Udemy vs Coursera: Who Comes Out On Top?

Catherine Cooke

22 August, 2020

udemy vs coursera banner

Trying to decide which is the right elearning platform for you to study with can be a hard choice. Udemy and Coursera are among the top platforms to choose from.

You may be asking yourself, What are their prices? How do Udemy 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 Udemy and Coursera.

Udemy Vs Coursera Summary

Udemy works on a pay-per-course approach with individual courses ranging from ($19.99 to $199.99). Coursera’s individual courses range from  ($29 to $99) also with the option of Online Degrees around $25,000. Udemy’s strength is the number of courses it offers more than 150,000 courses whilst Coursera offers nearly 4000 courses and is partnered with 200 institutions.

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 and sustainable. Who remembers Blockbuster? I remember going every Friday night with friends to rent out our favourite movie and now the popularity of renting out a movie is a thing of the past.

However, looking at which is more popular is a good way to assess the market and see where each elearning platform stands.

Google Trends Udemy 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, Udemy takes the lead in popularity over Coursera.

Udemy was founded in 2010, and possibly it’s the most popular elearning community worldwide. So far more than 300 million students have joined the platform, it’s available in 65 languages and it’s home to more than 150,000 courses. If you want to read a more comprehensive review on Udemy then click here.

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. If you want to read a more detailed review on Coursera then check it out here.

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 Udemy is dead simple, add your email, password and name and you are good to go – you’ll have to check (and confirm) the email confirmation Udemy will send you.

Udemy account registration process

Udemy 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 Udemy and browse around its platform, you’ll notice that the interface is easy to navigate around. You can search for courses by checking out Categories and then Subcategories and Popular Topics.

Udemy personalized recommendations

Udemy personalized recommendations

A nice feature which you will find of its homepage is by getting some personalized recommendations just by answering a few questions. This is particularly helpful as Udemy has such a wide range of courses you may feel a little lost to begin with.

Coursera has an equally intuitive 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

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

Winner: Coursera does have an easy design and interface, but at times can feel a little overwhelming with information. Whereas Udemy has a slighter cleaner design making it easier to find what you are looking for. So the first point goes to Udemy.

There you go, Udemy is leading with 1 point

Round 2: Udemy vs Coursera Courses

It’s difficult to say who’s got the best courses but let’s try to answer a couple of questions so you know whether to choose Udemy 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.

Udemy has a vast collection of courses and it does a good job of categorizing them into 13 main sections (and dozens of subsections). Udemy has one of the most advanced filtering systems I’ve seen. You can filter out courses by level, language, duration, students’ feedback or price.

Udemy course filter

Udemy course filter

It’s also very straightforward to read reviews from previous course students, the classic star system grading courses from 0 to 5. Each course has a video introduction that will let you know more about the course structure and the instructor.

Coursera offers close to 4,000 courses 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’s a hard one, as Udemy offers more courses and makes it very easy for you to find resources, but Coursera’s course quality is much higher. I would give a point to each.

We have Udemy leading with 2 – 1

Popular Udemy and Coursera Courses

Udemy Courses

Complete Guitar System – Beginner to Advanced: This 35-hour course teaches how to play the guitar, so far, it has helped with about 150,000 people. Previous students gave a 4.4 out of 5 to this course.

Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python 3 – This is Jose Portilla’s Python course, a best-seller with more than 900,000 enrolled students. This 24-hour long series had a 4.5 out of 5 from past students.

The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2020: As you can see, Udemy also has courses about finances, this one has had 200,000 students and the reviews awarded a 4.5 out of 5 to this course.

Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography:  Another Udemy top-seller course with 150,000 students. With 22 hours of lessons touching the basics of photography. The rating from past students is 4.6 out of 5.

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 Udemy & Coursera

A popular question I get asked frequently is: Where do I find the best free courses?

Truth be told, this depends a lot on what you are looking for. For example, do you want a big pool of free courses or are you looking for the best possible quality?

Udemy development courses at no cost (around 2,000)

Udemy development courses at no cost (around 2,000)

As you can see below, the free courses available at Udemy are endless and you’d need a lifetime of spare time to go through each resource.

  • Development: 1,951 complimentary classes
  • Business: 1,401 complimentary classes
  • IT & Software: 1,338 complimentary classes
  • Personal Development: 1,303 complimentary classes
  • Teaching & Academics: 1,273 complimentary classes
  • Design: 807 complimentary classes
  • Marketing: 764 complimentary classes
  • Health & Fitness: 465 complimentary classes
  • Finance & Accounting: 393 complimentary classes
  • Office Productivity: 302 complimentary classes
  • Lifestyle: 296 complimentary classes
  • Music: 289 complimentary classes
  • Photography: 164 complimentary classes

Coursera offers its courses so you can Audit the course, which means you will study for free but won’t receive a certificate on completion. If your main goal is to study a high quality course without the acknowledged accreditation then Coursera’s free courses are for you.

Coursera Audit the course

Coursera Audit the course

Winner: Due to the fact that Coursera’s courses are  high quality being partnered with recognised institutions. The point will go to Coursera.

That leaves the score at 2-2

Round 4: Available Languages at Udemy & Coursera

This will be a short round, I promise.

Udemy supports many languages (65 to be exact) and as you can see in the image below it even has a filer to let you find courses by language. Among others, you’ll find content in English, Portuguese, Spanish or German.

Udemy courses in other languages

Udemy courses in other languages

Coursera also offers 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: Udemy wins this one hands down.

This leaves the score 3-2, Udemy is leading this one.

Round 5: Udemy Vs Coursera Certificates

If you are considering Udemy or Coursera for its completion certificates, then you are considering the right type of elearning platforms.

With Udemy you’ll be able to earn a completion certificate once you’ve completed a course. However, it isn’t a formal validated certificate.

Udemy certificate example

Udemy certificate example

All verified certificates will cost a fee. If you originally choose the free option you can still upgrade to a verified certificate.

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. Coursera is partnered with top institutions like Duke and Imperial College which are recognised by future employees.

Winner: Coursera will have to take this one, due to its accredited certificates.

Wow that means we have a draw with 3-3 to Coursera and Udemy.

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 Udemy its courses are taught by experienced instructors and some of its courses have teaching assistants.

Udemy Instructors

Udemy Instructors

You can read a small blurb  about his or her prior experience and many instructors are open to you to connect via social media and ask any particular questions.

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 top Instructors and beta testers.

That means Coursera is out in the lead with 4-3.

Round 7: Is Udemy or Coursera’s Support Better

Udemy has a good support system, you can get help with anything. Plus they have the FAQ which many of the times will answer your questions.

Udemy support system

Udemy support system

They have a support chat where you can add your name, email and leave a message and then someone will get in contact with you.

Coursera offers a similar support system to Udemy where you can search for a specific topic or you can check out directly look up 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 as both Udemy and Coursera offer an equally helpful support system. It means a point for each.

We still have Coursera leading this one with 5-4

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. Udemy and Coursera aren’t an exception.

Udemy for Business offers the Enterprise and the Team plan. It gives access to employees to over 130,000 Udemy courses for $360 per year (minimum of 5 users required). The Enterprise plan give users access to content in other languages (Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese), create custom content and set career paths – expect these plans to be personalised and expensive.

 

Udemy for Business

Udemy 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 offer similar plans. Due to the fact its offerings are so similar a point will be given to each.

That makes our score 6-5 to Coursera. Udemy still has a chance to draw this one.

Round 9: Udemy 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?

UdemyCoursera
Free coursesOver 6,7001000+ courses (Audit the Course)
Individual course prices$19.99 to $199.99 a course$29 to $99 a course
Specialist Program (e.g.degree or Masters)Doesn’t offer any Specialist Program$10,000 to $25,000
PlatformsDesktop, iOS & AndroidDesktop, iOS & Android
Refund Policy30-day Refund Policy14-day Refund Policy
More informationVisit udemy.comVisit 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 final score is 7-5 to Coursera.

Bonus Round: Udemy & Coursera Alternatives

You may find that Udemy and Coursera aren’t the right option and you may be looking for another option. 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.

edX

Like Coursera, edX offers courses organized by world-class universities like MIT, Berkeley or Harvard. And since it’s an accredited organization, you’ll be able to earn official degrees from edX.

edX can be a good alternative to Udemy or Coursera

edX can be a good alternative to Udemy or Coursera

You’ll find many free courses on its platform, however, you’ll need to pay for the course (between $50 to $300) to be able to earn an edX completion certificate.

Read Review

Visit edx.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 Udemy and Coursera

Skillshare an alternative to Udemy 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: Udemy vs Coursera

Hopefully, this long Udemy 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 Udemy if You:

  • Wide range of courses
  • Reasonably priced courses
  • 30 day refund policy

> Try Udemy 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.
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