The number of options in online learning platforms grows every day. For people who are interested in learning just for fun, many of the platforms available are more than sufficient to get the job done. But if your goal is to prepare for a career change, or to level up in your current profession, there is one clear winner among online learning platforms.
Pluralsight is one of the best online learning platforms for beginners out there (if not the best), because Pluralsight have a full control over who can create and upload courses. It also has features like: RoleIQ, SkillIQ, Currated Learning Paths, Ongoing assessments, Live Practice Projects, Interactive courses, Exam Prep and Certificates of Completion, and so much more.
If you've spent any amount of time exploring Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) options, you've probably heard a lot about Udemy and Pluralsight. Both of these platforms offer a huge catalog of MOOCs created by industry professionals, college professors, and other experts. Both offer courses in on-demand video format so that you can schedule your learning to fit into your busy life. The similarities between these two platforms might leave you wondering which is the best fit for you as an absolute beginner.
While Udemy's marketing might make it seem a bit friendlier to people just starting out in online learning, there are several areas in which Pluralsight wins out, especially for training in skills related to the tech industry.
The Pluralsight Platform
Pluralsight is an online learning platform that's designed with tech professionals in mind. You can use Pluralsight to learn pretty much every tech-related skill under the sun. The platform provides in-depth exam prep courses for certifications including PMP, CompTIA, and ISACA. You'll also receive certificates of completion for every course you finish. The certificates can be submitted to certification boards, potential employers, or your current boss as proof that you've mastered the topic.
MOOCs are widely recognized as an effective tool for training tech professionals. As this recognition grows, proof of completion of Pluralsight courses will become increasingly valuable as a professional credential.
As TJ McCue says in this 2018 article on forbes.com:
E-Learning is the future. Traditional educational approaches like colleges and universities, in addition to corporate training departments, are embracing the digital reality…
Pluralsight for Beginners
As an individual learner, Pluralsight's website with its uber-slick corporate aesthetic and loads of jargon might feel a bit intimidating. Don't let their professionalism scare you away, though. The reason the site comes on so strong is that it's run by serious training and development professionals. The people in charge of Pluralsight are some of the leading training specialists in the world, and they have developed a system that offers some of the best tech education available.
When you sign up for a Pluralsight Personal plan, you'll get access to the entire course catalog. You'll also get access to useful tools for assessing your skill level that will help you figure out where to begin.
In this guide, you'll get an intro to the powerful tools Pluralsight offers to help you learn new skills fast. You'll also see why Pluralsight is not just for seasoned tech professionals. Learners at all levels from absolute beginner to advanced will find this MOOC platform to be a valuable resource.
Pluralsight is a great tool for absolute beginners to master a new skill quickly and confidently. Read on to find out why.
Skill and Role Assessment
If you're an absolute beginner and have no idea where to start learning a new topic, Pluralsight can help you get going by completing an initial assessment in either a specific skill or a professional role. These 5-minute evaluations are an easy way to place yourself in the right course without wasting your time in trial-and-error exploration.
Let's say you want to become a web developer and you've signed up on Pluralsight to learn some server-side programming languages like PHP. You might already have a bit of knowledge in HTML and you don't want the platform to send you through courses covering topics you've already mastered. This is why Pluralsight offers the Skill IQ test.
Taking a 10-minute Skill IQ evaluation in HTML5, for example, will allow Pluralsight to suggest placement in courses that take your existing knowledge into account. You can use your Skill IQ in multiple topics to find the most relevant starting place in learning a given topic.
Skill IQs are a valuable way to quickly show off your proficiency in a particular area, and also as a way to quantify what you still need to work on.
If you want to make your skill level in a specific technology known to potential employers, you can share your Skill IQs directly to your social accounts on Stack Overflow, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
When you complete Skill IQ assessments your scores support what Pluralsight calls your Role IQ.
Pluralsight's Role IQ is a measurement of specific skills necessary to be successful in a particular job function. For example, to achieve a Role IQ as a LAMP developer, you would need to have a sufficient Skill IQ in Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP stands for Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP). Role IQs are great for corporate training departments because they're an easy way to see your team members' abilities at a glance. Role IQs can also help you as an individual learner by identifying combinations of skills that you need to be prepared for specific roles.
Curated Learning Paths
Not sure what courses you need to take to become proficient in a specific job role? Pluralsight's Paths give you a step-by-step guide to approaching a particular topic.
Paths are curated course groupings developed by course authors, training managers, and experts on the Pluralsight staff to provide a clear progression from beginner to intermediate to advanced levels in a particular topic.
Paths can be defined by team leaders in corporate training scenarios, or you can choose from one of Pluralisght's predefined Paths. When you enroll in a Path your activity will be monitored so you can easily see where you stand in terms of your progress toward completing the courses in the Path.
Curated learning paths available on Pluralsight include:
- IT Ops
While you're working through a learning Path, you may want to occasionally check your progress to know if you're keeping up with the courses. Learning Checks let you take assessments based on the course material to get feedback on your comprehension.
Unlike Skill IQ assessments, Learning Checks don't have time limits, and they're not scored. These evaluations are used for tracking your progress through the course material.
Live Practice Projects
One of the coolest features for Pluralsight Premium subscribers is the ability to participate in live Projects. Pluralsight Projects allow you to apply your newly learned skills in a hands-on development task.
In a Pluralsight Project, you'll build a functioning application to a predetermined spec. As you work on the project with your team, Pluralsight will evaluate your progress, accuracy, and skill level and give valuable feedback to help you improve your approach.
From the Pluralsight website:
All projects have a unique, real-world scenario in mind. These scenarios are built with tasks within a given project. As such, each scenario takes a different approach to solving, creating, and building these projects locally, submitting your code, and letting us check your work.
Projects are one example of how Pluralsight goes above and beyond the features found on other online learning platforms. In a typical Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) on sites like Udemy, you may have access to interactive quizzes and exams, but that's where the interactivity ends. With Pluralsight Premium you receive a variety of interactive features like Projects, human feedback, and other more advanced functionality.
While most Massively Open Online Course learning platforms offer some level of interactivity, Pluralsight Premium subscribers have access to a set of extremely valuable interactive features including live feedback, interactive projects, and coding challenges with real-time guidance, and more.
Speaking of interactive features, Pluralsight's interactive course options offer an in-browser approach to active learning. Watch a video lecture, then apply what you've learned immediately in coding challenges based on real-world scenarios.
As you work on the coding challenges in an interactive course, you'll receive guided feedback in real-time to help you become more confident in your new skill.
Exam Prep and Certificates of Completion
If you're learning a new skill with career advancement in mind, professional certifications are a great way to show that you've mastered the knowledge and skills to level up.
Achieving professional certification is challenging. Even seasoned professionals can benefit from formal help in preparing for a certification exam. As a beginner, you will benefit from the in-depth explorations of the topic. Pluralsight's certification prep courses are more than just primers for the test, they dig deep into everything you need to become a certified professional.
By starting with a Skill IQ assessment and jumping into a topic at your unique level of expertise, you can build up to certification while keeping track of your progress along the way with Assessments and Learning Checks. As you progress toward certification, you will see that your Skill IQs will make you eligible for more Role IQs, and by the time you take the test in your chosen certification, you'll have a whole portfolio of training achievements to show off your learning.
Developing your skills resume
The Skill and Role IQs that you achieve while working on your certification prep path can contribute as much to your career advancement as the certification itself. This is especially true if your switching into a new career path.
Certifications look good on your resume, but experience and specific skill sets are equally important, if not more. By preparing for your certification exam using a Pluralsight pathway, you can build up a credible record of all the skills you develop along the way. Your potential new employer will be much more impressed by a fully developed resume than by a certification alone.
Exam prep for professional certifications
While Pluralsight does not proctor exams within their system, they do partner with several popular programs including CompTIA, PMP, and tons of vendor and product-specific certifications.
As a beginning learner, certifications are probably not your main concern right now. That said, as you plan your learning path, you can use Pluralsight's curated certification programs as a guide to what courses you should take to make certification easier when the time comes. The curated certification-focused curriculum options within Pluralsight's Path offerings will help you structure your training with eventual certification in mind.
Certificates of completion for courses
If you're not interested in certification, but you still want some official credential showing that you have mastered a given topic, Pluralsight offers certificates of completion for courses that can be offered as proof of training to your peers, potential employers, or certifying organizations.
Pluralsight is authorized as a continuing education provider for CompTIA, PMI, and ISACA. This means that you can also use your certificate of completion for a course to obtain continuing education credits for these certification organizations.
Low Cost and Flexible Billing
With personal plans starting at around $25 a month for access to the entire course catalog, Pluralsight beats other MOOC platforms hands-down.
While the sheer number of courses available on Pluralsight might not be a match for other sites like Udemy, they more than make up for a smaller catalog with the impeccable quality of their offerings. While Udemy allows anyone to create and submit a course, Pluralsight puts their instructors through a rigorous vetting process and verifies all content on their site to ensure a high level of quality. Stringent requirements for who gets accepted as a Pluralsight instructor guarantee that you'll only find courses from legitimate industry experts.
The level of quality and access available through Pluralsight is pretty amazing, given that a monthly subscription costs only a little more than you'd pay for access to a single course on other MOOC platforms.
With all of these tools to help you shape your learning experience, Pluralsight is an ideal online training platform for professionals at all levels, whether you're an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran.
Ready to begin learning your new skill? Sign up for a Pluralsight Personal Plan today!