By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Whether you want to further your education or learn some new skills, there’s a wealth of knowledge right at your fingertips with online learning platforms. No matter your interests, you can utilize an online learning management system (LMS) to take classes and keep in touch with your instructors. Which LMS platform will work best for you? Here are the pros and cons of some of the major names.
Udemy allows experts of any type to create courses and market them to the general public. This particular platform is best for learning job-related skills. Courses are accessible on any device, including your Android, iPhone, or iPad. Udemy courses can range in price anywhere from free to $300.
Pros: Anyone can use Udemy. Experts in a subject design a course and post it to the marketplace, allowing you to find the skills you need. The company offers 24/7 support if you need help figuring out how to add/drop courses.
Cons: While designing a course is free, you do have to pay to take courses. This platform is probably not a good option if your company gives you access to free training.
Litmos is an SAAS/Cloud learning platform that is best for corporate and compliance training. You can access Litmos from any device.
Pros: Capterra says, “Litmos is an award-winning learning management system & the most user-friendly LMS in the world.” The full range of features allows for both live and on-demand lessons. It can even be integrated with other platforms like Salesforce and Dropbox. Companies often subscribe to Litmos with an all-inclusive price, so, as an employee, you typically don’t have to pay a dime to access its services.
Cons: Litmos is marketed to companies, so individual learning is not worth the high, all-inclusive subscription price.
Moodle is a free, open-source learning platform that can be utilized for e-learning projects in several sectors, including school courses and corporate training. Access Moodle on any device.
Pros: EdTechReview wrote an article that extols the virtues of Moodle for the following reasons:
- It is free for users.
- It is open source, so it is always improving, and it is easy to customize.
- Support is available 24/7
- The tools encourage active, rather than passive, learning.
- It is secure.
Cons: Though Moodle is free, it comes with a price. The setup is often criticized for being complex and far from user-friendly.
Udacity began as an offshoot of free computer science courses offered by Stanford, and while it originally focused on university-style courses, it’s now marketed more toward professionals seeking vocational courses. Course materials can be accessed for free, but course prices vary. You can access Udacity on your laptop or mobile device that runs iOS or Android software.
Pros: Udacity takes a fresh approach to learning. In fact, they claim that lectures are dead. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, you’ll likely appreciate the way Udacity courses aim to make the most of your time.
Cons: The community is relatively small, so, unless you want to pay for premium, you’ll often be working alone in your course. Set deadlines aren’t in place, so if you need structure, this may not be the best platform for you. Also, a review by Best Elearning Software points out, there is a “very limited range of courses.”
edX, like Udacity, is an MOOC (massive open online course) provider. Courses are university-level, in a variety of disciplines. Both the platform and courses are free. While there is an app for iOS and Android devices, not all courses are available via the app.
Pros: You can take edX courses at your own pace and even make friends through the peer-to-peer learning tools. The large catalog of university providers ensures a variety of interesting courses.
Cons: Though edX offers certificates for completing a course, colleges and universities may not translate completion into course credit. Also, there is often more variation in the quality of courses than with other MOOCs.
How to Choose an LMS
When you’re considering different LMS options, be able to define your learning objectives to make the right choice. Also consider software security; this is particularly important for cloud-based programs that you might use on public Wi-Fi. In addition to taking regular precautions, use Hotspot Shield to defend against malware that could temporarily derail your efforts in education.
Ready to go to school? Check out the above LMS platforms, weigh their pros and cons, and get ready to indulge your love of learning.