The increasing need for online education, where you can learn anything anywhere and anytime, has led to the development of robust e-learning platforms. Nowadays, there are many online learning platforms and countless types of classes to choose from. You can spend time on one platform learning coding languages, strategizing email marketing tactics or even learning the different ways of making money online — and then learn the same courses using a different platform. However, all e-learning platforms have some common key features.
Features of e-learning Platforms
What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?
For many people, an LMS is simply online learning. While this is not true, an LMS is the visible and the most prominent part of the platform. It acts as the classroom where the learners and instructors hold discussions and interact. Instructors also use an LMS to assess and grade learners, upload materials and show audios and videos. In other words, Learning Management Systems hold and deliver learning materials in a variety of formats, from word documents to videos.
All online learning platforms have an LMS, but the features differ. However, the most common features of LMSs are the ability to:
- Grade and track learning progress.
- Hold discussions through a discussion forum.
- Compare courses from different learning institutions or instructors.
- Upload and download learning materials.
- Submit assignments.
- Design and publish learning programs in form of lessons, modules, and documents.
- Analyse and give some feedback on the performance of the system as well as the progress of the learners.
- Connect to social media platforms.
- Make online announcements.
Top eLearning Platforms
To help you understand these features, we compared three popular online learning platforms; Coursera, Udemy, and Lynda. We looked at the mode of delivery, pricing, and the courses offered in each platform.
Udemy, whose mission is “to improve lives through learning”, is one of the biggest and a well-known marketplace for online learning. The platform offers more than 55,000 courses in different categories.
• Lifestyle, Health & Fitness, and Personal Development
• IT & Software, Office Productivity, Development, and Business
• Photography, Design, Marketing, and Music
• Language, Academics, Teacher Training, and Test Prep
Some top courses offered include; The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Businesses Make, Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing Mastery Guide 2018, Become a Web Developer from Scratch, and Selenium WebDriver with Java.
The platform doesn’t offer any subscription or loyalty program. So, the pay is per course which ranges from $10 (when discounted) to $200.
Mode of Delivery
Once you pay for a course, you get a lifetime access to the course and a certificate of completion. Learning is in form of PowerPoint presentations, videos, audios, online discussion boards, assessments, and articles.
The Lynda platform, whose mission is “to help you learn the skills you need to achieve your full potential,” is owned by Linkedin and offers about 6,000 courses.
• CAD, 3D, and Animation
• IT, Business, Development, and Web Design
• Photography, Music, Video, Marketing, and Design
• Education & Learning
Top courses include; Visual Basic Essential Training, Programming Foundations: Real World Examples, Java 7 Essential Training, and C++ Essential Training.
Lynda offers monthly and yearly subscription with a free 30-day trial. The monthly subscription plan goes for $29.99.
Mode of Delivery
You get unlimited access to the course library once you subscribe. Learning is through assessments, notes, and playlists.
Coursera, whose mission is “universal access to the world’s best education,” partners with organizations and universities, such as Duke University and the University of Michigan, to offer over 2,000 online academic courses. Moreover, the company offers online degrees and other specializations in its platform.
• Data Science, Maths & Logic, Computer Science, and Business
• Social Sciences, Arts & Humanity
• Physical Science, Life Science, and Engineering
Top courses include; Advanced Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, How to Win A Data Science Competition, Deep Learning, and Improve Your English Communication Skills.
Free membership allows you to pay per course, which ranges from $29 to $99. If you want a specialized course, a monthly subscription that ranges from $39 to $79 is allowed. Accredited master’s degree goes for a minimum of $15,000.
Mode of Delivery
You get free access to the learning materials and assignments. You also get graded and receive a certificate of completion. Teaching methods include PowerPoint presentations, articles, videos, online forums, audios, and assessments.
The growth of technology has revolutionized the way we learn, live, and work. The democratization of education has enabled access to high-quality education through the internet, resulting in a more informed and skilled workforce.
Good examples are the top 3 online learning platforms; Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera.