The internet has been giving us every resource available to widen our knowledge and skills without the need to go to schools. Still, with so many options, it's hard to compare Coursera vs Lynda, Coursera vs. Udemy, Udacity vs Coursera, etc. Imagine choosing only one online learning platform from over a dozen other platforms.
How do you choose?
This post aims to help you filter through numerous online learning platforms, so you could start learning and collecting certifications for your career.
Online Learning Platforms
Coursera and Lynda are just two of several platforms directly competing for the same market.
For this post, we'll be zeroing in on just Lynda and Coursera.
Coursera Inc was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller.
Lynda.com was founded in 1995 by American author and computer instructor Lynda Weinman and her husband. After 20 years, in 2015, LinkedIn purchased the platform for a whopping $1.5 billion in cash and stock.
Note that Lynda.com is going to shut down soon and will be merged with LinkedIn Learning. When this happens, all of Lynda.com’s high-quality courses will be integrated into LinkedIn's data insights to provide users with personalised course recommendations based on their current job, skills, and the experts they like learning from.
Which one is better, Coursera or LinkedIn Learning?
Coursera has been around longer and offers a wide range of course materials and legit degree programs from educational institutions. However, even if LinkedIn Learning is just new to the online learning space, it has the most buzz right now not only because it will be the future of the renowned Lynda but also future projects it's announced for 2021 and beyond.
Because of this unique circumstance of Coursera being the current best platform, but LinkedIn Learning positioning to be the next biggest thing, I think it's a tie between the two.
Which Online Certification is the Best?
If your main goal at taking online courses is to collect as many certificates as possible and gain an edge career-wise, then you need to consider the type of certificate for every course you decide to take.
Are Coursera Certificates Worth it?
What makes Coursera platform ahead of the game is that the programs are backed by university instructors from around the world. Most of the online courses you see covered in Coursera are also available in real-world degree programs.
Number of Courses: Known as the world's biggest massive open online course provider, the platform currently has 3,000+ online courses from more than 150 universities.
Coursera offers 5 types of learning programs (and certifications for each program).
Courses - These courses, which cannot give be used as academic credits, are good for learning new skills. You can receive an electronic certificate upon completion, but you need to pay for this.
Specializations - If you want to be an expert or authority in a particular field, you must check out this type of course (there is currently over 300 specializations available). Specializations can be a single standalone course or a group of courses on the same topic bundled together.
Professional certificate - Some courses on the platform can result in professional certification, which you can use as part of your resume when applying for a job. Do note that the certificate itself will come from specific universities. The validity of such a certificate isn't guaranteed, though; you would need to check with the academic institutions that would send your certificates.
MasterTrack certificate - With MasterTrack® Certificates, portions of Master’s programs have been split into online modules, so you can earn a high-quality university-issued career credential at a breakthrough price in a flexible, interactive format. These Coursera courses are not for everyone - there's an application process, so even if you wanted to take a MasterTrack course, you might not be accepted if you don't pass the requirements.
Degrees - The last type of certificate is the reason why many people love online courses - they are equivalent to a real college degree. Of course, the pricing of degrees is a lot higher than the short courses Coursera offers, but the cost is definitely A LOT lower than the formal education you get on campus.
Are Lynda Certificates Worth it?
Lynda offered 600+ software development courses, 700+ photography courses, 700+web development courses, 700+ design courses and more than 1200 business and marketing courses. Before it merged with LinkedIn, courses Lynda offered were mostly in the technology space. But LinkedIn Learning is planning to add many courses beyond the tech industry.
- Number of Courses: Over 16,000 courses in 7 languages. About 155 courses here (some of them lasting 4 months) are totally free to take.
If you received certification from various online Lynda courses in the past. You may still access them on the LinkedIn Learning platform. There will be continuity as Lynda transitions into the LinkedIn-based platform.
LinkedIn Learning focuses on three main fields - business, technology and creativity. Almost all courses are offered with an option to get a certification, but not all of the courses are given free. If you want to collect certificates for every class you complete on the LinkedIn platform; you may have to shoulder the cost to have a copy or have it printed.
If you're using LinkedIn to apply to jobs, you'll love the ability to add all the training you complete into your profile and show it off to your prospective employment. (Note that you won't be able to add a course that you haven't completed yet).
Pros and Cons
As an online learning experience, both Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer education even if you have very busy lives. You'll be able to attend "classes" when you want to learn a specific skill or finish a degree if the traditional education route isn't possible.
Both Coursera and LinkedIn or Lynda offers training from professional instructors, which may not be the case with platforms like Skillshare, and experts in their own fields, so you receive the same knowledge as on-campus students.
Below are some of the things I like about LinkedIn Learning vs Coursera:
Pros and Cons of Coursera
Pros and Cons of LinkedIn/Lynda
Pricing: LinkedIn Learning vs Coursera Fees
Because of the wide variety of short courses and months-long programs available in both Coursera and LinkedIn (see also Udemy), the costs of these educational platforms are hard to compare.
- LinkedIn: Try out the platform for a 1-month free trial, giving you unlimited access to 16,000 courses taught by real-world professionals. (Like most subscriptions, pay annually for a lower price ($19.99 per month), but you can always go on a monthly subscription with $29.99 per month.
- Coursera: They offers a 7-day free trial and get unlimited access to its massive course library. If you're ready to commit, you need to pay Coursera PLUS after the free trial to continue access to 3,000+ courses for a monthly subscription of $59/month or $399/year.
Is it worth attending a 6-month Coursera online course for $354? If you compare this to real-world courses offered in universities (which go in the thousands of dollars), the costs would be totally worth it.
Coursera vs Lynda: The Ultimate Comparison
Which is better, Coursera or Lynda?
Here's the bottom line: The Coursera-Lynda debate will soon meet its end once LinkedIn begins advertising Lynda's move as complete.
Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. At a smaller cost than what you're likely to spend in a traditional setting, students can receive education online with knowledgeable instructors from distinguished institutions.
If you're dreaming of finishing a degree, pick Coursera.
You can use this comparison to decide which platform is the best for your needs, but don't forget to check out our Udemy and Lynda comparison, as well, to get insight into more online learning options.
If you're looking for a very specific skill to learn, go with LinkedIn Learning.
While an additional fee is needed to receive certification for your completed course (in most cases), learning has never been this easy.
Before you commit to any platform, make sure that you'll have time to complete at least one course a month. This is the only way to ensure the monthly fee you'll be paying is worth every cent. Also, in addition to this review, see how Udacity compares to Treehouse learning platform, to get insight into more online learning options.