As creators, our field is ever-evolving. Each year, new gear and upgraded software are released, rendering the previous year’s innovations all but outdated by providing just a little more speed or dynamic range or customizability.

In this industry of constant technological turnover, a creator must embrace growth. We need to practice and upgrade our technical skills to avoid rusting. It is our adaptiveness and our willingness–our eagerness–to continue learning and improving that keep us balanced “on the bleeding edge” of innovation, as BlueShoe’s Media’s CEO, Kyle, likes to say.

Fortunately, maintaining and expanding your skillset as a creator is easier than ever in this digital age. There are a number of online learning platforms designed to cater specifically to the needs of those in the production, art, and design industries. The following platforms represent fantastic options for the busy, budget-conscious student or professional looking to expand their technical repertoire:

Udemy

Udemy is the largest online learning platform in the world. Offering more than 65,000 courses covering a wide range of fields, their courses tend to be long and thorough, offering comprehensive training from beginning to advanced skill levels.

Mission:

To improve lives through learning”

Course categories:

  • Development, Business, IT & Software
  • Office Productivity, Personal Development
  • Design, Marketing, Photography
  • Lifestyle, Health & Fitness
  • Teacher Training, Academics, Test Prep
  • Music, Language

Pricing model:

Pay-per-course

$10-$200 per course

Free trial: No

Referral incentives: No

Scholarships: No, but sitewide sales consistently bring courses down to $10-$20 each

Team plans: Yes: Udemy for Business offers 2 group plans:

Team Plana self-serve subscription service designed for teams or organizations of 5-20 people. Provides unlimited access to Udemy’s top 2,500 courses. Cost: $240 per person per year, minimum 5 people to qualify. (Note: to justify this cost, since sitewide sales frequently bring courses down to $10-$20 each, each person on the team would have to complete around 20 courses per year.)

Enterprise Plan: a self-serve subscription service designed for teams or organizations of 21+ people. Provides unlimited access to Udemy’s top 2,500 courses. Cost per person depends on size of team.

Course pacing:

Self-paced

Recommended if:

  • You would like to choose from a wide variety of learning topics
  • You want a detailed, comprehensive course designed for introductory, intermediate, and/or advanced training
  • You plan to focus on one class at a time, since the pay-per-course pricing can add up fast

 

Lynda / LinkedIn Learning

Lynda.com is LinkedIn’s virtual learning platform. Both Lynda and LinkedIn Learning offer the exact same courses and content, but the LinkedIn Learning platform is integrated with your LinkedIn page, and allows you to quickly and easily add skills from your courses to your profile.

Mission:

To help you learn the skills you need to achieve your full potential”

Course categories:

  • 3D & Animation, Audio & Music, Design, CAD
  • Business, Development, Marketing, IT
  • Education & E-learning
  • Photography, Video, Web

Pricing model:

Monthly subscription

Basic: $25/month ($20/month if billed annually at $240)

Premium: $35/month ($30/month if billed annually at $360) Premium access includes project files and offline viewing.

Free trial: Yes; free 30-day trial

Referral incentives: No

Scholarships: No; but if you are a student, many universities offer premium subscriptions to their students (and if yours doesn’t, ask them to!)

Team plans: Yes; flexible, cost-effective group memberships for your business, school, or government organization.” Must contact Lynda / LinkedIn for details.

Course pacing:

Self-paced

Recommended if:

  • You want easy integration with your LinkedIn account
  • You would like transcripts of training videos
  • You plan to consistently take courses (and make the subscription worth it!)

 

Skillshare

Skillshare is an online learning platform offering more than 20,000 classes tailored to the creative professional fields. Most of their courses are shorter and more targeted, geared towards teaching how to achieve something specific with a software, rather than offering comprehensive training on how to use it.

Mission:

“To provide high-quality, personalized learning to millions of students worldwide”

Course categories:

  • Creative
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Lifestyle

Pricing model:

Some free classes

Monthly subscription

$15/month ($8.25/month if billed annually at $99)

Free trial: Yes; free 30-day trial

Referral incentives: Yes; free 60-day trial if you are referred by someone, free 30-day trial for the recipient of the referral

Scholarships: Yes; small business, student, & need-based scholarships available

Team plans: Yes; team plans available for $99 per person per year, minimum 2 people.

Course pacing:

Self-paced

Recommended if:

  • You are looking to learn new creative skills or brush up on current ones
  • You want to learn fun supplemental tips and tricks rather than comprehensive vocational training
  • You have a lot of friends to refer!

 

Coursera

Coursera is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform that provides access to a selection of 2,000+ courses from universities around the globe including the likes of Stanford, CalArts, and Yale. Coursera offers classes, specializations, and online degrees. Each course moves at a scheduled, guided pace.

Mission:

“Universal access to the world’s best education”

Course categories:

  • Arts & humanities, social sciences
  • Business, computer science, data science, math, logic
  • Life sciences, physical science, engineering
  • Language learning

Pricing model:

Some free courses

Pay-per-course

$29-$99 per course

$39-$79 per month for specializations (series of multiple courses culminating in a capstone project)

$15,000-$25,000 for an accredited master’s degree

Free trial: Yes; free 7-day trial

Referral incentives: No

Scholarships: Yes; can apply for financial aid.

Team plans: Yes; beta version. Some courses are unavailable for the team plan.

1 course per person: $110 per person per year

unlimited courses per person: $400 per person per year, minimum 5 people

Course pacing:

Scheduled, guided

Recommended if:

  • You are more interested in traditional academic learning than targeted vocational training
  • You want to learn from professors at universities around the globe
  • You are seeking an online degree

 

Treehouse

Treehouse is an online tech learning platform offering 1,000+ beginner to advanced courses in web design, coding, and web, mobile, and game development. In addition to individual courses, they offer “guided tracks:” hand-picked curriculums of multiple courses and workshops designed to provide a comprehensive learning path through a particular subject.

Mission:

“To bring affordable technology education to people everywhere in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world”

Course categories:

  • Web design
  • Coding
  • Web development
  • Game development
  • Mobile development

Pricing model:

Monthly subscription

Basic: $25/month (or $20.83/month if billed annually at $250)

Pro: $49/month (or $40.83/month if billed annually at $490) Pro access includes offline viewing, talks from industry leaders, and bonus content

Techdegree: $199/month minimum 3 months. Techdegree access includes a portfolio of 12 real-world graded projects with personalized feedback, assistance creating a resume/building a professional network/conducting a successful job search, a guided Techdegree curriculum, access to the Techdegree slack channel, a final exam, and a Treehouse certification. Techdegrees are available in: Front End Web Development, Python Web Development, Full Stack Javascript, and iOS Development.

Free trial: Yes; free 7-day trial

Referral incentives: Yes; 20% off your monthly bill for each person you refer

Scholarships: Sort of; Treehouse matches monthly subscriptions (doubling the number of users on the plan) for nonprofit organizations that align with the Treehouse mission

Team plans: Yes; custom team plans available. Must contact Treehouse for details.

Course pacing:

Self-paced

Recommended if:

  • You specifically want to learn coding, web design, and development
  • You want to create a portfolio of real-world tech projects
  • You plan on consistently taking classes to make the subscription worth it

 

edX

edX is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform that provides free access to over 1,600 university courses from institutions around the world. Courses focus on a wide range of disciplines.

Mission:

“To increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere; enhance teaching and learning on campus and online; advance teaching and learning through research”

Course categories:

  • Architecture, Art & Culture, Design
  • Biology & Life Sciences, Environmental Studies
  • Business & Management, Economics & Finance
  • Chemistry, Electronics, Physics, Engineering, Energy & Earth Sciences
  • Communication, Education & Teacher Training
  • Computer Science, Data Analysis & Statistics, Math, Science
  • Ethics, Philosophy, Law
  • Medicine, Food & Nutrition, Health & Safety
  • History, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Language, Literature, Music

Pricing model:

All courses can be audited for free

Option to add a verified certificate to prove course completion for a fee (cost of certificate depends on course)

Course pacing:

Some self-paced, some scheduled and guided

Recommended if:

  • You want online access to free university classes
  • You are interested in traditional academic learning rather than vocational training
  • You are interested in a wide range of topics

 

Eryn Ramsey

Author: Eryn Ramsey

Eryn is an assistant producer and account executive at BlueShoe Media. She enjoys learning new languages, climbing mountains, telling stories, and eating chocolate.

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Categories:How To, Technology, Uncategorized