Figure out which online learning platform is the best for your needs

Udemy, MasterClass, and Skillshare are just a few of the many online learning platforms that all sound very interesting, however, other than viewing an ad on social media, many of us are unfamiliar with the various options or where to start. Depending on specific interests, career aspirations, or learning goals, each platform offers something a little different. This list can help you figure out which of the thousands of online courses available are worth the investment of your time and money.

There is not a lot of Black-focused content or content by Black instructors and creators on these platforms, suggesting an area of opportunity for Black educators and instructional designers. We tried to find the needles in the haystacks and found one lifelong learning option that is specifically focused on the history and culture of Africa, Black Americans, and the diaspora. Read on to learn more. 

Coursera

Coursera offers 5,000+ courses and specializations, partnering with more than 200 universities. The topics are broad and span the spectrum of disciplines in the liberal arts and sciences. There are many free courses available and some institutions offer certificates at varying price points. Coursera does not currently offer extensive Black course content; one of the few offered, “Reimagining Blackness and Architecture,” is presented by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

MasterClass

MasterClass’s focus is motivational content by celebrity authors, actors, musicians, and personalities. Whereas other platforms have thousands of courses, MasterClass offers about 100 courses focused on hobbies and life lessons, such as “Learn to write with Roxane Gay” and “Cook with Gordon Ramsay.” All of MasterClass’s content is available for $15 a month.

Udemy

Those at the intersection of creativity and tech will want to explore Udemy. The site offers more than 130,000 courses in design, marketing, IT, software, photography, and more. You can also find classes on a range of subjects, such as vocal training, Krav Maga, tattooing, and child psychology. Udemy courses start at $12.99. Udemy‘s limited selection of courses on Black culture include the history of the Black church and liberation and the Willie Lynch Letter.

Udacity

Udacity is a career-oriented site with a heavy focus on tech careers. Courses on artificial intelligence, data science, web development, and business and marketing basics are plentiful. Because of the depth of the content, many courses take a few months to complete. You’ll pay $1,000 or more for highly technical courses. Udacity also offers reviews of resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and GitHub profiles, as well as a mentorship program. 

Skillshare

Focused on creative pursuits, Skillshare offers courses in photography, design, illustration, and other arts, crafts, and hobbies. The site offers more than 20,000 classes, all available with a monthly subscription of $32 per month, or $167 annually. One interesting course teaches you how to play iconic guitar riffs by Black musicians. Skillshare also offers more than 2,000 courses available for free without a subscription. Visit the free course site to start exploring.

Black History and Culture Academy

The previous platforms have a wide range of useful and educational content, but the pickings are slim when it comes to course content focused on the Black experience. The Black History and Culture Academy seeks to rectify this. For $14.99 per month, you get unlimited access to 20 courses as well as additional regularly added content. Topics include introductions to Black literature, music, and poetry as well as studies of African religious and oral traditions. Each course can be individually purchased for $9.99.