Unlock Your Capabilities: 5 Online Learning Platforms for Awesome Growth

Dec 10, 2023 | Personal Branding


As a rising professional or small business owner, harnessing the power of online learning is crucial for staying competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape. In this era, information is abundant and accessible, offering endless opportunities for personal development. 

What are you learning to develop yourself or grow your business? 

With over 2 billion daily active users on YouTube alone, the internet serves as a vast university of knowledge, available to anyone with an internet-enabled device. 

Embrace the Online Learning Journey

With all these free platforms there could be a lot of confusion especially when you are not sure where to start. Note that the most important thing is to start somewhere. You have nothing to lose exploring the free courses. 

Some platforms like Coursera offer you opportunities to go through the course free of charge unless you decide to get a verified certificate. 

These are good starts, say, for instance, you want to learn how to use Excel to manage your business data most proficiently. You wouldn’t need a certificate for it. You just need to know it and use the knowledge. You do not need an MBA to learn how to manage your small business account. 

Another example is the case where you want to be something like a freelance web designer. You can take a course, learn, practice, and begin to deliver value to clients. What matters most to your customers is the value you bring to their business 

Rethink Traditional Qualifications

There has always been hype about degrees and other academic qualifications. Of course, some professions still require some basic qualifications. I for one, for instance, no matter how much I may know about the eyes couldn’t have started practicing optometry without a doctor of optometry degree. That would be pure quackery 

All the same today, we see that what matters most is what you can do and what value you create, above what certificate you have. This is especially true in the technology and creative industries. No sane organization will hire a developer with a master’s degree who can’t code masterfully instead of a self-taught expert developer who can crank out codes that deliver awesome value.

Bridge the Knowledge-Action Gap with MOOCs

What the market needs today is to close the gap between what people know and what they can do. This is the same gap Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) mostly tend to bridge. What are the skills lacking in the industries that are hardly addressed by the universities?


Learning new skills online to achieve your professional goals is unquestionably a constructive way to grow, whether for a career change, to improve your job prospects, or to expand your current business.

You are therefore on the right path when you know where you intend to be, the skills you need, and where to get those skills. So start by identifying the available offerings that match your interests. If you don’t know where to start, this FutureLearn – Essential Skills for Your Career Development, can kickstart you on the right path. Then to start making headway, you may like to take – How to Get Skilled: Introduction to Individual Skills Management (Project-Centered Course). A good path to explore is Creating Your Dream Career: Uncover & Apply Your Creative Strengths, a Skillshare short course that can help you charge your creative mindset

Whether you are running a small business, managing a big organization, or even developing your professional career, these are human skills that will propel you to excel. Always consider courses that will help you in these 4 top areas- Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity like I pointed out in an older article – 4 Expert UpSkilling Guides To Guarantee Your Career Growth

Every day is a good time to learn and develop. You can explore some of the best online learning platforms to improve your skills. Going to university or any higher institution will cost so much money. Meanwhile,  these online education platforms will teach you mostly for free.


Top 5 Online Learning Platforms

1. Coursera: 

Partnering with top universities globally, Coursera offers courses that can lead to complete Master’s degrees. While many courses are free, obtaining official credentials may require payment.

Tip: You could make a long-term investment in Coursera’s learning platform, but you’d also need a good budget to pay for most of these professional online education programs. Likewise, kindly remember that you’ll need to follow a specific schedule once you start a course and ensure you complete it in short order as informed to you by the stage.

2. Udemy: 

Known for its extensive course selection at reasonable prices, Udemy allows flexibility in choosing subjects of interest without a rigid curriculum.

Tip: Since virtually anyone can teach courses on Udemy, choose courses with high ratings and positive feedback to get the most out of your time and money spent learning new skills. In addition, if you are the owner of a business, you can select a business account, which grants access to thousands of relevant courses for each member of your team and in very specific fields.

3. Skillshare: 

Operating on a subscription model, Skillshare provides courses on various subjects, making it ideal for casual learning and immediate application of skills.

Tip: Skillshare is an extraordinary learning stage if you’re hoping to prepare nonchalantly, be functional in getting new abilities, and apply the information immediately. But if you want to take a formal course, you might want to look at the other platforms listed here.

4. LinkedIn Learning: 

Ideal for professional knowledge, LinkedIn Learning offers courses ranging from beginner to specialist levels. Premium subscription provides access to diverse courses designed to enhance your career.

Tip: The stage offers you the likelihood to add confirmations to your LinkedIn profile, so you’ll have the option to feature your mastery and work on your web-based continue – an unquestionable requirement to draw in scouts on the chase after top ability.

5. FutureLearn: 

Based in the UK, FutureLearn offers free certification courses and online degrees with a strong community aspect. Courses cover a wide range of subjects, making it a cost-effective option for skill improvement.

Tip: FutureLearn is without a doubt one of the most cost-effective online learning platforms, providing an extensive selection of totally free short courses. As a result, I would highly recommend it, particularly if you want to improve your skills rather than earn a formal credential from an institution.

Beyond the top five, platforms like Edx, launched by MIT and Harvard University, and YouTube offer additional opportunities for self-education and workforce training. The abundance of free courses on YouTube, in particular, highlights the untapped potential for valuable learning experiences. Give it a shot and you’ll see what many could be missing by not using all those free courses to learn something valuable. I learned a lot of skills from YouTube and you can too.

Wrapping up

Embracing a continuous learning mindset is key to excellent growth. For a small business owner, an entrepreneurial mindset involves adapting to new paradigms and never ceasing to learn. For a rising professional, continuous learning, not only keeps you ever relevant but gives you competitive skills for growth. Whether opting for formal academic programs or shorter courses, the plethora of digital learning platforms provides ample opportunities for personal and professional growth. As the digital age unfolds, the key is to embrace the learning journey – just do it!

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Written by Dr. Okwukwe Davis

Okwukwe Davis is an Optometrist, Digital Marketer, and Web Design Strategist on a mission to help Nigerian Eye Clinics, SMEs, and Rising Professionals discover growth through Web Design aligned with Brand Strategy and Printing Services.

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