Taking an online course is a vital decision that requires serious commitment. Before you can invest your time and money in an online course, you want to be sure it is the best fit for your professional, academic, and personal needs.
Udemy, Coursera and Skillshare are reliable online learning platforms. Whether you want to get a new skill or you wish to develop a hobby, either of the two platforms will be an excellent choice.
But which one should you go for? Is it Udemy, the global course marketplace? Or Coursera offers online learning from the world's best universities? Comparing Udemy and Coursera, it is not about which one is the best; it is about which one fits your needs best. Also, make sure to check out 'Coursera vs Lynda' and how Udacity compares to Coursera.
To decide which course is the best for you, you should compare the two against various factors, including:
Coursera Vs. Udemy, Online Learning Platform Course Offerings
Both Udemy and Coursera offer different learning programs, with Coursera offering 11 different learning programs. Udemy wins on the number of courses.
Both Udemy and Coursera offer online courses on a variety of courses, including law, photography, web development (see Pluralsight IT courses, too), etc.
Udemy boasts of more than 100,000 video courses from over 42,000 instructors in more than 50 languages. Udemy boasts of an unending course catalog. It offers various courses that support academia, professional development, and learning a new hobby.
If you settle on Udemy, you purchase the online courses as you take them. When you purchase, you receive lifetime access to the classes. As such, you can review and retake them as you wish. As such, you enjoy the learn-at-your-own-pace model.
On the other hand, the Coursera catalog offers more than 2,000 courses in over 30 languages. The courses come from more than 150 accredited universities. These courses are about various topics that correspond to various job skills and topics.
You wouldn't choose Coursera to learn about a new interest or a new hobby.
As a student, you can choose between various learning options, including certifications, single courses, specialization (a series of courses surrounding a single skill), or degree programs.
Single courses on Coursera take about four to six weeks, specialization courses take four to six months, and degree programs can take three years. Certifications can vary in duration.
Unlike Udemy courses that you can retake and review, Coursera courses are available when you pay for them. To retake a course on Coursera, you'll have to pay for it or audit the material for free.
On the course offerings, Udemy comes out as the best as it offers a larger number of courses. Additionally, you don't have to pay again to retake or review a course as you get lifetime access. Nonetheless, if you want to read about Udemy in more details, see our 'Are Udemy Courses Worth It?' post.
Udemy courses are on sale at all times, and they are incredibly affordable. You will get several courses by Udemy going for less than $10. Irrespective of the price, each Udemy course comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Buying an Udemy course is similar to shopping online. If you find a course that you wish to take, you can click on "Buy now" or "Add to cart." When you check out, Udemy will also suggest other courses that you can be interested in.
Buying Udemy courses is a straightforward and effortless process.
On the other hand, you have Coursera that operates differently from Udemy. Courses on the online platforms vary a lot in prices, ranging from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. However, the courses are much cheaper than the conventional college degree.
As you browse the Coursera website, you'll come across the various options to choose from, including a single course, certificate specialization, and a degree program.
When you get the course you like, Coursera prompts you to enroll for free. If it is your first time on the online platform, you'll receive a seven-day free trial that offers access to other related courses (if the course is part of a broader certificate specialization or a degree). The free trial also offers you a cancelation when necessary and a certificate when you complete the course.
Apart from the purchase options and the free trial, you can also audit any course for free. However, you won't get the completion certificate to publish on LinkedIn or share.
If you qualify, Coursera online platform offers you financial aid.
You should apply for each case you wish to take, and the applications take up to 15 days to review.
In the price category, Udemy comes out as the winner. It also has a free trial for its courses. However, Udemy offers cheaper courses all-round.
Before you can settle on either Udemy or Coursera for your course, it's vital to consider who will teach the course and their experience.
Udemy has branded itself as a 'course marketplace.' This means they can develop their course or sell one, which is a good and bad thing.
It is effortless to teach on the Udemy platform, but there is no quality control of how legitimate the materials or the instructors are. Udemy doesn't run the courses on the platform through an approval process.
Due to the low barrier to entry for Udemy, it will require you to be more diligent as you choose your course. While some instructors offer high-quality instructions and materials, others are just trying to upsell you, or they are advertising.
Before you can purchase any Udemy course, it will be best to check the reviews and ratings of other students who have taken the course before you. Additionally, the online platform highlights the best-selling courses and the most popular instructors.
On the other hand, you have Coursera, which is the opposite of Udemy in this respect. In Coursera, only educators, professional instructors, and experts are allowed to teach.
Coursera courses are also partnered with reputable and accredited universities, including the University of Michigan and Duke University. With such accreditations, you are sure that you are getting the best quality with Coursera courses.
In this category, Coursera comes out as the winner (see also 'Are Coursera Certificates Worth It?' post). The courses are accredited by top universities and taught by experts and professionals. Udemy also has quality courses, materials, and instructors. However, it will require more diligence and research on your side.
Udemy and Coursera Course Structure
Various people have preferences on how they like to learn. For instance, some like to learn under some guidance, while others prefer to do it autonomously.
Udemy courses are self-led, and they are the best option for one who prefers to learn autonomously. The instructors record videos and provide articles and guides. It is upon you as the student to learn.
After you get a course, you'll get all the materials you need until you complete it. The best thing is that you get lifetime access with each purchase.
The advantage of autonomous learning is that you are not bound by class checkpoints and are not required to adhere to a set schedule.
If you prefer more guidance and structure, Coursera will be the best option for you. Coursera is similar to online college classes.
For instance, you need to enroll for a course at a particular time and the course syllabus to the end. The learning includes watching lectures, completing assignments, getting peer and instructor feedback, and chatting with other students.
If you enroll for a course, whether you are just auditing or paying, you are required to follow a set timetable and complete the course together with other students. The online platform ensures total commitment from their instructors, and they expect the same for the learners.
In this category, both online platforms win. It is challenging to pick a winner from the two as they have different approaches to their learning.
If you have self-discipline and wish to be fully in control of the course, Udemy is your perfect pick.
If you want a course that will mimic an online college class, Coursera is your best bet. The course will involve instructors, peers, a timetable, assignments, etc.
Credibility and Reputation
Course credibility and acceptability is a vital factor to consider before you can settle on an online course.
You need to consider why you are taking the course and what you want to show after completing the course.
Udemy is a popular online platform and is vital in enhancing and learning new skills. However, you wouldn't necessarily put Udemy in your resume or use it in your LinkedIn profile. Few courses offer credible certificates when you are through with the course.
Udemy for Business offers business courses for the professional training for their staff.
On the other hand, Coursera is associated with accredited universities and colleges. All courses on Coursera come with a digital certificate that you can share on your website or LinkedIn profile.
Note, you won't receive a certificate if you are auditing the course.
Udemy and Coursera are reputable online platforms - see also Threehouse learning platform - that come in handy if you want to take an online course. The choice between the two platforms depends on your preference and what you want to achieve. If you want a credible digital certificate at the end of the course, Coursera is an excellent pick. Udemy is popular for offering cheap courses, so see our Udemy and Lynda learning platform comparison, to get insight into more online learning options.