Below is a brief overview of selected online course providers. You will find their video courses in our directory.
Coursera is the largest MOOC platform worldwide. The US company was founded in 2012 by two former professors of Stanford University. According to its own statement, Coursera "envisions a world where anyone, anywhere can transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience". To this end, more than 1,000 courses from well over 100 universities are offered and used by over 25 million learners. The online courses at Coursera are often free of charge in their basic version (so-called course "audit"). Optional certificates may be purchased. In addition, Coursera offers so-called "Specializations", which consist of several courses on one topic (a monthly subscription is required). A detailed profile about Coursera is shown here.
Our conclusion: One of the major MOOC platforms worldwide besides edX (see below) with a focus on academic content and professional training.
Our conclusion: Very specialized provider with a focus on practical training of IT programming skills, especially for beginners.
The MOOC platform edX is one of the most renowned providers in online education. It was founded in 2012 by Harvard University and MIT, and in cooperation with more than 90 international partner institutions offers mostly free courses for students and professionals from all over the world. edX teaches hundreds of courses from numerous different subjects. Teaching institutions such as universities, international organizations and companies can also use the open-source platform "Open edX" to create their own learning content. The non-profit organization edX is one of the most innovative MOOC providers and, in addition to offering online courses, attaches great importance to research and innovation in e-learning. MIT professor Anant Agarwal , who taught the first edX MOOC with more than 150,000 students at that time, is one of the most prominent pioneers of MOOCs. More than 10 million learners have already taken part in the courses. A detailed profile about edX can be found here.
Our conclusion: One of the major global MOOC platforms besides Coursera (see above); constantly developing new MOOC technologies and certificate options.
FutureLearn is a private platform of UK-based Open University. Since 2013, free courses from a wide range of areas have been offered in cooperation with leading universities, organizations and companies. More than 80 partner institutions are represented, in addition to key universities from the UK companies such as BBC and the British Museum. Participation in hundreds of courses is possible for learners all over the world and does not require any special prior knowledge in most cases. The courses are held in English, but more languages are planned for the future. According to the company's motto that "learning should be an enjoyable, social experience", the active exchange of learners is encouraged. Certificates of attendance and, in some courses, examination certificates can be purchased for a fee. Since 2013, more than 5 million participants have been registered for the platform's courses.
Our conclusion: One of the leading European MOOC platforms, with many English-speaking partner universities.
German course platform iversity, headquartered in Berlin, has been offering MOOCs since 2013 (after a re-start in 2016, professional education courses have also been introduced). More than 30 mainly European universities and institutions are already contributing as partners. Iversity offers online courses for learners around the world in cooperation with its partner institutions. The courses are available in German or English. Companies, non-profit organizations and other institutions can make use of a full-service offer for the design, production and processing of video courses. There are currently around 50 courses available, which have been attended by nearly 1 million participants so far.
Our conclusion: One of the most important European MOOC platforms with a still growing course selection.
By putting "Students First", the online academy Udacity (combining the terms "university" and "audacity") started to offer online lectures at Stanford University in 2012. Meanwhile, Udacity is one of the most important players in the market for practical online IT training, with several million students worldwide. In partnership with large corporations such as Google or Facebook, Udacity offers paid courses, especially in the areas of computer science and programming, with its main focus being the combination of academic knowledge and professional skills. Udacity is particularly known for its innovative courses on subjects such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and self-driving cars. The language of instruction in all courses is English, with some offering subtitles in other languages. The courses consist of videos, tests, assignments and a final exam. The Udacity "Nanodegree Programs", which are created by cooperating with companies, involve the completion of a project, and also offer support in career planning. They are focused on the direct job usability of what has been learned.
Our conclusion: Due to its focus on hot IT topics such as artificial intelligence, Udacity is one of the most innovative providers of digital education.
The Udemy platform, in contrast to most other course providers, basically gives any expert in a subject area the opportunity to offer their own online courses. Thus, Udemy relies less on large universities or well-known institutions as course providers, but opens the field of teaching for everyone. As a result, however, the differences in quality between individual courses are massive, which is reflected in the popularity of individual courses. There are already ten thousand online video courses offered by Udemy, ranging from computer science to professional training courses to leisure-oriented courses such as music, sports and photography. (Check out a more detailed Udemy review here.)
Our conclusion: Differs from other course platforms in that it has lower barriers to entry for content providers, thus it has more niche offerings (which may vary in quality).