The eLearning landscape is rapidly evolving as more and more institutions and universities recognize the benefits that the online learning platform brings to learners. The industry is estimated to be worth $325 billion by 2025, and it demands educational institutions and instructors to adapt to this inevitable change. The statistics clearly suggest that this trend is not just growing in popularity but is already the primary medium for students attending school and taking part in learning, given the current scenario.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss the various advantages of online learning platforms for schools, different kinds of online learning platforms available, and our pick of the top 5 platforms for institutions.
Table of Contents:
Understanding Online Learning Platforms
An online learning platform provides the user with easy access to digital classes. Put simply, they are integrated systems that enable secure, web-based training and eLearning using a simple and intuitive user interface.
5 Major Advantages for Institutions
The benefits of online learning platforms are numerous. Some of these are discussed below –
1. Efficient Management
eLearning platforms make it easy for educational institutions to structure all of the information in one place in an organized manner, making it accessible to all users. Further, they allow effective control of the administration, automation, and communication with users, instructors, and trainers. It can be used as a great tool to create and manage content in a simple and intuitive way.
2. Personalization of Content
eLearning platforms allow institutions the option of complete personalization. Apart from the option of adding different elements and features that can be tailored to the needs of students, they can also create multi–language platforms. Further, there can be multiple user IDs and portals that can be created without the need for additional installations.
Online learning platforms eliminate all geographical restrictions, allowing students from across the globe to complete the training/courses they’re interested in. Those who are unable to be physically present in a classroom can continue their educational development through multiple online courses available on these platforms.
4. Reduced Costs
eLearning platforms offer a cost–effective solution to institutions as compared to other traditional forms of learning because learning through this mode happens quickly and easily. Further, a great deal of training time is saved with respect to trainers, resources, travel, course materials, and more.
5. Accommodates Everyone’s Needs
Online learning platforms completely transform the way content is accessed, consumed, and shared. It allows institutions to accommodate the varied needs of learners and make the content accessible as per the availability and comfort of the students.
Different Types of Online Learning Platforms
eLearning platforms are of many different types and choosing the right one is critically important to help you achieve your goals.
- Traditional Learning Management System– As the name suggests, a traditional learning management system offers the basic functionality required for developing and hosting an online course. Content creators can design, store, and review their courses on the platform using the basic functionalities.
- Modern Learning Management Solutions– Service providers in this category focus on enhanced learner experience and on specific pedagogies, which are generally not addressed in traditional LMS solutions.
- Learning Destination Sites– It is a kind of shared website that offers online courses from multiple providers in one place. Learning destination sites allow you to design your courses using an LMS followed by either uploading or linking the courses to the site.
- Open Source Learning Management System– Similar to a commercial LMS solution, an open-source learning management system provides the basic functionality needed for developing and hosting an online course but completely free of charge.
- Custom Built Learning Platform – It is an excellent solution to address specific needs as it allows you to build specific courses designed to serve the customized needs of learners. Although time-consuming and an expensive option, custom-built learning platforms allow you to have complete control over the design as well as execution.
Top 5 Online Learning Platforms
Choosing the best learning platform among the sea of available options is a constant struggle for online instructors and trainers.
Here we have compiled a list of the top 5 online learning platforms based on factors such as features and capabilities, customer support, pricing, and ease of use.
With over 4 million students and as many as 24,000 lessons in various disciplines, the platform features dedicated course lessons made out of small videos, class projects lasting from 20 to 60 minutes. Classes are primarily divided into business, technology, creative arts, and lifestyle segments.
- Offers the ability to take multiple courses for the same price
- The platform offers a dedicated, supportive discussion forum where students can exchange feedback
- Students do not get any certificate of completion or any other formal recognition
- The content is limited to only the above-mentioned categories
Coursera is one of the popular online education platforms, with more than 23 million users and is committed to offering well-designed and high-quality online training courses worldwide.
- The platform offers certifications upon joining their paid courses
- There are individual courses, specialized courses as well as degree programs available
- Offer high-quality educational tools and instructor interactions
- Less flexible course creation options as compared to other platforms
- Limited to educators in partner institutions only
Udemy is an excellent online learning platform available on the web, with over 50 thousand instructors/subject matter experts and 40 million students benefiting from the online courses. It offers a wide range of online learning material, including PowerPoint, text, PDF documents, and video content, amongst many others.
- Promotes self-paced learning and video courses
- Availability of easy to use Udemy apps available for iOS and Android devices
- No need for high technical knowledge
- Heavy competition between course creators
- Limited data ownership or control over branding
edX is yet another leading online learning platform for courses on various disciplines, including engineering, math, data science, and computer science. The platform offers almost everything from free courses on languages, TOEFL prep, to master’s degrees in accounting from renowned universities like Georgia Tech and Texas.
- Variety of courses from the world’s leading institutions
- Availability of edX for a business platform for training employees
- The user interface is not up to the mark
- Degree courses are quite expensive
5. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is one of the most popular names in free open learning platforms. Although the course material is not as specialized as offered by other platforms, the platform is 100% free and covers a variety of topics on math, history, chemistry, reading, writing – and more.
- Excellent user interface
- Offers free test prep
- Not suited for high-end specializations
- The platform offers more basic-level coursework
The purpose of an efficient eLearning platform is to create a robust learning experience for students. Just as there are various learning styles for different types of learners, the online learning platform you choose should be able to address learner’s specific learning styles by hosting different content formats.
To achieve this kind of learning environment, it is important to pick an online platform with features and tools that allow you to create the level of engagement and interaction that your students need.