Posted 27 July 2022

12 affordable online creative learning platforms

Always wanted to pick up an art or tech skill, but never found the time or place? We’ve got you covered. From massive open online courses, or MOOCs, to small batch tailored bootcamps, there is a wealth of online learning formats out there. Whether you want to augment existing knowledge, learn a completely new skill or boost your CV with some industry-specific credentials, we’ve plumbed the internet for the e-learning platforms, offering empowering and flexible options you can take on remotely and in your own time.

1. General Assembly

Cost: Free options, with classes varying from £35 to £55

With curricula put together by industry experts specialising in tech, General Assembly’s aim is to get their students hired. Courses vary in scope: from the technical, such as UX design and data science, to visual design, digital marketing and even conquering career fears. Most of their offerings are online, but they also have a handful of IRL locations in London. Classes range from full-time immersive learning to a one-day workshop, with evening, weekday or weekend classes also available.

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2. edX

Cost: Free, with certifications starting from around £70

The online short course platform jointly created by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the site boasts courses from institutions all over the world – from Stanford to Cambridge. Its super-popular flagship introduction to computer science class, CS50, has seen close to four million students enrol. Nearly every course on edX is available free of charge, but you’ll need to pay to get an accredited certification and full student support. Other popular courses include UX, graphic and web design.

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3. Behance livestreams

Cost: Free

Behance is a network and showcase for creatives and creative work, and has a useful livestream section. You can learn digital art skills by watching industry leaders work, or by tuning in to tutorials on video editing, motion graphics, photo retouching, illustration, logos and typography. Many of these are part of Behance’s collaboration with Adobe Live, and are geared towards Adobe Suite products.

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4. SuperHi

Cost: Some free courses, but a yearly subscription of £295 will unlock all content

SuperHi bills itself as a positive global community of people learning together online. The platform’s online courses are primarily on coding, design and project management, specifically on topics such as app design, animation, javascript and Spark AR. There are also free starter guides and simple tutorials, with subjects including 3D books and painting with code. It also has a Slack community where you can showcase your progress and receive feedback.

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5. London Drawing Group

Cost: By donation, with a suggested price of £20 per session.

The group is a collective of three contemporary artists currently practising in London, who have fostered a community of people brought together by a shared love of drawing. It provides one- and two-hour online live drawing and lecture sessions, encompassing everything from Drawing Medieval Vulva Badges to Beatrix Potter Drawing Nature. Sessions are taught by practising artists at the Royal Drawing School Central.

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6. Intern – The Price is Right

Cost: £49.99

The magazine and platform, aimed at empowering the next generation of creatives to build their careers, has a course dedicated to teaching you how to put together a pricing strategy for your work. The four hours of video content seeks to equip participants with the tools to set prices and feel confident about it, alongside other skills including negotiation, creating invoices and contracts, and of course, how to go about chasing those payments.

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7. Domestika

Cost: from £10 per course

Domestika offers thousands of online courses on a broad set of creative skills, from furniture and fashion design, to architecture and audio, as well as more digital design-based categories. There are lots of live courses too, where you can take part in activities including practical drawing exercises and character development. There are many courses in Spanish, with subtitles, which will be a plus for native speakers and those seeking to brush up.

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8. Skillshare

Cost: Some free, others single subscription (around £10). One month trial available.

Featuring 2,000 free classes, it also offers tens of thousands more for affordable fees averaging £10 each. As well as all the creative, digital art and design courses on offer, there’s plenty on personal and professional growth too. Highlights include classes with high profile design icons: from Ink Drawing with Yuko Shimizu, to The Ultimate Self Care Playbook with JVN and Doodle Design with Jon Burgerman.

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9. LinkedIn Learning

Cost: Single courses around £15-35, with monthly and yearly subscription plans. Free one-month trial available.

A subsidiary of the ubiquitous professional networking platform, LinkedIn Learning provides video courses taught by industry experts. Courses fall into four categories – Business, Creative, Technology and Certifications – and are highly varied, from Six Morning Habits of High Performers, to Beating Procrastination; from AutoCad Training, to Working with a Drone. It’s not free, but if you’re a student, it’s worth investigating whether your uni offers students and staff free access.

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10. Udacity

Cost: Starting from £325 a month

This e-learning platform is aimed at those seeking to develop skills for jobs in tech. Courses are more involved, with 2-6 month programmes. It’s highly rated for its student support, with one-to-one mentor help and peer chat, both of which are often missing in other MOOCs. Udacity also offers paid micro-credentials, aptly called Nanodegrees.

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11. CreativeLive

Cost: £10 monthly subscription fee

A giant online creative community, CreativeLive is aimed at entrepreneurs and creative professionals. It offers over 2,000 curated classes and includes sessions with industry leaders, ranging from Richard Branson to Daymond John. Their offerings are split between tech-based tutorials and ‘softer’ skills, so you can enrol on scrapbooking and floral arrangement classes one day, and courses design software, photography and videography tech the next.

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12. Love Circular

Love Circular is a 13-to-14 week UX/UI Design and Product Design Bootcamp which aims to increase diversity and level the playing field for underrepresented communities. Its graduates have gone on to design for Spotify, BBC, Financial Times and Net-a-Porter. Not just limited to the technical aspects of the work, they also help with navigating the job market and developing interview skills.

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Written by Creative Lives in Progress