In 2021, your computer screen is your new school. Or are you like us and prefer your lectures delivered on your smartphone? Whatever the method, it’s pretty clear the future is here when it comes to studying, mastering new skills, or simply polishing up the knowledge you already possess.
Online learning platforms are taking over and becoming the go-to getaway not only for individuals but also for companies that are looking to upskill their teams. We belong to the latter group, as we constantly aspire to brush up on the collective brainpower in our startup.
Our business manages a team of remote copywriters that mainly work on improving SEO content for our own and other companies – an area that’s always shifting and requires constant learning.
Luckily, there are wonderful online platforms that we continuously employ to make sure our team members stay up-to-date with all the latest practices in digital marketing. Some of them include Coursera and Udemy, which will be the subjects of our article today.
We’ll take a look into their approach to online teaching and we’ll make a comparison in their most important aspects.
Before we wrap things up, we’ll also list some great alternatives to Udemy and Coursera, to provide you with some variety in your research.
Why Choose Coursera or Udemy?
We selected Coursera and Udemy to be the focus of our study, mainly because they are both very popular eLearning platforms, while also quite different in regards to how they approach digital learning, who they target, and how similar they are to traditional education.
As we dive deeper into our analysis, you’ll notice how Udemy offers a bigger variety of courses meant for a quick upskilling and enhancing your knowledge, while Coursera comes very close to a brick-and-mortar university, providing complete learning paths and accredited certifications.
Coursera collaborates with 200+ leading universities and companies to deliver top-level education. They boast 5600+ online courses that over 70 million people have already enrolled in.
Udemy’s online catalog contains 130,000+ courses that have attracted over 35 million learners since the platform’s inception.
Bottom line – it all depends on your current needs to figure out which online classroom to step into. After considering the comparison that follows, we’re quite confident you’ll have a much better understanding of which service to place your bets on.
Comparing Coursera and Udemy
As we mentioned above, comparing these two fantastic eLearning services shouldn’t really be about winning, but more about which one is better for you and your vision about the goals you’d like to meet. However, after we analyze them, we’ll declare our winner – the one that’s better overall in our opinion.
In that regard, you can observe Coursera and Udemy from 8 different perspectives, which we deem crucial when taking into consideration the real value of an online educational platform.
Carefully go through all of them to get the best understanding of each aspect, or use this list to jump to the category that’s most important to you:
- User Experience
- Courses Selection
- Courses Quality
- Options for Teams
- Value for Money
- User Reviews
Let’s get started!
No one appreciates bugs, confusing navigation, unnecessary complexity, unattractive design, and slow-loading speeds. Therefore, evaluating the user experience of any tool is principal in the overall assessment.
With a very simple and clean design, Coursera’s homepage contains everything the service offers. With a single click, you can explore their courses and programs, check out the degrees and certificates they provide, and learn how they accommodate students and enterprises.
Actual lessons are presented through an interface that includes all the topics the lesson includes and a video player which allows you to leave notes about the lesson, alter the video quality, and toggle between different captions and their settings.
Just like Coursera, you can access the courses you’re enrolled in on any device with Udemy as well.
If you’ve purchased plenty of courses, you have an option to organize them by topic for easier management.
The video player is very similar to Coursera’s and each lesson’s topic can be checked off – great for tracking your learning progress.
We’re glad to say there’s no winner in the first category. Both Udemy and Coursera are straightforward and very easy to navigate, with no distinguishable differences in UX/UI.
Let’s take a look at what kind of courses Coursera and Udemy have to offer, their length, how actionable they are, and how easy it is to find what you’re looking for.
Courses at Coursera are planned, designed, and delivered by some of the world’s top universities and established companies. Some notable names include Amazon Web Services, Arizona State University, Cisco, Columbia University, HEC Paris, IBM, Yale, and many more. Hence, Coursera is oriented at everyone looking to acquire an accredited certificate in their chosen field or a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Coursera has about 5600 courses in its catalog offered in over 30 languages and covering most business, computer science, and data science programs, but there are also courses in various health departments, physics, arts, and social sciences.
Discovering your desired course or specialization at Coursera is easy with their search tool, with which you can filter your results by language, level, duration, skills, university, etc.
Udemy offers more than 130,000 courses in over 65 languages. Aside from what’s very popular at the moment, like IT and software development and business, there are also tons of creative areas covered by Udemy’s courses such as photography, animation, design, acting, music, etc.
You can always discover the most popular courses in every category and if you’re looking for anything in particular, filters like difficulty level, rating, video duration, and language can help you narrow down your search.
In Udemy’s catalog, there are 8000+ free courses – a wonderful opportunity if you don’t know where to start.
With a considerably larger selection, Udemy wins this category, so this is its first point today.
In our third category, we’ll talk about Coursera’s and Udemy’s courses quality. These two platforms are both legit and help millions of people upskill and learn new abilities, but they do so in different ways that we’ll explore below.
If you want to acquire knowledge that can get you ahead in life, Coursera is a safe bet. The platform offers courses that substitute university-level subjects, even entire majors.
Their courses are created in partnership with reputable companies and universities from across the world. Considering most of the courses provide professional certificates and specialized programs even offer college degrees, the time commitment for a course can vary from several hours to a few weeks, a specialization can last around 6 to 10 months, and getting a degree might even take up to 6 years.
What’s great about the Coursera experience is that learners receive regular assignments and personal projects so they can practically apply their freshly gained knowledge, and have to follow a pre-set curriculum. Then, they get assessed by their peers and mentors – a practice that best stimulates learning performance.
Udemy is a totally different story. Anyone can create courses on the platform and it’s up to the users who take the course to evaluate and rank it. That’s the most credible measure of each course’s quality.
Udemy has established some fundamental rules that need to be obeyed if you want your submitted course to be published. The Course Quality Checklist states that classes need to be 30-minutes long at the minimum, have at least 5 distinct lectures, be well-organized, and possess excellent video and audio quality.
However, among the many high-quality courses at Udemy, some are obviously mediocre and are clearly there to advertise their own products or services.
While targeting different groups of people, Coursera and Udemy both offer high-quality courses. With Udemy you can become smarter, but it’s Coursera that will help you advance in your career. It scores its first point in this category.
Another category where Udemy and Coursera are drastically different. Let’s see why.
We’ve mentioned above that Coursera’s courses are crafted by world-class universities and top-level companies. It’s only fitting that the instructors are well-respected university professors and renowned experts with a great deal of experience and expertise in their respective fields.
Every instructor’s bio is accessible in each course description. There, you can read about where these educators work, their professional experiences, and how many learners they’ve taught to since they joined Coursera.
This speaks of the quality of the courses provided by Coursera. Anyone can rest assured they are receiving the best education when they know their chosen course was vetted by a competent Ph.D.
Udemy, on the other hand, allows anyone to create for the platform. There are, of course, many experts and even college professors that publish their courses on Udemy, but you’d often see regular people teaching what they know best.
Udemy regulates the courses that are submitted on their platform, however, there’s little quality control over who their publisher is and the contents of the course. The best way to determine the credibility of a course is to check its rating.
Many of the instructors at Udemy are only trying to upsell a product or service, while being educationally vague, especially on the free courses. This is never the case with Coursera, which wins this category.
Let’s discuss how Coursera and Udemy handle companies and their requirements to upskill their teams.
Coursera for Business offers over 3800 courses and 500+ guided projects for job-based, AI-powered skill development.
There are two plans targeting teams – “Team” and “Enterprise”. They both include quizzes and assessments for every course and verified certificates upon course completion. With them, you can also track learner progress, hours spent learning, completions, and feedback.
The “Enterprise” plan even offers access to expert-curated collections, and skills and competency mapping.
All in all, Coursera for Business is an excellent way to integrate the most efficient learning practices into your team’s workflow.
Virtual training for your entire remote team is also possible with Udemy for Business. Trusted by high-caliber companies such as Volkswagen, Lyft, Pinterest, General Mills, etc. Udemy is a practical solution for many L&D and HR departments.
Coincidentally enough, Udemy includes two plans that are business-oriented and named exactly the same as Coursera’s business plans – “Team” and “Enterprise”. Over 5000 premium courses are included on these plans, accompanied by features such as offline viewing, casting options, and individual user engagement.
The “Team” plan is suitable for teams of up to 20 users and the “Enterprise” plan caters to teams with more than 20 users.
Although both platforms are amazing for moving employees’ skills forward, we prefer Coursera for Business, because of its academic nature and the verified certificates each employee will receive for each completed course.
We’ve introduced this topic a little bit in the above sections, but let’s dive deeper and explain everything surrounding accreditations provided by Udemy and Coursera.
Each course at Coursera comes with a certain sort of certificate upon completion. With the most basic and free courses these certificates are simply to show that you’ve completed the course, however, the service provides accredited certificates for its advanced programs.
If you enroll in a specialization program, you’ll be granted a professional certificate, and if you opt for an undergraduate or Master’s program, you’ll receive a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. There are also MasterTrack™ degrees that are provided for partial Master’s programs.
Each certificate or degree is shareable and you’ll be able to attach it to your CV or LinkedIn profile. This is invaluable when applying for a new job or position, or simply scoring a promotion.
Again, Udemy differs considerably from Coursera when it comes to accredited certificates. The platform doesn’t provide those; there are only certificates of completion that you can acquire with Udemy.
Although these can be mentioned in your CV or LinkedIn profile, they are of questionable worth, since no credible source can vouch for them.
However, there are some top-notch courses at Udemy, created by industry-leading companies, and noting that you’ve completed one of those can be recognized as a valuable asset to your knowledge.
Coursera wins in yet another category. It is unquestionably better when it comes to enhancing your resume.
Cost can be a deciding factor when choosing between several products. Here, we’ll discuss the pricing options of Udemy and Coursera to see which is more affordable.
Anyone can join Coursera for free and discover over 1600 courses, also for free. These are usually brief courses covering basic and introductory topics. They are still a great way to kick off your learning process.
Paid courses vary depending on what you’re looking to gain from them. An individual course can cost about $50-$100, specializations can be a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and a full degree can start at a few thousand dollars and reach up to $40,000. That kind of sum can be overwhelming, but take note that these are highly-valued degrees that take years to obtain, and usually cost hundreds of thousands when taken traditionally.
Regarding options for businesses, the “Team” plan costs $400/year per user and the “Enterprise” plan has custom pricing.
Similarly, every course on Udemy has a price tag. We’ve talked about how their courses are a lot shorter and usually single-skill oriented, hence their prices are quite cheaper than Coursera’s courses. Ranging from $9.99 to $199.99, Udemy’s courses are yours forever once you purchase.
Before you decide to do so, you can check out their depository of over 8000 free courses, or test some paid ones with a free 14-day trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
The “Team” plan on Udemy for Business costs $360/year per user, and you need to contact Udemy’s sales team to get a quote on the “Enterprise” plan.
It’d be pretty unfair to put one of these platforms ahead of the other in terms of pricing since they offer different types of courses with a distinct purpose.
Here we’ll compare how Coursera and Udemy fare at some popular service review sites and we’ll see what real users have to say about their on-hands experiences with the two educational platforms.
“The best universities within a few clicks
On the Coursera platform, I have the chance to take paid or free online courses at some of the best universities in the world. Taking classes from renowned teachers is a very motivating part of the teaching and learning process.” – André A (09/28/2020)
“Udemy is a marvelous learning platform
Udemy is a marvelous learning platform. The courses available on it are very good and exciting. I love the way instructors teach. One of the interesting things is that I can download videos and watch them when I am free. Also, the mobile application of Udemy is fantastic. It is customized as per my need.” – Arshad S (13/10/2020)
The crowd picks the winner for our last category – it’s Udemy!
Thank you for following through to the very end of this article! We hope that by now you have a better grasp of which platform would be more suitable for you.
Now, let’s quickly sum up how Coursera and Udemy performed in our 8 categories:
- Coursera was better at Courses Quality, Instructors, Options for Teams, and Accreditations;
- Udemy won at the Courses Selection and User Reviews categories;
- There were no winners in the User Experience and Value for Money categories.
Counting the total number of wins for a result of 4:2, we crown Coursera as today’s champion. The online education platform is amazing for scoring an accredited certificate or earning a degree in your desired field. It’s also perfect for companies to upskill their employees with some quality training programs.
Udemy is a great alternative if you’re looking to improve a skill or acquire basic knowledge in a new field, as it offers an immense amount of all types of courses for affordable prices.
If you’re still undecided, check out some of the best alternatives to Coursera and Udemy below.
Coursera and Udemy Alternatives
Skillshare is one of the best eLearning platforms and stands somewhere between Coursera and Udemy. It’s very affordable as it’s priced monthly and their courses are concise and straight-to-the-point. You can read our Skillshare vs Udemy article to learn more about it.
LinkedIn Learning is somewhat similar to Skillshare as it also implements the monthly subscription model. While Skillshare offers more courses in the creative and artistic areas, LinkedIn Learning is more career-focused, with topics dealing mainly with business, graphics, and software development.
Another platform that comes very close to Coursera is edX. They offer accredited certificates on their courses, provided by prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, Boston University, etc.