The 7 Best Online Learning Education Sites for Creative Business & Marketing Professionals

The education industry has improved & evolved over the last decade, no longer requiring people to attend physical classes or buy instructional books to learn something new. When comparing what I learned in college versus what I learned online, there's no doubt that learning online has been more beneficial to my career. If you read the blog I wrote last month, "6 Tips & Lessons on Being Self-Taught", I wrote a small portion about online education and how it's great to have the ability to learn at your own pace & schedule.

The fantastic thing about online education is it's mostly free and the topics are covered by industry experts, which I find helpful because the instructors are teaching you actual skills that can easily be applied to your career. 

While there is a whole sea of websites that offer an eLearning model, here are some websites that I recommend when looking to learn a new skill, or brush up on some old ones ranging from general education to developing specific creative or business skills. 

UDEMY

  • Year Established: 2010
  • # Courses: 8,000
  • Primary Topic Focus: Variety
  • Pricing: Free & Paid

I've been a fan of Udemy since 2011. Udemy offers a wide range of free and paid video lessons divided into timed sections for easy learning. There are 8,000 courses across a variety of interesting topics. Udemy allows anyone to teach a course, so it's not necessarily curated. While this shouldn't be a problem since the courses are rated by the community, I still do my own research on the instructor just to check their credentials and read about their experience. 

Here are some classes that are on my list to learn:

 

KHAN ACADEMY

  • Year Established: 2006
  • # Courses: 4,400
  • Primary Topic Focus: General Education
  • Pricing: Free

Khan Academy offers free courses on general topics ranging from basic math to finance and biology to physics. The videos are sometimes accompanied with interactive modules for problem solving and when you're done with a course, you can see your performance statistics to compare against your goals. You also earn badges as a way to challenge yourself. I find it quite useful for brushing up on skills that I haven't had practice in for a while. 

 

LYNDA.COM

  • Year Established: 1995
  • # Courses: 2,000
  • Primary Topic Focus: Business, Creative, Software
  • Pricing: $25/month - 7 day free trial

Lynda.com is the leader within the eLearning industry, focused primarily on teaching business skills, creative, and software subjects through pre-recorded video lesson tutorials. I find Lynda to be extremely easy to use and their quality of lessons to be top-notch & useful. The instructors are carefully chosen by the Lynda team and consist of educators and authors as they tend to be the most effective. When you complete a course, you will earn a certificate which shows your accomplishment. For the price of $25/month, you can't beat the quality of the content and instructors. I would highly recommend Lynda. 

 

creativeLIVE

  • Year Established: 2010
  • # Courses: 400
  • Primary Topic Focus: Photography, Business, Software, Design, Video & Film, Audio, Health/Lifestyle
  • Pricing: Free*

creativeLIVE offers free live workshop courses where you can interact with the instructors in real time. It caters mostly to creative entrepreneurs looking to learn and strengthen their skills. Courses start on specific dates and expire but you can purchase the course in HD quality for later access in case you want to keep a copy of it.

I heard about creativeLIVE recently from my boudoir photographer friend, Laquel Wright. I've watched a couple of the live sessions and I must say that the lessons are very well done and the line-up of instructors are impressive and knowledgeable within their craft. 

Here are some classes that are on my list to learn:

 

UDACITY

  • Year Established: 2011
  • # Courses: 25
  • Primary Topic Focus: Business, Computer Science, Design, Mathematics, and Science
  • Pricing: Free*

Udacity offers courses focused primarily in business, computer science, design, mathematics, and science. The classes are mostly all free with the exception of some classes that are 'for credit only' which apply for those taking college courses. Udacity allows you to track & manage your courses and lets you earn a certificate of completion. The audience is catered to all three levels, high school students, college students, and working professionals. 

Here are some classes that are on my list to learn:

 

COURSERA

  • Year Established: 2012
  • # Courses: 423
  • Primary Topic Focus: Variety
  • Pricing: Free*

Coursera offers a classroom-like experience with courses from top universities, providing exams, quizzes, and grades. There's a good selection of topics for any interests ranging from business to medicine to law. While it offers a classroom ambiance, you are still able to learn at your own page, test yourself, and interact with the exercises. Unlike other eLearning websites, this one is unique where the courses start on specific dates, expire and last for several weeks. 

Here are some classes that are on my list to learn:

 

SKILLSHARE

  • Year Established: 2010
  • # Courses: Unknown
  • Primary Topic Focus: Business, Photography, Creative, Design, Fashion
  • Pricing: Free & Paid

Skillshare is a marketplace for education, a community where you can learn from anyone who wants to teach through pre-recorded video courses. Most of the videos have projects that you are encouraged to work on and share with the rest of the community, such as 'creating an action plan' if you're taking a 'Launch Your Startup' course. There are both free and paid courses primarily focused on topics such as business/advertising to fashion, design, and photography.

What's cool about Skillshare is while it's open to any self-claimed expert to teach, there are a some well-known industry leaders who have courses listed, such as Vinicius Vacanti from Yipit, Jeff Staple from Staple Design, Johnny Cupcakes, and more. 

Here are some classes that are on my list to learn:

In addition to what I covered above, here are two other honorable mentions worth taking a glance at: 

  • CodeAcademy: I've always been fascinated with code and because I'm in marketing, I have to stay up to date with the latest technology. Codeacademy teaches you how to code for free. 
  • Treehouse

I hope this list helps with your educational journey - if there's something that I left off that you'd recommend, feel free to let me know.  

 

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