7 Top-Notch Online Learning Platforms to Try Right Now

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Do you want to learn skills to advance your career while stuck in quarantine land? Did I mention that you can learn these skills for free!

Let me tell you how:

Many online learning platforms that offer MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are stepping forward and offering free online courses. That’s right free courses for adults. Without a doubt, it’s a great time to upgrade your professional skills and take your career to the next level.

So what’s a MOOC?

MOOCs are online courses that are accessible and available to all. Courses are flexible, self-paced, and free or low-cost. The course content is created by a university or institution and then offered through an online learning platform such as Coursera, edX, LinkedIn Learning, FutureLearn, Udemy, Sophia Learning, and Skillshare.

So let’s get down to business. Here’s what each MOOC is offering.


Coursera provides free access to more than 1500 online courses from leading institutions.

Auditing a course is free and gives you access to most of the course content.

Upgrading to a Verified Certificate gives you access to additional content such as graded assignments and a course certificate. Right now, Coursera is offering free upgrades to a Verified Certificate until May 31, 2020.

Develop in-demand skills in a wide range of disciplines: business, computer science, art, personal development, science, social sciences, biology, humanities, and much more.

Financial assistance is available for most verified certificate courses. The approval process may take up to 15 days. Click here to join Coursera.


edX, founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, offers free access to more than 2500 online courses from top universities and institutions.

Auditing a course gives you access to course content such as discussion forums, videos, readings, practice problems, and the ability to track your progress. Access is limited to the duration of the course.

Upgrading to a Verified Certificate gives you access to additional course content such as graded assignments and a verified certificate.

edX offers up to a 90% discount for learners who can’t afford to pay the full price of the course. The financial aid approval process takes 2 to 4 business days. Click here to join edX for free.

Are you ready to learn new skills and advance your career? Right now, the best online learning platforms are offering free courses, free upgrades, or free trials. Give your résumé a boost in an uncertain job market.Click to Tweet

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning, a subsidiary of LinkedIn, acquired Lynda.com in 2015. Lynda has been a leading online education platform since the 1990s. Right now, you can get a 30-day free trial that gives you unlimited access to more than 15,000 online courses.

Learn in-demand business, technology, and creative skills from the experts. Courses include assessments, assignments, videos, and a certificate of completion.

There are several ways to discover new courses: trending now, popular courses, top picks, learning paths, and recommended courses.

A word of caution: You have to enter your credit card information for the free trial. And the subscription will automatically renew at the end of your free trial. You can cancel your subscription at any time. Click here to try LinkedIn Learning for 30 days risk-free!


FutureLearn, jointly owned by Open University and SEEK Ltd, is offering free access to short online courses that range from 2 to 7 weeks. Many of the courses are from top universities and specialist organizations around the world.

Auditing a course gives you access to the content for the duration of the course plus 14 days.

Upgrading to a Verified Certificate gives you unlimited access to additional course materials such as assessments and a certificate of completion. Right now, FutureLearn is offering free upgrades to more than 50 courses. Click here to join FutureLearn for free!


Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace that offers a curated collection of online courses. On April 1, 2020, Udemy unveiled a free resource center that includes more than 150 courses. Courses in the resource center are designed to help you develop new skills in an uncertain and challenging job market.

Courses outside of the free resource center range from $10-$300 and go on sale regularly. Purchasing a course gives you lifetime access to the content. Click here to create an account.

SOPHIA Learning

SOPHIA Learning is a social teaching and learning platform that’s offering free access to 30 self-paced general education courses until July 31, 2020. Moreover, credit for coursework can be transferred to many universities and institutions. Transferring credits is a great way to fulfill your general education requirements at no additional cost to you. Click here to check out Sophia Learning.


Skillshare is an online learning community for creators by creators. Right now, you can get a two-month free trial to help you explore your creativity. Classes are self-paced and hands-on. Explore your creative side with topics like drawing, watercolor, calligraphy, photography, graphic design, illustrations, and much more.

A word of caution: You have to enter your credit card information for the free trial. And your premium subscription will automatically renew after 60 days. You can cancel your subscription at any time.

Skillshare provides scholarships based on financial need. Scholarships are awarded to learners on the first of each month. Click here to get started for free.

Tip for Managing Free Trials

Free trials are a great way to try it before you buy it. But remembering to cancel a free trial is another story.

So what’s the solution?

Use your smartphone to keep track of your free trials. Set a reminder for a few days shy of the free trial end date to avoid unexpected charges. Once your free trial is almost over, you can decide whether to cancel or extend the service.

Have you ever taken a Massive Open Online Course?

Online Learning Platforms for Adults


  1. April 24, 2020 / 1:30 pm

    Thanks for the resource list. I did not know about a lot of the platforms so I will be definitely looking into them and signing up. I have already started taking some of them on other sites

  2. April 24, 2020 / 10:09 am

    Thanks for sharing these. The only ones from this list that I have heard of was Udemy and Skillshare. Teachable is also another good online learning platform.

  3. April 23, 2020 / 1:22 pm

    Thanks for compiling all these great resources for MOOCs. I actually had no idea they were called that. I’m currently am creating my own course, and I’ll most likely release it on my own. I have been looking at teachable though, and apparently everyone loves it.

  4. April 23, 2020 / 12:58 pm

    There are a couple of subjects I want to spend some time on at the moment and this post gave me some great suggestions as to where to start looking for free or reduced-cost materials! Thanks for making it easy for me!

  5. April 23, 2020 / 8:52 am

    I’ve heard of Coursera but not the others. I’ll have to look into them. I am currently signed up with FAU for a hospitality certification and I am taking a course at NYU also.

  6. April 23, 2020 / 8:42 am

    Thanks for this info! I am actually taking a course in Udemy now!!

  7. April 23, 2020 / 7:22 am

    Thanks for all this great info! Udemy has always been my go-do. Didn’t know about a few of these. Will check them out.

  8. Amelia
    April 23, 2020 / 5:52 am

    Very useful resources. I have only tried Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. I am gonna try the others

  9. April 23, 2020 / 4:58 am

    more and more important and industrial this e-learning

  10. April 23, 2020 / 2:16 am

    My first encounter with online teaching platforms is with Skillshare. In fact, I was able to get a 1-year free membership in exchange for creating a course. Then I switched to Udemy. I love how affordable some of the courses are. Even the free ones are worthwhile.

    Now, I am in the process of creating courses using my own platform. I am eyeing teachable.

  11. Philip
    April 22, 2020 / 1:11 pm

    How come Pluralsight is not on here? Other than that great resource full of helpful places to learn.

  12. April 22, 2020 / 11:41 am

    I never knew that those courses were called MOOCs! I learn something new every day and I’m that person that would stay in college forever if I could. I love your website Midlife Radiance! I’m turning 42 this summer so that’s definitely me! Thanks for the list of great platforms.

  13. Grace
    April 22, 2020 / 11:30 am

    Thanks for all the great resources and explaining how they are all unique!

  14. April 22, 2020 / 10:50 am

    Very useful info! I only tried Coursera and Udemy.

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