17 of the Best Online Course Providers of 2022


Jennifer Herrity

Updated September 27, 2022 | Published November 12, 2020

Updated September 27, 2022

Published November 12, 2020

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Organizations design online courses to help you learn new skills or improve your current skill set from home or wherever your preferred learning space is and often at your own pace. You can use various online classes for a fee or paid subscription to develop skills for your personal and professional life. Understanding your learning goals may help determine which courses are ideal for you.

In this article, we discuss the best online courses, including sharing how online courses work, listing seven online educational platforms and reviewing a list of 10 college or university-related online courses you can take.

How do online courses work?

Organizations and instructors design online courses for individuals to use as a resource for increasing their understanding of certain topics and strengthening their skills to expand job opportunities. You can take online courses through a college, university or an organization. Some classes you can attend for free, and some may require you to pay a fee before enrolling.

Additionally, several online courses are self-paced, which means you can complete them according to your schedule. It's important to note if you're taking courses through a college or university program because they may have various class guidelines, including if you're required to log on at a certain time and your expected workload.

Related: 34 Online Training Programs To Advance Your Career

7 top online course providers

If you wish to take a course, but you're not sure of the topic yet, these websites can help you find the best class for your goals. Often, these are the best courses because they provide free and paid options with additional resources you can use outside of the classes, including helpful quizzes to learn about yourself as a professional and personal individual.

Here's a list outlining a wide variety of the best online courses you can take in several disciplines for your personal and professional life:

1. Alison

Alison's a free learning platform offering classes in a wide range of topics, including fields such as personal development, health, language, finance and science. It offers learners the flexibility of taking the courses anywhere and anytime users can fit it into their schedule, and the platform caters to individuals with various skill levels, from beginner to expert. Additionally, the site has two types of courses, allowing you to choose between earning a certificate or a diploma.

On the site, take a free personality assessment to discover which career path is right for you, and a well-being assessment to understand how you're feeling while providing you with actionable steps to help yourself. A few of the most popular courses the site offers include:

  • Advanced Parenting Skills

  • Diploma in Warehouse Management

  • Basic Life Support

Related: How To Translate Caregiver Skills to Your Resume

2. Udemy

Udemy offers both free and paid courses in professional subjects, like designing and marketing, and personal development topics, such as health and parenting and relationships. Currently, the site has over 204,000 videos online for you to choose from, and regularly adds new content each month. You can take the courses at your own pace on a mobile device or desktop. The company chooses professionals who are experts in their field to teach the courses.

A few of the free courses include:

  • Introduction to Website Development

  • Practical Oriented Analysis of Financial Statements

  • Drawing and Sketching for Beginners

3. Udacity

Udacity has three learning segments, which include government, enterprise and individual. These sections offer various courses you can take and improve your skills for a fee, but you can download a demo to see how you like it before purchasing. The site gives users access to free courses, primarily in the technology and business fields. Classes may vary in length and intensity to meet student needs and you can complete projects as you might with in-person courses for you to use in your resumes and portfolios during a job search.

Some of the site's popular courses for individuals include:

  • Become a Data Engineer

  • Become a Product Manager

  • Business Analytics

4. Skillshare

Skillshare is an online platform offering courses in a variety of subjects, primarily in creative fields like creative writing and filmmaking. The site has free and paid options for you to explore with a seven-day free trial so you can explore the subscription before committing to it. You can explore various learning paths where you can gain an understanding of popular platforms creative industries may use and then use on your resume.

A few of the site's popular courses include:

  • Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity

  • Art Journaling for Self-Care: 3 Exercises for Reflection and Growth

  • Start Your Creative Career: Build a Sharp, Smart Online Presence

5. Codecademy

Codecademy provides IT and other technical users with courses in coding and other software engineering areas. You can choose from several subscription plans or choose a free option to explore the site's course collection. The site allows you to choose your learning plan by asking if you wish to build your career, gain a skill, learn a coding language or explore a subject area. Additionally, the site offers a sorting quiz to help you understand your programming personality and navigate where you may like to start in your learning journey if you're unsure.

The site's top career paths include:

  • Full-stack engineer

  • Computer science

  • Data scientist

  • Front-end engineer

Related: 16 Computer Science Certifications To Help Launch Your IT Career

6. Pluralsight

Pluralsight is a paid subscription site but offers a free trial, so you can try a few classes to determine if it fits your needs. You can take a Skill IQ assessment to know your skill levels and help you determine a plan to improve your abilities. The site employs certified experts as the course instructors, which benefits you as a learner.

Popular skill areas on the site include:

  • Software development

  • Data professional

  • Cyber security

Related: Education Courses for Software Engineers: What To Study

7. Memrise

Memrise is a website and an application created to help you learn another language. It's free to use and offers an assortment of 23 languages to pursue. The site aims to work on developing your long-term memory to support your learning journey and make it more effective. Additionally, it provides video examples of individuals using the language's terms and phrases in everyday life.

Popular language choices include:

  • Danish

  • French

  • German

Related: 15 Opportunities for Foreign Language Careers (With Salaries)

10 college and university online learning platforms

Some colleges and universities provide free access to their courses online for learners not enrolled in the school. If you're interested in increasing your academic knowledge, consider taking an online college course, such as:

1. Open Culture

Open Culture provides access to over 1,700 college courses for free. Choose from subjects like literature and computer science or specific schools like Harvard and Oxford. In addition to college courses, the site provides access to certificates, movies, podcasts and eBooks.

Some course categories include:

  • Architecture

  • Art and art history

  • Communication

Related: What Is an Art History Major? Definition, Benefits and Key Skills

2. Academic Earth

Academic Earth matches prospective students with online coursework, either to audit or work toward a degree. It's free to audit classes, but if you seek course credits, the site requires you to pay a fee before attending the class. You may also select the university you wish to receive your online degree based on the ones the site offers.

Academic Earth's degree program includes subjects like:

  • Criminal justice

  • Business

  • Education

  • Liberal arts

Related: 10 Careers You Can Pursue With a Liberal Arts Degree

3. FutureLearn

FutureLearn offers free and premium membership classes in several subjects, like law and literature, taught by college professors and industry experts. There are various course types, which are short courses, online degrees, ExpertTracks and Microcredentials. You can complete the courses at your own pace.

Featured courses on the site include:

  • HR Fundamentals

  • Copywriting Fundamentals

  • A Beginner's Guide to Fashion Design

Related: Courses To Pursue for Fashion Designing

4. Coursera

Coursera affords students access to free courses and paid degree courses from several renowned international colleges and universities. From the site, you can explore earning a certification or a degree based on your learning goals. If you're seeking a new career path, the site can help you with the process by offering courses to develop your skills and earn professional credentials.

A few of the free classes offered include:

  • Indigenous Canada

  • Financial Markets

  • The Science of Well-Being

  • Introduction to Psychology

Related: 9 Steps To Change Your Career Path at Any Age

5. EdX

EdX offers students free and paid options from over 160 universities. There are several categories, which are executive education, master's degrees, bachelor's degrees and boot camps. The site also allows you to compare programs from various schools to help you find the right fit for you.

Some courses EdX offers include:

  • How to Learn Online

  • The Science of Happiness

  • Remote Work Revolution for Everyone

Related: Top 100 Remote Work Companies To Watch in 2022

6. Stanford Online

Stanford Online is the digital extension of Stanford University. You can attend free courses, browse the content library or take the courses for credit after paying tuition. The course instructors teach in real-time, so the options change each semester. Different programs you can pursue include graduate and professional education.

Some free course topics the site offers include:

  • Health and medicine

  • Education

  • Arts and humanities

7. Harvard University Online Courses

Harvard University's online courses offer free and paid classes with a vast subject range, including art and design, business and computer science. The site's search features make it easy for you to find classes to fit your schedule. You can browse courses based on your learning plans, such as scheduling classes in two weeks, three months or a year from now.

A few courses the site offers for free include:

  • Systematic Approaches to Policy Design

  • The Health Effects of Climate Change

  • Quantitative Methods for Biology

8. Open Yale Courses

Open Yale Courses give you free access to a wide range of Yale University's classes. There's no certificate, degree or course credit option available through the site because it's exclusively a free offering for those who want to expand their academic knowledge. The available classes are classroom recordings and provide the educational material you require for increasing various skills.

Here are a few different courses available to you:

  • Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering

  • Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

  • Introduction to Theory of Literature

9. MIT OpenCourseWare

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare provides individuals with free access to over 2,500 of its undergraduate and graduate classes. All courses are free for users, and there's no registration required to view and watch the lesson materials. Additionally, the site makes the video classes easy to download for you to watch offline or to share with your friends, family members or colleagues.

Featured courses include:

  • Cosmic Origin of the Chemical Elements

  • Global Africa: Creative Cultures

  • Private Pilot Ground School

10. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative offers students free access to courses and paid options for credits. You can have two student options for your learning journey, which are Course Key students and Independent learners. The one you choose can depend if you're a student pursuing an independent or supplemental education or if an instructor has given you a key code to access course materials.

Some academic course categories include:

  • Language and speech

  • Social sciences

  • Technology and design

  • Life sciences

Please note that none of the companies and organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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