business, creativity, and technology skills. Courses fall under categories like animation, audio and music, business, design, development, marketing, photography, video, and more.

When you sign up with Lynda, you get a 30-day free trial. You're then charged either $20 a month for a basic membership or $30 for a premium membership. If you want to deactivate your membership and come back later, Lynda has a reactivate feature that restores your account information, including your course history and progress.

04
of 10

Open Culture

Open Culture

Open Culture

 

What We Like
  • Great clearinghouse of free educational materials.

  • No cost to browse the large library of offerings.

What We Don't Like
  • Open Culture isn't an educational provider. It's only a curator of other people's content.

If you're on a budget and looking for quality education content, check out Open Culture's library of 1,300 courses with over 45,000 hours of audio and video lectures that are free. You'll have to spend a bit of time scrolling through the single page containing 1,300 course links with courses organized by category in alphabetical order.

Many of the courses available on Open Culture are from leading institutions from around the world, including Yale, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Berkley, and others. Audiobooks, ebooks, and certificate courses are also available.

05
of 10

edX

EdX

EdX

What We Like
  • Open-source philosophy.

  • Well-curated and well-delivered content by industry experts.

  • Credential programs available.

What We Don't Like
  • Content tends to be dominated by programming and the sciences.

Similarly to Coursera, edX offers access to higher education from over 90 of the world's leading educational institutions, including Harvard, MIT, Berkley, the University of Maryland, the University of Queensland, and others. Founded and governed by colleges and universities, edX is the only open-source and nonprofit MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) leader.

Find courses in computer science, language, psychology, engineering, biology, marketing, or any other field that interests you. Use it for high school level education or to earn credits for university. You'll receive an official credential from the institution signed by the instructor to verify your achievement.

06
of 10

Tuts+

Tuts+

Tuts+

What We Like
  • Great content for creative professionals.

What We Don't Like
  • A subscription-only model with no trial period.

Envato's Tuts+ is for those who work and play in creative technology. In addition to its vast library of how-to tutorials, courses are available in design, illustration, code, web design, photography, video, business, music, and audio.

Tuts+ has more than 22,000 tutorials and over 870 video courses, with new courses added every week. There isn't a free trial, but the membership is affordable at $29 a month.

07
of 10

Udacity

Udacity

Udacity

What We Like
  • Focus on technology skills that are in demand by businesses.

  • A well-designed platform that offers credentials and transcripts.

What We Don't Like
  • The catalog is deep, but not broad.

  • Heavy focus on tech topics.

Udacity is dedicated to bringing higher education to the world in the most accessible, affordable, and effective ways possible. Udacity offers online courses and credentials that teach students the skills that are currently in demand by industry employers. They claim to offer their education at a fraction of the cost of traditional schooling.

This is an excellent platform to look into if you plan on working in technology. With courses and credentials in Android, iOS, data science, software engineering, and web development, you can get access to the most up to date education in these innovative areas that are relevant to today's tech companies and startups.

08
of 10

ALISON

Alison

Alison

What We Like
  • No-cost education.

  • Clean, easy-to-use interface.

  • Wide variety of subjects.

What We Don't Like
  • Some courses are too niche.

  • Not many well-known providers of content.

With 15 million students from across the world, ALISON is an online learning resource that offers free, high-quality courses, education services, and community support. Their resources are designed for anyone looking for a new job, promotion, college placement, or business venture.

Choose from a variety of subjects to pick from over 800 free courses designed to provide you with certificate and diploma level education. You'll also be required to take assessments and score at least 80 percent to pass, so you'll have the skills to move forward.

09
of 10

OpenLearn

OpenLearn

OpenLearn

What We Like
  • An eclectic collection of lessons on a variety of subjects.

  • Free content.

What We Don't Like
  • Some content is so terse (like five-minute video courses) that its value is questionable.

OpenLearn is designed to give users free access to educational materials. It was launched in the 1990s to offer online learning in broadcast collaborations with the BBC. Today, OpenLearn offers topical and interactive content in a variety of content formats, including courses.

You can filter the free courses by activity, format (audio or video), subject, and more options. All courses are listed with the level (introductory, intermediate, and more) and the time length to give you an idea of what to expect.

10
of 10

FutureLearn

FutureLearn

FutureLearn

What We Like
  • Emphasis on group learning and peer engagement.

  • A broad cross-section of content.

What We Don't Like
  • Follows an open learning model that predates MOOCs, which means delivery is traditional and compartmentalized.

Like OpenLearn, FutureLearn is part of The Open University. It is another alternative on this list that offers course programs from leading educational institutions and organization partners. Courses are delivered a step at a time and can be learned at your pace while accessed from a desktop or mobile device.

One benefit of FutureLearn is its commitment to social learning, giving its students the opportunity to engage in discussions with others throughout the course. FutureLearn also offers full programs, which contain several courses for more extensive learning.