The Rise of Online Learning Platforms & Our Top Picks
The COVID-19 global pandemic has turned the world upside down. And when you turn something upside down, good things can often fall out. One of these has definitely been the true widespread adoption of online learning and online learning platforms.
The technology and the platforms have been available for quite some time. However, with easy access to in-person learning experiences, there was never really a major compulsion to adopt online learning on a grand scale, except in certain circumstances. But now, with the pandemic having its way with the world, nearly everyone has opened their eyes to the possibilities of online learning platforms and technologies.
The potential is truly massive! And that’s why we’ve decided to list some of our top favourite online learning platforms. But before that, let’s look at some of the major advantages of online learning.
Why It’s Awesome
- Accessibility – These platforms and resources, many of which are free, can be accessed by anyone, anywhere as long as they have access to at least a smartphone. There’s also no logistics involved in accessing these platforms such as travel/accommodation, making them more affordable. Also, online learning is not limited to large platforms; any organization or individual teacher can use tools like Google Classroom, Zoom and others to facilitate online learning for students and employees.
- Special Pandemic Benefits – Many online learning platforms and traditional educational facilities are offering their courses and resources free of charge or at significantly discounted rates at present.
- Flexibility – Unlike traditional learning methods, each individual can choose when, where and how to learn. Of course, there are some exceptions such as with live streams, but otherwise, it’s really up to the individual how they approach their learning.
- Affordability – Online learning platforms are almost always more affordable, with many even being totally free to use. Yes, there is the cost of data, but this is truly negligible when compared with the costs of travel/accommodation and incidental expenses when considering traditional options. Basic but capable smartphones are also now more affordable than ever.
- Efficiency – Online learning is often more time efficient. Plus, it is possible to access a variety of resources rather quickly so your options are unlimited.
- Certification – Obtaining certification in many areas of study is also possible online.
Our Top Picks
Remember that some of these options may not be applicable to you depending on your level/area of study. We have listed these on an overall basis and in no particular order.
DP Education – This Sri Lankan YouTube channel is focused on mathematics for middle and upper school. The videos are available in all three languages and the instructor goes through syllabus material with visual aids and clear explanations. It’s a great local initiative with plans to expand.
Khan Academy – An American non-profit organization created by Salman Khan (Sorry, not the Bollywood guy, this one’s an American educator), whose passion for teaching and learning inspired him to create an online platform with now over 6,500 video lessons covering a wide variety of subjects and with everything accessible for free.
Coursera – They offer a wide variety of courses from universities and companies around the world. Courses include Google’s Python Crash Course and other popular courses from Stanford University, Imperial College London, Duke University and others. Of course, these are not free but are still easy to access and often very affordable. Everything from one-time workshops, professional courses and even master’s degrees are available from online universities through Coursera.
Skillshare – If you’re a YouTube watcher, you’ve probably already heard of Skillshare with their widespread advertising on the platform. This is an online learning platform for artists and creative people with courses on drawing, illustration, photography, design, writing and others. Many lessons are free, but for a small subscription fee you can access top-notch courses and learning material.
Codeacademy – This is a platform dedicated to teaching people to code. Students at any experience level can join and follow the courses to become proficient in any of the major coding languages today. You can access a lot of the content for free but you will need to pay for members-only content and more advanced features.
Udemy – A platform providing plenty of options for online classes in business, marketing, IT, design and much more. You need to pay for the courses but you can preview them before you commit. There are plenty of options to choose from here and many areas of study, but it is a paid service.
edX – Another online learning platform that provides university level courses in various fields such as the sciences, business, technology and the humanities. They offer courses from top universities such as MIT, Harvard, Berkley and companies like IBM with professional certificates and “micro” degrees available online. Many of the courses are even free, though you’ll have to pay if you want certification.
Have you been using online learning platforms during or before the pandemic? What do you think about online learning? Tell us in the comments below!