Online learning is an investment. You are investing in yourself—your education, and your personal development. And just like any investment, it’s important to do your research.
But you don’t want to just know that all of the learning sites are good—you want to know which one is best. Which one is actually worth investing your time and money in? Which one should you trust your learning to?
While you could trudge through all the different reviews for sites and try to match their stats against each other, you don’t have to. You don’t have to compare each site’s pros and cons side by side.
We’ve already done it for you.
Today, we’re going to dig into two of the biggest personal-learning sites: LinkedIn Learning and Coursera. But we’re not going to just review them—we’re going to compare them to each other. We’ll see how they compare in price, quality, and which one may be better suited to different learners. You want to learn, but you want to learn from the best; so today, we’re going to see what site earns that title. Let’s jump into our review of Coursera versus LinkedIn Learning.
Meet The Sites
Coursera was founded by two Stanford professors in 2012, after their experiment with a single online class room led to over 13,000 students signing up. Coursera is a library of online video courses, partnering with universities like Yale and Rice to offer over 3,900 courses.
Because all of their courses are created by colleges, they are a very academic site. While they offer many topics, their strengths are in Public Health, Business, and in Computer and Data Science.
You can take an individual courses, which include several hours of video lectures, readings, and assignments to test your learning. If you pay for the course, you also have accesses to quizzes, peer-papers, and earning an accredited certificate with a passing score.
However, Coursera’s great strength is you don’t have to pay to learn— you can sign up for Coursera for free and almost all of their courses can be audited for free. They also offer several levels of learning: you can earn professional certificates offered by Google and IBM, or even earn your whole Bachelor’s degree.
This site got its start in 1995, under the name “Lynda Learning.” It was acquired by LinkedIn in 2015, keeping all of its original courses, and expanding exponentially to meet the needs of LinkedIn users. This online-courses library features mainly business-related skills, from Project Management to Leadership Skills to Design to Coding Languages.
They aim to help “anyone learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.” With courses in five languages (English, French, Japanese, German, and Spanish), and partnering with over 10,000 organizations, they are truly accessible for most anyone.
LinkedIn Learning is a subscription-based site, where a monthly payment gives you access to all of their courses. Courses are spit into 5-10-minute videos, with homework and downloadable files included. Once you complete the course, you’ll earn a certificate demonstrating your learning—that you can then include on your LinkedIn profile.
Ease Of Use
The first thing you’ll notice about any site is its ease of use. You have limited time, and you don’t want to waste it scrolling through pages and pages of nice-but-irrelevant information, just to find the one thing you need. There are also few things as frustrating as waiting for a video to stream. If you’re not careful, you may spend more of your time looking at a loading bar than learning. How do our two contenders compare in this respect?
When you first begin your Coursera account, the site automatically recommends courses for you. These are based on courses that are the most popular, or courses that fit your stated goals, or even ones based on what you’ve learned before. This makes it simple to find something new to learn, and to start learning right away.
Coursera also saves your progress in each course, and has a “Your Courses” tab in your homepage that allows you to jump back in right away. Progress through the course is simple as well, and fairly self-automated—though you can’t jump ahead, even if you already know the material presented.
One confusing piece of Coursera has to do with its different tracks. They have a Professional certificate courses, Specialization courses, MasterTrack Certificates, Master’s Degrees, Mini Degree plans…the list can leave your head spinning. Coursera recommends you search first for a topic you are interested in, and not worry as much about which track is comes from.
However, each track does have different costs and conditions (e.g., you can only take specialization tracks if you are subscribed to Coursera’s all-access account), so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Yet, if you do find a course you like, even if it is part of a larger (read, more expensive) track, you can always dig into it to find the individual courses, and simply purchase or audit those individually.
To open a LinkedIn Learning account does take one more step than expected—you have to complete a phone verification. However, this simple text message is quickly sent; and if you already have a LinkedIn account, you can sidestep the process entirely.
LinkedIn Learning makes it easy to get started—you can get a 1-month free access trial, so there’s less commitment to join. When you create your account, you can list skills you’re interested in, and Linked in will automatically suggest courses for you.
As you browse courses, you can filter them by level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) or length, so you have the freedom to learn exactly what you want with as much time as you have. LinkedIn Learning also offers apps for almost all devices, so you can take your learning on the go.
The videos for LinkedIn Learning are easy to use. You can turn on continuous playback, allowing each video to start right after each other, as well as speed up the playback speed, or turn on closed captioning.
Conclusion: Coursera Vs LinkedIn Learning Ease Of Use
Though LinkedIn Learning takes a little more time to start, it’s ultimately easier to use than Coursera. Its subscription-based model allows you to choose courses without having to pay for them each individually—and it also sidesteps the confusion that Coursera’s different tracks create. LinkedIn Learning has a more streamlined usage for their learners.
Which Has Better Quality?
When it comes down to it, this is the most important part of any learning site. If you’re spending money, you want to be sure you have the best. Is their teaching accurate? Are the videos well made? Is it worth the time and money I’m spending? Let’s see whether Coursera or LinkedIn Learning is more worthy of your investment.
To Coursera, quality is everything—after all, they’re partnered with prestigious colleges like Stanford, Yale, and Rice. The professors that teach the courses have been teaching for years, and know the best ways to help students really learn the information. They take full advantage of the online format as well—offering engaging graphics and excellent editing in all their videos. Because this is a very academic site, all of their courses are college-level quality.
But it’s more than simply the videos that are high quality. Coursera wants you to truly learn the material, so they’ve included readings and extra assignments to the courses. These assignments set it apart from being simply a video-course site.
In fact, the courses on Coursera are such high quality, that you can actually earn your degree on their site. If Coursera is enough to be considered reputable around the world, then it’s sure to match your standards as well
Easily visible in each course is the name of the instructor, which you can click to be taken to their LinkedIn profile. Here you can see if they practice what they preach. Where do they work? What experience do they have? What success have they had with the methods they’re teaching? This is an easy way to check for yourself the quality of the course.
LinkedIn Learning also actively pursues having up-to-date material. The release updates to already-made courses, and regularly release new courses with the newest information. This is important for programs like Adobe or Bootstrap, that may have completely different features in the latest release.
However, since you can’t see the date a video course is released, it’s not quickly apparent whether a course has the most up-to-date information
LinkedIn Learning’s quality is also proven by the companies that use them. Trusted by organizations like Patagonia and NBC, being attached to the LinkedIn company means they strive for the highest level of learning.
Conclusion: Coursera Vs LinkedIn Learning Quality
Though both LinkedIn Learning and Coursera have high bars for their quality, Coursera edges out in front. Because Coursera is tied to universities, includes extra readings and assignments, and allows you to earn your degree, its courses are higher quality.
Sometimes a site’s special perks or equipping tools can more than make up for its other shortcomings. Do our two sites have anything to offer?
Coursera offers a few. Because of its partnership with several colleges and universities, it allows you the option of earning your entire degree online, certified and issued by the individual university. You can also earn Professional Certificates to display on your resume—certificates issued by Google and IBM.
LinkedIn Learning has another option as well. It offers Learning paths, several courses bundled together to give you a thorough understanding on a topic. These paths have one focus, such as creating a blog. Though it would have different courses, such as how to design a site on WordPress, or use WooCommerce, they’d all lead you to that desired destination of having a beautiful, polished site.
Which Is Priced Better?
The price tag can make or break a site. It doesn’t matter how high-quality it is, or how many useful tools it offers—if you can’t afford it, you can’t learn from it. How do Coursera and LinkedIn Learning compare?
Coursera has several learning tracks, and with those tracks, many different prices. The individual course costs anywhere from $49-$99. Specializations are charged on a subscription-base of $29-$79 a month (with an estimated 3 months to finish all the courses in a Specialization track.) A subscription, which gives you access to almost all of their courses, costs $399 a year—which means you should take 2 courses a month to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. Degrees can cost you as little as $15,000—far below the average $40,000 students pay at a traditional university.
While Coursera does have a decent price tag, it is far cheaper than what college courses usually cost ($800-$1,300), and allow you to earn certificates that add weight to your resume.
However, don’t forget Coursera’s secret weapon— you can sign up for free and almost all of their courses can be audited for free, without losing any of the learning. You have access to the same lectures, the same readings, and the same assignments, without spending a single dollar.
LinkedIn Learning works on a subscription-based format. If you pay each month, it costs $29.99. If you choose to pay for an entire year at once, it costs $220 (equaling $19.99/month). This is on the higher end of online learning subscription prices, but you can get a free 30-day trial of LinkedIn Learning here and see if it is truly worth the price yourself.
However, there may be some options for you to access LinkedIn Learning for free. Many libraries offer it as a free resource, and some colleges do as well. While you might have to search a bit to find out if your library offers it (Googling your library’s name and Lynda.com together, or searching through the library’s resource page), often all it requires to access is your library card’s number. Once you’ve logged in using that, you can access all of LinkedIn Learning’s library on any of your devices.
College accounts work much the same way—simply sign in using your university’s name in the organization segment of LinkedIn Learning’s page.
Conclusion: Coursera Vs LinkedIn Learning Price
Both sites are about equal here. A single course is estimated to take your about 2-3 months to finish, which makes Coursera’s $49 single-pay price equal to LinkedIn Learning’s $29.99 a month. Both sites also have free options for you to take advantage of, whether through auditing or connections with your local library. If you can access LinkedIn Learning free, then you can still earn valuable certificates, which is more than Coursera’s free option offers.
Is Either Better Suited For Different Learners?
One site may be better for you simply because of your unique goals. After all, someone who wants to learn a hobby doesn’t need an intensive, 6-month boot camp; and someone who is training for the Olympics needs more than a general beginner’s class. Let’s see how our two courses are suited for different learners.
Because Coursera is tied to colleges, it is for those who want a more academic learning experience. This is for those who want to use these skills professionally, and trains in all the skills that might need. You’ll need to write papers, have peer reviews, and interact on projects. It feels like school—because it’s earning you the same credits that school would. This is the route to take it you want to get full credit and an academic experience.
However, it’s not outside of the realm of those who are merely curious. Coursera’s free auditing option allows you to still access all the learning from videos and reading—but none of the responsibilities of papers or quizzes.
LinkedIn Learning is geared toward the professional learner—someone who is learning to further their career, or to train themselves for business success. Because of this, there’s less playful pursuits, and more focus on efficiency and seriousness.
Conclusion: Coursera Vs LinkedIn Learning Different Learners
While LinkedIn Learning is geared toward the business professional, Coursera focuses on the academic learner. If you are seeking to bolster your resume, LinkedIn Learning is more suited for your service—if you want to earn CEU’s, then Coursera is the way to go.
Which Is Better: Coursera Vs LinkedIn Learning?
While both Coursera and LinkedIn Learning are high-quality sites, Coursera takes the lead. Because of the connection to universities, the ability to earn CEU’s with their certificates, and the freedom to audit their classes at no price, Coursera is perfect for the serious or curious learner. They offer the in-depth courses you would expect from a college, and include assignments and readings with all of their courses. If you want to take your learning to the next level, then Coursera is the site for you.
Thinking Coursera may fit your needs? Read our full review of Coursera here. More interested in business and tech learning? Check out our full review of LinkedIn Learning, to see if it may be right for you!