edX vs Coursera: 9 Rounds To Find The Champion

Catherine Cooke

16 September, 2020

edx-vs-coursera-banner

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.

edX Vs Coursera Summary

edX courses vary in price ranging from ($50 to $300). It also offers Masters degrees which can be anywhere from ($10,000 to $25,000). Coursera’s individual courses range from  ($29 to $99) also with the option of Online Degrees around $25,000. Coursera offers nearly 4000 courses whilst edX’s strength is its focus on particular subjects like computer science, engineering and humanities.

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

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 145+ prestigious institutions from around the world. It is a non-profit organization and has had over 24 million global learners offering close to 3,000 courses that are created by their professional partners.

Coursera was also founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors and is partnered with 200 institutions. It is an elearning platform that focuses on its partnerships with Universities and Corporations and has had well over 150 million course enrollments. It currently offers close to 4,000 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.

Registration

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.

edX account registration process

edX account registration process

The registration process at Coursera is similar, but you’ll only need to add your name, email address and create 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 short description and also see which courses they offer with edX.

edX School & Partners

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.

Coursera has an equally logical platform to navigate around. When you arrive on its homepage you are greeted with the 200+ partners they collaborate with and the sense of global community that they have.

Coursera Meet our Partners

Coursera Meet our Partners

Then you can browse the different partners and read a little about them and the courses and specializations that they offer.

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.

Course Information

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 well over 2,800 courses with 31 different categories. edX has a helpful filtering system where you can select Subject, Partner, Program, Level, Availability and Language.

edX course filter

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 – close to 4,000 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

Coursera course filters

Once you have picked your chosen course and are on the About this course page you will find it is really easy 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

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

edX Courses

Introduction to Computer Science (CS50) Harvard – This course enables you to learn and understand computer science and programming with over 1,600,000 students enrolled. It is a 12-week course that is self-paced and partnered with HarvardX where you can receive (if you pay for the course) a verified certificate on course completion.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python MITx – This course is designed for someone with no prior exposure to computer science or programming with over 1,800,000 students enrolled. It is a 9-week course that is partnered by MIT. You can receive a paid verified certificate on course completion.

Introduction to Linux LinuxFoundationX – This course is designed for experienced computer users who have limited or no exposure to Linux, with an enrollment of over 600,000 students. It is a 14-week course that is self-paced and partnered with The Linux Foundation.

Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel Microsoft – In this data science course, you will get an introduction to the latest version of new tools in Excel 2016 with over 800,000 students enrolled. It is a 6-week course which is self-paced and you can receive a  verified certificate on course completion.

Coursera Courses

Machine Learning – A course to learn the science of getting computers to act without being programmed. It has had almost 3,000,000 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.

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects – A course to give you easy access to invaluable learning techniques used in disciplines like art, music, maths, sports etc. It has had over 2,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.8 rating from student feedback. The course instructor has won numerous teaching awards..

The Science of Well-Being – A course designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. It has had almost 2,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.9 rating from student feedback. The course instructor is a Professor of Psychology at Yale University.

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) – A course that aims to teach everyone the basics of programming computers using Python. It has over 1,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.8 rating from student feedback. The course instructor is a Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan.

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 the course, then studying for free is probably right for you.

edX Audit This Course

edX Audit This Course

edX offers the option on its courses to Audit This Course, this basically means you will be able to study on the course but won’t receive the final accredited certificate on course completion or be able to access the course when you finish. The fact that edX offers the majority of its courses with this option means you really can’t complain.

Coursera has a very similar system where you can Audit the course, allowing you to study for free without receiving a certificate on completion. The only real difference to edX is the fact that this option is a little more hidden and some learners may miss it.

Coursera Audit the course

 

Coursera Audit the course

Winner: The fact that both edX and Coursera are offering 1000’s 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 languages available

Coursera languages available

Once you have selected your subject category you are then able to view what languages are available with the filter system.

Winner: Coursera wins this one hands down.

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 type 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

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

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

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

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 support system

edX support system

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 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.

Coursera is doing something right with 6-3

Round 8: Which One Is Better For Businesses

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 and reskill with content created by top institutions. Its pricing is customised depending on how big your team is and what exactly it is you are looking for.

edX for Business

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 $400 a year for each user in a team or small organization giving them access to over 3,800 courses. The second option is the Custom Pricing that is larger organizations.

Coursera for Business

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?

 

edXCoursera
Free coursesAll courses (Audit this Course)1000+ courses (Audit the Course)
Individual course prices$50 to $300 a course$29 to $99 a course
Specialist Program (e.g.degree or Masters)$10,000 to $25,000$10,000 to $25,000
PlatformsDesktop, iOS & AndroidDesktop, iOS & Android
More informationVisit edx.orgVisit coursera.org

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 comparision

Bonus Round: edX & Coursera Alternatives

There are times where edX and Coursera aren’t the right option and you may be looking for something else. It could be a more diverse range of courses or strong sense of online community. So I have put together a few alternatives for you to consider.

Udemy

If a variety of courses is something that you are looking for, then you are considering the right elearning platform. Udemy offers such 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

Udemy is an alternative to edX and Coursera

If you are looking for a career change or gain a new professional skill or want to dabble in an exciting new hobby like cake decorating, then Udemy has it all. The best part is over 6,700 of its courses are free.

Read Udemy Review

Visit udemy.com

Skillshare

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 an alternative to edX and Coursera

Skillshare believes in the importance of community to empower one another from members to teachers and to employees.

Read Skillshare Review

Visit Skillshare.com

Final thoughts: edX vs Coursera

Hopefully, this long edX vs Coursera comparison has cleared up most of your questions and you know which elearning community you should use. But let me summarise when to use each platform:

Choose edX if You:

  • Specialises in Computer & Data Science
  • High quality courses from partnered institutions
  • 14 day refund policy

> Try edX for free

Coursera is for You if:

  • You want the largest choice of courses
  • You are looking for courses in other languages than English
  • You want high quality courses from partnered institutions

> Try Coursera for free

Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments