From Photoshop editing to coding boot camps, the right tools for remote learning can give you multiple avenues to expand your skills both recreationally and professionally.
Developing your professional skillset is more than just an added line in your resume or a job requirement, it’s more of an investment in yourself. To learn the latest technologies or best practices in the field of your choice, online learning can offer you an opportunity to hone these skills and pick up new ones as you continue to grow into your career.
While it may be quite some time before physical classes resume, virtual learning platforms are key for hosting interactive lesson plans and ensuring an engaging educational experience. There are many ways to utilize technology for learning: collaborative group video call sessions, using online productivity tools, and more.
However, it can be quite the challenge to make virtual learning genuinely work for students. You can have access to all the best tools to ensure a smooth experience, but without the right motivation or guidelines it can be hard to replicate the in-person learning experience.
Through these online learning platforms, we hope you can dedicate more of your time to setting up an effective virtual learning environment that works for you.
This online learning tool is arguably one of the best in terms of professional development in a variety of fields. Coursera gives you a wide range of options to choose from without sacrificing quality. Taking root in Stanford’s Computer Science department, it started offering courses primarily centred on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Now Coursera proudly hosts options for almost 2,700 courses in almost any field imaginable. Earning a proper certificate for the course will have you completing its course assignments, usually in the form of quizzes. If you’re only interested in casual learning to develop either a hobby or specific skill, you also have the option to audit most courses for free and view the course material without actively participating.
Coursera is usually affiliated with a university, corporation, or other organization. The credentials of their instructors are transparent for all participants to see, ensuring you’re still remotely learning from the best-equipped professors in a given field.
Housing an impressive class roster on both hard and soft skills, Udemy lets students curate their own education plan on a budget. This learning platform has an in-house review system that can help you cull through almost 80,000+ courses in the marketplace and find the one which works best for you.
Due to the large archive of courses, you’ll also be able to find niche courses not taught in mainstream circles such as The Complete Guide to Multifamily Estate Investing and so on. If you’re someone with a very specific skill you want to hone in mind, you’ll be sure to find something in Udemy to help you out.
3. Linkedin Learning
Founded in 1995, LinkedIn remains one of the best professional platforms in general. It’s an avenue that lets its users professionally develop their skills through day-to-day skill building. Linkedin learning is a subscription-based e-learning platform that powers your job search to help you better cultivate your skillset.
They offer bite-sized courses that can get you up and running on a given subject quickly, ranging from either a half-hour crash course on digital marketing or two hours worth of knowledge in real estate investing.
The courses offered on this platform don’t dive as deep into the subject material, so if you’re just looking to understand the basics and pick up the essential keynotes; this might be the one for busy bees who still want to learn something new every day.
With nearly 1,000 courses just on business software and tools, it’s a great place to start for visual learners who are looking for quick but thorough app tutorials.
For something that packs a better punch and can really spice up your professional resume, Skillshare provides its learners with hands-on classes that can make for strong, portfolio-worthy creative projects. While less academy-inclined, the 25,000+ courses housed on the platform have been carefully created by professionals who also want to help other professionals learn new skills.
While they do have business and technology courses available, what Skillshare truly excels in is their unbeatable courses that fall under the Creative category. Because these courses are offered by community members, you end up getting more niche classes that really delve into the nitty-gritty mortgage-backed securities to corporate finance to front-end development.
While more academically centred than some casual online learning platforms, the edX experience is truly enriching and beneficial for serious professionals looking to excel in their skills.
Remind is a messaging platform that focuses on nurturing a school-to-home connection. It efficiently reinforces any communication systems you already have in place and will gently, as the platform’s namesake, remind you of them.
They also house a variety of other services such as a class website, learning management system, and student agendas all neatly presented in a user-friendly interface. You can also send or schedule a text message that can include attachments to remind your students (and their respective families) of important due dates, upcoming exams, schedule changes, or any other essential information regarding the class.
Aside from being a general information and communication platform, you can also use Remind to extend encouraging messages before or after exams or tests, share snapshots of kids hard at work, or even check in with your kids when they have a substitute teacher.
One of the fastest growing remote learning platforms, LearnWorlds is a cloud-based platform that offers users the ability to build their own online academy. By creating unique and interactive social learning experiences, this online tool can make remote learning even more engaging.
LearnWorlds brings everything you might ever need for e-learning in one place: from creating online courses to giving you the appropriate marketing tools to help promote and sell your online classes.
It’s also a highly efficient website builder with its own website, page and zone templates, fully customizable branding, navigation controls, and all the other coding logistics made easy for even those who don’t know the first thing about website HTML.
Best online professional development platform for an affordable alternative
A significantly more affordable alternative for professional development online. Alison offers courses from highly regarded universities including Yale, Columbia, and Cambridge; as well as insights from major corporations such as Microsoft and Google. The educators behind Alison are the very same professors and experts who do the live versions of the educational sessions.
Alison prides itself on living by its mission statement of open source ideas and free flow of information. It’s for this very reason Alison is more affordable than traditional e-learning platforms and most of their content is free. You can also download your “learner record” at any time for proof of completion of any of their courses.
8. General Assembly
General Assembly is one of the best platforms that caters primarily for open interaction between instructors and mentors. It offers both in person and online courses, most of which centre on courses like development, design, and data.
What sets General Assembly apart from some of the other platforms is the easy and constant flow of communication from both parties, as for the entire duration of any course will have you constantly in touch with instructors, TAs, or mentors; all of whom are largely drawn from local professional organizations.
It’s because of this accessible communication system that allows participants to network while they’re learning, encouraging you to take full advantage of its alumni network that branches out across many dominions. In a day and age when connections lead to jobs, the relationships you cultivate here will be priceless.
Best online professional development platform for cutting-edge courses
If you’re looking for cutting-edge courses that has very much kept pace with the rapidly changing world, look no further than Udacity. An offspring of Silicon Valley, Udacity is distinguished by its impressive partnerships with tech giants like Google.
The courses offered on this platform are not for the casual learners, things like deep learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and self-driving automated cars are only a few of the comprehensive subjects they broach.
Udacity’s Nanodegree programs provide learners with focused coursework developed with industry partners, who, according to Udacity’s website, hire many of the programs’ graduates soon after.
With Edmodo, you can manage classes, content, and communication using a social LMS platform. This free learning management tool successfully merges classroom content and safe communication between teachers and students, all the while being social media savvy.
Students and parents alike can get quick answers to questions real-time, as well as stay current on class assignments and happenings via the student planner and discussion threads. This efficient tool can save you lots of time by opting to use the teacher-created assessments that Edmodo readily provides, and will even grade some of the work for you, all the while being completely free.