How to choose the best online learning platform: 14 Factors to Consider

The world is going digital and online in all aspects including learning and skill acquisition. There is so much information today online that you may not need to sit in a physical classroom to study or gain a skill.

In terms of where you can study online, there are so many platforms to choose from. In this article, we highlight the best tips and factors to help you get the best online platform and course for you.

Some of the consideration for the best online learning platform is the quality of the content, flexibility of access, global recognition, user interface, and interactivity among others discussed in the article.

These factors can be used to select either a given course or the online platform that you can use for your study.

How to select the best online learning platform for students

Content quality and relevance

A good platform should be offering high-quality content that is relevant to the area you are interested in. Depending on the course it should have both practical skills and theoretical aspects.

It can include a mix of media for diverse learning. For example, it can have video, text, animation, and any other relevant.

Accessibility and Flexibility

One of the main benefits of online learning is the time flexibility and accessibility of the content any time anywhere.

The platform that you select should have a flexible timeline to allow students who may be balancing between education, work, and family.

The content should also be self-paced. Depending on where you are based in the world ensure you can access all the content since some platforms can limit content per location.

If you are physically challenged ensure the course can support assistive technologies that can help interact and benefit from the course.

Global Recognition and partnership

Since after you complete your course you may need the certificate to seek employment then it is necessary to use globally recognized platforms.

For a specific course, you can also check and ensure the certificate is offered by a reputable organization or institution.

Again if a platform is globally recognized they are more likely to engage experts when developing their courses. This means high-quality content from globally recognized educators and area experts.

Cost and Affordable Options

Depending on your financial muscle check the cost of the courses that are being offered and evaluate their affordability. Some platforms may offer some courses for free or even have a trial period. Other platforms and online courses may have financial aid or scholarships.

So if you are financially constrained and still want to gain skills you can start with free courses and advance to paid ones.

Interactive learning features

The online learning platform should be interactive to make learning more enjoyable and engaging for students.

The interactivity can include the use of different interactive features such as forums, discussion boards, live sessions, awarding of badges, and hands-on participation among others. All this makes for a richer learning experience that cater to all categories of learner.

Diverse course offerings

For an online learning platform, it should offer a diverse course for different subjects and disciplines. Some of the most common areas include technology, engineering, programming business, health, and creative fields.

Depending on the user interest select a platform that is reputable for offering the best course in your area of study and interest.

Technology requirement and user interface

The interface should be user-friendly and simple to navigate and use. Users should be able to get what they need with a click of a button without having to navigate around.

On the technology requirement ensure the device you will be using to access the content is supported by the platform. Also, check the speed of the internet that is required to load the pages and content.

If the course is video based do you have enough internet to download or stream video online? For practicals can your device support the extra applications or platform that will be used for simulation?

User support reviews and ratings

What are others saying about the course? A low-rated course by other students means it doesn’t meet the user’s needs in one aspect or the other. You can go through the reviews and decide if they are genuine and if it is worth to continue with the course.

User support is another factor that users rate an online course low. Check if they offer any kind of support and how long it takes to respond. A higher rating and better user support mean a better experience when you start the course.

Practical and hands-on skills requirements

For practical-based courses ensure you select a course and platform that will offer the best practical experience.

Since the course is online ensure you check how you will carry out the practical, which extra platform will you need, will your device and internet support them, etc.

For those practicals that cannot be done online do you have the physical equipment that you can use for the practical? If not does the course provider have any arrangement with any other institution or organization where you can use their facilities?

Instructor, accreditation, and certification

Each course includes a list of developers and instructors. Check their credential and if they are genuine. The platform should be able to offer those details. The instructor should be an expert in the course they have developed or instructing.

The course should be accredited by the relevant authority so that they can be recognized globally. This ensures the course is genuine and can be used to seek employment.

After completion of the course check who awards the certificate. Check what kind of certificate is awarded, is it for completion, or participation? What are the grades included on the certificate? All these will help decide if you still want to pursue the course.

Industry relevance and recognization

The course that you want to pursue online how relevant is it in your field? Does the industry recognize or value it? By answering these questions you will ensure that after you finish the course you can use it in the field.

The more the course is relevant and recognized within your industry the better.

Language requirement

Most of the online learning platforms use English as the main language in their course. Depending on your preferred language select the platform that offers courses in more than one language.

Some courses and platforms may offer courses in one language but have options where users can translate into different languages.

Up-to-date content and learning resources

The content should have the latest material and data since the world is moving fast. Check when the content was uploaded, any revisions done and extra content added after the initial upload, etc.

Check on the available resources that the course offers, they can include supplementary learning resources like e-books, articles, recommended videos, references, or additional materials.

Trial period and refund policy

Most of the platform offers a refund policy if after you pay for the course it doesn’t meet your need. Ensure the platform offers that option but also don’t misuse it.

For those courses and platforms with a trial period, you can use that time to check if the course is worth paying for. After the trial period, you can decide whether to pay or not.