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If you are looking to study with one of the most prestigious online educational platforms out there, then you are probably deciding between edX and Coursera. Deciding on which one is right for you may not be easy.
You may be asking yourself, What are their prices?, How do edX vs Coursera courses compare?, Which one will help me grow professionally?
To answer all these questions and help you out choosing the best platform for your goals, I’ve created this in-depth comparison of edX and Coursera.
Lets get into it!
Table of Content
edX Vs Coursera Summary
edX and Coursera are both online learning platforms that offer a variety of different courses, professional certificates and degree programs. Each platform partners with top Universities and Organizations to design and deliver its courses and programs. edX gives you the option to audit its courses for free, or you can choose to purchase a course ranging from $50 to $300. It’s Master’s degree programs will set you back between $10,000 and $25,000. Like edX, Coursera gives users the option to learn for free on individual courses, its Specializations and Professional Certificates begin at $39 a month and its MasterTrack Certificates can cost you around $2,000. Coursera offers more than 7,000+ courses, whilst edX’s strength is its focus on specific subjects like computer science, engineering and humanities. It’s important for a learner to consider what the course is offering, the cost and its academic credit. An ideal way to get started with either platform is by trying out one of its free courses and if you do decide to purchase a course, many offer a refund policy apart from the degree programs.
Warm up Round: Which One Is More Popular?
Popularity is not really a category that should make us choose one provider over the other, as sometimes popular products or services aren’t always the best choice. I remember the hype for google glasses back in 2014 and where are they now?
However, it’s a good way to assess the market and see where each elearning platform stands.
Google Trends edX vs Coursera
Please note that the screenshot was taken during the COVID-19 period, this explains the spike in the graph.
As you can see in the graph above, there is a clear winner of this popularity contest, Coursera is clearly more popular than edX.
edX was founded in 2012 and is partnered with 160+ prestigious institutions from around the world. In November 2021, it was sold off as a non-profit organization and is now part of a for-profit organization. It has had over 44 million+ users offering more than to 3,600+ courses that are created by their professional partners.
Coursera was also founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors and is partnered with 250+ Universities and Companies. It is an online learning platform that focuses on its partnerships with Universities and Corporations and has had well over 150 million course enrollments. It currently offers more than 5,000 courses, specializations and degrees.
Round 1: Ease-of-Use & Interface
I think we can all agree that having a clear and well-organised interface makes it easy for us to navigate around the platform. So let’s have a look at which one is the most straightforward.
Registering at edX is pretty straightforward, add your full name, public username, email, password and country of residence. Then you will receive an email from edX asking you to activate your account and then you are good to go. If you prefer to sign up via Facebook, Google or Microsoft that is also an option.
Register with edX
The registration process at Coursera is similar, but you’ll only need to add your name, email address and create a password and then click Join for Free. There is also the option to register using your Facebook or Apple account if you prefer.
Backend & Design
After you register with edX you will quickly see how easy it is to navigate around the platform. In the navigation bar you will find Courses, Programs & Degrees, Schools & Partners and edX for Business.
If you are looking to learn with a particular School or Partner , you can navigate directly to this page and your chosen institution and read a brief description and also see which courses they offer with edX.
edX School & Partners
You can use edX from any modern internet browser on your desktop or laptop, or use the app for Apple or Android apps that have a 4.7 rating.
The Coursera platform is really intuitive and easy to move around to navigate around, you can easily find the Universities and Companies that Coursera partners with. It is currently working with 278 partners from 60 different countries. You can read in further detail about its partners and the courses and specializations that they offer.
Coursera Meet our Partners
Coursera is also available from any modern internet browser on your desktop or laptop, or use the Apple app with a 4.8 rating and Android app with a 4.3 rating.
Winner:Coursera does have an easy design and interface, but at times can feel a little packed of information. Whereas edX has a slighter cleaner design, making it easier to find what you are looking for. So, the first point goes to edX.
There you go, edX is leading with 1 point.
Round 2: edX vs Coursera Courses
It’s difficult to say who’s got the best courses around, but let’s try to answer a couple of questions, so you know whether to choose edX or Coursera.
With so many courses and programs available, it’s challenging to find which one you should use. But some elearning communities make it easier than others to find the relevant information.
edX offers a wide array of courses, from introductory courses to career-focused learning. Offering 3,600+ courses with 32 different categories. edX has a helpful filtering system where you can select Subject, Partner, Program, Level, Availability and Language.
edX course filter
You will also be able to find some Learner testimonials and an FAQ at the bottom of the About the course page. Sadly, the learner testimonials feel quite limited, and they don’t give you a well-rounded review of the course from past students.
Coursera offers more courses than edX – more than 5,000 along with specializations and degrees. It has 11 categories and dozens of subcategories. Once you have selected your subject you can then use its helpful filtering system to get really specific on what you are looking for.
Coursera course filters
Once you have picked your chosen course and are on the About this course page you will find it is straightforward to navigate around and with a helpful set of filters like Reviews (see image below) which will take you directly to that part on the page. The Reviews are nicely displayed with a photo of the learner.
Coursera About this Course filters
The overall presentation of the About this Course is visually pleasing and nicely structured making it easy to find what you are looking for.
Winner: It has to be Coursera on this one, due to the number of courses it offers plus its filter system and About this course page.
We have a draw with 1-1
Popular edX and Coursera Courses
Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)– This course is brought to you by the University of Michigan and aims to teach everyone the basics of programming computers using python. You will learn the basics on how to construct a program from a series of simple instructions in Python. This course has a start date for you to enrol on and is 7 weeks long, working 2-4 hours a week.
Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles – This course is brought to you by Harvard University, and it helps to mobilize people to tackle tough problems and build the capacity to thrive. This is an introductory course, where you will explore strategies for leading in a changing world. This course has a start date for you to enrol on and is 4 weeks long, working 2-3 hours a week.
Python Basics for Data Science – This course is brought to you by IBM that is a beginner-friendly introduction to Python for Data Science. The objective of this course is to get you started with Python and give you a taste of how to start working with data in Python. This course has a start date for you to enrol on and is 5 weeks long, working 2-5 hours a week.
Solar Energy Engineering – This MicroMasters Program is brought to you by TU Delft where you will master the technical knowledge for a career in solar energy. The program is taught by photovoltaics research experts from TU Delft, and it includes real-world applications. This program has a start date for you to enrol on and will take you 1 year and 1 month to complete, working 9-10 hours a week.
Product Management Fundamentals – This course is brought to you by University of Maryland and is to help you understand the keys to successfully navigating the roles and responsibilities of being a product manager. This course defines the product manager’s position in an organization and the key responsibilities. This course has a start date for you to enrol on and is 4 weeks long, working 2-3 hours a week.
Machine Learning – A free course to learn the science of getting computers to act without being programmed. It has had more than 4,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.9 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Andrew Ng the Co-founder of Coursera. You have the option to upgrade and purchase the course, where you will earn the certificate for$49.
Getting Started with Power BI Desktop – A 2-hour long project-based course, where you will learn the basics of using Power BI Desktop software. It’s offered by Coursera project network for beginners, with over 30,000 already enrolled and a 4.7 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. It costs$9.99 to take this guided project.
Python for Everybody Specialization – A Specialization to learn to program and analyze data with Python. It has had more than 1,000,000 students enrolled in this specialization and a 4.8 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Charles Russell Severance and partnered with University of Michigan. It will take approximately 8 months to complete, and costs $49 a month, with a 7-day free trial available.
Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate – A Professional Certificate to launch your career in social media marketing to build job-ready skills and credentials. It has had more than 50,000 students enrolled in this professional certificate and a 4.9 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Anke Audenaert and partnered with Facebook. It will take approximately 7 months to complete, and costs $49 a month, with a 7-day free trial available.
Machine Learning for Analytics – In this 4-course program, you’ll develop skills in statistics and machine learning to advance your career as a data science professional. The certificate is partnered with The University of Chicago and will take you 5 months to complete. You can either do a 1 off payment for$3,900 or 4 payments for $1,000 monthly.
BSc Computer Science – Earn a Bachelors Degree with University of London to give you a strong foundation in Computer Science and specialized knowledge of topics such as Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Web Development. The Bachelors degree should take you 3-6 years and will cost you between £11,229 – £16,790 ($15,230 – $22,872). You will need to apply for the Bachelors Degree.
Round 3: Free Courses At edX & Coursera
A popular question I get asked frequently is: Where do I find the best free courses?
The truth is, it really does depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking to learn a skill without the need of a certificate or proof you have studied on that course, then studying for free is probably right for you.
edX Audit This Course
edX offers the option on its courses to take the Audit Track(see image above), meaning you will be able to learn for free. This does come with its limitations like access to the course materials, you won’t receive a certificate of completion, and you can’t participate in graded assignments and exams. But it’s hard to complain, isn’t it? When you are learning for free from top Universities and Organizations.
Coursera offers more than 2,500+ courses for free these courses are really easy to find. When you land on the homepage and click on ‘Explore’ in the header, there is an option that says ‘Take a free course’. Once there you will find all the free courses available (see image below). You won’t be able to receive a certificate with the free version of these courses, but if you do change your mind and want to purchase the course you can and that way receive a certificate.
Coursera, like edX offers the option to audit the course, which means you will get access to most of the course material for free, but you won’t be able to submit certian assignments, get grades for your work or earn a course certificate. The only real difference to edX is the fact that the ‘Audit the course’ option is a little more hidden and some learners may miss it (see image below).
Coursera Audit the course
Winner: The fact that both edX and Coursera are offering 1000s of free courses, it really makes it hard to pick one over the other. So in this case, they deserve a point each.
That means the score is 2-2
Round 4: Available Languages at edX & Coursera
This will be a short round, I promise.
edX courses are mostly taught in English. Some courses are offered in other languages such as Spanish, French or Chinese, but this obviously can’t be promised on all courses. I think it is best to presume the course will probably be in English.
Whereas Coursera has a wide range of languages available including the following; English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Chinese, Chinese (Traditional) and more. The majority of the video lessons have an interactive transcript (also available on the mobile app).
Coursera’s languages available
Once you have selected your subject category you are then able to view what languages are available with the filter system.
This leaves the score 3-2, Coursera is leading this one.
Round 5: edX Vs Coursera Certificates
If you are considering edX or Coursera for its accredited certificates, then you are considering the right types of elearning platforms.
When you successfully pass an edX course, you will receive a verified certificate. The verified certificate includes; The course name, The instructor’s signature, The logo of the partner institution, valid certificate ID.
edX verified certificate example
Learners who originally audit the course can still upgrade to a verified certificate. The fee of the verified certificates vary from course to course.
Coursera works in a similar way, once you have completed a course with Coursera you will receive a verified certificate that includes: The course name, The instructor’s signature, The logo of the partner institution, A verification URL that allows others to check the Certificate’s authenticity, A statement that Coursera has confirmed the identity of the learner who completed the course.
Coursera verified certificate example
You will be able to download, print and share your certificates. Like edX if you take the course in the audit mode, you can then upgrade to a paid Certificate at any time during your audit.
edX is partnered with some top institutions like Harvard and MIT and Coursera alike has partnerships with Duke and Imperial College, which are very impressive.
Winner: Again it is going to have to be a draw with both edX and Coursera taking a point each.
The score is 4-3 to Coursera
Round 6: Course Quality & Instructors
Finding the right instructor can be key for your learning success, you want to feel it is someone you can connect with and is passionate about the subject they are teaching that will keep you engaged and motivated.
At edX its courses are taught by an instructor from one its top partnered institutions, which is reassuring that the instructors are top experts in their fields.
edX Meet your Instructors
You can read a small blurb about his or her prior experience and social links, and it also highlights their areas of expertise.
Every course at Coursera is created alongside its partnered institution, which is reassuring the course is top quality. Before the courses are open to the public, they will use Beta testers (experts and enthusiasts) to review and give feedback to ensure it is of the highest quality.
Coursera instructor bio
An instructor rating is included in the course description, you can then click to read his/her bio and prior experience and social media links. In this case, the instructor of this course is also the Co-Founder of Coursera.
Winner: This one will have to go to Coursera, for its high course quality and top Instructors.
That means Coursera is out in the lead with 5-3
Round 7: Is edX or Coursera’s Support Better
I really like the edX help center, you can pretty much find out anything that you want help with. Plus you can click on popular topics like Courses, Certificates, Payments & Refunds directly.
edX Help Center
They have a detailed FAQ and a helpful Contact Us option to submit a support ticket including Subject, Course name and Details and edX will get back in touch.
Coursera offers a very similar support system to edX where you can search for a specific topic or you can check out directly popular topics like Account Setup, Payments, Enrollment etc.
Coursera live chat
Coursera also offers a live chat along as you are logged in. This can be particularly helpful if you are looking for something very specific and the standard help articles aren’t enough.
Winner: This is a tricky one, but because of its live chat support. Coursera just about gets this one.
Many businesses and organizations like to offer their employees a source to keep on learning and develop their professional skills. edX and Coursera aren’t an exception.
edX for Business delivers on-demand elearning solutions to help companies grow and thrive. The platform supports companies of all sizes to upskill its employees with content from top Companies like Google and IBM. Its pricing is customized depending on how big your team is and what exactly it is you are looking for.
edX for Business
Coursera offers training and development programs that have been developed by top institutions for Businesses. Coursera has a couple of packages, Team and Enterprise. The Team package is for teams and small organizations and is $399 a year for each user in a team or small organization, giving them access to over 5,000+ courses. The second option is the Custom Pricing that is larger organizations.
Coursera for Business
Winner: Both platforms share some similarities in what they are offering, but it seems that edX really focuses on curating personalized for its team and business.
That means edX takes a point we are now at 6-4. Still with Coursera in the lead
Round 9: edx vs Coursera Pricing
The price of your course will be a deciding factor when choosing an elearning platform, if you can’t afford its cost, maybe you should look for cheaper alternatives, right?
Coursera Plus is another payment method which lets you pay an annual subscription to access the majority of the courses on Coursera. There is no limit to courses you enroll in, and you will earn a Course Certificate on every course you complete. It costs $339 for the annual subscription and does not include degrees or Mastertrack certificates.
Winner: This is a close one, but due to the fact Coursera offers a few different payment methods, the point has to go to them.
The score is 7-4 to Coursera winning the comparison
Bonus Round: edX & Coursera Alternatives
There are times when neither edX nor Coursera are the right option, and you may be looking for something else. It could be a more diverse range of courses or a strong sense of online community. So, I have put together a few alternatives for you to consider.
It’s an online learning platform that specializes in topics like data science and analytics. Its 350+ courses are bite sized and engaging. You can choose between learning a new technology, Career Tracks or Skill Tracks.
If you are looking for a platform that delivers high-quality courses that are built in partnership with industry leaders and recognized by future employees, then Datacamp maybe for you.
If a variety of courses is something that you are looking for, then you are considering the right online learning platform. Udemy offers such a diversity of courses, there really is no limit to what you could learn with categories like “Finance & Accounting” to “Lifestyle”.
Udemy is an alternative to edX and Coursera
If you are looking for a career change and develop professional skills or looking to dabble in an exciting new hobby like cake decorating, then Udemy has it all. It offers 500+ courses for free, so you can try out the platform before financially committing.
Not only does Skillshare offer a generous 1-month free trial, but its highly engaged community of learners makes it appealing for many. Many of its classes involve peer assessments, which keeps its classes interactive and fun.
Skillshare an alternative to edX and Coursera
Skillshare believes in the importance of community to empower one another from members to teachers and to employees.
Hopefully, this detailed edX vs Coursera comparison has cleared up most of your questions and doubts. You may now have a better idea as to which online learning is right for you. I have highlighted below their strengths and weaknesses to give you a takeaway summary of each platform.
Free Courses: You have the option to audit a course, which means learning on a course for free, this does come with some limitations like no graded assignments or certificate.
Accredited: edX offers accredited courses and learning programs that are partnered with top Universities and Organizations.
Refund Policy: edX offers a 14-day refund policy, if you decide within the first 2 weeks that the course or learning program isn’t for you, you’ll have a money-back guarantee.
Flexibility: The Majority of its courses are self-paced, so you can learn at a time that suits you.
Limited Topics: edX specializes in academic topics and sciences, if you are looking for alternative categories, it might be best to check out platforms like MasterClass or Skillshare.
Prior Knowledge: Some courses or learning programs at edX maybe require prior knowledge as some of its courses can be quite challenging.
Both edX and Coursera offer courses and learning programs that have been designed by partnered Universities and Organizations, so when you successfully complete a course you will receive an accredited certificate from the partnered University or Organization. edX focuses more on humanities and natural sciences, whereas Coursera focuses on topics like computer science and business degrees. Deciding on the best platform for you depends on your personal preferences and the specific courses you’re interested in
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.
19/05/23 – edX vs Coursera: FAQ
30/03/23 – edX vs Coursera Summary
28/02/23 – edX and Coursera Pros & Cons
25/08/22 – Free Courses at edX & Coursera
15/08/22 – General Update & Added Datacamp Alternative
08/08/22 – General Update
15/12/21 – edX vs Coursera Quiz & General Update
13/07/21 – edX vs Coursera Quiz
Hey. I am Catherine and I have been working as a freelancer for many years now. In 2005, I graduated from a BA honours in Art & Design from BCU and then went onto complete a Master’s Degree in Teaching from UEL. The skills I gained from learning and teaching have led me to create Upskillwise, a place for learners like myself to find the best possible resources and courses to train and upskill themselves, either personally or professionally. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.
Very useful, thanks! Its annoying that coursea is trying to push users to pay for their subsription service, rather than giving us more freedom to get all the products individually.
Thanks Alex for your comment. Coursera does offer lots of different learning programs with a wide price range. I hope you find what you are looking for 🙂
I don’t think they are pushing hard… and to be honest it looks that I’ll continue only with coursera (even if I still have more respect to edX and love cs50, not available on coursera) due to lack of annual subscription option for ‘membership’ on edX. If you want to do one course only its not an issue but if you are hungry for knowledge (certified) maths are looking far better on annual subscription prices…unless you want to rush through the courses in 7 days on coursera… free cert, yay! but on some courses it’s not possible and deadlines are… Read more »
Excellent info share…….”excellently done/articulated/structured/created” …..crisp, intuitive…..even when it is so difficult these days to differentiate between Potato-Potaato..you know the rest (When Harry Met Sally)…….Thank you so very much
Thanks so much Saanvi for your lovely comment. So happy the article was so helpful for you and has given you some clear differentiations between the two platforms. Happy learning 🙂
So for both EDX and Coursera you can’t have professional certificates with the annual subscription for any course you want?
Sadly, only on coursera. I would be delighted to see such option on edX
I am trying to figure out whether to go for the Coursera Plus subscription. It seems that Coursera prices are way lower if you want to complete Specializations. Even otherwise, it feels that edX has comparatively much higher prices.
To the point that I feel that price sort of becomes an overwhelming factor in this case?
Thanks for your comment. I agree it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming to decide on the right online learning platform. What I would say is that Coursera Plus subscription is a good option if you want to try out multiple courses. But if you are focused on one particular course or learning program from either Coursera or edX its best to just pay for the individual program. Good luck with your decision 🙂
Thank you very much, Catherine. Your article is very helpful. It is just what I needed. For flexibility, I will just go ahead with Coursera.
So glad it’s so helpful and helped your decision, Wumi. Happy learning 🙂
On Coursera,I can still find free and open courses of high quality allowing access to all learning materials. Absent that, I’d avoid it and the platform issues around usability that have crept in there, even for free courses. Once in a while, I purchase a certtificate to show my appreciation. Coursera also presents more than a few courses with very unprofessional production values, and for which they would be unwise to expect many learners to purchase certificates. Generally, edX courses maintain high production and pedagogical values, and I support that platform as well by purchasing course certificates. The sham contest… Read more »
Thanks Dan, for your insightful and detailed comment. It is really helpful for potential users to hear about your experience of the two platforms. Good luck for future learning 🙂
An important difference that I learned after losing a lot of money is that edX courses are inflexible in terms of time. I had paid a hefty amount in advance for the Micromasters in Data Science course from MIT on EdX just before the pandemic. During the pandemic, I missed the deadline for a course I was enrolled in. I had no idea that I will never get a chance again after missing the deadline for just one assignment. I was not allowed to move ahead in the course and eventually the course was archived after some time. The course… Read more »
Thanks Bibhu for your comment. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with edX, but happy to hear you have had such a great experience with Coursera. I hope your positive learning experience continues with Coursera 🙂
I just did a similar programming course with Coursera and edX and did not enjoy Coursera at all. Little to no help, tons of people in the forums asking questions with no response and confusing study material that failed to show the connection between the material you read and watch versus the assignment given. The course at edX however had a very engaging moderator who was constantly in the forum helping people out and answering questions and the biggest positive was the course material was clearly laid out so that the assignment could be solved if you re-reviewed the chapter… Read more »
Thanks Jenny for your comment. I am happy to hear you had such a great learning experience with edX and the moderator was so involved in answering questions and gave you the tools you need to pass the course. Good luck with any future learning you do 🙂
Thanks Catherine, this is an outstanding review and very helpful for many of us! Cheers.
You are welcome, Alvaro. So happy, it’s so helpful and will help you choose the right online learning platform for you 🙂
Thanks Catherine and Josep for this great article! It really helps! 🙂
Thank you, Guy. So happy you enjoyed the article 🙂
What a great review! I initially enrolled for edX’s IBM data analyst fundamental professional certificate (3 courses) at ~300USD while the full program (9 courses) was near USD800.
I then found out that Coursera offered the same full program (9 courses) for way cheaper (provided you choose the right plan + other factors such as learning time)
So bummed. Wished I chanced upon this article earlier
Thanks April, for your comment and feedback. I hope you still had a positive learning experience 🙂
Thank you Eduardo. So happy it was helpful. Happy learning 🙂
thanks for this well detailed comparaison, i was hesitant between the two but after this i think that i have a winner.
Thanks so much. Really pleased it helped you make the decision on which platform is right for you 🙂
Loved the article. Filled with information. Great work!!!!!
Thanks so much Aditya. Happy you enjoyed it 🙂
Wow that was very detailed and clear. Thank you
Thanks, Gabrielle. Happy it was helpful. Good luck and happy learning 🙂
Great info and comparison.
Thank you, Prateek. Happy you enjoyed the comparison 🙂
Great Helppp 🙂 .. Thank Youuu
Thank you, Hammaad. Happy it was so helpful 🙂
After reading this, I think Coursera is the better option. LOVELY <3
Thanks, Alex. Happy the article was helpful, and that Coursera is right for you. Happy learning 🙂
I enjoyed your article very much! I have used both platforms, and have many certificates from Coursera, none from EdX. I have completed many edX audited courses, and I have always chafed at their time structure. If you complete a chapter promptly, you still have to wait until the next one becomes available. With Coursera, if I cram a chapter, I can instantly move to the next one. To me that makes a huge difference! That is why I have paid the Coursera Plus $399 fee. I have considered trying edX, but they don’t have something like Coursera Plus. That,… Read more »
Thanks, Irving, for your comment. That is true with Coursera you are able to move to the next chapter instantly once you are finished which for learners working at a quicker pace, it is definitely a plus. Thank you again for sharing 🙂
Very helpful article. Thank you!
Thank you, Omar. I am happy you found it helpful. Happy learning 🙂
Thanks for the indepth comparison! Very helpful.
Thanks, Chris. I am happy you found it helpful. Happy learning 🙂
You missed out that Coursera offers 100% financial support to some learners!
Thank you. I will make sure that I add this to the review 🙂