In recent years, online education has been gaining in popularity and credibility as a method to learn nearly any subject. The tremendous flexibility inherent in the online learning format allows more people than ever to explore their interests and passions at their own pace and schedule.
But online learning extends far beyond hobbies. Users can earn academic credits toward a degree, or bolster resumes with widely accepted certificates of completion.
The following top online education sites are great for teachers and students of all ages, bringing a universe of learning to your desktop computer or mobile device. What do you want to learn today?
Best Online Education Sites
If you had the chance to learn from Martin Scorsese, Alice Waters, Serena Williams, or David Mamet, would you take it? For $15/month, it seems like a bargain. MasterClass distinguishes itself among online education sites by featuring an impressive lineup of well-known experts in a diverse range of fields, from the arts to writing to science and technology and many more. Whether you’re interested in gardening, sports, music, history, or economics, there's an expert on MasterClass to learn from. Bonus: Transparent, easy-to-find pricing policy for its three plans, from $15-$23/monthly.
- One Day University
One Day University features an array of fascinating lectures from top-notch professors. Want to learn more about the Mona Lisa? How about J.R.R. Tolkien, the Bill of Rights, or pioneering blueswomen? Other topics include popular culture, literature, history, philosophy, science, and more. Best of all, members are able to watch lectures live, experiencing the energy and passion of charismatic speakers in the moment. Plans from $6 monthly (plus extra for premium programs). Fourteen-day free trial.
- Virtual Nerd Mobile Math
A site that began as a labor of love by founder Leo Shmuylovich, Virtual Nerd was designed to help middle school students struggling with geometry, pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, and other math topics. Choose a course, then quickly find video tutorials to match your interests. Or search by Common Core-, SAT-, or ACT-aligned tutorials. A section dedicated to Texas state standards is a nice perk for residents of the Lone Star State. Free, no account required -- kids can just start learning!
Explore courses from more than 160 member institutions, including Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Boston University, and other prominent schools of higher learning. Many courses are free to audit; take the “verified track” for $99 to earn a certificate and have your assignments graded.
Top resource for more than 5,000 high-quality courses from expert institutions such as Yale, Google, and University of London. A detailed search filter helps users home in on the courses they need to advance their school or work career. Take courses for free or pay to earn a certificate.
- Khan Academy
This remarkable nonprofit offers a wide variety of pre-K to college-level courses, from 3rd grade math and high school biology to U.S. history and macroeconomics. Khan for Educators provides guidance, how-to videos, and tips to help teachers implement Khan Academy with students. Free.
- LinkedIn Learning
The popular Lynda.com tutorial site is now LinkedIn Learning, offering over 16,000 free and paid courses in the business, creative, and technology categories. Monthly ($29.99/month) and annual (19.99/month) plans available. One month free trial.
- Open Culture
Open Culture curates an extensive set of free learning resources from across the globe, including courses, lectures from leading academics, free audiobooks, movies, ebooks, and digital textbooks. The K-12 education section provides video tutorials, apps, books, and websites for K-12 learning. Free.
Sophia offers online college courses for credit, as well as training courses and continuing education for mental health, IT careers, and nursing. Sophia guarantees credits will transfer to its 37 Partner Network members, while noting that many other colleges and institutions also award credit on a case-by- case basis. $79/month for full access, with free trials available.
- Teacher Training Videos
This terrific site from Russell Stannard showcases award-winning screencasts to help teachers and students integrate technology into learning. Featured education technology videos include Google, Moodle, Quizlet, Camtasia, and Snagit, among others. Sections devoted to online teaching and Zoom are particularly relevant. Free.
Offering 130,000 online courses, Udemy is perhaps the world’s largest purveyor of online video courses. With categories as diverse as IT/software, photography, engineering, and humanities, there is something for any interested learner. Ratings for each course help users decide which ones to purchase. Bonus for educators - earn money by teaching on Udemy. A 24/7 Instructor Support team guides teachers in their course creation.