The best places for e-learning to upskill and fast-track your career.

If 2022 was the year of WFH, 2023 is the year of upskilling, side hustles and creating a passive income. We’re talking about working smarter, not harder, to reach your career and financial goals. Online courses offer a quick and affordable way to upskill in your current job or tap into a new area of interest.

The issue is that many websites provide upskilling courses – and to use your time and money wisely; you need to know the best ones from the beginning. We have done our due diligence, and here are the best online courses to help you upskill this year. 

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is learning a new skill or developing old ones to maintain a competitive edge in your career or personal life. For example, if you’re a nurse and want to gain higher recognition – doing a manager, leadership, or even problem-solving course could help you upskill to get there. 

Top Online Courses To Help You Upskill:

You heard it right – one of the world’s best universities has developed a website that provides free online studies. Intended to work towards democratising education, Harvard and MIT teamed up and created a space with over 3600 courses produced by over 160 partners. For anyone that has wanted to study at an Ivy League university – here’s your chance. Start by picking a subject (there are many) and choose your course with complete control and flexibility in how and when you watch. Want more? Through edX, you can join their online programs and earn a degree (including MicroBachelors® and MicroMasters®) or certificate. Gained certificates can be integrated into LinkedIn, helping boost your professional profile. 

Pros: It’s free, globally accessible and contains enough content to last you a lifetime – so there’s nothing to lose. If you wish to sign up for one of their degree/certificate programs, the cost and time needed is less than conventional universities.

Cons: There aren’t many – but ensure you have the time and focus capacity if you choose a paid program.

Cost: Video content is free, while Bachelor/Master’s/Certificate programs vary but are reasonable. 

The Netflix of upskilling is here… MasterClass is a streaming platform flooded with video lessons taught by over 180 professionals. There is something for everyone – be it business, photography, leadership, cooking, writing or acting (and more). Learn from Yotam Ottolenghi, the essentials of Modern Middle Easter Cooking or the Art of Negotiation from Chris Voss. Turn your late-night binge session into a productivity goldmine.

Pros: It is one of the more affordable options with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Plus, there truly is something for everyone, allowing you to upskill in many areas of your life.

Cons: If you’re looking for an in-depth course, want to engage with a community or earn a certificate, this probably isn’t for you.

Price: 25 NZD, billed annually. 

Section is a platform that provides business courses for aspiring entrepreneurs. Founder Scott Galloway (Prof G) is a content-creating machine. As a best-selling author of two books (The Four and The Algebra of Happiness), Youtuber and Podcaster, he is no stranger to creating hard-hitting educational content. His e-learning startup Section seeks to “provide elite business education at an affordable price”. Section offers ‘sprints’ of learning in defined categories (Business Core, Leadership and Marketing Strategy and Product Strategy) that are short, intense and instantly applicable. You could think of it as the practical skills that your BCom never delivered – for example:

Pros: Offers focussed and speedy lectures you usually only learn on the job (if at all) from experts in the field. Many say the quality is similar to that of MBA courses (for a fraction of the price). It’s a great way to upskill and impress in your current position or if you’re branching out and starting your own enterprise. 

Cons: Most sprint sessions occur during set days – so you can’t binge them all in one go (although some are available On Demand). 

Cost: USD 83 per month (billed annually)

From the outside, Hyper Island sounds like a Summer festival on Waiheke. From the inside, it’s a mecca for online upskilling and reskilling courses for students, professionals and executives. Hyper Island provides full-time programs, including Diplomas and Master’s Degrees (accredited by UK-based Teesside University). If you’re short on time, they also offer various part-time courses from Human Centric Innovation to Creative Thinking. Many reviews of Hyper Island reveal it is the ideal place for someone deeply motivated and desires to challenge, reflect and discover themselves – think outside the box and act on it. 

Pros: Hyper Island promotes a collaborative learning environment so you can go in with your real-time issues and troubleshoot them with your tutor and peers – plus meet like-minded people with the motivation to succeed.

Cons: The costs are high compared to other online courses – before committing, we recommend you decide whether you have the time to give 100% of yourself to the class. 

Cost: Varies according to the program. Each online course is roughly USD 790, and an online Master’s Degree is up to £15,500.

For the ultimate marketing know-how, why not go to the best in biz who made the rules? Think with Google is an information hub built to teach you how to understand industry trends, consumer behaviour and marketing insight. To get the most out of it, browse categories such as Consumer Insights, Marketing Strategies, Future of Marketing and Tools. Think with Google is ideal for learning how to perform market research or using the tools to make it easier. 

Pros: Google is the leader in data; learning from the maker is bound to put you ahead of your competition. And it’s free.

Cons: Finding relevant information is fiddly and may take time. Also, it requires a large part of self-motivation as there are no structured classes or time commitments.

Price: Free.