Udemy vs. Coursera: Which one is best?

You’ve probably heard of Coursera and Udemy, right?

They are two of the biggest e-learning platforms and offer a wide variety of courses in different fields for you to choose from. They have established a global name for themselves, putting them at the forefront of your mind when you think of taking an online course.

However, choosing the right platform that suits your needs is very important.

But, which e-learning platform is better, you might ask?

Both platforms offer unique experiences, and the question isn’t really about the best platform but which one aligns with your needs and learning process.

This article will discuss these online course platforms in detail, enabling you to make an informed decision.

But before we get to that, let’s discuss both platforms in detail, shall we?

udemy vs coursera - luca tagliaferro

What is Udemy?

Udemy is a global e-learning platform launched in 2009 that sells online video courses on various topics. Currently, this platform has over 50 million registered global users and offers over 200,000 courses across 13 different categories.

Some categories include business, IT& software, personal development, music, marketing, lifestyle, office productivity, finance, design, and others. Additionally, independent instructors create and offer most of the courses on Udemy.

Everybody, from individuals to businesses, can use Udemy to learn and host their own courses. Unlike other e-learning platforms, learners only have to pay a one-time fee to access their courses for life. Udemy offers an option for businesses to empower their employees with the Udemy for Business feature. With this feature, they help businesses to develop their employees with ease.

With Udemy for Business, you get small team training, leadership development, enterprise training, remote team training, and customer success training. They also offer courses by industry and team, meaning whether you are in manufacturing, finance, government, data science, or an executive, there are courses available for you.

 As mentioned earlier, Udemy offers a wide variety of courses. 

This makes it the best platform to fit any of your needs, whether professional, personal, beginner or advanced.

Udemy Pricing

Udemy courses typically range from $19.99 to $199.99, which can be on the high side, especially compared with other e-learning platforms. 

However, this one-time payment offers lifetime access, and Udemy usually offers regular discounts. 

With these discounts, you may eventually not have to pay as much as the advertised price.

On the other hand, the pricing for Udemy for Business differs from the average pricing and also factors in the organization’s size. Different plans are available: Team plan (5-20 users), Enterprise plan (21 or more users), and Leadership Development programs. 

The Team plan goes for $360 per user, while for the other plans, you have to request a quote.

Pros of Udemy

      • It offers affordable online courses.

      • There are a wide variety of free courses available.

      • One-time payment guarantees lifetime access to the course.

      • Udemy offers over 200,000 courses in 13 categories.

      • It offers 30 days’ money back.

      • It is easy to use.

      • It has an in-built payment processor.

    Cons of Udemy

        • Unaccredited completion certificates.

        • Lack of thorough course quality control.

        • Inconsistent pricing model.

      What is Coursera?

      Coursera is one of the top e-learning platforms, founded in 2011 by University of Stanford academics. Compared to Udemy, it is more formal as it uses Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) to offer a variety of courses. 

      Coursera partners with top organizations and universities to offer these courses on different topics on their platform. Additionally, they also offer degrees and specializations.

      Coursera courses are flexible and are highly recognized by different organizations and employers. Adding a Coursera certificate to your resume can increase your worth.  

      There are over 7000 courses, degree certificates, specializations, and guided projects available on this platform for you to choose from. 

      Plus, this platform has more than 25,000 free courses on different subjects.

      Coursera also classifies its courses, and some of the categories include data science, computer science, business, information technology, personal development, math & logic, social sciences, language learning, arts & humanities, physical science & engineering, and health.

      Apart from individuals, Coursera also has options for businesses, universities, and governments. 

      Coursera for Business provides courses for businesses to develop and upskill their employees, increasing productivity and the bottom line. 

      Coursera campus, on the other hand, enables universities to access on-demand skilled courses for their students, faculty, and staff.


      Coursera Pricing

      They offer different payment plans, as there are courses requiring individual payments, while others can be paid monthly or annually. 

      Some of its courses and projects go for as low as $9.99, while the online degrees can cost over $40,000, with some starting at $9,000. Specializations and professional certificates, on the hand, start at $39 per month and can take between 1 to 6 months to complete.

      MasterTrack certificates, which can take 4 to 7 months to complete start at $2,000.

      Coursera Plus, a subscription plan, gives you unlimited access to the different courses, projects, and certifications, and it goes for $59 per month or $399 per year.

      Coursera for Business offers two pricing plans; Team (5 to 125 users) and Enterprise (over 125 users). The former goes for $399 per user, while for Enterprise, you have to contact sales for a quote.  

      The same goes for Coursera for government and Coursera campus.

      Pros of Coursera

          • It offers over 2500 free courses.

          • Coursera has affordable courses and degree programs.

          • More than 200 top global organizations and Universities have courses on Coursera.

          • Learners can download the course material.

          • It offers industry-recognized certificates.

        Cons of Coursera

            • Inconsistent pricing

            • Not beginner-friendly

            • Tiresome application procedure

            • No course flexibility

            • No course access after completion

            • Coursera doesn’t offer certificates for free courses.

          Udemy vs. Coursera

          Now that we have discussed both platforms in detail let’s look at them together. Here, we will compare both platforms using factors like ease of use, pricing, credibility, and others. So, let’s get right to it.

            1. Ease of Use

            Ease of use is one of the top features that learners lookout for when choosing an e-learning platform. So, let’s see how both platforms fare.

            Udemy Ease of Use

            It is very simple to register on Udemy – all you need is your name, email, and password, and you are ready to use the platform.

            Udemy’s user interface and navigation are also straightforward, with the categories section and search tab located at the top of the page.

            If you are spoiled for choice and have no idea what course to choose, the Top Categories and Featured Topics section is located at the bottom of the page.


            Coursera Ease of Use

            Registering on Coursera is similar to that of Udemy, but you also have the option to use your Apple, Google, or Facebook account to register.

            Coursera is intuitive; you get myriad courses, projects, and certification options once you enter the platform. The interface is easy, but the site information can be overwhelming at first glance.

            At the bottom of the page, you can find a list of the popular and top-rated courses on Coursera if you are confused on which course to choose.

            Here, the clear winner is Udemy, simply because of the simplification of the platform.

              1. Course Catalogue

              Both Udemy and Coursera offer online courses on various topics and subjects. Let’s take a look at how they compare with each other.

              Udemy Course Catalogue

              Udemy offers over 200,000 online video courses in 13 categories, from development to IT, business, lifestyle, and personal development. The probability of getting any course on any subject of your choice on Udemy is high. There are over 500 free courses available on this platform. Additionally, most of the courses taught on Udemy are more practical and require a hands-on application.

              For example, the web development and coding courses on Udemy require learners to complete assignments and assessments.

              Coursera Course Catalogue

              Coursera offers over 7,000 courses in 11 different categories, which include data science, computer science, business, information technology, personal development, math & logic, social sciences, language learning, arts & humanities, physical science & engineering, and health.

              The courses on this platform span several topics, and accredited universities and organizations are in charge of developing these courses. As stated earlier, Coursera offers Guided Projects, professional certifications, courses, degree programs, MasterTrack certification, and others.

              The courses vary with time frame, comprehensiveness, and pricing – some going for as low as $9.99 and others going as high as $50,000 (degree programs). 

              With the different learning pathways, most Coursera courses have minimal similarities. 

              However, they usually come with video lectors and transcripts, additional resources, communities, and assessments.

              Udemy wins this just for the wide variety of courses it offers.

                1. Course Quality and Availability

                The quality of courses is a critical factor that needs to be considered when choosing an e-learning platform.

                Udemy Course Quality and Availability

                Each course has an introduction video that you can watch, giving you an overview of what the course will entail before you purchase it. You can use students’ feedback to determine which courses deliver what they advertise and which don’t.

                Regarding availability, Udemy offers learners lifetime access to the courses they purchase. This means they can access the courses long after they purchase them.

                Coursera Course Quality and Availability

                Coursera offers an “About this Course” page that gives learners an overview of the courses on the platform. Like Udemy, Coursera courses are rated by students, and a review section is available for you to read about the course quality. 

                Coursera courses are also created by accredited organizations and universities, proving they are of high quality.

                Regarding availability, Coursera courses have a time frame that must be followed. This is because the course materials are only available for the course duration, and access will be closed once the time elapses. If you fail the course, you will also have to pay again to access the materials.

                This section is tied because Coursera leads in course quality, and Udemy leads in availability.

                    1. Course Structure

                  Udemy and Coursera adopt different learning processes – Coursera is more structured, while Udemy is self-led.

                  Udemy Course Structure

                  Most Udemy courses are video-based, with multiple lectures and learning modules. With some courses, learners can download word files, PowerPoint presentations, audio files, PDF files, and others, and there may be several exercises and assessments for them to do. 

                  If you prefer to go at your own pace, Udemy may be the right option, as the instructors provide multiple video courses and resources for you.

                  As I mentioned earlier, you can access these lectures and resources anytime, giving you a flexible learning experience.

                  Coursera Course Structure

                  If you prefer a more structured learning experience, Coursera may be a better option. Coursera offers learners video content and additional resources to aid their learning, and it functions like an average online college class. Learners must be enrolled by a specific date and complete their coursework before the end date. 

                  Plus, you are obligated to follow the class schedule once you enroll for a course on Coursera.

                  Both Udemy and Coursera win this round as the winner for you depends on your learning style.

                      1. Instructor Quality

                    A course is only as good as the person that teaches it, which is why instructor quality is very important. Coursera and Udemy go different routes with the type of instructors they have on their platforms.

                    Udemy Instructor Quality

                    Udemy brands itself as a marketplace for courses, meaning that almost anyone can create a course and sell it on their platform. This may not be a good thing in terms of quality control because the platform doesn’t have any strict control measures in place. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any excellent or high-quality instructors on the platform; it just means that you will have to do due diligence to ensure you are investing in a good instructor.

                    Most instructors on Udemy have a small bio where you can read about them and their experiences. Reading this alongside reviews and ratings from former students will give you an idea of how good the course is. There is also a popular instructors and best-selling courses category to make your decision easier.

                    Coursera Instructor Quality

                    The barrier to entry on Coursera is high, as only professional instructors and educators from accredited institutions can teach courses on the platform. Some institutions that offer courses on Coursera include Google, Meta, IBM, the University of London, Yale University, the University of Washington, Amazon Web Service, and the University of Pennsylvania.

                    With the instructors associated with these credible organizations, you can be sure of the quality of learning you will get.

                        1. Pricing and Refund Policies

                      Pricing is another essential factor you must consider when choosing an e-learning platform, and both Coursera and Udemy offer varying pricing plans.

                      Udemy Pricing

                      On average, Udemy charges between $30 to $70 per course, and their prices may go as high as $199.99, which may be costly for most people. However, Udemy usually runs heavy discounts all year round, making it easy for learners to get the best deals. Regardless of price, all courses on this platform have a 30-day money-back guarantee clause. 

                      This means that if you purchase a course and you don’t like it, you can get your money back as long as it is within the first thirty days after your purchase.

                      Coursera Pricing

                      The pricing on Coursera is more varied as there are different pricing plans. Some of the courses on this platform range from $29 to $99 per course. Online degree programs, on the other hand, start at $9,000 and can go as high as $50,000. Additionally, specializations and professional certificates start at $39 per month and can take 1 to 6 months to complete.

                      MasterTrack certificates, which can take 4 to 7 months to complete, start at $2,000, while Coursera Plus goes for $59 per month or $399 per year. With the Coursera Plus subscription, you can access all courses and certifications, except degree and MasterTrack certificates. 

                      Besides, Coursera offers a 14-day money-back guarantee close on most of its courses.

                          1. Language Support

                        Udemy supports over 70 languages, and you can filter courses by language on this platform. Some of the languages supported by Udemy include English, Spanish, Portuguese, Deutsch, Italian, Turkish, and Malaysian.

                        Just like Udemy, you can find online courses in various languages on Coursera. Some languages you can filter your courses on this platform include Spanish, French, Korean, Russian, Chinese, English, Deutsch, Portuguese, and others. Coursera also offers an interactive transcript and subtitles for most video lessons.

                            1. Certificate Credibility

                          If you want an accredited certificate for your online course, you may be better off opting for Coursera over Udemy.

                          Udemy Certificate Credibility

                          Udemy offers learners certificates after they complete a course, but the credibility of the certificates is not certain. This is because most of the instructors on Udemy are not accredited, meaning you can use Udemy to enhance your skill set, but the certificates have no place on your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

                          However, Udemy for Business is more quality assured as it is curated methodically by the Udemy team – so certificates from Udemy for Business courses are more valid than the average Udemy course.

                          Coursera Certificate Credibility

                          Coursera is known to be associated with accredited universities and organizations that create courses on its platform. The certificates received after course completion are recognized everywhere and will help boost your resume and work profile. Coursera certificates are recognized because the courses are structured and are backed by credible institutions and instructors, like Yale, Cambridge, Duke, IBM, Meta, and Google. However, if you are just auditing a course on Coursera, you will not receive a certificate.

                              1. Customer Support

                            In terms of support, both platforms offer effective systems.

                            Udemy Customer Support

                            Udemy is known for its fast response time, and you can get support on this platform via live chat. The live chat option is very easy to use, and the AI offers immediate answers to your queries. If you have specific questions that the bot cannot answer, you will be redirected to chat with an Udemy support representative. Additionally, Udemy does not offer email support, but users can submit request channels if they want to contact customer support.

                            There is also an FAQ resource center available to get answers to frequently asked questions.

                            Coursera Customer Support

                            Unlike Udemy, Coursera’s customer support response time is not as fast, and its live chat support is not straightforward. Users have to dig around the sigh to find a support chat channel. This platform also does not offer email support, as you will have to use your account to submit a request, and the response time is usually around two business days. Coursera also offers a resource hub where users can find information about payments, account setup, enrollment, and other topics.

                                1. Popularity

                              Even though popularity shouldn’t be a significant factor when choosing an e-learning platform, it indicates how other users perceive the platforms. In terms of popularity, Udemy takes the lead over Coursera.

                              Udemy, which has been operational for 12 years, currently has over 740 million global users, while Coursera, operational for 11 years, has over 200 million learners. Udemy also has over 200,000 courses, while Coursera has more than 7,000. Additionally, in terms of monthly website visits, Udemy averaged over 119 million, while Coursera averaged more than 50 million as of December 2021.

                              Wrapping It Up

                              From our review, we can see that Udemy took the lead in some areas, while in others, it was Coursera. However, the final verdict on the best platform still depends on you and your needs. Do you want a structured learning program? If yes, it is best to opt for Coursera. Do you want a platform that offers courses in different fields? If yes, you can choose Udemy.

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