Top 5 Most Popular Online Course Platforms of All Levels

With the rise of online learning, it is no wonder that the number of course platforms available today is plentiful. Whether you’re looking to learn something new, hone your skills, or further your education, there is a platform to suit your needs. But with so many options, which platform is the best for you? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of the most popular online course platforms, so you can choose the one that best fits your learning goals. From self-paced learning to interactive lectures, we’ll look at the features that each platform offers, so you can determine which one is right for you.

What is an online course platform?

An online course platform is a website that hosts online courses that anyone can take, usually for a fee. Online course platforms are also called online learning platforms, online course sites, or online course builders. Online course platforms are where you’ll find online courses. Examples include Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, edX, and Skillshare. A course is the syllabus or set of lessons that you’ll follow to learn a specific skill, subject, or topic. 

When people talk about online courses, they’re referring to the materials that you’ll find on an online course platform. Typically, online course platforms provide users with a variety of course categories and topics to choose from. Users can then select the topic they are interested in and view the syllabus, course description, list of required materials, and a list of instructors. Students can then enroll in the course, access the course materials, and participate in discussions with the other students. After completing the course, students can also receive a course completion certificate.

Things to consider choosing online course platforms

Online course platforms offer many benefits for both teachers and students. Some of the pros of these platforms include: 

  • Accessibility

Most platforms are accessible 24/7, allowing you to study from anywhere at any time.

  • Customization

Some platforms allow you to create custom courses and lessons, allowing you to choose the content that is most relevant to you. 

  • Social interaction

With many of these platforms, you can communicate with your fellow students to brainstorm ideas, discuss readings, and work through problem-solving exercises together. 

  • Variety of courses

While MOOCs tend to focus on topics in the liberal arts and sciences, many online course platforms also offer courses in business, technical skills, and creative fields.

Popular online course platforms

  • Udemy 

Online course platform Udemy has over 20 million users and hosts more than 100,000 online courses. Users can find Udemy courses across a range of topics, including business, health and fitness, creative skills, languages, and more. Udemy is one of the largest online course platforms, and you can find just about any type of course on the site. Udemy courses are created by both individual instructors and large organizations. Udemy courses use a “pay as you go” model and are available either as a free course or one that you pay a fee to access.

  • Coursera 

Online course platform Coursera has over 30 million users and hosts more than 1,500 online courses. Coursera is a good resource if you want to find courses from top universities, including Stanford University, Duke University, and The University of California, Berkeley. Like Udemy, Coursera offers a wide range of topics, including medicine, business, design, and computer science. Coursera has a “pay as you go” model. Some courses are free, but most require a paid subscription. 

  • edX 

Online course platform edX has over 20 million users and more than 1,500 online courses. edX is a joint initiative between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to provide high-quality online education. You’ll find a wide range of topics on edX, including business, health, technology, and engineering. Like Coursera, edX also hosts courses from other top universities. edX courses usually have a “pay as you go” model. 

  • Skillshare 

Skillshare is an online learning community where you can learn new skills in classes taught by experts in their fields. The platform is best suited to those who are interested in self-paced learning with a social and interactive twist. The platform allows you to follow your own schedule and progress from anywhere you can access the internet. This allows for an immersive learning experience because you can learn at your own pace and revisit lessons as often as you need. Skillshare also has a “Grow Your Audience” feature that allows you to share your projects with others and receive constructive and encouraging feedback. Skillshare is best for those interested in developing their creative skills, and those interested in learning marketing and business skills.

  • Udacity 

Udacity has been offering online courses since 2011, and they have over 50 courses available in a variety of subjects. The courses are taught by leading professors from universities and companies around the world. Udacity is best suited for those interested in obtaining a degree. Currently, Udacity offers 10 online degree programs, including a remote MBA program, which is completely online. 

If you are interested in earning a degree, Udacity provides the structure and support needed to achieve your educational goals. Udacity’s course format is more like a MOOC, consisting of videos and reading materials, and providing individual feedback where needed. Udacity is best for those interested in obtaining an advanced degree, and those who prefer a more structured approach to their online learning.


Online course platforms offer many benefits for both teachers and students. Some of the pros of these platforms include accessibility, customization, and a variety of courses. Online course platforms also provide social interaction, and some also offer degree programs. There are, of course, some cons to these platforms as well. Some of these include the fact that there is no face-to-face interaction with other students or a professor; there is no physical campus to visit; and because online courses are self-paced, there is no set timeline for completing a course.

These platforms provide an excellent opportunity to expand your horizons and explore topics that are outside of your comfort zone. No matter what your learning goals are, these platforms can help you reach them. Choose the one that best fits your learning goals, and you can be well on your way to achieving your educational and career goals.