You know to do your research, but sometimes, reviews can do you more harm than good.
“This product is works really well!” “These courses are so thorough!” “This is a great tool.” When it comes to online learning, you can find review after review telling you what the writer liked and didn’t. But that review is only for one site. Maybe the lectures were high quality—but were they the highest quality? Or does another site have better quality options? Without this information, the reviews do you little good. At best, they can waste your valuable time and energy—at worst, you can end up spending money and months on a sub-par site.
But you don’t have to.
Today, we’re going to review two of the top names in online-learning-sites. 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 vs. Udemy
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—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.
Udemy’s motto is to “improve lives through learning”—a personal motto as well, as the founder grew up in a remote Turkish village, began learning advanced mathematics online, and was able to create a better life through his knowledge. Udemy seeks to help anyone learn anything, and so offers videos on over 3,000 topics, and in 65 languages.
Because Udemy’s goal is to help “anyone learn anything” they have a wide range of topics, from technology to beauty to art. Each course is made up of 5-10-minute videos, and include quizzes and certificates of completion.
Which Is Easier To Use?
The first thing you’ll notice about any site is its ease of use. After all, you don’t want to have to scroll through pages and pages of nice-but-irrelevant information, just to find the one thing you need. Or if videos take too long to stream, 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.
Udemy doesn’t offer any personalized suggestions for beginners, as those are generated from your previous courses—they simply have their entire library, there for you to browse by topics, or search for keywords. They have several large categories, each with individual sub-categories. As you scroll, you can see the ratings of each course, along with how many users have taken that course. While ratings can be useful, they can also be deceiving, as Udemy asks for the first review about twenty minutes into the course—which is far too short a time to judge the quality of the entire course.
Because Udemy’s lessons are divided into 2-10-minute videos, they’re easy to learn in between other tasks. They also offer an app, and videos are downloadable, so you can learn on your commute or on your plane ride.
Their video player offers an array of useful features as well. You can adjust the playback speed of any video, or simply read the transcript given. You can skip ahead to future lessons if you’d like, and come back to older ones when you wish. Udemy makes the process simple to start, so you don’t have to be caught up in anything other than learning.
Conclusion: Udemy Vs Coursera Ease Of Use
While it’s close, Udemy takes the edge on Coursera here. Though Udemy doesn’t offer as many recommendations and you have to pick videos yourself, it doesn’t have Coursera’s differing tracks to confuse learners, and lacks any hoops to jump through to purchase courses individually.
Which Has Better Quality?
When it comes down to it, this is the most important part of any learning site. 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 Udemy 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
On Udemy, to help anyone learn anything, they’ve allowed anyone to teach—which can bring problems. While this does allow for hundreds of lessons on any subject, there’s no vetting process for either instructors or video courses. Because of this, there’s no quality control. This also means that certificates of completion from Udemy are not worth much on your resume.
Some users have complained of poorly-made videos, or barely-understandable audio. There have also been reports of unethical and scamming methods taught in these online courses. Even if the instructor is attempting to do their best, often the information can be out-of-date, especially when working with technology or design fields.
Udemy’s rating system is intended to help weed out these poor courses, and does often allow the high-quality courses to rise to the top. However, reviews can be misleading, as responses are submitted after only 20 minutes of instruction, and users may not even know that the information being taught is incorrect.
Conclusion: Udemy Vs Coursera Quality
Coursera, with its partnerships with world-class universities, clearly takes this round.
Does Either Offer Special Tools Or Perks?
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 as 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.
Because Udemy has a very simplified learning process, it doesn’t offer any tools or toys for its learners to utilize.
Scores: Coursera: 2/5, Udemy: 0/5
Is Either Site Suited To 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.
Udemy is for those who simply want to learn something—the ever curious. With a price tag of $10-20, there’s not a huge commitment, and you’re free to graze where you wish. This is a site that helps you to learn those things you were always curious about: Photograph, Yoga, Dance, Beauty and Makeup, Gaming, or even Pet Care and Training. Udemy is a better site for learning hobbies or learning for your personal sake.
Conclusion: Udemt Vs Coursera Different Learners
Coursera: Serious, Academic Learning
Udemy: Personal, Hobby Learning
Udemy Vs Coursera Price
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 Udemy 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—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.
While many of Udemy’s course have a list price of $100-$250, in reality, almost-constant sales put their price more commonly at $10-$20 per course. While there is no option to watch courses for free, Udemy does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee—a useful tool to help lessen the problem of possible low-quality courses.
Conclusion: Udemy Vs Coursera Price
Tied, but for different reasons. Coursera’s quality makes it far worth its price, and Udemy’s cheap price makes it easy to buy.
Which Is Better: Udemy Vs Coursera
When it comes down to it, Coursera is a better learning option. Udemy is useful if you want to simply learn a new hobby, but the required payment and low-quality detract from it too much. Coursera gives high-quality courses, with a range of topics, thoroughly taught by the best instructors, and the option to audit classes for free. If you want to learn and grow your knowledge, Coursera is the site to use. Still on the fence? You can read our full review of Udemy here and our full review of Coursera here.