Distance learning can be a significant investment of both time and money for students. That’s why it’s crucial to choose your online learning platform wisely. In this detailed review of Study.com, our editors probe this well-known online education provider, discussing its features, pricing, customer support, pro and cons, and more.
Study.com touts itself as the “largest, most extensive website for education seekers.” With all of the online learning platforms available today, that’s a lofty claim. Is Study.com everything it says it is?
In this comprehensive review of Study.com, we’ll answer that question by taking a close look at how this pioneering online education platform works and exactly what it has to offer its users. During our up-close-and-personal investigation of the site, we’ll talk critical components such as:
- Target Audience
- Features and Functionality
- Customer Support
- Pros and Cons
- com Alternatives
To provide a balanced review, we’ll also address some of the common complaints users of Study.com have and discuss the platform’s current standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In short, we’ll provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision regarding use of this particular distance education provider.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What Is Study.com?
Before we can provide a useful Study.com review, it’s important to establish an understanding of what the site is all about. Essentially, we need to answer the basic question: What is Study.com?. Usually, basic questions warrant simple answers, but with this particular education platform, the answer is a complex one. That’s because Study.com isn’t your average, everyday online learning website. In an effort to be a “one-stop-shop” for online learners, Study.com has a little bit of everything.
Of course, that hasn’t always been the case. The site has evolved tremendously since its inception in 2002. Nearly twenty years of technological advancements in distance education technology have enabled this online education platform to transform into the remote learning powerhouse that it is today.
Currently, Study.com claims to reach over 25 million students monthly with its educational content, which includes articles, guides, videos, and even online college courses.
Who Is Study.com For?
According to the online learning platform itself, more than 10 million of its 25 million monthly users are college hopefuls or graduates researching their academic and career options. That still leaves 15 million people who are accessing the learning website on a regular basis.
So who are these other individuals? Since Study.com literally has something for everyone, users run the gamut from homeschooled students, high schoolers, college kids, nontraditional learners, and even teachers and tutors in search of learning resources.
Study.com garners attention from such a wide and varied audience because it is an extremely versatile online education platform. Anyone enrolled in any type of academic course from a K-12 class to an advanced college course can benefit from Study.com’s learning resources.
For example, a high school student studying for a geometry test will find 145 different lessons to choose from complete with videos, syllabi, and practice test questions. Moreover, current or prospective college students can enroll in one of hundreds of different online college courses offered via Study.com. Once completed, these courses can be transferred for credit at more than two thousand different colleges and universities nationwide.
How Does Study.com Work?
The vast majority of Study.com’s content is delivered via video courses or informational text. This content can be accessed from a PC or any mobile device such as a Smartphone or tablet.
The precise method of operability, of course, will depend on how you decide to use the site. Put simply, you can access Study.com as a K-12 student, college student, or career seeker. Depending on your chosen mode of access, you may encounter different educational features and learning materials on the site.
Career Planning Tools
Despite its reputation as an online education platform, Study.com has a host of tools and features for job seekers as well. Its rolodex of career articles contains information about hundreds of different career paths and occupations in popular fields like medical and health professions, psychology, transportation and logistics, education, engineering, and many more.
To locate an article on the career or job of your choice, simply search the site or browse the article directory by selecting a field or industry. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be presented with an interactive article chock full of useful information on your chosen career path or occupation.
The article will include essential career information, including (but not limited to) the educational requirements/knowledge and skills you’ll need to land the job, the median annual salary, as well as information related to employment opportunities and job growth projections.
In addition to this critical data, Study.com also provides its job searchers with interactive tools to help them locate resources they may need to begin a career in their chosen field. For instance, each career article features a list of popular schools that provide education and training in the respective industry as well as specific programs and degree plans offered by each of these colleges/universities.
A related feature is what Study.com calls its “Perfect School Search.” This simple tool shows users schools that meet their academic and career goals based on their current level of education, subjects of interest, and desired learning format (i.e., online or traditional). It also allows customization based on location; users can elect to view only those schools near their location or in their state, for example.
A standout feature of Study.com as an online learning platform is its broad selection of online courses. These distance learning classes span options for various types of learners, including K-12 students, college students, and working professionals. Collectively, these online learners can choose from over 84,000 different courses featured on the education platform.
Courses for College Credit (AKA College Accelerator)
Study.com’s collection of online courses include those that can be transferred for college credit, potentially saving users loads of time and money on the cost of a degree. In fact, the education platform boasts that their College Accelerator has saved students nearly $132 million in tuition expenses to date. (If true, that would more than compensate for any Study.com cost!)
To use College Accelerator, students select college courses from more than two hundred different titles in popular academic disciplines like Statistics, Criminal Justice, Business, Psychology, Chemistry, and more. The courses are comprised of video content that can be accessed via a personal computer or mobile device, making it super easy to learn anytime, anywhere. Individual videos are just five minutes in length, so students can pace the course material around their busy schedules. This is what Study.com refers to as its “microlearning format.”
We’ve listed some sample course titles below to give you an idea of the breadth and scope of these online classes and video lessons:
- Computer Science 305: Operating Systems
- Business 103: Introductory Business Law
- English 103: Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
- Spanish 105: Spanish for the Workplace
- Philosophy 102: Ethics in America
- Statistics 101: Principles of Statistics
- Math 104: Calculus
- Psychology 104: Social Psychology
- Biology 105: Anatomy & Physiology
- Political Science 102: American Government
It’s been established that there are plenty of for-credit online college courses available via Study.com, but are these classes the real deal? Since the education platform claims that all of their lessons are created by “top instructors and subject matter experts,” the course material is presumably legit. Also, the content is delivered via animated videos, making even the most challenging concepts digestible for the average student.
As if that weren’t enough to sell most students interested in an easy route to college credit, the online learning platform goes a step further to support student success. Each course features a host of tools to support the online learning process. Let’s discuss some of these tools briefly.
One of Study.com’s most popular study tools is called “Adaptive Learning.” With Adaptive Learning, students can take placement tests at the beginning of each Study.com course to test out of any course content that they’ve already mastered. This tool can help busy students save time and skip to the content they need in order to finish their online classes quickly.
Practice Questions and Assessments
As we’ll discuss later in the Study.com review, students must pass assessments in order to complete their courses and earn college credit for transfer. To help them do that, the education platform grants students access to practice questions in the form of mock quizzes and tests. These “warm-ups” help students assess their current knowledge and prepare for the assessments that really matter.
Online Tutoring and Support
With Study.com’s education platform, students aren’t on their own when it comes to completing course material. If at any time they have questions or problems, they have instant access to their instructors as well as subject matter experts who can help them with issues as they arise. This support extends beyond the course content too; students can get help with college enrollment, transfer credit, career questions, and more.
Making the Grade
Since real college credit is at stake for students enrolled in Study.com courses, these students are required to complete assessments for which they will receive grades. Grades for each course are based on a percentage of points earned out of 300 total points.
To pass the course, students must earn at least 210 points, which is an equivalent of 70% of the total possible points. The student’s actual score will not appear on their Study.com transcript, though; this document will only report either “pass” or “fail” for each class.
To receive a passing grade for a Study.com course, students must take all lesson quizzes as well as a final exam. In the case of quizzes, students have three opportunities to pass the assessment, and the highest of these three attempts will be recorded. Final exams are proctored by a third-party virtual proctor. These assessments may also be re-taken if a successful score is not achieved on the first attempt.
Earning College Credit
Once these college courses are completed, the earned credit can be transferred to over 1,500 different colleges and universities across the nation. Transfer of these credits has been approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) and/or the National Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), so everything is legitimate.
Study.com provides a list of U.S. colleges that accept transfer credit from the online learning platform. Some of these schools include:
- University of Arizona Global Campus
- University of Maryland Global Campus
- Regent University
- Liberty University
- Indiana Institute of Technology
- Purdue University Global
- Herzing University
- Bellevue University
- California Southern University
- Colorado State University Global
- Western Governor’s University
This is just a sampling of the hundreds of schools partnered with Study.com. The online education platform also provides a search tool for users looking for a specific college or university that will accept transfer credit.
Study.com Pricing Model
Like many online learning platforms, Study.com has different subscription plans available. Each of these plans can be billed monthly, or yearly for a savings of 10%.
Basic Edition: $29.99 per month/ $325 per year
The basic edition of Study.com grants users access to all video lessons as well as the transcripts of each lesson along with technical support.
- Unlimited Access to Lessons
- Transcripts of Lessons
- Access to Technical Support
Premium Edition: $59.99 per month/ $648 per year
Upgrading to Study.com’s premium edition grants users access to all of the features of the basic edition as well as additional features such as:
- Instructor Support
- Practice Assessments (e.g., quizzes and tests)
- Completion Certificates
- Individualized Coaching
- Progress Tracking
- Custom Course Material
College Accelerator: $199.99 per month/ $2,160 per year
The most expensive of Study.com’s subscription plans is College Accelerator. This subscription is the only plan that grants students access to transferrable college credit. With College Accelerator enabled, students can earn college credit by taking the final exams for up to two college courses each month.
- Opportunity to Earn College Credit
- Access to 2 Exams Monthly
- Remote Exam Access
Like most other online education platforms, Study.com prides itself on providing good customer support. There are two ways that users can request this support—via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out a support ticket online. According to the website, users can expect to receive a response within one business day of submitting the initial contact.
Though it’s one of the most well-known, Study.com isn’t the only online education platform available to prospective students who wish to learn via distance education technology. In fact, there are many alternatives.
Some of these other online learning platforms may be associated with lower costs, and you may even find an alternative more closely aligned with your individual academic or career goals. Here is a sampling of other distance education providers:
Coursera: Unlike Study.com, Coursera enables students to earn a complete degree via the site, not just individual credits for transfer. Coursera doesn’t create its own content like Study.com does, though. Instead, it hosts online classes available from reputable universities and organizations such as Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, and Google, for example.
Udacity: Udacity is an online learning platform geared toward working professionals and career-minded students. While Study.com caters to K-12 students and individuals interested in earning college credit, Udacity focuses on professional development and vocational training. Udacity also offers a free-trial period, while Study.com does not.
edX: edX has more in common with Udacity than it does Study.com. That’s because it’s a host site, meaning it features pre-made course material rather than offering up custom content like Study.com does. Unlike Udacity, though, it does offer degree options from some of the most reputable colleges and universities in the country.
After a comprehensive Study.com review, it’s clear that this online learning platform makes good on most of its claims. It certainly offers a wide range of educational tools and resources for distance learning students and traditional learners of all ages and level of education. Moreover, it offers a learning experience that is convenient, accessible, and even enjoyable. Clearly, there has been a great deal of time and care taken to ensure that the website is easy to navigate and the tools are easy to use.
Still, this education platform is not without its faults. The pricing model restricts the site’s most valuable features (namely, the ability to earn actual college credits) to those users with the thickest wallets. This puts most of the platform’s value out of reach for college students on a budget.
Perhaps most concerning is the many customer complaints regarding billing issues. Refunds, though available, don’t appear to be very easy to obtain, despite the site’s supposed “money back guarantee.” Thus, if you’re unsatisfied with your membership for any reason, you may find yourself without recourse to resolve the issue.
Overall, we would recommend Study.com with a modicum of caution. It’s best to sign up for the monthly membership, at least initially. (Remember, there is no study com free trial). That way, if you are unsatisfied, you can cancel your membership, and you risk losing just a small percent of the annual Study.com cost.
Is Study.com legit?
Yes. All college courses offered for credit through Study.com’s online learning platform are authorized by the American Council on Education (ACE) and/or the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). Once credit is earned, it is transferrable to over 1,500 different colleges and universities across the United States.
A study.com review by the Better Business Bureau resulted in a BBB rating of “B” on a scale of A+ to F. This rating is an indication of how the agency predicts the business will interact with its customers in the future based on its past performance as well as any customer complaints. Currently, Study.com has 244 complaints filed with the BBB
Is Study.com a reliable source?
For the most part, yes. After reviewing complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau from Study.com subscribers, it appears the vast majority of issues reported were those concerning billing matters as opposed to complaints about the actual classes or course material. According to Study.com, the online courses featured on the site are written by college professors and “subject matter experts.”
Is Study.com easy to use?
Yes. The online learning platform features an intuitive interface. The website’s layout is easy to navigate, and there are multiple avenues to find the desired features and information. Moreover, the online classes themselves are instinctive and easy to follow. Members receive access to a 24/7 informational dashboard that helps them keep track of classes they’re enrolled in, lessons completed, and grades on quizzes and tests.
How much does Study.com cost?
It depends. The education platform features some free content, including lessons and career articles. Premium features are available to members who are required to pay a fee, ranging from $29.99 to $199.99 per month. Annual subscriptions are also available and come with a ten percent discount.
How to cancel a subscription to Study.com?
Subscriptions to this online education platform can be cancelled at any time, according to the website. To cancel, users should simply navigate to their Profile page and follow the instructions. Study.com subscriptions can also be paused, meaning the user’s account will not be charged and features will be restricted, but the membership itself will remain active.
Does Study.com refund money?
Yes, but users may need to be persistent in order to receive a refund. According to some unsatisfied customers, refunds were only granted after they reported their issue to the Better Business Bureau. Still, the company claims to honor its refund policy in a timely manner.