The idea that people enter the workforce with all the skills they will ever need has long been proven false. Learning should in fact be a continuous process. The best companies recognise this. That’s why they invest not only in their product, but also their people.
However, for companies at the smaller end of the spectrum finding the funds to build, maintain and support an internal training program is often a step too far. In the past this forced companies to pay for one off courses where employees receive two or three days training in a particular concept. Hardly, an ideal solution!
The internet has changed that. There are now countless online courses that your employees can enroll in. And most (if not all) are extremely affordable, even for the most budget conscious business manager!
There are of course numerous benefits in offering your employees a new way of upskilling or expanding their knowledge. We won’t dive into them all, but some of the key benefits include:
- Improving staff retention.
- Creating and demonstrating your commitment to providing career progression
- Improving the skills/experience/knowledge of your staff
- Leveraging these new internal capabilities/knowledge base to create new lines of business
- Empower and motivate staff
If you are sold on the benefit of training your staff then you may be thinking, what are the best online course providers?
In this post we will summarise some of the best and most popular online course providers who can help train your staff in a wide range of disciplines including business, management, leadership, web development, design, and much, much more.
Lynda (now under the umbrella of Linkedin Learning) is one of the most renowned online course providers. It boasts of over 1, 000 courses and millions of users. Further, over 10, 000 organizations use the services of the course provider to better the skills of their employees.
The site has a strong focus on disciplines such as web development, design, business, marketing and photography. Unlike some other online course providers Lynda.com has specific options/packages designed for businesses, governments and not-for-profit organisations who are looking to leverage their platform as an internal training resource.
Udemy.com is another large and well known online course provider. They offer more than 80,000 online courses that have been created by individuals who want to share their knowledge and expertise.
Unlike some other platforms Udemy does not focus on selling a subscription based service. Instead, individuals can purchase one off courses, often for less than $20, and then work through the material at their own pace.
The courses offered transverse through many aspects of a business, and include such things as programming, designing, entrepreneurship and marketing.
Udemy also has a specific packages for businesses looking to leverage the content on their platform. The Business tier of Udemy provides access to the top 2,500 courses and allow you to build your own training content in a customized learning account.
Masterclass is an online course provider that brings world renowned experts into the training room and have them share their deep domain knowledge and insight.
For example Malcolm Gladwell teaches writing, Ron Howard runs a course on directing and Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking.
As you may notice from the lineup above, Masterclass does focus on teaching courses that are largely artistic in nature. That said, there are a number of businesses/industries that could leverage the company provided by these experts in business. Better yet, if you happen to run a business in the entertainment, film making or arts industry then Masterclass will have numerous courses that industry both you and your staff.
The company partners with some of the most well known and respected Universities from across the globe including Stanford University, Yale and Princeton just to name a few.
By partnering with these institutions Coursera is able to offer a wide range of courses across disciplines such as business, computer science, data science, information technology, life sciences, physical science and engineering and social sciences.
Coursea offer a number of different pricing tiers. Standard certificates are available from $29 to $99, to master and complete a specialization pricing is between $39 and $79 a month, and interestingly enough you can also complete a university recognized degree for between $15,000 and $25,000.
Hubspot, the inbound sales and marketing platform created the Hubspot Academy, a free online course provider allowing you and your staff to develop domain expertise in everything related to online sales and marketing.
If you have any online presence at all, then Hubspot Academy have a course that can add value to your staff and business. For example some of the popular topics they cover include: inbound marketing, inbound sales, Facebook advertising, Search Engine Optimization and email marketing.
In addition to being free one of the other main benefits of the Hubspot Academy is the bite sized/easily consumable nature of the courses. As each course is specific in nature the Hubspot Academy allows you to focus in on learning exactly what you need without padding out the course with less relevant content that you often find when diving into more long term training pathways.
Pluralsight believe everyone should have the opportunity to create progress through technology and develop the skills of tomorrow. They provide learning paths and courses authored by industry experts and help both businesses and individuals close skills gaps in critical areas, innovate faster and deliver on key objectives.
The company primarily offers courses in the areas of software development, IT, graphic design, architecture, manufacturing design and business.
Pluralsight also offer a monthly subscription based model that allows individuals to access their entire course library for just $29 per month. Their plan for businesses, which includes analytics to uncover skills gaps in your organisation is priced at $499 per user per annum.
Edex allows you to take free online courses from the best universities and institutions in the world, including Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Microsoft, Tsinghua University, The Smithsonian and more.
Edex offers courses in a wide range of disciplines including architecture, art and culture, biology, chemistry, computer science, data analysis, design, economics, engineering, environmental studies, history, humanities, law and more.
The way Edex works is that you can complete a course for free or if you require a certificate of completion you can then pay to upgrade.
Udacity aim to create world-class programs built by industry experts. For example they have partnered with organisatins such as Nvidia, AWS, Google and Facebook (just to name a few) to develop many of their courses.
With regard to the courses themselves Udacity cover a wide range of topics including Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Programming and Development and Business. They also offer two distinct types of learning pathways. At the general level they offer normal short courses/certificates that can a couple of weeks. Beyond that however they offer something known as a Nanodegree.
A Nanodegree is a comprehensive course that can take 6 to 12 months to complete and provides you with specialised skills in a particular area. For example some Nanodegrees currently on the platform including Programming for Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and VR Development.
As you can see there are a number of course providers and training options available to both individuals and businesses. Whether you are looking to upskill your staff or show that you are investing in their career progression making some of these courses available to your staff can deliver a strong return on investment for your business.
Ultimately the course provider you select will come down to your preferred learning style (i.e. short courses vs long in-depth programs) and preferred way of paying for this material (i.e. on a per course basis or as a monthly subscription).
Also published on Medium.