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Taking the leap: 6 of the best online learning platforms to jump into

From free online business courses to fully paid degrees, online studies are soaring


Professionals wanting to stay afloat in the very rough seas of 2020 are well-advised to leap onto the liferaft of learning.

In a COVID world, "what you already know" is a leaky dinghy, and treading water won't help you.

Updating your skills with the best online learning platforms is the safest way to float above the churning foam.

  • You improve your opportunities and attractiveness to employers
  • You'll feel more valued and engaged at work
  • You'll feel calmer by taking back control in a highly disrupted world
  • You'll make better decisions when armed with better information

Some of us fork out big money for degrees, others try to save by seeking out the free online courses. If we're clever about it, we also can choose subscriptions or memberships that bundle in the classes with event discounts or other attractive benefits.

Here, we offer as a starting point, an overview of -

6 of the best online learning platforms & aggregators:

IMD Virtual Business Courses

A hybrid learning platform, where participants can join on the Lausanne campus or connect from the home or office from anywhere in the world. Specialising in corporate leadership development, this online learning platform is ideal for CEOs, leaders at board level, and executives keen on professional development.

  • Set intake dates in 2020 and 2021
  • Virtual, hybrid or on-campus learning (Switzerland)
  • Full-fee course up to CHF 9,900 per participant
  • Courses can include business case studies, group work sessions, and regular coach touchpoints

MIT Business and Management Courses

Known globally, this famous institution offers business executives an extraordinary online learning platform, where virtually all MIT course content is offered free. Full course notes from 2400 courses (some quite old) are published on MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

  • Free course notes of virtually all MIT courses, including those at MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Pointers to TED Talks, articles, and books on topic
  • Suits independent learners
  • Some courses translated

edX - Business Management courses

A non-profit organisation showcasing a selection of professional courses, many around 2-6 weeks of study. Expert instructors, and flexible online learning platform.

  • Large variety of courses
  • Duration of weeks up to 3 years (up to 10 hours study per week)
  • Real college courses from Harvard, MIT, and more of the world’s leading universities
  • Trending topics like business analytics fundamentals for leaders
  • Prices range from $0 to $21,500

The Growth Faculty Virtual Masterclasses

A new live virtual 90-minute offering from Australian's most ambitious leadership education provider.

The Growth Faculty "little black book" of contacts means you learn straight from international thought leaders and coaches. Past real-world events have included a former U.S. President, business guru Jim Collins, Top 5 Ted Talk stars Brene Brown and Simon Sinek, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

  • Masterclasses included in The Growth Faculty Club and Premium Annual Membership
  • Eligible memberships start from $19.95 per month (billed annually)
  • Practical, condensed content in 60 minutes with 30 mins question time
  • Expert trainers and coaches, many from leading U.S. universities and businesses
  • Suits leaders and their teams
  • Live Q and A opportunity in every masterclass
  • Professionally conducted with real-time support

TAFE Business Courses

Here's a suprisingly great portal to begin exploring vocational education and training courses provided by a number of institutions in Australia.

It includes a large selection of online business courses from TAFE institutes which would suit everyone from start-up entrepreneurs and admins to managers.

  • 45 business courses offered
  • Some courses only available to Australian citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Certificate to post-graduate degrees
  • MBA is rated ‘Australia’s most innovative online MBA’ by the Financial review
  • No Exams. Work on real projects with TAFE's industry partners 

Class Central - aggregator of Online Business and Educational Courses

Proudly states "We are in the business of educating people about education." A good place to find information and courses from a range of providers on almost any subject. In one 30-day period during the pandemic, Class Central courses got more clicks than for the whole of 2019!

  • Focus primarily on free (or free to audit) courses from universities, offered through Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms.
  • Where there is a fee, Class Central makes money through advertising and affiliate links.
  • Personal development their most popular subject for search.
  • Favourite courses from Class Central management include Barbara Oakley's Learning How to Learn

Of course, our list is not comprehensive. Conversations across the world are peppered with household-name online learning platforms such as Khan Academy, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and Coursera (to name a few very popular choices).

For ambitious learners, there's no need to stop at one course.

For example, the founder and CEO of Class Central Dhawal Shah says on his website he's done 12 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and the company's customer support lead Pat Bowden has completed more than 100 online courses.

If you're taking the big leap to online learning, it seems the sky's the limit.

The Growth Faculty has this year launched virtual masterclasses - the Time For Transformation series; especially designed for business leaders. We make learning and development easy and inexpensive by bringing your team the world's renowned thought leader. Ensure your team are trained to pivot, adapt and innovate in these unprecedented times. See who's up next.