In today’s job market, the skills we need are constantly evolving. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and while this means exciting new innovations in the workplace, it can also make it hard to stay current on best practices. That’s why there’s been a recent explosion of online course websites like GetSmarter that are aimed at helping professionals unlock the skills they need to stay relevant in their fields.
GetSmarter boasts specialized courses offered in partnership with some of the most elite universities in the world, including MIT, Harvard, and Oxford, to drop just a few big names. The courses themselves are designed to offer highly desirable professional development in a flexible, remote format.
In this GetSmarter review, I’ll take a close look at how the platform works, its top features, and delve into who it’s suited to – and who it isn’t.
What is GetSmarter?
GetSmarter transforms your learning journey with its cutting-edge online short courses from the world's top universities. It's the go-to destination for ambitious learners aiming to excel in a rapidly evolving professional world, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to stay ahead of the curve.
GetSmarter is an online learning platform that offers professional development to individuals and businesses. The platform has partnered with over 18 top universities around the globe, and is offered in almost 200 countries. With over 170 courses available and more than 140,000 students enrolled, GetSmarter’s mission now is to reach a million students by 2030 – an ambitious goal backed by their current success.
How Does GetSmarter Work?
If you’ve ever used an online course website before (e.g. Coursera, Skillshare, Udemy, etc.), you’ll find GetSmarter pretty easy to use.
GetSmarter offers courses in a wide array of categories, from corporate management to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Courses are designed to provide students with the skills and expertise needed for the workplace of the future, so you can expect to find innovative classes on AI, sustainability, and other hot-button topics.
One of the things I really like is how cleanly everything is laid out. You can easily search for courses by subject, or by the university you’re hoping to learn from, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The other thing that’s great about GetSmarter compared to some of the other platforms out there is that every single course is taught by leading experts in their fields. As a teacher myself, I love that you’re learning from actual university professors as opposed to some other course websites that let just anyone create a class. Comprehensive background information is provided on each instructor to help you get a feel for that person’s professional knowledge.
Once you’ve selected the course you want to take, you need to create an account to enroll. From there, the course is laid out logically, with a syllabus and outline available at the outset to help you pace yourself and map out your studying workload.
Another thing I really appreciate about GetSmarter is the depth and quality of their courses. Courses typically require about 6-10 hours of time per week, and take between 6-8 weeks to complete. When finished, you receive an official digital certification to mark your completion of the course. Compare this to some other course websites that often have short, surface-level courses that might only last an hour altogether, and you can see why GetSmarter offers a truly elite educational experience.
What Does GetSmarter Include?
When you become a student with GetSmarter, you get a number of educational perks along with the course content you’ve selected.
One of the coolest features that stood out to me is that every student who joins GetSmarter is also granted access to 2U’s Career Engagement Network. This is an active community of experts and employers designed to support you on your professional journey.
The CEN includes resources like interview prep questions, CV builders, relevant articles on different careers, and even a portal to workshops, potential job openings, and other industry-led events.
Another unique thing is that GetSmarter courses also include a Success Advisor who can provide answers and resolve issues that may arise as you work through your course. Since much of the coursework is completed asynchronously and it’s not always possible to ask questions in real time, having access to a Success Advisor is an especially helpful addition. This isn’t something I’ve seen on too many other online course platforms.
Extras like the CEN and the Success Advisor are in place to support students as you work through the comprehensive courses that GetSmarter provides.
Lessons are presented with a variety of engaging resources from top instructors, including interactive videos, presentations, online quizzes and assessments, digital slides, and more.
All course materials are accessed through the site’s Online Campus, which is also where you’ll receive your digital certificate upon completing your course.
You can access materials at any time and complete your learning modules and quizzes at a flexible pace, which is helpful for students with outside obligations.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the classes are easy.
You’ll need to devote at least a few hours of study each day to your course in order to succeed, since classes are rigorous and designed to provide you with competitive, cutting-edge skills.
Who is GetSmarter Meant For?
Now that I’ve taken a look at what GetSmarter is and how it works, let’s talk about who this platform is best suited for.
GetSmarter is ideal for a wide professional audience.
It’s an excellent option for people seeking a new job, for example.
For a reasonable price, would-be career changers can add valuable new skills to their repertoire and expand their professional network in a matter of weeks and months.
GetSmarter is also a great choice for employees who simply want to add to their knowledge base and level up at their current position.
The courses available are tailor-made for people looking to upskill in specific areas and build their overall professional knowledge.
GetSmarter is also a worthy investment for businesses hoping to improve employee motivation and productivity.
The courses can help you provide valuable learning experiences to your staff while giving them the tools they need to improve workflows and corporate outcomes.
So, who is GetSmarter really meant for?
Essentially, it’s for any business or individual looking to acquire powerful professional knowledge in a relatively short amount of time.
Who is GetSmarter NOT Meant For?
That being said, GetSmarter is not meant for everyone.
For instance, while most GetSmarter courses can be completed in 6-8 weeks, they are not designed for people hoping to get certifications in a matter of days.
Coursework on GetSmarter is a more significant lift than some other online education platforms, as well.
You won’t be able to just mindlessly click through modules and receive a certificate.
With this in mind, GetSmarter is not a great choice for employees who are simply looking to check a few casual professional development requirements off their lists.
It’s also worth noting that GetSmarter requires paid enrollment, so it’s not the path to take if you’re trying to learn something new for free.
Though the cost is a fraction of what you’d pay for an in-person university class, you’ll still need to spend money to receive the world-class instruction and certification offered here.
The courses offered by GetSmarter are also built around career-focused skills, so this isn’t the place to look for fun, hobby-minded classes on arts or fitness.
Instead, GetSmarter is all about market-led executive education courses designed to help you flourish in your career.
Is GetSmarter Worth the Cost?
Now that I’ve looked at who GetSmarter is aimed at helping, it’s time to talk about the cost.
As I mentioned, the courses offered on this educational platform are sold on an individual basis, and there’s no free trial available at this time to help you make up your mind.
Courses range from $550-$3,800, which may sound steep.
Consider, though, that you’ll be receiving top-of-the-industry instruction from professors teaching at places like Yale and Harvard.
Hiring a private tutor or enrolling in a course at one of these brick-and-mortar universities would likely set you back almost double the amount that GetSmarter charges.
GetSmarter also allows students to pay in installments, so you can budget the cost of your courses over time instead of making one upfront transaction. You can even postpone your course if unexpected circumstances come up, and sometimes qualify for a refund if you haven’t yet accessed course materials.
Businesses looking to empower their teams with GetSmarter courses will need to contact the company directly, as GetSmarter is all about tailoring their courses to fit your organization’s needs.
This means that pricing for businesses depends on the size, scope, and number of courses you’d like to purchase.
GetSmarter is an investment, to be sure. It would seem a bit suspect if these top-tier classes were available for free, however, and the cost is still significantly less than typical university course fees.
Plus, thanks to the platform’s flexible payment options, most prospective students and businesses should be able to find a way to pursue the classes they need.
Final Thoughts on GetSmarter
GetSmarter can be a great investment for those focused on career growth and success. The platform gives you a professional leg-up by providing innovative, market-driven courses on the skills you need, taught by leading professors from top universities around the world.
Along with classes and certifications, one of GetSmarter’s really unique perks is that it also grants you access to a diverse professional community, as well as a wealth of helpful career resources.
In a world where professional skills and knowledge are expanding at a never-before-seen pace, GetSmarter courses are an excellent way to stay relevant and realize your potential.
Have you dabbled in online professional development? Ever taken a course offered by GetSmarter? We’d love to hear all about your experiences in the comments below!