Online learning is hardly new. Many people have been able to pick up a new skill or earn a degree for decades using online learning sites.
Today, learning sites are enabling us to expand our creative spirit and minds no matter where we are in the world or how much prior experience we possess on a subject.
You can learn about any topic provided you have a laptop or mobile device and an internet connection.
Udemy is one such site, which sells video courses on a variety of topics. The sweet spot for this online learning site is professional and personal development, with tutorials, training, and other courses for self-paced, non-degree learning.
However, Udemy’s pricing is a little high and if you must have a Business account, you need a minimum of five people.
Plus, the platform isn’t a good option when you want to build a business around selling courses. Some people have done well for themselves on Udemy, but that’s because of the hard work they put in creating the course and promoting it.
Udemy stifles the progress you’d otherwise make by selling courses on the platform because you don’t own the platform, brand, visitor traffic, and basically give up ownership.
To add to that, you don’t even own 100 percent of the revenue generated from the sales of your own courses, student accounts, or policies.
All these are red flags that take away the control of critical business elements from your hands. In a sense, Udemy makes you assume more risk when compared to owning your site where you host and sell your courses and own all these elements.
For learners, Udemy lacks accredited, official certification, quality control of courses, and the pricing is inconsistent. Individuals also have to pay for each class as there’s no individual subscription package.
Udemy also lacks role and skill measurement and a proper author screening process to ensure better content quality, which results in true learner engagement.
We’ve put together a list of the best Udemy alternatives that offer conducive learning platforms and options, plus opportunities for you to thrive as an online course creator.
Coursera is an online learning site that’s been around for years. The platform hosts courses from prestigious universities and you can get all the reading materials and lectures from a real class.
In partnership with private companies, Coursera is able to offer accessible education in various fields, some for free and others at a fee, which result in a professional certificate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.
Degree courses require you to apply and pay fees to the host institution, but you get reading materials, video lectures, and quizzes. In some cases, you can submit assignments for peer review or a grade.
The platform supports various languages, though most courses are taught in English, but you also get subtitles, closed captioning, and the complete text of each video’s spoken parts.
The certificates are from reputable universities and you can use them on your resume or CV, compared to Udemy and other alternatives, which lacks accreditations for its students and quality control. Plus, Coursera’s certifications are reasonably priced.
To enroll, you need to sign up with your email and either access the course for free or pay if you want to get the certificate.
For degree programs, you’ll need to apply to the host university, which means you must meet their prerequisites, deadlines, fee schedule, and more.
Skillshare is an online learning platform whose mission is to create change, growth, and discovery in people’s lives. The community is designed to inspire and multiply creative exploration that furthers learning, expression, and application.
With Skillshare, you get thousands of classes on topics like freelancing, illustration, video, design, and photography among others. You can use it to learn professional skills with creative angles or pick up new crafts, hobbies, or skills like cooking and others.
Skillshare also has some celebrity-taught classes and other courses that teach more technical creative skills.
Most of the courses on the platform provide extra materials including readings, worksheets, and interactive community spaces where students share work and send feedback to others.
Unlike Udemy, whose subscription is pricey, Skillshare has a fair subscription price and you can still sample courses for free.
The classes don’t have a fixed format though, as some have videos that run 10 minutes while others have 50 short videos of up to two minutes each.
Skillshare also provides more breadth than Udemy in terms of subject matter, though its focus is mostly on lessons for creatives.
Skillshare Create has subtopics for creators like animators, graphic designers, creative writers, artists, UI/UX, designers, photographers, and more. On the other hand, Skillshare Build has subtopics related to freelance, analytics, leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, and management.
A third part of Skillshare is Thrive, which only offers productivity and lifestyle subtopics for now.
You can also take either Skillshare Originals courses or classes that are created by individuals who earn money from the courses.
Unlike Udemy, which doesn’t create its own content but leaves that to external content creators, Skillshare Originals is produced by Skillshare. The company does this through partnerships with companies like Patreon, Mailchimp, and Eataly.
Plus, Skillshare may have semi-celebrity or celebrity instructors and production quality is guaranteed to be high unlike on Udemy, where quality control isn’t assured. In fact, Skillshare even pulls down user-created videos that don’t meet quality standards.
The platform offers a far superior structure compared to Udemy and other scripted styles of learning, where instructors may have a sometimes robotic or overly corporate stage presence.
Skillshare has a limited free tier, and you can use their Teams account, which allows a minimum of two people, unlike Udemy’s Business account that requires a minimum of five people.
LinkedIn Learning provides professionals with courses across a wide range of top areas from soft business skills to software skills.
The courses teach everything that a business professional would desire to have including entrepreneurship and management among other topics.
To use LinkedIn Learning, you need a premium LinkedIn subscription that comes with more benefits like advanced features in LinkedIn.
While the content quality is a bit mixed, LinkedIn Learning offers better quality video production over Udemy for personal and professional audiences.
Newer content on the platform comes as slideshow presentations, especially for the business content, but they’re made in business-grade presentation quality – some animated, others text, while others have b-roll or photo stills.
You also get plenty of content for beginners and experts alike and can find foundational or specialized lessons. You can set goals in LinkedIn Learning for the number of minutes you want to spend watching content weekly and view your weekly progress in your account.
The account also saves your progress in various courses so you can easily pause a video and then watch it later.
You also get a certificate upon completion that you can download and add to your LinkedIn profile.
Unlike Udemy, which provides video courses by different course creators from all walks of life, MasterClass takes a different approach by featuring top talent in their respective fields.
For instance, you’ll get a few A-list celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Alice Waters, Steph Curry, and Hollywood directors like James Cameron teaching on different topics.
The binge-worthy, on-demand learning site provides thought-provoking and educational videos of way better quality than Udemy. The site’s top talent also includes women and people of color and the class categories are constantly growing over time.
Their content is top-rate and of exceptional quality compared to Udemy, which doesn’t really check on quality, thereby reducing learner engagement.
MasterClass lures you in with its top-notch instructors, thoughtful material, and exceptional values in production. It’s like a TED Talk of sorts.
You get one plan type – the all-access pass – which is paid annually at $180, and you can watch all the content on its catalog anytime, anywhere, and on any device. That makes MasterClass a lot more affordable compared to Udemy.
While there’s no free trial, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee though you still have to sign up with your bank card before getting a refund.
MasterClass also offers a grant for nonprofit organizations to access its content for free. If you want your team to watch, you can access a group-rate discount for five or more memberships.
Once you start a course, you can read the overview, which includes supplemental materials and videos. You can also view the videos using titles and their descriptions.
Lessons range in length from six to 20 minutes, with up to 18 lessons per course, though there are some longer ones. You also get bonus content on some content.
Extensive community features are available including a dedicated community homepage on each class, complete with a message board and comments.
5. Khan Academy
The story behind Khan Academy is as inspiring as it is powerful. The online learning platform was started by Sal Khan, a financial analyst at the time, who began tutoring his cousin through videos of a virtual blackboard with voice-over narrations.
Khan went on to post the lessons on YouTube, and over time, he grew the concept into Khan Academy. Today, the nonprofit organization cultivates academic courses and provides them for free online.
Together with other institutions and educators, Khan Academy has been able to expand into other fields while still providing free courses for all compared to Udemy and some of the other alternatives, which are expensive to use.
The platform is reliable, doesn’t require an account to use, and provides video lectures, quizzes, readings, and impressive resources for test and college preparation.
Khan Academy’s courses mostly stick to the formal curriculum for different grade levels mainly catered to the American educational institution.
There’s no limit to the number of courses you can take and there are materials for learners as young as two, up to university-level courses.
Learners take courses on Khan Academy to get prepared in the subjects they want, but they still have to take formal tests in their respective learning institutions.
If you want to track your progress, you can make an account, sign in, and access other features like giving access to your teacher, parent, or tutor. This way, they can see your learning history and assign work or challenges to you.
For academic learning, Khan Academy offers a highly useful and reliable platform for anyone with a hunger to learn.
Udacity is an online learning platform that offers Nanodegree programs built in partnership with top innovative tech companies in the world including IBM Watson, AWS, Google, UiPath, Microsoft, and more.
The courses are taught by industry leaders so you’re sure of getting real employable skills and quality content thanks to its solid curriculum designed with top-tier industry partners. Unlike Udemy, whose content quality isn’t guaranteed or up to par, Udacity helps you learn the high-impact skills that top companies look for.
You also get to learn by doing projects based on real-world cases along with hands-on exercises that lead to a mastery of real skills. Learning is self-paced so you can learn anywhere and anytime you want and graduate as you learn part-time for 10 hours every week.
Mentors are also available unlike on Udemy, who you can reach 24/7 and have your questions answered quickly.
Udacity’s pricing is higher if you enroll in longer courses for three to four months, but ultimately, you get more value compared to learning on Udemy. Plus, you get work samples you can add to your resume when applying for jobs in the future.
Udacity also provides courses that are technical in nature and highly specific. For example, in partnership with Uber, Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia, and other companies, you can take the Self-Driving Car Engineer course.
The Nanodegrees aren’t accredited like Udemy courses, but you still come away with powerful, focused, and job-specific skills to advance your career or get experience for it.
Financial assistance is available as well as loans that help you spread out payments over a longer period.
A self-service cancellation and account deletion options are included, so you can manage your accounts. This makes Udacity more desirable than Udemy as it gives you the freedom to take your membership seriously and back out whenever you want.
The Great Courses is an edutainment and subscription-based streaming service that provides informational videos on a wide range of subjects.
The platform uses a simple documentary-style model to deliver lectures and provides comprehensive accessibility controls so you can access its wide-ranging content catalog.
You can watch the content from the online learning and video streaming service on a computer but also via Roku and Apple TV among other devices.
Some of the lectures are made in partnership with big producers like The History Channel and National Geographic.
Plus, you can access content on a wide range of subject matters including the natural world, religion, philosophy, and other topics, but there aren’t as many that teach hands-on skills.
The course content is of high quality and production compared to Udemy’s, and most instructors hold an advanced degree, which the platform management emphasizes.
Once you log in to The Great Courses platform, you can add a course you like to your list and explore others in the catalog through the search bar. The results are separated into lectures, courses, and professors.
Each course displays a list of all the videos it contains as well as summaries of those videos. You can also see the biographies of the instructors or open any additional materials provided with the course.
One of the unique features that you may not find on Udemy is the comprehensive accessibility menu, which helps protect people with epilepsy. You also get an impressive set of controls for adjusting text size, colors, contrast, and spacing among other aspects.
If you have a team of techies and need a platform they can use to learn more skills, Pluralsight is worth considering. The platform helps tech teams build better skills faster by providing expert-authored content and courses, analytics, and skill assessments.
The skills component offers the most effective path for you to build business-critical skills.
Pluralsight is laser-focused on technology topics unlike Udemy, which has a wide range of topics. The main advantage of Pluralsight’s tech-focused courses is that you can expand your thinking and skills on a particular technology area that you need to build upon.
Plus, Pluralsight delivers great quality in its content thanks to the quality of experts that instruct the learners.
It’s actually way better for companies who want to feel confident that their teams are learning from the industry’s best. They get to upskill their teams with courses on in-demand topics such as IT Ops, machine learning and AI, software development, cloud computing, data professional, and information & cybersecurity.
The core library features over 2,500 courses and you can access an expanded library with over 7,000 courses and advanced topics that help you build expertise or tackle special projects.
Learning is more hands-on in Pluralsight compared to Udemy, with interactive projects, courses, labs, and practicals through sandboxes so that you can put to task what you learn.
Learners also undergo personalized skill assessments, trained by instructors, and get prepared for industry certification.
Cloud Academy is another online learning platform designed for enterprise teams. The leading digital skills development platform helps you accelerate innovation through skill assessments, learning paths, and hands-on labs.
The platform is trusted by top companies to provide role-specific training to their teams on clouds like AWS, Google, Azure, and Cloud Platform.
They’re also counted on to provide capabilities like machine learning, AI, big data and IoT, and essential methodologies for operating on and between clouds such as security and DevOps.
You can learn by doing with the platform’s adaptive assessment technology and ensure that every team member learns in the right place.
Unlike Udemy, whose quality isn’t guaranteed and the instructors aren’t necessarily top experts in their fields, Cloud Academy provides subject matter experts and certifications to accelerate your career.
Cloud Academy also lets you test your competence across multiple technologies and cloud platforms and track your skill improvement. You can up-level your technical capabilities and measure practical expertise to know when your team is ready.
10. CBT Nuggets
CBT Nuggets is an online learning platform that provides expert IT training where and when you need it. For over two decades, the platform has been trusted by IT pros and teams to provide in-demand technology training anywhere and anytime.
CBT Nuggets offers meaningful, informative, and engaging content through high-quality online streaming video, which is of greater quality than Udemy’s content.
Plus, you can get free or certification training provided by top tech brands including AWS, Google, Microsoft, IBM Watson, and others, to help you stay competitive and get your job done.
You can train 24/7 from your mobile device or computer through videos of about 10-20 minutes in length.
Unlike Udemy, whose instructors aren’t necessarily top-notch experts from reputable institutions, CBT Nuggets offers over 5,000 training videos taught by expert instructors.
Plus, the courses are taught in a whiteboard style and employ a one-on-one methodology for better learner retention.
You also get IT certifications to validate your knowledge and skills, which is an excellent way to achieve your career goals. A seven-day no-risk trial is available that offers free IT training and access to the entire library and learning tools.
Learning isn’t limited to school-taught subjects. You can go online anytime and pick up new skills, learn more about a subject matter, and become a better learner, manager, or entrepreneur.
Any of these best Udemy alternatives can get you the practical skills and professional development you’re looking for depending on what your needs are.
Take a spin through one or all of them and get to learn something new, brush up on what you already know, or take your knowledge and skills to the next level.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.