Education startups are all the rage right now—another day, another funding round for entrepreneurs hungry to disrupt education. Many of these online learning startups—Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Codecademy, Treehouse, Course Hero—get lumped together when we talk about how technology is transforming education as we know it. But in reality, these companies are not interchangeable and offer very different approaches to tackling the same problem: learning skills (and knowledge).
With all these new companies vying for your attention, how do you choose which one is best for you? If you really want to learn how to code (for example) which startup will help you make it happen? It ultimately comes down to learning style. Derek Langton, a state trooper-turned-iOS developer recently profiled in TechCrunch, said he started out watching online videos from Stanford and MIT but switched to YouTube tutorials because they were the “most user-friendly ones.”
Do you respond better to university-style lectures or interactive tutorials? Would you rather learn the fundamentals before applying them or tackle small projects right away, like Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom? Whatever your preferred learning style is, chances are you can find online tools to help you along the way. Here’s a guide to some of these tools:
It’s an exciting time for online education—there is already a bevy of startups aimed at helping you learn and the number will only continue to grow. Experiment and figure out what works best for you.
If you get discouraged, just heed Harrison Weber’s advice, “In the end, there’s nothing better than getting your hands dirty and learning by doing. Mess around, have some fun and realize that you’re not supposed to pick everything up immediately. Take it one step at a time and then make something awesome.”