When I first started looking for online courses Udemy was one of the first elearning platforms to show up in the results. It is unsurprisingly really when it offers over 130,000 courses and close to 7000 being completely free on pretty much any topic you can imagine. Offering courses on 13 categories from Health & Fitness to Finance and Accounting, you really are spoilt for choice.
Sounds pretty awesome right?
Well, that still doesn’t mean Udemy is the right for you. Just like any other elearning platform it has its Pros and Cons.
Table of Content
Udemy’s Pros & Cons
Affordable: Courses range from $19.99 to $199.99 making it accessible for most
Free Courses: With over 7,000 free courses, Udemy is a great way to learn for ‘nada’
30-day Refund Policy: If the course wasn’t what you expected, Udemy will give your money back no questions asked.
Lifetime Access: Udemy will grant you access to every course you’ve purchased for life.
Wide variety of courses: With 13 categories and dozens of sub-categories you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Certificate at Completion: Although the courses aren’t officially accredited, you’ll be given a certificate of completion – for paid courses only.
Non-Accredited Certificates: If you are looking for an official certification Udemy isn’t for you. Alternatively, check out Coursera or edX
Doesn’t create course content: With Udemy the course instructors are responsible for creating its content which can impact the quality of the course.
Quality Control of Courses: Udemy runs a quality control of the courses, but with so many how thorough can this really be.
Skillshare is a creative elearning platform offering courses on a wide variety of topics from Graphic Design to Photography, Music and much more. Skillshare’s 27,000+ classes are taught by real working creatives, experts and subject matter enthusiasts.
Skillshare works on a subscription model either a monthly ($19 a month) or annual plan ($99 a year working out at $8.25 a month) . This premium membership gives you access to the full library of classes and the option to watch them offline.
Skillshare’s Pros & Cons
Free classes: Skillshare offers about 10% of its courses for free meaning about 2,000 classes can be accessed at no cost.
Affordable: Skillshare pricing is affordable, especially if you commit for a yearly deal as you’ll get almost a 50% discount.
Free trial: Skillshare offers a 14-day free trial on its Premium paid membership for you to enjoy and explore the full library of its classes.
Engaged community: Skillshare has a highly engaged community, this can make its classes interactive and fun.
Open platform: Pretty much anyone that meets certain requirements can teach a course at Skillshare.
No certificates: There isn’t any type of official (or non official) certification awarded when you finish a course. It’s a platform for personal growth.
Not as many courses: Skillshare focuses on the creative and entrepreneurial niches. Therefore, its list of courses aren’t as varied as other platforms such as Udemy or Coursera.
Quality miss and match: Since anyone can create their own course at Skillshare the available courses’ quality can vary from course to course.
Only available in English: Although Skillshare welcomes courses in any language, in reality, there isn’t much on offer in languages other than English.
Why Choose Skillshare over Udemy?
To be honest Udemy and Skillshare are the most similar elearning platforms out there, but if you are looking for an engaged community of other learners to connect with then Skillshare offers that over Udemy. The Skillshare community is centered around skill-building and sharing knowledge. You can do this through a number of ways; commenting on projects of other learners, uploading your own work on the Projects & Resources tab or starting a conversation in the community section of your class. So if sharing your online learning experience with other learners is important to you then Skillshare is a platform to consider.
Udacity is a platform that offers learning programs on courses related to programming, business, data science and more. It’s courses are designed to give you real employable skills that are based around real-world projects.
Udacity’s learning programs are either Nanodegrees or single paid courses. The Nanodegree learning program consists of a series of single paid courses. A single course can take up to a month to complete and the Nanodegree comprises 3 or 4 courses and will naturally take longer.
Udacity’s Pros & Cons
Top-quality content: Udacity develops its own content with tight collaborations with (industry-leading) partners such as Google, AWS (Amazon), Mercedes or Nvidia.
Easy to use: Their backend is intuitive and easy to follow.
Free courses: There are several free courses you can follow at Udacity. This is a great way to get an idea of what to expect from this popular elearning community.
Certificates: If you complete a Nanodegree (this is how its programs are named) with Udacity you’ll earn a certificate. However, be aware that these aren’t offered if you use Udacity with a free account. Be aware that Udacity is a private institution and their certificates aren’t accredited.
Improve your CV: Udacity has a high reputation among companies, so even if they don’t offer university-accredited degrees, having a Nanodegree certificate from Udacity can help you climb professionally. Career advisors are also offered to help you find and improve your professional path.
You’ll need some budget: As we’ll see later on, Udacity isn’t cheap. If you’d like to join one of its programs you’ll need to have some budget.
Not a huge community: There doesn’t seem to be a thrilling engaging community behind Udacity courses. It’s more of a solitary learning approach.
Limited topics: It’s true that Udacity offers a wide range of courses about computer science and business, however, there aren’t any courses outside these niches – check out Udemy or Coursera for more variety.
Only in English: The website and backend are available in other languages, but the course materials are mainly in English – some courses have subtitles in other languages.
Why Choose Udacity over Udemy?
Udacity is partnered with companies like Mercedes and Google who create the Nanodegrees (learning programs) alongside Udacity, so its programs are highly recognised by future employees. It is true that Udemy offers completion certificates once you have completed a course, but it’s most likely it won’t be taken too seriously as they are not accredited. Udacity also offers career advice and coaching to help write your CV. This is all very helpful to advance your career or begin your professional path. If this sounds like what you are looking for then its worth checking out Udacity.
Coursera is one of the most prestigious online educational platforms out there. It offers over 5,300+ courses, specialization and degrees on subjects like Data Science, Business, Health and much more.
Coursera has 224 partners from 55 countries who work closely to create accredited courses, specializations and degrees. These accredited courses and learning programs are well recognised by future employees.
Coursera’s Pros & Cons
Accredited University Degrees: Coursera has partnered with some of the top Universities (including Imperial College and Stanford) providing online accredited degrees when you complete a course.
Tuition Cost: Course fees are significantly lower than that of a conventional school or traditional campus based course.
Free Courses: If you don’t need a completion certificate, you can enjoy most of the courses for free – no hidden catch.
Learn offline: Coursera’s app allows you to download course material for when you are offline. Meaning you can learn and study on the go, perfect for a plane trip.
Quality of Courses: Courses taught by top experts in their field from world-class Universities and Companies.
Confusing Pricing: There are many different pricing subscriptions which can make the exact price of the course seem confusing and unclear for many users.
Prior Knowledge: Some courses may require prior knowledge due to the nature of the course material. It’s not always beginner-friendly.
Why Choose Coursera over Udemy?
One thing that Udemy isn’t able to offer its learners are accredited courses. Coursera offers a wide variety of professional and accredited learning programs from Courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, Professional Certificate, Mastertrack Certificate and Online degrees. If you know that you are looking to achieve an accredited recognition when successfully completing a course or learning program from a top University or Institution like Imperial College or AWS (Amazon) then Coursera is your answer.
edX was founded by Harvard and MIT and offers 2,500+ online courses from top 140 institutions like Berkeley and Princeton. Its most popular subjects are Business & Management, Computer Science, Data Analysis & Statistics, Humanities and Language.
edX offers different learning like Master’s Degrees, MicroMasters, MicroBachelors Programs, Professional Certificate Programs. All of its learning programs are accredited and learners will receive an official certificate on completion.
edX’s Pros & Cons
Accredited Certificates: You will receive accredited certificates on completion of your course.
Partnerships: Courses are partnered with prestigious universities and companies like Harvard, Berkeley and Microsoft.
14-day Refund Policy: If you decide within 14 days of purchasing a verified course that you don’t want to continue, edX will give you a full refund immediately.
Free Course Audit option: You will be granted access to all course materials except graded assignments and you won’t receive a verified certificate at the end of the course. Other than that, you can follow most courses for free.
Learn at your own pace: The majority of courses are self-paced and can begin at any time.
Limited Topics: edX specializes in higher education and the sciences, so you won’t find all the topics (e.g. no baking or filmmaking). Alternatively, if you looking for a broader range of topics check out Skillshare or Udemy
No course structure: edX courses are put together by their partners who have the freedom to create the course as they like, this can lead to course inconsistency.
Why Choose edX over Udemy?
edX’s courses are partnered with top academic institutions which means the instructors teaching its learning programs are from these institutions. You can be guaranteed that the quality of teaching is of the highest order and it means that when you successfully complete a learning program you will receive an accredited certificate from that institution. Whereas Udemy allows anyone to teach its courses, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it could be that the knowledge and quality of the course may not be of the highest. So if top quality teaching with an accredited course is what you want, check out edX.
LinkedIn Learning offers 15,000+ courses on topics related to Business, Technology and Creative subjects. All of its courses are self paced and its instructors are subject matter experts who collaborate with the platform to create high quality content.
As well as individual courses LinkedIn Learning offers courses for Businesses so you can train up your team and earn certificates along the way.
LinkedIn Learning’s Pros & Cons
Generous Free trial: A 1-month free trial giving you access to the 15,000+ courses and other resources available.
Offline viewing: Able to download courses to the mobile app for offline viewing making it super convenient when you are on the go.
Certificate completion: Earn a certificate when you complete a course and share via your LinkedIn profile.
Learn at your own pace: All courses are self paced so you are able to learn when it suits you with the option to go back and relearn something if you need a refresher.
Multiple Languages: Courses are offered in multiple languages including the language selector for the entire website.
No accredited certificates: You will receive a completion certificate, but keep in mind this isn’t an accredited certificate from a University or a Partner. If that is what you are looking for it may be worth checking out Coursera or edX.
Limited course topics: LinkedIn Learning focuses on Business, Creative and Technology topics which may mean you can’t find the subject you are looking for. If that is the case, then it is worth checking out platforms like Udemy for a wider selection of courses.
Why Choose LinkedIn Learning over Udemy?
Even though Udemy offers 1000’s of free courses, it is apparent that the quality of free courses are not at the same high standard as the paid courses. LinkedIn Learning’s generous 1 month free trial gives you full access to the library of its courses (15,000+), allowing you to explore the platform and get a real taste of what it has to offer. If you want to get a full experience of a platform before committing to anything financially then LinkedIn Learning is really a great option.
Pluralsight is a technology skills elearning platform that really focuses on users gaining the skills of tomorrow. Its course library offers 7500+ courses and three different subscription models for individual learners with each having a 10 day free trial.
So if you are looking to develop your skills in a technology based subject like Software Development, IT Ops, Information & Cyber Security and more, then Pluralsight is the platform for you. It also has subscription plans to help teams and businesses.
Pluralsight’s Pros & Cons
Free trial: A 10 day free trial or 200 minutes whichever comes first that gives you access to the entire library of 7500+ courses.
Good support: Pluralsight offers email support which is available 24/7 plus phone support and the option to submit a ticket for any question or queries you may have.
Courses for Individuals & Businesses: Courses have been designed to suit the needs of individual learners and for teams.
Course Learning Checks: Short self-paced quizzes to test retention of course material.
Offline and mobile downloads: The option to download course material and videos and view offline makes it super convenient if you are on the go or taking a trip.
Limited topics: Courses focus on technology based subjects. If you are looking for a wider range of topics it is worth checking out Udemy or Coursera.
No free Courses: Pluralsight doesn’t offer any free courses, it only has the 10 day free trial. If you are looking for free courses where you can learn at your own pace it is worth checking out other platforms like Skillshare or edX.
Why Choose Pluralsight over Udemy?
Pluralsight’s courses focus on developing learners’ technology skills for the future. When you land on the platform you can take the Skill and Role IQ assessments for free which will measure your proficiency in your chosen technology skill. The results will highlight areas you need to work on and suggest courses for you. Udemy doesn’t offer this feature and the site leaves you to your own devices and little guidance to find your right course. Therefore if guidance and gaining a specific Technology skill or developing your career is what you are looking for then Pluralsight is for you.
Datacamp was established in 2013 and is an online platform that specializes in topics like data science and analytics. It offers close to 350 courses that are all interactive and self paced.
Datacamp offers the learning programs Skill and Career Tracks, these tracks are made up of a combination of courses to help individual learners gain the full knowledge for a successful career path. It also works with businesses to up-skill their teams.
Datacamp’s Pros & Cons
Interactive & Engaging: Datacamp courses focus on interactive learning with many videos and engaging exercises to complete.
Experienced Experts: Over 270+ experts from the data science and analytics community.
Free Plan: Offering a Start For Free plan which gives you access to initial chapters of courses and assessments.
Clear Pricing Plans: A clear and simple pricing plan page which is pretty refreshing as not all online platforms are so transparent.
Wide Range: Datacamp caters to absolute beginners and learners with some knowledge. There is something for everyone.
No accredited certificate: Datacamp doesn’t offer an official accreditation instead a Statement of Accomplishment is given after successful completion of the course. If you are looking for a recognised validated certificate it is best to check out platforms like Coursera or edX.
Video Content Lacking Detail: Some of Datacamps video tutorials are a little short and lacking in detail and therefore may leave you feeling like you are missing something.
Why Choose Datacamp over Udemy?
Datacamp’s Skill and Career Tracks are designed for you to learn all you need to start a new career in data science. The tracks are put together by experts who deliver everything you need to learn for a successful career or skill for a future in data science. Whereas Udemy’s courses are more about learning a new skill without the goal of it leading to a future career path. So if a future in data science or analytics is what you are looking for and you want to gain the necessary skills for this then Datacamp’s Skill and Career Tracks would be an ideal option for you.
Codecademy is an online learning platform for coding. It offers courses in 14 different programming languages and 10 different subject areas. Many of its courses are designed for beginners, so perfect for anyone who doesn’t have any prior experience.
The platform offers either a free basic plan or a paid pro plan which (includes a 7-day free trial). Its courses include peer support, real-world projects, step-by-step guidance and certificates of completion.
Codecademy’s Pros & Cons
Free Courses: Codecademy has a basic free plan where you can enjoy interactive lessons and daily practices.
Beginner Friendly: Its interactive coding courses are easy to digest for complete newbies.
Build your own Portfolio: After gaining practical experience you will create your own portfolio-worthy projects to show to potential recruiters.
Supportive Community: A strong sense of community with coaches, advisors or other graduates to help answer any questions and doubts you may have.
No instructor bio: Limited information about the instructor who created the course.
Not Accredited: Codecademy courses and paths are not accredited which means its certificates are only proof that you have successfully completed the course. If you are looking for an accredited platform to learn with, it may be worth checking out Coursera or edX.
Why Choose Codecademy over Udemy?
If learning to code is what you are looking for from an online learning platform, then look no further as Codecademy could be for you. Its coding courses are digestible and appealing for beginners. Although Udemy does offer courses on coding, you can best rest assured that Codecademy courses are designed to meet all coding needs and this is what it does. As well as courses, it offers career and skill path learning programs plus coding for teams and businesses. To reiterate if coding is what you are looking for Codecademy has you covered.
MasterClass is a platform that is a little different from the conventional online learning platforms out there. It’s online courses are taught by celebrities and VIPS, so you may recognise some familiar faces.
Its 90+ classes cover 10 categories from Science & Tech, Arts & Entertainment to Design & Style and more. Each class has an average of 20 lessons and each lesson is 10 minutes long. It works on a subscription model which is $15 a month and is billed annually.
MasterClass’s Pros & Cons
Fun: The first thing to note about MasterClass is that its courses and lessons are fun, perhaps this is because you get to watch celebrities teaching you something you are passionate about
Well produced: After watching 10 seconds of the first video, you’ll realize that MasterClass videos have been very nicely put together. They have a very engaging cinematic aura.
Top instructors: Of course, a big selling point of the MasterClass is getting to learn a craft from worldwide recognized professionals. For example, Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking, bestseller author Dan Brown teaching writing or Spike Lee filmmaking.
Affordable: MasterClass is cheap if you compare it to other educational platforms, however, it also has very few courses compared to alternatives like Udemy or Skillshare.
Generous refund policy: After you purchase your MasterClass membership account, you’ll have 30 days to request a refund, not bad at all.
No free courses: Sadly there aren’t any free courses with MasterClass, so you won’t be able to check any course before you subscribe to it.
Not the greatest community: Of course, don’t expect Spike Lee to (online) answer your questions about how to best set a camera for a certain scene. The instructors are the face of the class and they won’t be engaging with the community too much. This is something they should work at.
Very few courses: Another issue is that you won’t be able to find many courses at MasterClass, currently they have less than 100. Other platforms offer thousands for similar prices (of course not as well produced as MasterClass’)
Educational goals: Even if the courses have some structure and goals in place, there isn’t that much educational value. It’s more of a TED Talk (on steroids) about a topic.
Only certain topics: MasterClass doesn’t have the largest range of topics available. You can find courses in sports, filmmaking, cuisine, writing, business, science and politics.
Can’t read reviews: There is a 5-star review system for all the courses, however, you can’t really read reviews from past students. So that makes you wonder, where those reviews came from, and how come all the courses are between 4.5 to 4.7?
Why Choose MasterClass over Udemy?
If you are looking for a platform that will inspire and motivate you from a celebrity instructor or VIP, then MasterClass could be what you are looking for. One of the first things you will notice is how MasterClass classes are beautifully put together and have a cinematic finish, this is something Udemy is unable to offer as its classes are filmed and put together by each individual instructor and unfortunately they don’t have the budget. It is worth noting here that you won’t be learning a skill from scratch with MasterClass, it is more about motivating to keep improving and it helps that the motivation comes from a celebrity or VIP you may idolise. So if a beautifully produced motivational class from a recognised face is what you are looking for then MasterClass is the one for you.
Treehouse is an elearning technology platform that offers 300+ courses and close to 300 workshops. Its courses are tech related on subjects like web design, web development, mobile development and more.
It offers 3 different learning programs for individual learners: Courses, Courses Plus and Techdegree and they are all subscription based. Its courses are made up of video courses, quizzes, coding exercises, workshops and real world projects.
Treehouse’s Pros & Cons
Free Trial: A 7-day free trial giving you full access to its library of courses and resources
Real Project Experience: Treehouse courses are based around real-life projects like designing websites, web apps and mobile apps and more.
High quality courses: Its courses are created by the in-house expert teachers at Treehouse who create interactive and engaging courses.
Career Focused: Many of its courses are focused on giving you the skills to start a new career.
Self-Paced: All of Treehouse learning programs are self paced, giving you the flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere.
Credit card required: When signing up for your 7-day free trial you will need to enter your credit/debit card (you won’t be charged until the trial ends).
Limited Courses: Offering only 300+ courses, if you are looking for a wider range of topics and courses, then it may be worth checking out LinkedIn Learning or Udemy.
Not accredited: Sadly its learning programs are not officially accredited. If this is something you are looking for then it may be worth checking Coursera or edX.
Why Choose Treehouse over Udemy?
Treehouse is a tech-related online platform offering courses and Techdegrees that are highly interactive. Its courses are based around real-life projects like designing websites, web apps and mobile apps. Whereas courses at Udemy focus more on learning a new skill and have less focus on real life experience. Therefore when you successfully complete one of Treehouses learning programs, you’ll have a well-rounded portfolio of real-life projects preparing you for a career in tech. If this sounds what you are looking for then why not give Treehouse a go.
I believe with all these factors considered you will make an excellent choice. If you still have some questions, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you.
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.