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Get started with online learning in 2020

Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill but never manage to take some time? Have you wondered if you could change your career direction? Or to win the desired job promotion? If you've ever heard those little voices in your head, take some time to read below.


I remember how exhausting was for me to choose the best online course. Google floods you with so many options and you feel like your head is about to explode. Don't worry! That's why I am here, I'll save you the fuss and wandering in endless online space.


You will find out the advantages of online education in 2020 and why it is the greatest revolution in today’s education. I will help you with some tips and answer your questions so you can get started your online training with confidence.

Written 4th November, 2019 - Updated 11th February 2020 by The School Bell

What is online learning?

Online learning is a more accessible, flexible and efficient method of training. People of all ages and industries can improve their knowledge. The continuous development turned online training into a preferred form of study over a classic university.

Online courses have increased student retention rates from 25% to 60% thanks to the more engaging online content and more interactive classes. So why don’t you explore online learning and join over 40 million students from around the world?

Is online learning the best choice for me? 

Yes, you have no limits! You can study undergraduate, postgraduate and professional level courses via distance learning. Higher education can lift your career to the next level. It will help you stand out from the crowd or transition to a new career.


With online learning, you can start a whole new career

Thanks to online training, I have been able to change the direction of my career in a completely different industry. I was an Accountant who managed to enhance a career as a Digital Marketing Executive. So do not wait for the perfect moment and follow your dreams!


Achieve the ideal career that will make you happy and keep you motivated.

What topics can you learn online?

You don’t have to worry about the wide choice of course topics. With online programs, you can choose every subject or field of study imaginable. Find your interests and start learning online courses from top universities and organisations. You can pick the program of your dreams based on your passion and interest, drawing your future bright career.

Study online everything you are passionate about!

What does MOOC mean?

MOOC stands for "Massive Open Online Course". It was invented to describe the growth in participation of online courses, not the length of the course! The two keywords are Open and Online. To be a true "MOOC" a course or class should be open to anyone who wants to join, although sometimes there is an entry fee. It should be available online. Otherwise, it is just a MOOCkery!


That was a terrible joke but I hope this information was useful.

Also, let us know how your elearning journey is going.

Share advice with the other students!

How can I start learning online?

Have a look at the courses offered by the different online platforms and find out the best for your needs. You’ll easily find the online programs offered by some of the most prestigious universities from all around the world.

Enhance your career with the perfect online course!

Analyze the purpose of every training and make sure that this is the right place for you. Read through the detailed course specifications provided to find out about the requirements, assessments and certification included.

Take some time to get reviews for every topic, check their intros - they are free of charge. If you ever have a question about a particular course you can contact the supplier or fill out a query form on the course page.

Check the payment options so you make sure it’s worth it. Get enrolled and you will be able to track your progress, gain feedback or ask your mentor a question. 


Don't miss out these opportunities! And let the magic happen - the perfect course to enhance your career now is closer to you.

Which one is the best online learning platform?

If you want to upskill your knowledge or completely change your career, there are a lot of online courses to help you succeed. 

Coursera, for example, has partnered with top companies to create courses. So you can now learn directly from Google, IBM and Microsoft.​ These courses come from the best universities around the world and will lead you to an official certificate.

Udemy is one of the first online course providers and it is more accessible. Their courses are the best option for you to learn a new skill in your spree time for a short period of time.

Lynda has earned a reputation as a top online course provider. If you are focused on business and higher educationlearning this is your best option. Their online platform offers unlimited access to videos on a broad range of different subjects.

Skillshare is a growing community marketplace with a broad range of subjects to choose from. It is a great platform if you are looking to develop your creative skills. You can enjoy and interact with in-person workshops in San Francisco and New York, for example.

I have only mentioned a small part of the online learning platforms you can choose from. I advise you to do your own research. Start with some reviews of different course providers and choose the best online education tailored to your needs.

How to choose the best online course provider?

Who is the best online course provider? There are several ways to review online courses and we have them all covered here.


More and more people are turning to online learning. In 2019 millions of people will be logging into their computer or smartphone to start or continue an online course. Even way back in 2016 The Online Consortium found that 6 million people had enrolled in an online class or course. So if you are thinking about taking the plunge you are not alone!


The seemingly sudden growth in popularity of online courses may make it seem like elearning is a new concept or a fad. In fact, online classes have been around for over a decade. However, in those ten years, there has been an explosion in demand for online courses and in the various providers who strive to become your e-teacher.

Completion rates for an online course are about 12%. This article will help you choose the best courses and maintain motivation so that you actually learn what you are trying to learn. 


The issue with all this choice is that it can be difficult to know where to start. You no one wants to waste their time and money enrolling in course they will never finish or doesn't provide more value than a Youtube tutorial.


Here are some common questions I have heard over the years, the answers are here. Who is the best provider? Should I go for a paid course or is a free class enough? Do employers trust online learning certificates? How much support will I receive? How will I stay motivated and disciplined? And last but not least - what does MOOC mean?


We update this page regularly but if you see anything that is missing or no longer accurate please let us know. It can hard to keep up with the pace of change in the online learning world!


Also if you are just looking for a quick comparison then our Online Courses Compared page is the one you want. top online learning sites or a more in-depth review of an individual course provider like Udemy or Coursera.

How to choose the best online class?

There is no one online course provider that is better than all the others it all depends on what you are looking for. Coursera, Linkedin Learning (formerly Lynda) and Udemy offer a huge variety of courses and classes, a slick platform and plenty of student support.


W3, Khan Academy, Codeacademy, Udacity are great for learning to code


Skillshare, EnviagoTuts, interaction design offer creatives of all types of classes and tools to help them bring their skills to the next level.

If you are looking for a quick fix go for a free class. Udemy, offer many quick intro classes for free. A great resource on almost anything you can imagine is youtube. It might take a bit of searching but you will probably find a relevant video to almost question. 


If you are thinking about signing up to a free class I would suggest first going to the other places where you can learn online for free. For developers, this might by W3, for creatives and of the blogs and how to's that can found with a quick google search and for business skills Linkedin and Slideshare are great places to start. 


However, if you are looking to really develop your skills then a paid course is the way to go. You will be able to enrol in a programme, receive teacher & peer support throughout and many providers offer a certificate at the end that will help a lot with your job search.


Remember there is more than one to pay for a course. Some providers will charge by the course, others like Coursera will allow you to pay as you go. It is often a good idea to start with the Pay as you go learning options with a short class before diving into a long term subscription-based course.


A great way to start your elearning journey is with a clear and measurable objective. Once you know where you want to go and in what timeframe it will be much easier to decide how to get there and with which provider.

How much does an online education cost?

Online courses and degree programs prove a more affordable option than traditional education. Elearning provides a world-class education tailored to your lifestyle.

For the paid ones, you can choose the payment method. You can defer monthly fees by yourself or why shouldn’t ask your employer to split the payment? Don't miss out that many online courses are completely free of charge or get unbelievable discounts!

Some e-degrees can cost up to €20,000 but then there are many, many courses available for free. Learning online will also be much cheaper than offline equivalent.

Make sure that the online course is worth it!

It is important to remember that the cost of a course is not just the money it requires. It is also the amount of time that you are required to put in. 

Make sure that you start the right course. Do not always go for a free course of you may end up having to start again at the beginning with the paid option. 

Are online classes more comfortable?

The online course allows you the flexibility to choose your own learning environment that works best for your needs. You will study online at your own convenience no longer worried about the class location. 


You can attend online classes and it is up to you when and where to study. (Imagine listening to a lecture podcast on a hammock in the middle of a lonely beach. Isn’t that awesome?) 

What is the pace of study?

A key advantage to online learning is that you can be a master of your own education. You can effectively manage your time and take courses on your own schedule that suits your individual needs. 

Take control of your education

A self-paced system enables you to complete the targets and make the progress with rhythm that suits you. That’s an advantage the traditional educational system cannot beat.

How long do online classes take?

Online learning requires less of a time investment. You don’t have to commute to class and attend to boring lectures. It doesn't matter where you live – you can gain a degree from anywhere in the world. 

Each online classes determine how long the courses or the degree programs last. Some online degree programs can be completed in only 5 weeks. Others last 3 years, especially those offered through universities. 

Online courses can usually be completed and submitted as quickly as a student chooses. It all depends on your individual situation, your subject experience, skills and the amount of time you wish to invest.

• Associate’s Degree programs take students 2 years to complete it. It depends on how many classes you take each semester. If you take your classes online, this may be completed online in between 15 to 18 months.

• Bachelor’s Degree programs usually last between 3 to 4 years. Some distance learning programs can help you complete your graduation faster by choosing an accelerated online education program. This can compress courses into shorter 8-10 weeks sessions.

• Master’s Degree programs usually last 2 years to complete as a full-time student. For part-time students, it can take anywhere from 3 to 4 years. Some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months. 

• Doctorate Degrees usually take up to 8 years to complete. The duration of online classes depends on your pace of study, the program design, the subject area, and the institution offering the program. Some innovative universities have streamlined their Doctorate Degree programs and offer creative transfer options. Their online programs help students earn their PhDs within 3 years.


But don't expect your online degree to be easier just because it's online. Many online learners say they spend 15 to 20 hours a week on coursework. You need to invest quite an effort to earn this degree!

Is it equal to a university degree?

There are online programmes that are academically equivalent to college degrees and the qualification you get is of equal value. Also, students can take a course online and transfer the credits to the university. Universities and colleges ensure that their distance learning programmes and qualifications have the same high quality as university-based programmes.

You can often transfer credits from online courses to a university course

Free courses don’t usually come with a certificate of completion, but they are valuable for you to learn from prestigious educators.


Earning an Associate Degree will help you prepare for entry-level positions or promotion opportunities. Also, you can choose to continue your education with a bachelor's programs. It is the first step in ensuring a career that will grow over time.

Online Bachelor’s Degree programs are innovative, hands-on experience and career-focused. They are a convenient way for you to earn undergraduate degrees. These programs meet high academic standards for accreditation. Graduates earn the same credentials as traditional students. Online degree programs are offered by many universities and online education providers. You will be able to work closely with university and college professors using state-of-the-art e-learning technology.

There are over 500 online Bachelors programs at universities in the United Kingdom, for example. You have got the freedom of taking classes tailored to your needs, ideal if you’re a professional seeking a career change or a graduate looking for an early start. The distance-learning bachelor may be more affordable, self-paced and flexible option you should need to explore.

Online Master’s Degree is the academic equivalent of a traditional Masters course. You need a completed Bachelor’s degree earned first. The undeniable advantage is that you can complete it from the comfort of your own home. These courses differ between different programs, but the majority involve a combination of video lectures, online resources and feedback from a personal tutor.

Online PhD and Professional Doctorate program is the most advanced degree you can earn. It allows you to earn your degree from wherever you are in the world. Unlike most university programs, online PhD programs provide excellent flexibility and let you choose the time that is best for you. That lets you study on a schedule that fits your needs, giving you more opportunity to take care of other responsibilities. Earning a doctorate doesn’t take as long as you think. By choosing the right doctoral program and taking advantage of online learning, you can improve your ability to complete it faster.

What you will achieve?

A huge part of the online programmes is academically equivalent to university degrees. The qualification you get is of equal value and involve the same level of work and effort invested. You will be taught by lecturers who are leading figures and passionate about their subjects.

The success of online education depends on how engaged and dedicated you are. Set goals at the beginning of the semester, and check your progress weekly. Online training requires self-discipline, time management and high motivation to successfully finish the course and achieve the benefits far beyond learning. 

Is e-learning useful for my career advancement?

Online courses will rapidly boost your resume and your career with the speed of light. It doesn’t matter the stage of your career, an online program always stands great on your resume. Earning a degree can turn you into a better candidate for a job promotion and show that you are ambitious and self-motivated for challenges. Your future employer will be impressed by your commitment to learning, obtaining new skills and preparing for new perspectives.

Start your dream job!

College students can take online courses and even complete entire degrees in their free time. They are able to transfer the online classes credits to an accredited college. If a college does not offer enough open sections of a course, you can take it online and transfer the credits.

So go online and find the best career-focused qualification for you!

Do employers trust online learning certificates?

​It depends on the course and the provider. If you go for a course offered by Harvard or a well-respected company like Google or Microsoft then companies and hiring managers will likely pay attention.


A single certificate, in a basic course, without any supporting information or evidence of skills is unlikely to help you land that dream job. If you are starting a new career then it is best to try and practise your new skills in the real world. Offer to be the photographer of the group or sign up for public speaking classes.


The best way to back up your online learning is with your real-world achievements.


• How much support will I receive?

That depends on the platform or course you choose and how much support you want with your elearning journey. Remember The School Bell is always here to help!


Skillshare, The Khan Academy, General Assembly & Coursera all offer a lot of support to their students but remember the support often comes with a higher price tag.


Almost all online course providers I have come across other peer support which is a great way to stay motivated. If you are taking a challenging or technical course I would always try to choose one with teacher office hours or email support to get you past those inevitable hurdles.


​•Who is the best type of online learner?

There are many different types of people who learn online. Just because you do not finish a course does not mean that you have not received any value from it. Many people sign up to a course to learn something specific. Once they have that new skill or piece of information they leave the course. 

In fact, the people who have the best completion rates for online classes are accomplished learners, many with advanced degrees.


• How will I stay motivated and disciplined?

Since you will often be alone in your elearning efforts and many courses allow you to learn at your own pace it can be difficult to stick with a class or course once the initial excitement has worn off.

How to stay motivated while learning online

1. Stick to a schedule - block out one night a week to work on your project

2. Take it one step at a time - it is tempting to join 10 classes so you can develop 10x as quickly. Taking on         too much to soon can lead to stress and disappointment. Start with one short course around your current     level. Then before you know it you will be on the Master's in Rocket Science

3. Shop around - don't just take the first course you come across. Explore what different sites have to offer.

4. Remove temptations - try and create your own learning space. Even if it means closing all your other tabs     and setting your phone to silent

5. Set clear goals - It is important that you understand why you want to learn new skills or develop your             existing skills before you start. Taking a course out of curiosity is often a sure fire way to an early exit.

6. Don't go it alone - having a friend on the same path will make you much more likely to succeed.

7. Remember that it should be fun! Don't force yourself because you think you have to. If you are not having       fun you probably aren't learning that much anyway.

What is the learning process?

The courses are interactive and engaging and you will be involved in discussions on course topics. You can access training materials, take assessments, interact with students and your mentors globally. 

Chat with other students for the best online experience!

You may communicate through discussion forums, social media and video conferences, as well as phone and email. Оnline study has never been easier allowing you to use the latest online technology, tools and materials in a user-friendly environment.

How can I find materials?

Guess what - no heavy books needed! All lectures and materials are provided via online platforms.  Online programmes can provide a wide range of opportunities to interact with mentors and students. 

Most online programmes offer virtual classrooms, teacher support and networking groups. Your online environment is designed to support and encourage collaborative learning. 

You’ll easily access to online resources like e-books, course lectures, video tutorials, assignments. An online course may also require group projects where students communicate virtually, as well as remote presentations. These can be challenging for online learners living across different time zones.

How up to date the content is?

Online education is constantly changing to meet the needs of modern students. Thanks to the cutting-edge technologies in e-learning you can always enjoy the regularly revised lessons. 

Updated and easy to learn content

When new information and advances in technology become available, online information can be updated quickly and easily in real-time to keep it fresh and trendy. 

It is also brain-friendly creating an engaging experience, designed around the way we learn. Subjects are broken down into bite-sized activities, making learning more flexible and easier to absorb.

To differentiate yourself from the competition, you need to constantly evolve and improve your skills.


Follow these easy steps and you will enjoy your learning experience and get successful in your online courses.


We answered just a few of your questions to learning online but there are many more.


I would love to hear from you with suggestions on what other advantages or reasons why you would prefer to take your next course online during 2020?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!


Don’t set your dreams aside!