Online Learning Opportunities for the 4IR

So what courses are available and who offers them?

The number of institutions around the world, including top universities (e.g. Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton), and the number of courses on offer, continues to grow each year. Over a six month period in 2019, 200 universities announced over 620 free online courses across a wide range of subjects, including Business, Computer and Data Sciences, Engineering, Art and Design, Health and Medicine, and Humanities.

A comprehensive list of providers, notably universities, and online courses created by them, is maintained by Class Central, including reviews of offerings by students. Available courses and providers include:

Global platforms offering courses in partnership with universities and industry, include the following:

  • Coursera (US) – Currently the largest MOOC provider globally, reaching over 40 million people and 1,900 businesses, with over 200 university (including UCT) and company (e.g. Google, IBM) partners, offering close to 4,000 online courses, including at least 15 certificate courses and 14 degrees.
    • Free courses are available, notably the most popular MOOC on Learning to Learn, with a further 43 offerings included in the Top 100 free online courses.
  • edX (US) – Currently the second-largest but the “only leading MOOC provider that is both nonprofit and open source”[i], with over 20 million learners and businesses, offering almost 3,000 online courses, including professional certificates and degrees, from 140 institutional partners.
    • 24 edX offerings are included in the Top 100 free online courses.
  • FutureLearn (UK) – Leading the way with degree offerings with 15 degree programmes currently available, from graduate to masters level, and with over 10 million learners and businesses, more than 175 partners, and around 600 online courses available.
    • 17 offerings are included in the Top 100 free online courses.
  • Udacity (US) – First of the original MOOC platforms to reach unicorn status (valuation at over US$1billion). While still offering almost 200 free courses, Udacity now focusses on around 40 nanodegrees, developed in partnership with leading technology companies, to train students for technology-focused jobs.

Other platforms include:

  • Udemy (Turkey/US) – Offerings are listed at over 130,000 courses, around 50,000 instructors and over 40 million students and businesses, across a range of professional topics including applied and practical courses.
  • Stanford Online (US) – Offerings hosted directly on the Standford University platform include over 100,000 online video courses across a range of topics, including courses for academic credit towards a degree.
  • Alison (Ireland) – with over 13 million learners and businesses in 195 countries, offering over 1,000 free online courses across various subjects, including certificates and diplomas.

There are numerous other free, or affordable, offerings on a range of other platforms – including a range of courses for business and entrepreneurs, as reported in SME South Africa, such as from Hubspot Academy, Digital Skills for Africa from Google, LinkedIn Learning, Young African Leaders Initiative YALI Network, and Shaw Academy.

No doubt you will continue to discover more as you search for, and pursue, learning opportunities that align with your interests and future work aspirations.

Have we missed any course offerings or providers? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll keep this post updated with your recommendations.