Technology has completely revolutionized learning and today, online learning has become an affordable and effective solution for all people. Whether you want the flexibility of online courses, the prestige from some excellent schools and institutions that offer them or simply want to learn something new from the best, they’re the perfect fit, especially for those that are not able to pursue the classic academic courses because of various reasons. More affordable than the traditional type, cheap online courses give you all the benefits of higher education without breaking the bank. Strict admission requirements and rising education costs have made traditional means of higher education inaccessible for many learners, this is where affordable online courses come into play as the perfect solution.
In the last 10 years, the cost of a 4-year university program has increased by around 3.1% and the amount of rising student debt is a cause of serious concern. In such a scenario, e-learning has become a very viable option. Whether it is a professional who cannot afford to quit his/her job or a high school student who does not have financial aid, many people feel that they do not have too many choices.
However, thankfully, the option of MOOCs (massive open online courses) is emerging as a promising option. E-learning is growing by leaps and bounds and today, the availability of a sheer number of online learning platforms suggests that there is a huge demand for convenient, flexible and portable learning options.
Ever since they took off in 2012, learning platforms such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, etc. have become hugely popular. The number of online platforms, courses, degrees and certificates have grown dramatically and offer excellent opportunities for students and professionals who love to learn. In 2018, the MOOC population reached over 101 million and in recent times these online platforms are seeing exponential growth. In our article, we have looked at the two most popular online education platforms, Coursera and edX that offer some of the best cheap online courses.
Best Cheap Online Courses
Let’s take a look at the platforms that offer the best cheap online courses on the web.
Coursera was started by two professors from Stanford, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng in 2012 and is the most popular online education platform. Coursera has partnered with some of the top universities and organizations across the world to offer free, as well as paid online courses, specializations and online degrees. The courses are taught by renowned professors and industry experts from all across the globe.
Coursera provides more than 2,700 courses, over 250 Specializations and over 4 degree programs from accredited universities to over 35 million learners worldwide. Coursera offers courses on almost any topic of interest for students and professionals. Some of Coursera’s top-rated courses are related to computer science, information technology, business, life science, data science, language learning, humanities, arts, etc.
Features and Pricing
You can gain a new skill by taking up a course on Coursera. These courses usually are for around 4 to 6 weeks. You can do most of the courses for free; however, there are limitations on the course materials. Additionally, you do not get a certificate at the end of the course (for the unpaid versions). The cost of the paid courses on Coursera range between $29 to $99.
If you want a more complete study in a particular field, then you can opt for the combined set of courses from Coursera, known as a Specialization. Usually, the duration of a Specialization is between 4 to 6 months and cost between $39 to $79. You will get a Specialization certificate at the end of the program.
If you want to pursue a specific degree for a longer period, you could opt for an online degree by an accredited university that ranges from 1 to 3 years in duration. The degree requires an online admission and the study ends with you receiving a master’s degree. Online degrees are more expensive and depending on the subject, they can cost between $15,000 to $25,000. Nevertheless, they are quite convenient and are much cheaper compared to pursuing the same degree at a regular university and are more convenient, especially for working professionals. The subjects offered as online degrees are MBA, marketing, computer science, analytics, accounting, data science, etc.
The courses are taught via interactive sessions which allow students to build their concepts and test their knowledge and on completing the course, you will receive an electronic certificate which you can share with prospective employers or use it for other purposes. On joining a Coursera course, you will also be a part of the global community along with other learners, which will give you the opportunity to interact with your fellow students from across the world. And, finally, to make things easier for you, Coursera also has the option where it offers financial aid to enable you to complete the Specializations or online degrees.
Started in 2012, edX is the 2nd largest MOOC provider after Coursera, with over 18 million learners. If you are keen on learning or if you want to educate your team or workforce, you can leverage the online courses on the edX platform. Since edX was started as a non-profit platform by MIT and Harvard, there is a broad selection of courses from these two universities along with courses from several others. edX has courses on the widest range of topics available on the platform.
The courses of edX comprise of weekly learning sequences, which comprise of short videos and interactive exercises that allow your practice the concepts you have learned immediately. The platform also has the facility of a forum for online discussion, where you can post your questions and review and respond to questions from other students.
Finally, while some programs and degrees require pre-payment, there are a lot of courses that you can take for free and then pay a very small fee to get an official certificate of completion if you pass the tests and evaluation requirements.
Features and Pricing
These courses are created by top universities and organizations and are aimed at enhancing your professional skills.
These are created by top universities and are courses for Master-level students. They are up to date with the latest in the field and are eligible for credit.
These courses have been developed by renowned experts and some of the topmost universities. These courses offer an in-depth and well-rounded understanding of a particular subject.
edX has been following a simple pricing model since 2018. You can audit practically any course on the platform where most or all of the content is available free of cost. However, if you want to get a certificate as proof of completion of the course for their school, job, etc. then you need to pay a fee for the same, which varies depending on the type of course. The cost of the larger programs is more than the individual courses and you can also apply for financial assistance.
- Informal: You can either get certificates for individual courses or get a Professional Certificate or XSeries Certificate for courses that have been created by universities or professional organizations like IBM, Microsoft, etc.
- Formal: edX provides undergraduate credit and master’s degrees in partnership with many universities. You also have the option of getting a MicroMasters credential which can be counted as credit towards a master’s degree if you are admitted into the program.
So, as you can see, today, there are many ways that you can learn and even get a degree in any subject of your choice at a very affordable cost, without breaking the bank. With a huge range of courses from top universities and companies on top platforms like Coursera and edX, you are sure to find a cheap online course of your choice.
If you want to discover more learning opportunities, then be sure to take a look at our list of the best online courses. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great day!