Academy Of Mine Logo
Academy of Mine
4.5
  • Reliable customer service
  • Enterprise features available
  • Supports self-paced learning
Best Customer Service
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If you're paying for an online learning platform, you want to know that there's a real person on the other side. Your provider shouldn't leave you waiting for answers in case you run into technical issues or have any questions about the platform. Academy of Mine offers 24/7 customer support from the developers behind the application, and they'll speak to you directly via phone or Skype. With around-the-clock availability and strong praise in user reviews, we felt confident naming Academy of Mine the online learning platform with the best customer service in 2021.

Unlike most of the other applications we've looked at, Academy of Mine doesn't actually offer its own classes. Instead, it's designed to help teachers build an online learning brand, reach out to new students, and provide top-notch classes through its brand. It supports a wide range of content types including quizzes, homework assignments, surveys, webinars, and more.

Pricing for Academy of Mine depends on the size of your audience as well as the features you're looking for. At $599 per month, the Essentials subscription supports up to 250 monthly active users and 500 GB of storage, of which Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) files can constitute up to 75 GB. Professional raises those limits to 1,000, 1 TB, and 150 GB, and it also adds extra features like single sign-on and API access for a monthly fee of $899.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Reliable customer service
  • Enterprise features available
  • Supports self-paced learning

Cons

  • Doesn't offer its own classes

What Customers Are Saying

While Academy of Mine hasn't received a very high volume of reviews, users have glowing things to say about their customer service practices. Customers agree that the support team is quick to respond and eager to help subscribers through any problems or questions.

Summary

Academy Of Mine Logo
Academy of Mine
  • Starting Price
    • Essentials: $599/month
    • Professional: $899/month
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.5
Blackboard Learn Logo
Blackboard Learn
3.9
  • 30-day free trial
  • Robust analytics
  • Plagiarism check, mass notifications, and other helpful features
Best Free Trial
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With so many options out there, you probably don't want to invest in an online learning provider until you're sure they have what you need. Blackboard Learn is confident in the quality of its service, giving new users a full 30 days to test out the application before making a decision. The trial comes with the Blackboard Learn client, plus extra tools like Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Ally, and Blackboard SafeAssign, which is designed to help educators identify plagiarism. With that in mind, Blackboard Learn has the best free trial of any online learning platform in 2021.

Blackboard Learn also comes with a comprehensive analytic suite that makes it easy for educators to see exactly how their students are using the platform. For example, you can pull up the overall adoption rate quickly within your institution for each Blackboard application. You can even track usage at different times and on different days to allocate help staff hours at the times with the highest activity levels.

If you're new to Blackboard, you can always get started with a 30-day free trial or a personalized demo of the service. From there, subscription pricing will be dependent on the size of your student body and your online learning needs. Readers who are interested in Blackboard should contact its sales team directly to work out a solution for their educational institution.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30-day free trial
  • Robust analytics
  • Plagiarism check, mass notifications, and other helpful features

Cons

  • Mixed user reviews

What Customers Are Saying

Blackboard has received a mix of positive and negative reviews, and many users report issues with the interface. Some reviewers also noted that the application is relatively expensive compared to other online learning solutions available in 2021.

Summary

Blackboard Learn Logo
Blackboard Learn
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 3.9
Codecademy Logo
Codecademy
4.4
  • Outstanding coding lessons
  • Basic courses available for free
  • Seven-day free trial
Best for Learning to Code
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Codecademy is synonymous with learning to code, and it's an easy recommendation for any aspiring developer. With courses for nearly any language that you can think of, Codecademy is the best online learning platform for coding in 2021. It currently supports the following languages: HTML and CSS, Python, JavaScript, Java, SQL, Bash/Shell, Ruby, C++, R, C#, PHP, Go, Swift, and Kotlin. Courses cover everything from first steps to advanced techniques, and you can access even more content with a Pro membership.

As one of the largest online platforms for people who are learning to code, Codecademy also offers an active digital community through the Codecademy forums. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and connect with other people who are interested in the same languages as you. With numerous posts being created and responded to every day, Codecademy has the best community we've seen from any online learning provider.

The free version of Codecademy comes with access to a basic library of courses, but you can unlock a much deeper collection of content with a Pro subscription for $39.99 per month or $19.99 per month when paid annually. Pro users also receive step-by-step guidance and a certificate after completing specific courses and modules. Codecademy also offers custom team subscriptions tailored to your unique organization. New users are eligible for a seven-day free trial of the Pro plan.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Outstanding coding lessons
  • Basic courses available for free
  • Seven-day free trial

Cons

  • Limited to coding and development

What Customers Are Saying

The main theme we picked up on in Codecademy reviews is how easy it makes it to pick up coding. Even users who didn't feel particularly confident in their technical skills were able to reach their goals through Codecademy courses.

Summary

Codecademy Logo
Codecademy
  • Starting Price
    • Pro:$19.99/month
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial and Demo Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.4
Coursera Logo
Coursera
4.5
  • Outstanding library of free courses
  • Excellent programs for teams
  • Extra free services for college and university students
Best Free Courses
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Some of Coursera's content is locked behind a paywall or subscription, but it also offers a surprisingly deep collection of courses at no charge. You can enroll for free in certification prep courses for tech programs like Google Data Analytics, IBM Cybersecurity, and Salesforce Sales operations, and there are also classes in a wide range of other categories like social sciences, arts and humanities, language learning, and personal development. With high-quality free courses in a variety of fields, Coursera has the best free offerings of any online learning platform in 2021.

Coursera is also one of the best options for organizational leaders who want to help their team members develop new skills. It offers dedicated upskilling programs for a variety of professionals in fields like data science, management, software engineering, and sales. You can even find courses from reputable universities including Yale University, New York University, and the University of Michigan.

Individuals can take some classes for free, while pricing for paid content varies from one course to another. Students with a valid college or university email can also access unlimited Guided Projects plus waived tuition on one course per year. Coursera for Teams provides unrestricted access to more than 4,500 additional courses for teams with 5 to 125 members at $399 per user, per year. There are also custom enterprise solutions available for larger organizations.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Outstanding library of free courses
  • Excellent programs for teams
  • Extra free services for college and university students

Cons

  • High prices for some classes

What Customers Are Saying

Users generally have good things to say about Coursera, but we noticed that some reviewers felt they were paying too much for premium classes. At $399 per user, per month, with no bulk discounts for up to 125 users, Coursera's team subscriptions are a substantial investment.

Summary

Coursera Logo
Coursera
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial and Demo Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.5
Docebo Logo
Docebo
4.3
  • Integrate training into your organization's workflow
  • Supports more than 40 languages
  • Compatible with common enterprise software
Best for Enterprise Training
Visit Docebo
Most online learning platforms cater to educational institutions or individual learners, but Docebo is an ideal choice for organizational leaders who want to help their teams build new skills. Docebo helps subscribers create educational content, integrate that content into their team's existing workflow, and measure the results with robust analytics. It also offers key enterprise features like single sign-on and integrations with third-party applications, such as Zoom, Salesforce, Google Workspace, Slack, Shopify, and WordPress. Overall, it's the best online learning platform for enterprise training in 2021.

Furthermore, Docebo leverages the power of artificial intelligence to distribute the most relevant content to every member of your organization automatically. That can help save time without hurting training quality, particularly for larger teams that have more moving parts. Organizations with international teams can even use Docebo to localize content into more than 40 languages.

Docebo currently offers a 14-day free trial, which should at least be enough time for you to get the platform up and running. Alternatively, you can contact its team to schedule a one-on-one demo where they'll walk you through the application's key features. Pricing is determined on a case-by-case basis, so how much you pay will depend on your needs as well as the size of your team.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Integrate training into your organization's workflow
  • Supports more than 40 languages
  • Compatible with common enterprise software

Cons

  • No preset subscriptions

What Customers Are Saying

When reading through customer reviews, we noticed that users appreciated Docebo's interface as well as its integrations with other common services. We also found consistent praise for its customizability and flexibility for different use cases.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.3
EdX Logo
edX
4.6
  • Professional training and education
  • Wide range of subjects
  • Partnerships with major universities
Best for Professional Advancement
Visit edX
The right online learning platform for you ultimately depends on what you want to, well, learn. edX is an ideal choice for users who are interested in certification prep and other classes tailored to professional advancement. With unique MicroBachelors and MicroMasters programs available, plus conventional online master's and certification courses, edX has the best library of professional classes we've seen from any online learning provider in 2021.

edX is also notable for its collaborations with major educational institutions, bringing university-level content to online users. Its partner schools include Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California Berkeley, the Sorbonne, Columbia University, and other Ivy League schools like Brown University, Princeton University, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College. MIT, for example, provides courses on everything from entrepreneurship and supply chain management to DNA replication and aerospace engineering.

Pricing for edX depends on what you're looking for. For example, we found an "Introduction to Cloud Computing" course that could be taken for $49 or audited for free. Users who audit the class only have access to the materials for a limited time, and they won't receive any grades for assignments or a certificate for completing the sequence. You can typically audit classes for free or pay for the full course. edX also offers custom enterprise solutions for organizations that want to give their team access to educational content.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Professional training and education
  • Wide range of subjects
  • Partnerships with major universities

Cons

  • No individual subscriptions, only enterprise plans

What Customers Are Saying

edX has some of the best reviews we've found from an online learning platform, with most users appreciating the format of each course as well as the option to audit classes for free. However, some customers wish they could get an all-access subscription instead of paying for each course individually.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • For Groups: $349/learner/year
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Demo Only
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.6
MasterClass Logo
MasterClass
4.0
  • Learn from celebrities
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Starts at $15 per month; group discounts available
Best Celebrity Courses
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Online learning has been growing for a long time, and MasterClass burst onto the scene in 2015 with a unique focus on attracting celebrity talent. With household names like Gordon Ramsey, Yo-Yo Ma, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, MasterClass is unmatched when it comes to name recognition and giving customers the opportunity to learn from true leaders in a particular field. It's the online learning platform with the best celebrity content in 2021.

Keep in mind that MasterClass generally focuses on personal skills and self-improvement rather than specific professional goals. In the "Science and Tech" category, for example, the top three classes cover "space exploration," "scientific thinking and communication," and "conservation." MasterClass is a good way to get started in a new field or pick up new ideas, but it's not as well-suited to users who are looking to pick up professional skills or certifications.

MasterClass subscriptions are available in three tiers, each of which is billed annually rather than monthly: Standard at $15 per month, Plus at $20 per month, and Premium at $23 per month. Standard users are limited to one device at a time while Plus users can view content on two devices and download content onto an iOS device for offline viewing. Premium is ideal for families and smaller teams due to its support for up to six simultaneous device connections. All three plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Learn from celebrities
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Starts at $15 per month; group discounts available

Cons

  • Less focus on certifications and professional advancement

What Customers Are Saying

MasterClass is a little different from the rest of the online learning platforms we looked at, but it has received exceptional scores from both users and publications. With an App Store rating of 4.9 stars out of 5 across more than 100,000 reviews, it's clear that customers are happy with the content they get from MasterClass.

Summary

MasterClass Logo
MasterClass
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.0
Pluralsight Logo
Pluralsight
4.6
  • Exceptional user reviews
  • 10-day free trial or 200 minutes of viewing
  • Mobile and TV apps available
Best User Reviews
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While all the top online learning platforms have positive feedback from most users, Pluralsight is a step above the rest when it comes to customer reviews. With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 including nearly 1,000 total reviews, it's clear that users are satisfied with the features and overall value they get with Pluralsight. We found that they were particularly happy with the quality of the content and the variety of subjects available for study.

Pluralsight's collection of courses primarily cover tech-related topics, such as data, software development, information technology (IT) operations, informational and cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). It also offers prep courses for a long list of certifications including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, and Microsoft Azure. Pluralsight apps are available for iOS and Android as well as smart TV platforms like Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

New users can start with a free trial of Pluralsight, which expires after 10 days or 200 minutes of viewing. At $29 per month, the Standard subscription comes with a "core library of most popular courses." It's also missing some forms of content, such as certification prep and interactive courses. Premium removes those limitations for $45 per month, but you'll need a team plan to access more advanced features like analytics and application programming interface (API) access. Team subscriptions are paid annually rather than monthly and start at $399 per user, per year, for the Starter tier.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Exceptional user reviews
  • 10-day free trial or 200 minutes of viewing
  • Mobile and TV apps available

Cons

  • Focused on tech courses

What Customers Are Saying

The consistency of Pluralsight's customer reviews stood out to us, particularly considering the relatively large sample. Users appreciate the platform's TV and mobile apps, which enable them to stay connected on different devices.

Summary

Pluralsight Logo
Pluralsight
  • Starting Price
    • Standard: $159/year
    • Premium: $239/year
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial and Demo Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.6
Skillshare Logo
Skillshare
3.5
  • Lots of creative classes
  • Seven-day free trial
  • Active projects
Best for Creatives
Visit Skillshare
With coding and other technical skills in high demand, it's no surprise that many online learning platforms have made the same pivot. While Skillshare unsurprisingly offers many classes in those fields, it stands out for its collection of courses dedicated to the arts and other creative fields. Whether you're looking to build your skills in animation, illustration, photography, or Adobe platforms like Lightroom and Premiere, Skillshare has you covered with a broad selection of content. It's the best online learning platform for creatives in 2021.

Unlike platforms that simply provide one-way videos, Skillshare also offers classes that enable users to implement their new skills and engage with their teachers through projects. For example, one creative writing teacher asks students to write a short essay based on nostalgic memories from their childhood. You can easily browse through different classes and view their content and project requirements quickly.

Skillshare's subscription-based pricing system allows members to access an unlimited number of classes. Plans currently cost $32 per month, but you'll get more than half off by paying $180 per year instead, which works out to just $15 per month. Skillshare also offers team subscriptions with bulk discounts, and new users can get a seven-day free trial that includes full access to all Skillshare content.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lots of creative classes
  • Seven-day free trial
  • Active projects

Cons

  • Inconsistent customer support

What Customers Are Saying

Skillshare is one of the biggest names in online learning, so we were surprised to find several online reviewers criticizing its customer support. Some users also found different courses to have inconsistent quality, which may be a concern due to Skillshare's freelance-based business model.

Summary

Skillshare Logo
Skillshare
  • Starting Price
    • $32/month
  • Free Trial/Demo
    7 Day Free Trial
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 3.5
Udemy Logo
Udemy
4.6
  • Robust mobile app
  • Lifetime access to courses
  • Excellent user reviews
Best for Mobile Learning
Visit Udemy
Online learning platforms usually focus on desktop users, but Udemy provides a sleek, professional mobile app that makes it easy to keep up with courses on an iOS or Android device. Both apps have relatively strong customer reviews, with a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a slightly lower 4.4 on the Google Play Store. Mobile users can access courses, take notes, send questions to their instructors, or even stream content to a Chromecast. There's also the option for audio-only output, helping users listen to lessons like a podcast or audiobook. Udemy is the best platform for learning on a mobile device in 2021.

Udemy's library of roughly 155,000 courses covers a long list of topics. You can learn to code in a variety of languages or work on other skills such as marketing, photography, design, music, and business. Whatever you're working on, you can learn at your own pace with lifetime access to each course you subscribe to.

In contrast to some of the other services we've looked at, Udemy charges customers for individual classes rather than asking them to pay for a subscription. That's ideal for users who want to take one or two courses, but it's also less efficient for those who want unlimited access to content for a monthly fee. There are also team subscriptions available for businesses and organizations.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Robust mobile app
  • Lifetime access to courses
  • Excellent user reviews

Cons

  • No individual subscriptions

What Customers Are Saying

Udemy has some of the most positive user feedback we've seen from an online learning service, particularly with respect to its business features. Customers like the platform's content library, which covers many different topics while still maintaining consistent quality.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Team 5-20 Users: $360/user/year
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial and Demo Available
  • Interactive Capabilities
    Yes
  • Virtual Rooms for Discussions
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.6

How We Chose the Best Online Learning Platforms

Online learning has taken off over the last few years, particularly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you're looking to take classes yourself, provide content for an entire team, or even sell your own courses, there's an online learning solution out there that can meet your needs.

Every online learning platform is unique, so it's impossible to select any one best application. Instead, we looked at a variety of options and identified the best option for different use cases. We focused on these four criteria to help you find the platform that's right for you.

Content

Naturally, you'll want to find an online learning service that provides the type of content you're interested in. Codecademy, for example, is the top choice for aspiring coders. On the other hand, edX offers the perfect classes for existing professionals, including certification prep courses and online master's degree programs. Along with the available subjects, we also looked at sample courses and read through user reviews to get an idea of the overall quality.

Some platforms like Blackboard and Academy of Mine don't offer any content of their own. Instead, they provide the infrastructure customers need to run their own online learning services and keep students engaged.

Pricing

The online learning market is more competitive than ever, so you no longer need to pay a premium for high-quality content. It's common for platforms to offer subscriptions in the range of $15 to $25 per month, with discounts available for group and team orders.

Keep in mind that some platforms offer subscription-based pricing while others charge for each course. If you're only looking to learn about one specific subject, you may save money by paying for an individual course instead of an ongoing membership.

Ease of Use and Additional Features

Next, we evaluated each platform's overall design to identify the applications that are easiest to use. While this is somewhat subjective, we looked at the interface itself as well as user reviews to understand the functionality of every client on this list.

On top of that, we also considered any unusual or extra features offered by particular vendors. For example, Blackboard offers a 30-day free trial plus a built-in plagiarism checker, making it a better choice for users who are concerned with academic integrity.

Customer Service

Finally, customer service was the last factor we used when looking for the best online learning platforms. Support quality varies widely from one provider to another — some offer full 24/7 service while others have much less predictable response times.

Keep in mind that you don't always need to talk to an agent to get assistance. Academy of Mine was our choice for the online learning platform with the top customer service, in part due to its extensive library of tutorials and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

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