More and more institutions, regardless of their field of activity, have been gradually switching to online and mobile learning. Before the COVID-19 pandemic encroached the world, they had already been used, especially in corporate environments, to offer free, relevant skill-oriented courses to boost employees’ performance.
But what exactly is the definition of an educational platform? To put it simply, educational platforms are digital educational tools designed to deliver a similar experience as a traditional class but with a tech-savvy twist. Educational platform software enables designing and conducting offline and online courses at all academic levels and proposes new methods of teaching. Some call them educational marketplaces, where one can choose from a number of courses and pay for them directly. Learning Management System, or LMSs, are there to flip over the educational systems we have known since the invention of a blackboard.
Ironically, it’s the pandemic we have to thank for the incredible boost educational platforms received in the last 6 months. With the safety measures introduced in several countries, majority of university and school programs were bound to transfer to online platforms. Thankfully, educational platforms which make education available even in the most challenging times. The statistics also show that elearning doesn’t come short concerning the quality of experience, as compared to classroom education. According to this research, majority of graduate college students are of an opinion, that online learning gives them either better (52%) or about the same (38%) level of satisfaction as classroom learning.
In Germany alone, the online learning market is growing at a rate of 8.5% annually, while the country’s economy continues to grow at around 1.9% (Michel, 2018). This is not to say, that online learning platforms are there to replace the traditional face-to-face educational experience. The goal is to improve the quality of learning and revise long-standing teaching methods through the possibilities offered by modern technologies.
The transformation of the education sector is imminent and it’s up to us to make the most of it. Below we present 10 examples of top educational platforms that will help you and your company or institution make the most of what elearning has to offer.
Educational Platform #1 – EdApp
Leading LMS system used worldwide by big and small institutions equally. EdApp is a top-notch award-winning educational platform which is available for free for all users, private or corporate. It offers simple design solutions and templates, to make creating and sharing courses as simple and efficient as possible. EdApp also offers ready-to-learn courses designed by world’s top specialists, which you can simply add to your curriculum. EdApp’s priority lies in microlearning – they design their software so that it works best with mobile devices, making it possible to learn any time, anywhere. On top of a staggering variety of curses, EdApp offers a data-driven Authoring tool, allowing you to create your own well-organized and effective courses. You can also make them as visually appealing as possible: EdApp is integrated with Canva powerful design tools and allows for indefinite customization.
Educational Platform #2 – Google Classroom
The educational tool proposed by the software giant is more than a decent solution for schools, which suddenly had to switch to online learning. Although not entirely free, it offers a fully functional free tier, which allows for conducting distant teaching. Google Classroom uses well-known G Suite tools, such as Google Docs, calculations’ sheets, online presentation tools and video call tool (Google Hangouts). Its simple and well-known design, basic functionalities available for free and high accessibility rates, all make Google Classroom a straightforward choice for school and university courses, where there’s no need for high-end supplementary options and tools.
Educational Platform #3 – Udemy
Udemy is one of the most well-known educational platforms offering a number of peer-reviewed courses taught by instructors from around the world. Udemy offers many standard designing tools for course creators: videos, calculation sheets, documents, presentations. Unfortunately, on the downside, Udemy doesn’t allow for a seamless exchange between the teacher and the students. Additionally, there’s almost no quality control of the courses which are being published. Therefore, a good peer-review rating is a crucial element when choosing a class at Udemy. As it is geared towards self-paced learning mode, there’s no big community support and neither is the possibility of feedback from the teacher.
Educational Platform #4 – WizIQ
While it’s dedicated to traditional classroom learning rather than professional training and development, this LMS platform allows teachers to create their own unique online courses. WizIQ is an award-winning educational platform, which delivers interactive learning experience. Online courses created with WizIQ can also be offered for sale and with the possibility to turn them into MOOCs (massive open online courses), they can easily be made into a source of revenue. WizIQ also offers digital tutoring software for those interested in giving personal instruction on a chosen subject. WizIQ doesn’t have a very transparent pricing policy – for every potential client is given an individual quota after contacting the sales team.
Educational Platform #5 – edX
Together with Coursera, edX are two holy grails among the LMS focused on delivering college-quality of education. Created by a Harvard and MIT graduates, edX is a higher-education oriented platform hosting online courses from different universities. While it isn’t quite suited for professional training in the workplace, you can attend a Yale business program or Harvard physics class for free. EdX’s interest lies in improving the global accessibility to top-class resources and educators. The choice offered by edX is however way smaller than on other platforms and limited to very specialized fields. EdX also doesn’t support microlearning and its policy still advocated traditional learning methods, with listening to lectures and writing essays. Its focus is chiefly on natural sciences, leaving humanities and arts on the last position. It’s therefore clear, that not necessarily everyone will be satisfied with what they’ll find on this platform.
BlackBoard learn is aimed at higher-education teachers and students, who need to be able to store and share the materials in the cloud. Apart from teaching, it can be used for corporate and governmental training programs, although there are other LMS that offer more built-in features for less. It’s mobile-friendly, which caters to the younger users’ habits, as it enables then to attend classes anywhere. Blackboard delivers content without fuss but takes away some of the fun other LMS provide along with great functionality. Blackboard is not free, however, there’s no clear pricing on their website and one has to request for a quote.
Coursera is an educational platform, which like edX, aims at delivering college-level education and quality training globally. It offers online degrees, specialized courses, and one-off activities, delivered by renowned partner universities from all over the world. Most of the courses at Coursera require active participation, feedback, writing tasks and attending lectures. The effort pays off, as after completing a course, one can apply for a certificate with a relevant stamp on it. Coursera is free for university students (except for degree courses) but requires admission fee from everyone else.
Skillshare counts among well-known educational platforms focused on delivering practical skill-oriented courses for its dynamic range of students. It is primarily limited as an educational video platform, where teachers and educators explain the topic in a series of clips. Skillshare is a community-based platform, meaning everyone can potentially become a teacher and it’s easy to gain feedback and support at the community forum. Contrary to EdX or Coursera, Skillshare focuses on teaching pragmatic skills helping with building an online presence (useful in the era of social media marketing), supporting small businesses or simply for entertainment purposes. Skillshare offers free two-month trial and after the access is based on a monthly subscription.
As a well-designed LMS platform system which makes creating your training courses feasible and easy, Thinkific offers a variety of templates and graphics to facilitate the design of your course. It’s mostly aimed at entrepreneurs, online educators, coaches and trainers, who wish to expand their reach and perhaps update their educational tools. Unfortunately, Thinkific is not free, and to access the full range of design and marketing tools, a monthly subscription plan is required.
Educational Platform #10 – LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is an educational platform that chiefly focuses on business and technology-related fields. The platform’s courses are delivered in video form in seven different languages which makes it adequately accessible, depending on your geographical location. LinkedIn Learning comes as a premium feature for LinkedIn users with upgraded profiles and aims at providing new, better qualifications for those searching for new opportunities at the job market. LinkedIn Learning is a good place to learn, more difficult to teach as becoming a coach there requires a lot of effort. The quality of the courses are not always easy to assess beforehand and requires some research.
Educational platform systems have become ubiquitous and continuously gain more customers: both teachers and students. From highly specialized university-degree platforms like Coursera to practical skill-oriented ones like Skillshare, each of them targets a special audience. Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a rise in the use of educational platform systems, which enable students to carry on their official education. Variety of tools, video-based teaching, peer-support system and user experience opinion ratings make elearning an attractive environment to further one’s knowledge and gain new skills easily. With platforms like EdApp, designing beautiful online courses has never been more accessible. With creative marketing tools and professional support system, gaining revenue from teaching becomes a dream job of future specialists. Sign up to EdApp for free!