The Top Online Learning Platforms To Kickstart Your Career in 2021

Whether you want to gain new marketable talents or just want to learn something new for pleasure, online learning platforms are a terrific and convenient way to learn on your own time. These platforms, as an alternative to online universities, tend to be a little more flexible and may even offer more unique or uncommon classes that you wouldn’t find at a typical college, but prospective students should weigh their options to determine which is best for them.Here are just a few of our top picks for the greatest online learning platforms, ranging from Masterclass to Coursera, so you can get started right away.

My top selections for the greatest online course platforms to use this year are listed below.

Coursera

Coursera has created a name for itself in recent years by offering top-tier university courses to online students. More than 50 million students have accessed courses from universities such as Duke, Stanford, and Yale thanks to this California-based elearning network.I have to add that their iOS and Android mobile app is one of the best I’ve used. It actually makes it quite simple for students to follow courses while on the go — it even allows free courses to be viewed offline.

What are the advantages of Coursera:

  1. Course quality: As you might expect from universities like Stanford, Duke, and Yale, Coursera’s courses are among the best.
  2. Coursera offers a wide range of courses, including individual courses, specializations, and higher education degrees.
  3. Because Coursera collaborates with these colleges, you’ll be able to receive authentic certifications for your courses.
  4. Free courses: You can enroll in practically any Coursera class for free if you don’t plan on earning a completion certificate.

EDX

With over 34 million students having registered in one of their 3,000+ courses, edX has a large user base. The premise is similar to Coursera’s in that it makes top-tier university courses available to the general public.You can also enroll in a variety of different course kinds. MicroBachelors, MicroMasters, Professional Certificates, and Master’s Degrees, for example, are available. You’ll find the one that’s right for you.

What are the benefits of edX:

  1. Official certifications: As edX works with colleges such as Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, and Boston University, you’ll be able to obtain authorized certificates.
  2. Courses are available for free: Most courses will be available for free (assuming you aren’t seeking for a certificate).
  3. Many courses can be started at any time that is convenient for you. In addition, you can enroll in a variety of courses.
  4. Course quality: As you may expect, the quality of edX courses is extremely good because they are created by premier universities.

Udemy

It’s likely that you’ve heard of Udemy, an online educational platform. With over 50 million students and over 155,000 courses, Udemy is perhaps the most popular elearning platform.

Udemy is a global marketplace for online courses where you can discover classes on almost any subject from a variety of instructors (even in languages like Spanish, German, French or Chinese).

What are the advantages of Udemy:

  1. Choice: Udemy has the most courses, so you’ll be able to locate
  2. Free courses: Udemy has a large number of free courses. Make sure to check them out if you want to learn for free.
  3. Return policy: A liberal 30-day refund policy is in place. Return the course if you are dissatisfied with it.

Skillshare

This online education platform, which originated in New York, has over 5 million students and provides a wide choice of courses for $99 a year ($15 if you pay monthly). Skillshare began as an elearning platform for creatives, but it has since expanded to include a wider range of topics (e.g. IT, business, language-learning, etc.).

Skillshare’s advantages are as follows:

  1. Free courses: Skillshare offers 10% of its courses for free, and there are currently over 2,000 programs accessible. Please note that free members do not have access to offline viewing.
  2. Choice: With over 25,000 courses, there aren’t many choices (aside from Udemy) that can match Skillshare’s selection.
  3. Price: A Skillshare premium subscription costs $99 per year (if paid in advance) or $15 per month (if paid monthly) – less than Spotify.
  4. Course quality: Because anybody can publish, course quality ranges from one to the next. Some lessons, however, are created by Skillshare and renowned firms such as Mailchimp or Google, and are usually of high quality.

MasterClass

Although MasterClass provides more than simply creative classes, its most popular are those that feature A-list actors, writers, painters, singers, and others as instructors.

And they aren’t just one-time “talk” sessions: Like a regular course, most courses feature roughly 20 lessons, allowing you to delve deeply into your chosen topic. If you want to understand more about these often-mysterious professions, there’s no better way than to hear from those who have previously succeeded.

These video-based courses combine straightforward lectures, workbooks, and class discussions with practical guidance and demonstrations.

You can take as many sessions as you wish within a monthly membership because MasterClass is a subscription-based platform. The cost of unrestricted access is around $15 per month, but students must sign up for a year at a time.

Conclusion

The most important thing is to make the most of your educational opportunities. This is the rule to follow when deciding which platform to utilize; select one that will help you get the most out of it.

E-LEARNING: Pros and Cons

E-learning system was one which wasn’t preferred by everybody before the pandemic. A live classroom session can never be the same as an online class session. In my opinion, classes through the internet are not generally interactive as much as a live class session because individuals might feel a little shy or uncomfortable with online interactions. There are chances for less clarity or more misunderstanding between a group or individuals. Nothing can actually beat the comfortability of attending live classroom sessions. But online classes are not that really bad!! Though they are used in rare cases, they are still quite helpful. They are technological improvements to help man save time, money and energy. In the present condition where people are battling bravely against the coronavirus pandemic, schools, college and other educational institutions are shut down. There was no time for these institutions to weigh the positives and negatives of e-learning because it became the necessary default. It is because of the improvements in technology that a child is not stopped from learning. The present generation is already accustomed to the use of technology and therefore it is a blessing in disguise because there would be no problem in the context of adjusting or learning or comfortability. E-leaning has provided a virtual place for individuals and mentors to interact with each other, learn and grow. They do have some pros and cons which are discussed below:

PROS OF E-LEARNING:

  • COST EFFECTIVE- E-learning is useful because it can be accessed from any desired destination. It is a least cost way to learn any course or subject. One just needs a computer or mobile phone and there is no need for any other materials or tools. It is the most affordable learning option without any difficulties.
  • FASTER DELIVERY- Generally, the organisation of real training sessions requires a lot of time and money. With the invention of e-learning, all these costs are not incurred due to virtual classrooms and sessions.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY- Nowadays, there is a lot of campaigns and awareness programmes about pollution. E-learning has not only allowed people to learn from their comfortable place but also prevented pollution from their vehicles.
  • PERSONALIZED TRAINING EXPERIENCE- A person can attend their trainings at their own pace in e-learning because during real classes, the trainers might move on faster will trainees find it difficult to adapt to the pace.
  • INTERNET CONNECTION- Internet connection is 24*7 and a person can attend their course anytime, anywhere at their comfort.
  • ENCOURAGES INDEPENDENT LEARNING- An individual needn’t be dependent on somebody to learn something. A small pay for a training or course can help a person to learn independently without hassles.

CONS OF E-LEARNING:

  • TECHNOLOGY ACCESS- E-learners have to use technology in order to access the courses and trainings. The learner may neither have an experience or knowledge to use the technology nor an internet connection.
  • TECHNICAL GLITCHES- E-learning comes with a lot of technical glitches which are not very easy to rectify. It needs a technical knowledge to handle such a situation. Thus, in such situations the absence of such knowledge can provide problems to a person.
  • PEER INTERACTION- There would be less of peer interaction. There is anonymity between the fellow mates attending the same training. Except the trainer, we never know who is on the other side of the screen.

RELEVANT LINKS: https://www.indiainfoline.com/article/general-editors-choice/how-is-online-education-helping-offline-education-during-the-lockdown-121062500209_1.html https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/definition/e-learning https://e-student.org/what-is-e-learning/

ONLINE LEARNING


The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered new ways of learning. All around the world, educational institutions are looking toward online learning platforms to continue with the process of educating students. The new normal now is a transformed concept of education with online learning at the core of this transformation. Today, digital learning has emerged as a necessary resource for students and schools all over the world. For many educational institutes, this is an entirely new way of education that they have had to adopt. Online learning is now applicable not just to learn academics but it also extends to learning extracurricular activities for students as well. In recent months, the demand for online learning has risen significantly, and it will continue doing so in the future.
As with most teaching methods, online learning also has its own set of positives and negatives. Decoding and understanding these positives and negatives will help institutes in creating strategies for more efficiently delivering the lessons, ensuring an uninterrupted learning journey for students.
Advantages of Online Learning:

  • Efficiency-Online learning offers teachers an efficient way to deliver lessons to students. Online learning has a number of tools such as videos, PDFs, podcasts, and teachers can use all these tools as part of their lesson plans. By extending the lesson plan beyond traditional textbooks to include online resources, teachers are able to become more efficient educators.
  • Accessibility Of Time And Place-Another advantage of online education is that it allows students to attend classes from any location of their choice. It also allows schools to reach out to a more extensive network of students, instead of being restricted by geographical boundaries. Additionally, online lectures can be recorded, archived, and shared for future reference. This allows students to access the learning material at a time of their comfort.Thus, online learning offers students the accessibility of time and place in education.
  • Affordability -Another advantage of online learning is reduced financial costs. Online education is far more affordable as compared to physical learning. This is because online learning eliminates the cost points of student transportation, student meals, and most importantly, real estate. Additionally, all the course or study materials are available online, thus creating a paperless learning environment which is more affordable, while also being beneficial to the environment.
  • Improved Student Attendance -Since online classes can be taken from home or location of choice, there are fewer chances of students missing out on lessons.
  • Suits A Variety Of Learning Styles -Every student has a different learning journey and a different learning style. Some students are visual learners, while some students prefer to learn through audio. Similarly, some students thrive in the classroom, and other students are solo learners who get distracted by large groups. Disadvantages of Online Learning
  • Inability To Focus On Screens-For many students, one of the biggest challenges of online learning is the struggle with focusing on the screen for long periods of time. With online learning, there is also a greater chance for students to be easily distracted by social media or other sites. Therefore, it is imperative for the teachers to keep their online classes crisp, engaging, and interactive to help students stay focused on the lesson.
  • Technology Issues -Another key challenge of online classes is internet connectivity. While internet penetration has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, in smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem. Without a consistent internet connection for students or teachers, there can be a lack of continuity in learning for the child. This is detrimental to the education process.
  • Sense Of Isolation -Students can learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. However, in an online class, there are minimal physical interactions between students and teachers. This often results in a sense of isolation for the students. In this situation, it is imperative that the school allow for other forms of communication between the students, peers, and teachers. This can include online messages, emails and video conferencing that will allow for face-to-face interaction and reduce the sense of isolation.
  • Teacher Training -Online learning requires teachers to have a basic understanding of using digital forms of learning. However, this is not the case always. Very often, teachers have a very basic understanding of technology. Sometimes, they don’t even have the necessary resources and tools to conducts online classes.To combat this, it is important for schools to invest in training teachers with the latest technology updates so that they can conduct their online classes seamlessly.
  • Manage Screen Time-Many parents are concerned about the health hazards of having their children spend so many hours staring at a screen. This increase in screen time is one of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of online learning. Sometimes students also develop bad posture and other physical problems due to staying hunched in front of a screen.A good solution to this would be to give the students plenty of breaks from the screen to refresh their mind and their body.

Disadvantages Of An Online Examination System

Online assessments have gotten something beyond a pattern in India. The remarkable ascent in internet learning has made online tests an important asset for instructive organizations and corporates. While understudies pick serious tests like Feline, JEE, Door, etc, working experts select tests like UPSC, GMAT, Bank PO, or CAT. The shared factor here is online assessments.

Pen and paper tests are as of now being enhanced or rather subbed by online evaluation stages, because of quick digitalization. An investigation by KPMG states that the online assessment industry is required to develop into an amazing USD 11 billion market by 2021. Appropriately so, since it is the second-biggest e-learning market after the US.

Let us look at the disadvantages of an online examination system:

  • Challenges in Technology Adoption
  • Infrastructural Barriers
  • Difficulty in Grading Long-answer Type
  • Susceptible to Cheating
  • Transitioning to Open-Book Exams
challenges in technology adaptation

Executing another framework may make a minor interruption and require time of acclimation by the clients. Any change from conventional procedure to the online mode will require some speculation from instructive establishments to update the frameworks. Nonetheless, acclimating the two understudies and educators with the progress is the ideal route forward. Such preparation would instruct understudies and educators about the new highlights and advantages of an online assessment framework.

infrastructural barriers

One of the significant weaknesses of the online assessment framework surfaces in distant areas where admittance to power stable web association and other fundamental framework prerequisites are hard to meet. Such boundaries obstruct online tests. Along these lines, while moving to the online mode, establishments should consider whether everything understudies can show up for the test and what plans can be made to guarantee something very similar.

difficulty in grading long-type answers

Despite the fact that online assessments have facilitated the invigilators’ work, the issue emerges generally with long answer-type questions. Abstract answers require manual reviewing, for which inspectors need to contribute extra time. This is the place where the cutting-edge framework covers with the customary one. As innovation in the instruction area keeps on advancing, the reviewing of emotional answers would get simpler.

suspectable to cheating

One of the significant impediments of an online assessment framework is cheating. Particularly in high-stakes tests, understudies regularly resort to pantomime, making colleges speculate test-takers’ character. Understudies may likewise get outer assistance through cell phones or smartwatches. The frameworks utilized by up-and-comers likewise offer various bamboozling openings, for example, interfacing outer capacity gadgets, screen sharing, and so forth.

transtioning to open-book exams

Normally, the configuration of online tests is seen as much the same as open-book tests. Dissimilar to a customary test setting where outer materials are not allowed inside the test corridor, there is no such arrangement in the advanced organization. Truth be told, it is hard to prevent understudies from alluding to their investigation materials during an online evaluation. Also, there is an absence of oversight during the test meeting, which risks the validity of these tests.

HOW TO STUDY AMIDST PANDEMIC

“Victory comes from finding
opportunities in problems.”

Do you prefer to study at home? We millennials have an inherent ability to sneakily use social media during classes, whether in the classroom or online. During our lectures, we know how to eat, sleep, and chat, and that tradition will continue online as well.

But, by the end of the day, don’t we get to do anything useful? It may be navigating congested roads in the rain, maintaining positive social relationships, or engaging in practical learning. During this online process, we will miss out on all of that. So, in such a situation, how does one become productive? It all comes down to self-control, in my opinion. Nobody is pressuring us to read, study, or do something productive; there is no pressure, and we have complete control of how we spend our time.

Which is better: online or in a classroom? Since it is much more receptive and engrossing, the solution is a classroom environment. Learning online, on the other hand, has its advantages. With more spare time on our side, we become more productive time managers. Having said that, I am aware that most of us fall victim to the vicious cycle of procrastination, and to combat this, I have begun to use the Pomodoro technique, which appears to be successful. It divides work into 25-minute chunks, with a 5-minute leisure break in between and a 20-minute reward break after 2 hours or so. It assists me in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Nobody knows how our educational environment can shift in the coming months, so we must make the most of the time we have and learn some useful skills while we’re at it.

Teaching in times of Corona

We are living through times of unprecedented change and confusion. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to mankind in every realm imaginable, urging as to rethink the way we have approached social activities as well as everyday tasks that we so far did without second thoughts. Work from home has become the norm for most IT companies and trade has moved largely online. Perhaps the most visible of all shifts is in the education sector with all educational institutions having been shut down for months with no definite time for reopening. Since learning cannot be paused, teaching has moved online as well. This has brought with it multiple challenges – from questions of accessibility to apprehension over a widening digital divide to difficulty in ensuring the students understand and the limited interaction possible. While online education is a viable alternative in most western countries, it is far from ideal and is only a poor substitute for classrooms in a developing country like India.

While we can agree that students all over the country, particularly from rural backgrounds, are facing a severe challenge with this new mode of learning, we also understand that teachers have been finding the shift extremely difficult as well. If many tech-savvy students who are used to spending much time online or facing a screen is finding the shift strenuous, it is natural that teachers who have spent years teaching on a blackboard would find it more so. Along with the challenges of learning how to use technology in a way that allows students to learn better and maximizes opportunities for optimum holistic engagement, teachers also face other concomitant issues.

photo of kid playing with kinetic sand while watching through imac
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

While at home, many of them, like their students, are unable to access proper internet or gadgets which will make their work easier. They also have longer days where much time is spent worrying over internet connections and whether they are able to teach the students well. Particularly for teachers of younger classes, making videos that will capture the attention of seven-year-olds, and being able to anticipate their reactions are a huge task. Many teachers also need to be involved with whatever is happening at home or in the places that they are staying. The privilege of being uninterrupted while teaching is not one that is available to all.

Teachers also say that they are unable to connect with their students and help them with their questions or doubts. And if a new academic year which is completely online is to commence soon, a batch of students the teacher has never met will be learning from her. It is impossible with our current limitations and methods to forge meaningful relationships that used to exist in the class. Another major issue that has come up is that of the student response. Teachers have come out with stories of rude and condescending behavior from students. Many students who dare not say anything otherwise have turned to mocking teachers and interrupting classes, flaunting their strength from behind a screen. This has led to public outrage but also largescale demoralizing of teachers. Burnouts have become common and many worry that they are unable to deliver according to the expectations and needs of those they are teaching.

It is time to come together and support each other more than ever now. The challenges faced by those on the teaching side should be taken as seriously as that of the students. Only if those are addressed adequately can we ensure that a semblance of normal learning can be maintained within our digital classrooms. Their voices have to be heard and amplified. They should also be provided with solutions to their issues so that the entire education sector does not suffer.