If you’re researching online learning sites, then you want to take your education into your own hands—but you also know how hard that can be. Our minds are often inclined to be lazy, and though we may want to learn the latest in coding or business methods, there are a hundred different distractions calling to us. The lawn could be mowed. You could go grab a cup of coffee. Your friends are talking about all hanging out after work tonight.
There are enough odds stacked against you. You don’t need to add to them. But unfortunately, many reviews do just that. They steal your valuable time, keeping you from learning just as much as that coffee, video game, or friend outing might. You don’t need to waste time—you need to know which site is best, and which on is best for you.
We’re going to do just that. No wasting time, no pandering to one side or the other—just straight facts, and our opinion of which is best. So let’s buckle up, and jump into our comparison of Udacity Vs Coursera.
Udacity Vs Coursera: Meet The Sites
Udacity has much the same beginnings as you will see with Coursera. Founded by two professors: Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, after a single class drew thousands of students. Today, this Silicon-valley based company boasts over 11.5 million students.
Udacity’s courses are business and technology focused. They are based on a student-first model, and seek to be “where lifelong learners come to learn the skills they need, to land the jobs they want, to build the lives they deserve.”
Each course is divided into 10-20-minute videos, and each includes a project to complete. While you can purchase some of their courses individually, their flagship courses are the Nanodegrees, which are on a subscription basis and often take 2-3 months to complete. Once you do so, you’ll receive a certificate that is Net verified, and can be displayed on your resumed or searched for by employers.
Founded in 2012, Coursera was started by two Stanford professors. They offered a free experimental online course about AI, curious what the response would be—and had over 13,000 students sign up. This led to them creating Coursera, an online library of video courses, that partners with universities like Yale and Rice to offer more than 3,900 courses.
It should be no surprise then, that Coursera is a very academic site. All of their courses are created in partnership with colleges. While the topics they offer are varied, the majority of them are in Public Health, Business, and in Computer and Data Science.
Courses are purchased individually. Each course included several hours of video learning, along with reading assignments and quizzes to test your learning. You also write peer-reviewed papers, and once you complete the course with a passing score, you receive a certificate that can be displayed on your resume.
However, you don’t have to pay for all of the courses. Coursera offers the option to audit most all of the classes—for free. While you won’t be writing papers or earning a certificate, you still have access to all of the lectures, readings, and assignments, and all of the learning.
Coursera also offers more advanced learning—you can earn certificate through their Professional or Executive courses, or even earn your entire Bachelor’s degree online.
Udacity Vs Coursera: Ease Of Use
Is it easy to use Udacity or Coursera? When you first open a page, the first thing you notice is how easy it is to navigate. Is it simple to sign up and purchase? Can you find the classes you’re looking for? Is your progress saved? Is it easy to understand the requirements? Can the learning fit into your schedule? All of these are important questions when it comes to choosing a site. Here’s how these sites compare.
Udacity allows you to quickly sign up with your email, and wants to make it simple to start right away. Courses are displayed with the ones the Udacity recommends for you personally, along with those that are most popular. You can search for courses by browsing through their topics: Programing and Development, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data Science, Business, Autonomous Systems, and Career, as well as by keyword, or length.
However, Udacity does leave out one important thing that makes it more difficult to pick a course: the price. Prices are not displayed until you first click “enroll” and that’s for a reason. Udacity has high prices on most of their courses, which can make it difficult to begin.
However, once you actually purchase a course, Udacity wants to ensure it is easy for you to succeed. Once you enroll in a course, Udacity takes you through their onboarding process. In this, you preview the entire syllabus, schedule your first two weeks of studying, and set up reminders for you throughout the weeks. These personalized study reminders and other tools ensure you have strong momentum as you begin a course, which will make it easy to finish it.
Signing up for Coursera is simple, all it needs is an email. When faced with a library of thousands of courses, it could be overwhelming trying to pick one—but Coursera automatically recommends ones you’ll enjoy. Coursera also displays the most popular courses, ones that match your goals, or ones based off of what you’ve learned before. It’s fast and easy to find something new to learn.
Coursera’s option to audit any class for free also makes it easy to start learning—you can ease your way in with little commitment and no cost.
It’s easy to keep learning as well. Coursera tracks your progress in each course, and you can quickly jump back into them from the “Your Courses” tab on your homepage. Each video plays one after another—although there’s no option to skip ahead in the course, even if you already know the topic being presented in that video.
One thing that is not easy about Coursera is determining which track to take. Coursera offers Specialization courses, Professional Certificate Courses, MasterTrack Certificates, Mini Degree plans, and many more. How do you know which one to do? What’s involved in the different costs and conditions? What’s the difference between a MasterTrack Certificate and a MiniMaster’s Degree? Coursera does not make it easy to know which track is better for you (though our full review of Coursera can help!)
Conclusion: Ease Of Use
Though Coursera lacks the fancy onboarding process that Udacity offers, Coursera is still simpler to use. Its recommendation page makes it simple to find something new, its clear display of prices allows you to quickly decide on courses, and its option to audit classes for free allows a pain-free way to begin your learning journey.
Udacity Vs Coursera: Which Has Better Quality?
Is Coursera any good? Is Udacity worth the money? These are both questions of quality—and quality is the most important question to have. You are spending your time on this site, and you want to make sure it is well-spent. The teaching needs to be correct. The videos need to be engaging. The company itself needs to be reputable. Let’s see whether Udacity or Coursera has better quality.
Though Udacity may not be academic, it does not mean its partners are not as impressive. Both Facebook and Google have partnered together with Udacity to create high-quality courses.
Udacity’s courses are also very thorough—each of their Nanodegree courses take an estimate of 2-3 months to complete, which means you will have a firm grasp on the knowledge presented when you are finished. But you’ll also have something to show once you are done. Udacity has project-based learning, which means after you finish a course, you will have a project like a blog, a marketing plan, or a coding assignment to demonstrate your mastery to employers or others.
Udacity’s certificates also demonstrates that it is worth the money. Certificates are only issued once you have completed the course with a satisfactory grade, and so can be listed on your resume and verified by employers through Udacity’s net-verify system.
How well a site treats their customers is an excellent indication of their quality as well. Udacity takes good care of their users. They have a very active customer service, a FAQ page for you to access, as well as the Knowledge Community where users can answer any question you may have.
If universities are the gatekeepers of quality knowledge, then Coursera is sure it is inside of those gates. Because Coursera partners with prestigious colleges like Yale, Stanford, and Rice, all of their courses are up to university standards. The instructors have been teaching in classrooms for years, and were hand-picked because of their teaching skills.
But it’s not just the teaching that is high quality—the videos are as well. This is no recorded lecture; these are engaging online lessons, with graphics and examples and excellent editing. Alongside these videos come reading assignments and quizzes, that ensures you will actually learn the material, not just zone out as you sip your third cup of coffee.
Perhaps the best proof of Coursera’s quality is the degrees that you can earn through it. Coursera is reputable enough to be trusted by colleges around the world—so it’s sure to be high-quality.
Though both Coursera and Udacity are in the top of their classes, Udacity edges out in front here. Both have excellent courses, excellent certification, and excellent partners—but Udacity’s projects and active, personable help channels make it a more high-quality experience for learners.
Udacity Vs Coursera: Special Tools/Perks
Occasionally learning sites offer special tools or discounts to make your experience better. Do our two contenders have anything to offer?
Udacity has a full range of tools for its users. Udacity has its own “social media,” which allows you to network with other users and participate in challenges like #30DaysofUdacity and #LevelUpChallenge. Udacity also has a robust Career Service. This offers tools and mentors to help you polish your resume, create a professional profile, and stand out on job search boards.
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.
Conclusion: Special Tools/Perks
Both sites offer tools—but Udacity’s Career Services are much more comprehensive, and are included in their service price, rather than forcing you to pay extra.
Udacity Vs Coursera: Which Is Priced Better?
That dollar sign is often the deciding line for your decision. A site can offer the sleekest user-experience, and courses designed by geniuses—but none of those matter if you can’t afford it. How much does Coursera cost? Are they cheap? Let’s find out.
You can’t see prices on an Udacity course until you hit the “enroll” button (don’t worry, you’re not committing to it yet), and there’s a reason why. Single courses cost anywhere from $279-$3,000.
For Nanodegree, Udacity has an interesting payment form set up. You can purchase access to the Nanodegree courses for one single price, which gives you access for a certain amount of time. If you’re not finished at the end of that period, you can pay a monthly fee to keep using the course. Alternatively, you can start out with that monthly fee, and pay as you go. For example, with their Data Engineer Nanodegree, you can pay $1695 for 5 months access, and then $339 for every month after—or pay as you go at $399/month.
Udacity does offer about 200 free courses, though they’re difficult to find. They also offer some scholarship competitions, partnering with Google and AT&T.
How much you spend at Coursera depends on what track you take. Their individual courses are priced from $49-$99, while their tracks that include several courses are often priced higher. If you choose to earn your degree through Coursera, it can cost you as little as $15,000—far below the average $40,000 that students pay at a traditional college.
If you prefer a subscription-based model rather than a one-time purchase, Coursera has plenty of options. Coursera’s Specialization Tracks run on a subscription-based model, and costs anywhere from $29-$79 a month. (They estimate it’ll take you about 3 months to finish a single Specialization track.) Access to the entirety of Coursera’s courses costs $399/ year—which equals out to 2 courses a month to get your money’s worth.
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.
But don’t let large price tag scare you off quite yet—because you can audit almost all of their courses for free. While you won’t earn a certificate or submit peer-graded assignments, you’ll still have access to all the lectures, readings, and learning, without spending a single dollar.
Coursera is by far the better price. Their courses cost less, and their option to audit any class for free allows you to learn as much as you want at no extra cost. If you want to save money, and still have high quality, Coursera is the way to go.
Is Either Better Suited For Different Learners?
Not all learners have the same goals, so not all learners have the same needs. After all, if you’re trying to beef up your resume, you’ll have want a site that’s focused on business, not academic; and if you’re trying to learn how to code, you won’t need a site that focuses on business leadership. Let’s see how our two courses are better suited for different learners.
Because Udacity is linked with many corporations like Facebook and Google, it is much more business and technology focused. Udacity takes itself seriously—it is an investment for serious learners who want to start or boost their business careers. Because their courses are so thorough, it’s for those who want to master skills—and are willing to take the time to do it.
All of Coursera’s courses are created in partnership with colleges, so it’s not surprise it offers a more academic learning experience. You’ll be writing papers, have peer-reviews, and interact together on projects. Coursera feels much like school—but it will also earn you the same official credits that university would. If you’re interested in CEU’s and an academic experience, then Coursera is the way to go.
However, Coursera also works well for those who just want to learn for learning’s sake. 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.
Conclusion: Different Learning Styles
While Coursera is focused on the academic learning, Udacity is focused on the working professional. If you seriously invest time and money to dramatically boost your business and technology skills, Udacity is the way to go—but if you want to earn CEU’s, then Coursera is better for you.
Udacity Vs Coursera: Which Is Better?
While both Coursera and Udacity are high-quality sites, Coursera takes the lead. Its classes are cheaper, their certificates are accredited, and you have the option to audit almost all of their courses for free. Coursera is perfect for the serious or curious learner, with in-depth academic classes, along with some more fun ones. If you want to take ownership of your learning, then Coursera is the site for you. Still want to learn more? Check out our full reviews of Coursera and Udacity to get more knowledge and see which is right for you.