Valentine’s Day season is officially in full swing, and here at Udacity, we believe the love in the air should extend beyond relationships, friendships, and family bonds. Whether you’re just starting your learning journey as a professional or you’ve made it a key part of your daily routine, we believe you shouldn’t like the learning platform you choose – you should love it. Just like finding the perfect match, discovering the right platform for your educational journey involves getting clear on your goals, finding features you’re compatible with, and being realistic about your commitments. Here’s how to find a learning platform you love, why that platform is Udacity for so many students, and a limited time offer to celebrate the season. 

1. Clearly Define Your Goals

Before committing to any platform, take a moment to get crystal clear on your learning goals. Are you looking to enhance your skillset for growth inside your current company, switch careers entirely, gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular industry, or something else? Understanding your goals will help you narrow down platforms that align with your aspirations. This is mainly due to the fact these platforms are designed with the end user in mind. Some cater to higher-level information you can listen to while you wash the dishes or go to the gym, while others require your full, undivided attention for extended periods of time at your desk. So be honest with yourself and precise in terms of what you’re looking for at this stage of your career. 

2. Be Realistic About Time Commitment and Availability

Love may be eternal, but time is not. Assess your schedule realistically and determine how much of it you can regularly dedicate to learning. Specificity is key here, so consider taking out your calendar and beginning to measure how many hours per week you can dedicate to your learning. Do you have to pick the kids up from school Monday through Friday? Do you have to be in the office three days per week? Some online platforms offer flexible, on-demand learning, while others may require more structured commitments such as scheduled Zoom calls or assignment due dates. Finding a platform that accommodates your availability ensures a smoother learning experience. 

3. Consider Your Budget

Finances play a crucial role in any relationship, including the one with your learning platform. Set a realistic budget for your education and explore platforms that offer courses and programs within that range. During this stage of the process, it’s also important to weigh the potential impact enrolling in this platform or course will have on your future finances. For instance, if completing the course provides you with a tangible skill that could lead to a 20% raise next promotion cycle, be sure to take the dollar amount of that pay increase into account while assessing your return on investment. Today, many platforms offer a range of pricing plans, as well as alternatives like buy-now-pay-later options, so you’re sure to find one that aligns with what you’re able to commit to.

4. Conduct Thorough Research

Reviews are an inside look at the benefits and drawbacks of an online learning platform. When conducting your research, look beyond the platform’s promotional materials into student reviews, outcomes, and experiences. If available, explore YouTube deep dives, influencer reviews on Instagram and TikTok, Reddit threads, TrustRadius rankings, and other online forums to gather insight from past customers. This research will give you a genuine sense of what to expect. If you’re part of any professional communities or LinkedIn Groups, publish a post asking for fellow members’ honest feedback on the platform or course if they’ve enrolled in the past. 

5. Map Your Learning Goals to Product Offerings

Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty when it comes to product research. Different platforms cater to different needs and stages of the learning journey. With your learning goals in mind, begin to map them directly to the product offerings of the platforms you’re considering. Is personalized feedback on project submissions important to you? Then lower-cost platforms might not be your best option at this point in time. Is flexibility the number one priority for you? Then on-demand functionality will be key. 

6. Ask Your Friends

Sometimes, the best answers are the easiest ones to find. If you have friends or acquaintances in the same career as you or an adjacent industry, ask them for their input. Browse through their LinkedIn profile to see if they have any certifications from the online learning platforms you’re considering. If they do, reach out and see what they liked about the platform, and whether or not they would recommend it. 

Why Students Love Udacity

We’re humbled that so many individuals and businesses around the world choose us as their preferred learning destination – and are proud of the results we’ve been able to drive for those learners since our inception in 2011. Here are some of the reasons our students love Udacity. 

  • Project-based learning: From building GenAI models that replace parts of images using AI to creating libraries for music streaming apps to building models to track U.S. bikeshare data, our students feel empowered to solve real-world problems with our projects that emulate on-the-job scenarios. 
  • Personalized feedback from mentors: All Udacity students have 24/7 access to mentors trained in our pedagogical approach and their areas of expertise. And every project that is submitted receives personalized feedback so students can hone their craft in the areas they need to improve on most. 
  • Content co-developed with industry leaders: There are a lot of learning platforms available in the marketplace today. What our students love about our approach is Udacity instructors are carefully selected based on their proven experience in the subjects they teach. These instructors hail from companies like Google, Meta, Amazon, the U.S. Department of Justice, SoFi, and many more. 
  • Career-altering outcomes: Students who invest their time and money into Udacity do so to move forward in their careers, and we work hard to hold up our end of the bargain. In fact, 80% of Udacity graduates reported a positive career benefit, whether it be starting a new job, gaining confidence for current and future roles, or something in between – while 1 in 3 Udacity graduates reported concrete employment outcomes such as a promotion, a new job, or starting their own business.

Take 40% Off Your First Month of Udacity!

This Valentine’s Day and season, we want to become your career matchmaker! That’s why from now until Friday, February 16th at 11:59pm PST we’re offering new students 40% off their first month of Udacity as part of our Love How You Learn promotion – that’s our entire catalog of 3,500+ skills and growing. Just use code FEB40 at checkout to redeem this offer. Ready to swipe right on new career opportunities? Start by signing up for Udacity today.

Dakota Nunley
Dakota Nunley
Content Strategy Manager at Udacity