Wiring Into Wisdom: The Best e-Learning Programs

Anatomy Of E-learning

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Wiring Into Wisdom: The Best e-Learning Programs

Whether you’re looking into an online university or just wanting to take a massive open online course, learn the best tips on finding credible, legitimate programs.

e-Learning is a $56.2 billion industry. That number is expected to double in 2015.(1)

What Makes a Good Online Degree Program?

6.7 million

Number of people taking at least one online course (2)

Program checklist (3)


Not all colleges are accredited institutions and some even tout bogus accreditation agencies. Be sure, by checking the school’s website or contacting the school directly, that the school is accredited by the Council for Higher Learning Accreditation or the Department of Education.


A good way to tell if a program is legitimate is how well their credits transfer to other universities. Also, be sure to compare curriculums with other, standard universities. For example, make sure your online program in computer science is teaching you similar things taught at a traditional state school.

Support services

Don’t be afraid to ask the school about student support services. Just because you’re attending an online college doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to academic assistance and administrative support.

Retention and graduation rates

These are crucial. A school’s retention and graduation rates tell you a lot about how many students enroll and stay in a program long enough to graduate. If a lot of students are leaving halfway through their education, it may not be worth it.

Student loan default rates

This might not be the easiest number to find, but student loan default rates tell you how many students couldn’t find jobs after graduation that paid high enough to pay down their loan debt.

Job placement statistics

Many schools brag that they have a high job placement rate; but what you really want to know is if graduates are finding jobs in their field of study.

Choosing a Good MOOC Platform

There are multiple platforms for taking MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the three top providers, along with a few MOOC facts.

About 10 million

Number of students who have registered for MOOCs since their introduction in 2011 (4)

Since the first MOOC in 2011 with Stanford University, the number of courses offered has risen drastically and now sits around 1,200+. (4)

Humanities make up the most of MOOCs taken at 20%. Computer science comes in second at 16%. (4)

MOOC checklist (4)

Size and breadth of course catalog

A good MOOC platform will have a wide variety of courses taught by many different professors.


Not all MOOC platforms follow this model, but some of the best have partnerships with universities that allow their certified professors to teach college-level MOOCs. This generally gives the student a feeling of being in a real college classroom with a structured environment.

Program interface and usability

Some MOOC platform interfaces are easier to use than others. Make sure you feel comfortable navigating the site and using it to find your courses.


If you want to use your mobile device when checking or doing work for your course, make sure your chosen platform has an app that you can install.


Most MOOCs offer the student a certificate upon completion. But some make you pay for verified certificates, if you need to prove to a work or school that you completed the course.

Course pacing

Some MOOCs let anyone join at any time, allowing you to set the own pace for your learning. But others are set up like real college classes, with a set start date and end date.

Top MOOC platforms (4)

Now that we know what makes a good MOOC platform, let’s take a look at three of the most popular.


Number of courses: over 660 (85 active)

Pacing: Set times for courses

Apps: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire

Certificates: Free, unverified certificates


Number of courses: 38 active

Pacing: Self-directed, start anytime

Apps: iOS and Android

Certificates: No free certificates


Number of courses: 173 (25 to 30 active)

Pacing: Set times for courses

Apps: iOS and Android

Certificates: Free, unverified certificates

Anatomy Of e-Learning


1. http://elearningindustry.com
2. http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com
3. http://www.usnews.com
4. http://www.skilledup.com