Due to COVID-19, most schools and universities aren’t going back to school in person this fall, and any adult learning courses or extracurricular classes are likely canceled or moved online. But that doesn’t have to impede your learning. There are actually tons of amazing resources online for people of all ages, whether you’re a student looking for additional education or a professional looking to learn a new skill, there are several online learning apps and websites available to you. And you don’t have to fork over a lot of money either—many of these apps are free or cheap and will keep your costs down during the coronavirus pandemic.
The best online learning apps for virtual learning:
You may also be wondering what the best internet plans are for online learning. You don’t want something as silly as a slow internet connection to keep you from meeting your goals.
Coursera: remote learning
Coursera is a wonderful online resource that offers structured online courses, free of charge. These classes, which are offered by prestigious universities, include a combination of forum discussions, videos, assignments, quizzes, and exams. Coursera might be the right learning format for you if you prefer learning in a more traditional set-up. One of the neat things about Coursera is you can receive verified certificates for completing paid courses. It’s available for both Android phones and iPhones.
Khan Academy: virtual learning
Khan Academy provides free classes to people worldwide. The subject selection is quite impressive, from math to history to chemistry to computer programming. The cool thing about Khan is your progress is self-paced, so no need to rush through any of the courses. Khan Academy is available as both an iPhone and Android app.
Skillshare: online learning resource
Skillshare is a subscription-based virtual learning community that offers thousands of educational videos, many of which center around creative topics, such as photography, screenwriting, creative writing, design, illustration, and more. The courses aren’t accredited; instead, anyone can teach or take a class. The Skillshare founders have stated that they created this app to close the professional skills gap and make knowledge universally accessible. Skillshare’s premium subscriptions costs $15/month, but you can try out a free month. You can download Skillshare for an iPhone or Android device.
Lynda: online learning platform
Much like Skillshare, Lynda is an online learning app available through subscription. Starting at $25/month, your subscription gives you access to video lectures on a wide variety of topics, such as design, animation, photography, software development, web development, and business. Unlike Skillshare, Lynda classes are taught by experts around the world. Before committing to a subscription, you can sign up for a free month and see whether you like it. Lynda is available for both Android and iOS.
Udemy: online learning
Udemy is an excellent educational resource that offers both free and paid classes on a broad range of topics. Some Udemy lectures include Powerpoint slides, video recordings, and PDFs, while others use Udemy’s unique lecture structure. The Udemy app is available for Android and iPhone users, and you can watch these video lectures on-demand by streaming them or you can download them while connected to WiFi and save them to view later.
iTunes U: distance learning
iTunes U, available on iOS, provides over 750,000 free online courses covering a wide variety of topics. These courses are created by top professors at some of the world’s best universities. The iTunes U classes provide you with a range of materials, from ebooks to videos to audio and more.
TED: online education
At this point, who hasn’t watched or at least heard of a Ted Talk? These wildly popular videos are now available on an official TED app (Android and iOS); you can stream over 1,000 Ted Talk videos or download and watch them later. There is really no limit when it comes to lecture topics—from philosophy to politics to history to art to design to love.
Best internet for online learning
A quality high-speed internet connection is essential for your online learning experience. While COVID-19 may have you feeling out of control, you can regain some of that control when it comes to choosing the best internet plan and provider for virtual learning. The two things you’ll want to consider when choosing the ideal internet plan for you and your household during coronavirus-sanctioned quarantine, are data allowances and internet speeds.
How much data do I need for virtual learning?
The best internet plan for online learning is most likely going to include unlimited data or a high data allowance, such as 500GB/month. This is because streaming online videos and downloading huge files uses a lot of data, especially if you’re doing so on a consistent basis. The last thing you want to worry about when taking online courses is having to worry about incurring data overage charges. Plus, you’re not a robot—you’re probably going to relax by watching Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, and you’re probably going to stream music on Spotify or Apple Music while you’re working or studying. Streaming TV, movies, and music uses a lot of data as well.
What internet speeds do I need for remote learning?
Now, let’s talk about internet speeds. The ideal internet speeds for your remote learning largely depends on how big your household is and what other activities people like to do. The minimum speed requirements for streaming videos is pretty darn low, but you wouldn’t ever want to go with a plan that slow, because you’re going to need fast enough speeds to accommodate every person and every internet-connected device in your household.
Below are our recommendations for the best internet speed for online learning:
- 1 person: 50Mbps
- 2 or more streaming: 100Mbps
- Multiple streaming (HD): 300-500Mbps
- Multiple streaming (HD) + gaming: 1,000Mbps (1Gbps)
Once you’ve figured out what internet speeds are right for you, you’ll want to browse available high-speed internet plans. You can compare internet plans with at least 50Mbps and 500GB of data below. Keep in mind, some internet service providers have lifted data caps due to coronavirus, while others always offer unlimited data.