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Over the past year, many students have been angry at education establishments for the way they have been treated during the COVID pandemic.  Many university students have had to pay out for both their full tuition fees and accommodation even though they have barely attended any in-person lectures.

In a recent survey, nearly half of all students thought their degree offered poor value for money this year. Many students claimed that paying £9K isn’t worth it for what has effectively become online learning.  

At the same time, many of us have realised that working from home or studying from home can be highly effective while reducing costs, saving time and lowering stress.

Many people don’t want to go back to working from an office, and I would imagine that many students feel similar about education.

Of course, this isn’t just about college or university. Many of us chose to do in-person classes to learn new skills or improve existing ones. These were generally not that cheap, and it is why we have seen e-learning platforms take off, such as Udemy, which offers informal courses online much cheaper than in-person classes ever could.

This has led to a boom in e-learning platforms, with many establishments joining existing platforms such as Coursera and many businesses looking how to create e-learning platform of their own.

So what are some of the best e-learning / remote learning platforms out there?

Open University

The Open University deserve mention because they did remote learning before the Internet was a thing. The number of students has been declining in recent years, likely due to competing products from alternative platforms, but the Open University still offers significant savings vs a campus university.

The OU currently charge £6,336 per year for a full-time course, totalling £19,008, whereas the maximum fee a campus unit can charge is £27,750 saving you £8,742.


Coursera is a modern alternative offering learning resources for university and students alike via a collaboration with over 200 leading universities and companies.

While you can do courses free of charge, they also offer formal education in the form of certificates and degrees.

Doing a BSc in Computer Science which is done via the University of London, will cost you £11,229 – £16,790. Or a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois is $21,440.

Many companies offer professional certificates, and some of these are free of charge. You can get the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate at no cost.


Similar to Coursera, EdX offers free courses supplied by universities and business around the world. They then also offer a range of paid programs with a professional certificate costing from $299 and a masters degree costing from $10,000.


Udacity is a for-profit educational organisation who publish their own courses. They offer Nanodegree programs which isn’t a formal qualification but aims to provide the skills needed for professional employment in a structured learning format.

Udacity has a monthly fee of £329, with the nanodegrees typically taking 4-5 months, you can then pay upfront, saving several hundred. For example, the front end developer course would be £1316 with pay as you go over 4 months, but you can pay £916 upfront.


Udemy is a fantastic concept, allowing anyone to create their own course. It doesn’t offer formal education, but they have a range of 155,000 online video courses with new additions published every month. It is a great way to learn new skills or improve on your existing, and it is the perfect alternative to night classes you may have taken in the past.

Many courses get discounted frequently, so you can pick up some bargains with a lot of superb options for under £20. Users can review the courses too, so you don’t have to worry too much about some poor quality course.

One example is the 2021 Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python, which you can get for £16, it has been reviewed nearly 370k times and offers 22 hours on-demand video, 14 articles and 19 coding exercises.


Skillshare is similar to Udemy, with individuals offering informal courses and being a little more focused on creative courses. In 2019, they had 27,000 premium classes and more than 2,000 free classes available, which is likely considerably more by now.

Skillshare works on a subscription model ($168 annually or $32 monthly) for unlimited access to its library.

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