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There are many reasons why you might want to take an online class. Maybe you’re trying to learn a new skill for work or improve your current knowledge base. Or, perhaps, you want to take on a new hobby or earn some extra money as a side hustle.
There are a variety of courses you could take online. Here are some areas you may be interested in:
- Business and finance
- Technology and computer science
- Health and fitness
- Beauty and fashion
- Language learning
- Personal development
Classes typically last anywhere from a few weeks to several months; some may even be self-paced so you can work at your own pace. Prices for online classes also vary depending on the course and provider, but they are usually more affordable than traditional in-person classes.
Let’s take a look at some reputable sites that offer online courses for adults.
|Free and paid online courses from top universities and companies.||Some courses require a paid subscription to access all content|
|You can search for classes by subject or provider.|
|Classes are pre-recorded and typically last 4-10 weeks.|
Coursera offers courses from top universities and companies, including Stanford, Google, and IBM. Some classes can be completed in 8 hours or less. However, most take 4-10 weeks or maybe longer.
Coursera celebrated ten years of learning this year and 100 million learners worldwide. Some of the most popular, highly-reviewed classes offered at Coursera right now are:
- AI for Everyone
- The Science of Well-Being
- Deep Learning
- Functional Programming in Scala
- Data Science
- Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects
- Social Psychology
- Think Again: How to Master Arguments
- Think Again: How to Reason Deductively
- Introduction to TensorFlow For Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning
- Self-Driving Cars
- Google IT Support
- Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
- Seeing Through Photographs
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
- Programming for Everybody (Python)
- Introduction to Financial Accounting
- Foundational Finance for Strategic Decision Making
These are just a small sample of the Coursera courses available. There are so many more to explore on the website. Courses can be paid on a monthly subscription or individual purchase. At Coursera, most courses cost between $29-$99, but you can also opt for the annual subscription to access a number of courses at a $339 charge.
With over 196,000 courses and 52 million students globally, you can find video courses on just about any topic on Udemy.
|A variety of courses on different topics||Some instructors may not be as qualified as others|
|One-time purchase and lifetime access|
|New courses added frequently|
Udemy is best for curious learners who want to explore a range of topics. Udemy is suited to learners of all levels, whether you’re a beginner or looking to brush up on your skills. Prices for courses on Udemy vary, but most courses are between $10- $200. You can also find free courses and promotions from time to time.
Udemy instructors may not necessarily be trained educators, as anyone can create a course and upload it to Udemy. Saying that, many courses are high-quality and are a bargain for the price point. You can see the course creator and expertise, reviews, and course content outline or description. You can definitely find a unicorn here!
Courses cover a broad range of topics, from programming and data science to design and illustration. Here are the bestselling course topics at Udemy right now:
- AWS Certification
- Web development
- Microsoft Certification
- Data Science
- Microsoft Power BI
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
- Machine learning
- Ethical hacking
- Amazon AWS
- Digital Marketing
- CompTIA A+
- Data analysis
- Unreal engine
- English language
- Project management
- Google Flutter
- Graphic design
- Cyber security
- Software testing
- Cisco CCNA
- CompTIA Security+
- User experience design
- Game development fundamentals
- Microsoft AZ-900
|Live, interactive classes with native-speaking teachers||You can’t choose your teacher|
|Flexible scheduling to fit around your commitments|
|Free and discounted live classes such as Lingoda Sprint and Lingoda Marathon|
If you’re looking for an immersive experience to learn a new language from the comfort of your home, Lingoda is an excellent option. With experienced, native-speaking teachers, you’ll be able to practice your conversation skills and get immediate feedback.
Lingoda offers language courses in English, Business English, French, Spanish, and German. You can purchase group or private classes at reasonable rates. The courses are flexible and can be fitted around your schedule.
Lingoda is also immensely popular for its unique Sprint and Marathon classes. The classes are designed to increase your fluency by one to two levels at an intensive pace within a short time. The best part is that Lingoda awards hard work and provides up to 100% cashback if you attend all the live classes.
|A variety of courses on different topics||Need to be motivated to learn|
|Only pay a subscription fee to access the entire library|
|New courses added regularly|
Skillshare is an online learning platform with over 25,000 video courses on various topics, from design and illustration to business and entrepreneurship. Feel free to binge on as many Skillshare courses as you wish with the monthly or annual subscription. The upside is that if you are unhappy with one course, you can easily switch to another.
Skillshare is best for creative learners who want to explore different design and arts courses. Skillshare offers a range of courses from web development to cooking, so there’s bound to be something for everyone. Prices for courses on Skillshare start at $13.00 per month, with an annual subscription available for $168 per year. Start your free trial here.
There most popular courses right now include:
- Productivity classes
- YouTube classes, such as video editing
- Thread art classes, such as embroidery
- Illustration classes such as doodling, sketching, and digital letterform
- Self-care classes, such as meditation and mindfulness
- Blogging classes
- Watercolor painting classes
|Most courses are short (1.5-3 hours)||Ads if you decide not to pay for a subscription|
|Accredited courses with certification|
Alison has thousands of free online courses with certification available on some courses. With over 4 million graduates, Alison offers courses across various categories. The online platform features both short courses and longer diploma options.
According to Alison, the top 10 Alison courses are:
- Diploma in Psychology
- Microsoft Excel 2010
- Alison ABC IT – Computer Training Suite
- Customer Service Training
- Diploma in Project Management
- Diploma in Human Resources
- Diploma in Business Management & Entrepreneurship
- Diploma in Basic English Grammar
- Introduction to Digital Photography
- Basic French Language Skills For Everyday Life
Typing Club (Free and Paid)
|Learn how to type faster||It might take some time to break those old, bad typing habits!|
|Learn how to type correctly|
|Free version is available|
If you’re looking to improve your typing skills, Typing Club is a great free resource to learn how to do so. You can gradually increase your speed and accuracy with video lessons, games, story lessons, and performance reports.
The paid version of Typing Club removes ads, gives you access to more games, and allows you to track your progress with advanced reports that help you improve your problem areas. Prices start at $7.50 per month, with an annual subscription available for $29.99 per year.
|Choose a tutor based on your learning goals||Tutor quality may vary|
|Schedule live video classes|
|Live 1-on-1 classes or group classes|
iTalki is an online platform that connects students with language tutors from all over the world. iTalki has over 150 languages to choose from and enables you to connect with a community of global learners. You can search for a tutor based on specific learning goals, such as conversation practice, grammar help, or language for work.
Once you find a tutor you like, you can book live video classes at a time that works for both of you. Book as many or as few classes as you would like. iTalki also offers group classes if you want to learn with friends or family. Prices are reasonable, and you are bound to find a tutor that fits your budget and needs on this robust platform. Book your first lesson at a discounted rate.
|Engaging and interactive lessons||Some people may prefer a more traditional learning approach with textbooks|
|Downloadable audio files for offline learning|
|Mobile app available|
Rocket Languages is one of the most popular language-learning software, with over 2 million happy customers. Rocket offers language courses in 14 different languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Arabic, and even sign language.
With Rocket Languages, you will enjoy interactive audio, video, and pronunciation practice lessons that keep you engaged in your language learning journey.
Rocket Languages offers a free trial, so you can explore the platform and see if it’s the right fit for you. After the free trial, you can purchase courses from $149.95 for beginner to intermediate level and from $449.85 for beginner to advanced. (Check here for discounts).
|Taught by real college professors||Quality of the courses may vary|
|Get a verified certificate upon completion|
|Earn credit towards a master’s degree (if applicable)|
|Operates similarly to Coursera with free and paid courses|
EdX is a highly successful MOODC provider that offers professional training courses from some of the world’s most renowned universities. You can find courses in everything from business and computer science to art and design. It is similar to Coursera, so it may be worth comparing their offering.
If you complete a course and pass the exams, you will receive a verified certificate that you can share with employers or your academic institution. Some courses also offer the opportunity to earn college credit.
You may also be interested in: Are Udemy EdX and Coursera Certificates Worth the Money?
Duolingo (Free and Paid)
|Free version is available||Best suited to beginners of a language|
|Fun and interactive platform|
|Learn a new language at your own pace|
Duolingo is one of the most popular ways to learn a new language online, and for good reason. The platform makes learning a foreign language fun and interactive. With activities, lessons, and a rewards system, Duolingo keeps you coming back for more. The platform is also available in over 40 languages, so you can learn the language you want when you want.
The free version of Duolingo gives you access to most features; however, a paid subscription is required for some advanced features, such as a mistakes review and an ad-free experience. Prices start at $7.99 per month, although prices may vary according to location. You can also buy Duolingo Plus, which removes ads and gives you some extra features for $12.99 per year.
|Discounted and affordable courses||Not as many course options as some of the other providers|
|Taught by experts in the field|
|Get a certification upon completion to add to your resume|
If you’re looking for an affordable e-learning class that will give you a certification to add to your CV, look no further than the International Open Academy (IOA). IOA courses are accredited by the International Council for Online Educational Standards and are recognized by the CPD Certification Services. CPD points are approved and recognized by the UK and in some international jurisdictions.
The IOA has over 200 courses to choose from and you will receive a certification upon successfully completing the course. Prices start at $19, and some courses may be discounted. You can also buy bundles of courses for a discounted price.
Best-selling courses at the International Open Academy:
- 120-Hour TESOL Certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
- American Sign Language
- Master Herbalist
- Bartender and Barista Training
- Criminal Psychology
- Mindfulness Masterclass
- Criminology and Profiling
- Car Detailing Fundamentals
- British Sign Language for All
- Instagram for Business
- Facebook Marketing Essentials
- Become an SEO Expert
- DNA and Genealogy
- Spray Tanning Masterclass
- Eyelash Technician
- ELE: Spanish Language Teaching
Peloton Digital Membership
|Decide class length and type||May need to purchase equipment for some classes|
|Personalized to meet your needs and interests|
Peloton is an app that offers live and on-demand classes in various fitness disciplines, including cycling, indoor running, strength training, yoga, and more. You can also stream Peloton classes to your TV and let the workout begin!
A Peloton digital membership gives you access to the app and all the live and on-demand classes. You can also use the app to track your progress, set goals and compete with other Peloton users. A digital membership costs $12.99 per month, and new members can avail of the 30-day free trial.
Members get personalized recommendations based on their fitness goals. According to their website, 70% of their members work out more than they did before joining.
List of classes to explore:
- Bike Bootcamp
- Tread Bootcamp
|Engaging and innovative classes||Quality of the classes may vary|
|Explore and learn about different cultures|
|Fun team or family event|
Not getting away on vacation this year? Well, instead of booking a resort stay, why not book an “online experience” as offered on Airbnb’s website?
The online experiences enable you to witness cultures from abroad without leaving your own home! They have a vast array of experiences on the Airbnb website led by expert hosts on Zoom. These activities are often geared towards team building, socializing, having fun and camaraderie, and providing a memorable and unique experience.
Some of the most popular online experiences on Airbnb right now include:
- Murder Mystery Escape Room Game
- ‘From Paris With Laughs’ The Scavenger Hunt
- True Vs. False Funny Historical Game
- ‘No Spain No Game’ The Fabulous Game
- Edinburgh’s Ghosts, Murderers and Monsters
- This is Magic (Magic Show)
- Pasta with the Grandmas in Italy
- Living Room Legends Scavenger Hunt
- Follow a Plague Doctor Through Prague
- Make Samosa and Cilantro Chutney From Scratch– Vegan Friendly
- Origami and the Essence of Japan
- Tajmahal Virtual Tour with Local Expert
Google Digital Garage
|Free courses||Doesn’t cover much advanced-level material|
|Courses are recognized by employers|
|Can be done at your own pace|
|Access to other Google services|
Google provides part of my ad income, so… Nothing to complain about here, folks!!
No, but seriously… The Google Digital Garage offers great free online courses designed to help you grow your career in digital marketing, data, and professional development. The courses are self-paced and mainly between 2-20 hours long, although some take up to 200 hours!
You can choose to select individual modules or complete the courses from start to finish. Google offers certification upon completion of certain courses.
Some exciting courses on Google Digital Garage include:
- Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
- Get a Business Online
- Promote a Business with Online Advertising
- Understand the Basics of Code
- Land Your Next Job
- Social Psychology
- Speaking in Public
- Build a Sales Strategy for Your Freelance Business
- Marketing Analytics
- Build Native Mobile Apps with Flutter
And there you have it! These are just some of the best online classes for adults that you can take. With so many options to choose from, there is sure to be something for everyone.
Which classes will you be taking? Be sure to let me know in the comments if anything sparks your interest.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.