When it comes to building a freelancing career, having a clear picture of skills and opportunities is crucial. In today’s market, having skills doesn’t mean having a job, building a freelancing career, or keeping it. In fact, competition is fierce, and people keep learning new things that they can use to advance their careers. That’s why improving as freelancers is fundamental, and so is getting specialized to become more competitive and needed.
Finding a good platform where to learn new skills online or to improve existing ones can be overwhelming: the choice is almost infinite, but at the same time, it can be hard to find high-quality content and courses. That’s why we’ve created this list of amazing websites to learn new skills online at your own pace.
The following list has been created with a goal in mind: giving you a useful directory of websites where to learn new skills or improve existing ones that are trustable and are not a waste of time.
Table of Contents
10 Best Online Learning Platforms
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the most trustable and trusted online learning platforms of 2021 divided by topics.
Whether you’re on the lookout for a course to improve what you already know or to gain new skills, these sites will likely have at least one class that will cater for your needs.
Coursera offers online courses curated by top educational institutions. The majority of the courses can give you a certification of completion, and you can also go for Specialization Certificates that may eventually be approved for university credits. At Coursera, assignments are submitted to peers for grading. If you are unsuccessful, you can resubmit an assignment, and the first peer reviews and grades won’t apply anymore
Skillshare is a platform for people into creative topics, and it offers practical courses and classes to help professionals advance in their careers. Skillshare has a free ad-supported plan where you don’t pay anything to attend selected classes, a Premium membership ($19 per month or $99 per year), and Teams accounts for companies. Freelancers don’t get a certificate when they complete a course.
Udemy is a platform where you can learn pretty much anything. In fact, on Udemy, there are thousands of courses for everyone at every level and in every possible niche, and there’s no fixed schedule so that you can work at your own pace and start and finish in your own time. Be careful: some of the courses and classes on Udemy are quite thin, and they don’t give you any benefit, so make sure you only choose high-rated courses with accredited instructors to avoid wasting time.
4. LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is the new name for Lynda, one of the first online learning platforms to be developed. Members have access to the Lynda.com video library of engaging and top-quality courses taught by industry experts. Everyone is entitled to one month for free, and then you have the option of paying for a monthly subscription at $25 per month. LinkedIn Learning (aka Lynda) courses are not accredited, but they are recognized since they’re quite specialized.
5. Shaw Academy
Shaw Academy gives students access to professional and accredited online courses. The biggest thing about Shaw Academy is that courses are offered for free for the first four weeks; you can then continue learning by paying for a monthly plan from $49.99 to $60 per month.
Learn a new language
Learning or improving a new language can be frustrating and hard. The following sites are valuable and offer different types of courses for different levels.
Lingoda offers courses in English, French, German with native-speaking teachers. Users can choose a monthly subscription or a long-term subscription. Every class is composed of 2-4 students worldwide, and lessons are organized on Zoom. In addition to teaching grammar and vocabulary, Lingoda focuses on conversational topics that apply to people’s interests, careers, and everyday lives.
Italki offers 1-on-1 lessons based on student’s goals and interests: users choose teachers directly on the app, book their lesson at the time and place that suits them, connect with the teacher and pay per lesson. It is easy as it is and offers over 10.000 teachers in multiple languages. The biggest downside of Italki is that finding good teachers can be hard, so it is finding free time slots.
Babbel offers courses in 14 languages, and the focus is not on the grammar but mostly on the phrases you must know in a certain language. It costs between $6.95 and $12.95 per month, and it’s a helpful tool to improve a language one already knows rather than to learn a new one because the app is pretty limiting and limited.
Preply has gained a lot of traction because it offers a big database of online tutors that can be booked to take lessons anytime. Preply also allows you to take track of progress and, if after your first lesson with a tutor is not a good match, you will get 100% of the paid amount. After the first lesson, you will choose several hours and pay for the package of lessons to continue learning. Packages of 5, 10, 15, 20 hours are available for all students out there.
Finding courses and resources online is easy but not everything is good as it is. Here a couple of more options to find resources to learn something new or improve your career online in 2021.
1. Premier TEFL Courses
Improve your English and get certified with this series of courses that you can attend from home. Premier TEFL offers different options to get your certification.
You can choose one of these courses:
- 168 Hour Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course – Check here
- 290 Hour Regulated Level 5 TEFL Course – Check here
- 300 Hour Level 5 Hybrid TEFL Course – Check here
You can also choose the fast-track courses, in case you want to speed up your learning path:
- 120 Hour Advanced TEFL Course – Check here
- 240 Hour Advanced TEFL Course – Check here
- 250 Hour Advanced TEFL Course – Check here
MasterClass is not a traditional learning platform but a way to improve one’s skills with celebrity instructors’ help. For this reason, you won’t find highly specialized courses because everything revolves around sports and gaming, arts and entertainment, music, writing, food, design and style, and so on. For example, chef Massimo Bottura has its own show on Masterclass where people can learn how to cook certain types of food with its help. Masterclass is definitely a resource to check out if you’re looking to expand your creative and practical skills.
What is an online course platform?
Online course platforms are learning management systems that allow users to avail of digital classes of different types. The offerings can be similar to offline classes with a live instructor guiding students or completely impersonal, with pre-recorded resources available to students. Online courses are also often referred to as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
What equipment is needed to attend online classes?
If you want to avail yourself of a learning platform in the best way possible, you need to make sure you have a stable Internet connection, a computer, and a pair of headphones. If your course is supposed to be interactive, you also need a microphone to interact with other students or with your teacher and eventually a webcam if you attend a one-to-one class.
How do I decide if an online platform will work for me?
The only way to check if a platform is suitable for your needs is by testing it. The first test to do is simply checking the type of courses offered: if you can find what you’re looking for, you can then move to phase 2, analyzing it. Analyzing the course you like is crucial to avoid wasting time and money: check the reviews, the course plan, and have a look at the teacher as well. If you have 1-to-1 lessons, make sure you have a good feeling about your teacher. And do not forget that you can always revert and abandon a course or a platform if you think it’s not up to your standard: check the terms and conditions of the online learning platform of your choice to see if you’re eligible for a refund.
What skills should I improve as a freelancer?
There’s no one-fits-all set of skills every freelancer should improve. You must understand where you are and where you want to get and plan accordingly. Make sure you know the leadership principles, and if not, have a look at our article with the best advice and courses to attend to improve your leadership skills as a freelancer.
Can online courses get you a job?
There is no direct correlation between attending an online course and getting a job. But if you are skilled and improve your skills in a specific area by attending an online class, the chances to find a freelancing job are higher as long as you stay focused on your subject topic.
Where else can I find online resources on a specific topic?
Online communities specialized in a topic are a good way to find classes, courses, and resources to learn and improve. Ensure you know who is leading your market and your topic, and join communities that can help you with this. Also, online magazines can be beneficial in the learning process because they can give you insights on something specific and address you correctly. Engage with people in your niche or area of interest on social media, paying attention to their content quality. Google is always your friend: make sure you search thoroughly to find the best resources for you, and you’ll be surprised at the number of results you will get. In any case, make sure you analyze your findings to avoid adding noise to your daily life and to be sure to find the best resources that will help you improve.
Are online learning platforms really worth it?
Online platforms and courses are really worth it if you know how to get the most out of them and choose the best for you. Trying to learn a new skill while juggling a job can be hard, and when you learn something online, you need to put in place a system that allows you to apply what you’ve learned to make it effective. That’s why putting some effort into finding the best places where to learn at your own pace is essential. Only you can decide if online platforms are for you, based on your personal and professional goals and preferred learning style.
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