Looking to start taking online courses? Unsure of whether you should look at Udemy or Coursera for your online learning platform? In this post, we’ve covered the main differences between the two platforms to help you choose the right option.
With the rise of online education, many platforms have risen up to provide a wide range of online courses. Two of the biggest online course platforms right now are Udemy and Coursera.
However, while Udemy and Coursera are both legitimate online learning platforms, they differ in the types of courses they offer.
And, as such, depending on…
- What you’re looking to learn
- How much you’re willing to pay
- And, what benefits you’re looking to get from the courses you’re taking (certifications, resume-boosting skills, etc.),
…you might be better off taking courses on one of these platforms as opposed to the other.
In this guide, we’ll break down the differences between Udemy and Coursera and fill you in on which platform would be better for you (depending on your needs and budget).
Udemy vs Coursera: The Main Difference Between the Two Platforms
The glaring difference between Udemy and Coursera is how they accept courses onto their platform.
Udemy is not just an online learning platform, it’s also an online teaching platform. Anyone can use Udemy to create a course that, when finished, will be available for learners to purchase from Udemy’s course catalog.
Coursera, on the other hand, only offers courses created by legitimate educational institutions.
This key difference, of course, makes the platforms vastly different in many regards. And, while, on average, the quality of courses found on Coursera will exceed the quality of courses found on Udemy, that doesn’t mean that Udemy isn’t a platform worth looking into.
There are some excellent courses on Udemy.
But, due to how the two platforms deal with including courses in their catalogs, there are some differences between them. They are…
- The number of courses offered
- The price of the courses offered
- The average quality of the courses offered
- The career-boosting opportunities available
We’ll discuss these different factors in more depth below.
Which Platform Offers More Courses?
Because anyone can signup to create a course on Udemy, it’s no surprise that there are a lot more courses available on Udemy.
As of the time of writing this post, there are currently over 100,000 courses available on Udemy.
Coursera, on the other hand, offers just over 4,500 courses in their catalog.
In some ways, Udemy’s larger catalog works for it. And, in other ways, it works against it. (Which we’ll get to in a moment.)
With so many courses, Udemy is able to cover a lot more topics—especially smaller niche topics—than Coursera.
Do you want to learn how to build an exterior/interior wall? There’s a course for that on Udemy.
Do you want to learn how to become a successful YouTuber? There’s a course for that on Udemy as well.
Coursera, on the other hand, doesn’t offer courses on those kinds of niched-down subjects or on subjects outside of the world of academia.
So, the bottom line is that, if you’re looking for a course on a very specific topic, Udemy is probably the better option.
Who Has the Better Courses?
For Udemy, one downside to letting anyone create courses on their platform is that there are a lot more low quality courses in their marketplace. Udemy does have a rating/review system to help you sort the good from the bad. But, Udemy offers no guarantee in the quality of your instructor.
With Coursera, though, since they only allow courses from legitimate colleges and institutions, you can rest assure that their courses are taught by someone who knows the subject.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good instructors on Udemy. There are good instructors.
But, there’s also a lot of bad instructors, too. And, that drives the average quality of Udemy courses down when compared to the average quality of Coursera courses.
It’s important to note, though, that just because actual college professors are teaching the courses available on Coursera, that doesn’t automatically make them better courses than the courses available on Udemy.
Or in other words, college professors aren’t always better teachers than others in a particular subject.
One example of this would be in looking for a course on the subject of personal investing.
Who would you rather learn investing from?
- A college profesor that knows the investment principles on an academic level?
- Or a guy who has real world success in finance and investing?
In my opinion, I’d rather learn from the guy who has had real world success.
And, really, that’s one unique advantage that Udemy does have over Coursera in terms of course quality…
For the same reason that Udemy’s courses are, on average, of a lower quality than Coursera’s, (and, that is, that anyone can teach on Udemy), they also offer a rare opportunity to learn from real experts in a field that wouldn’t normally teach a course on the subject they’re an expert in in a traditional setting.
Ultimately, though, both platforms offer incredible courses. On Coursera, they’re a bit easier to find thanks to the platform’s stricter vetting process. They do exist on Udemy, though—and, in some cases, the quality of the courses on Udemy exceed the quality of courses on Coursera.
How Does Pricing Differ on the Two Platforms?
Another key difference between Udemy and Coursera is how their courses are priced.
Udemy’s courses range from being completely free (check out this list of 100+ free online courses that offer certifications) all the way up to costing a few hundred dollars.
However, the vast majority of Udemy courses are available for ~$10-$20.
All of Udemy’s courses offer a certificate of completion.
Coursera, on the other hand, allows users to audit their courses for free if you don’t have any interest in receiving a certification of completion.
If you want a certificate showing that you have successfully completed the course, you will pay Coursera $39-$79 per month until you have finished it.
Coursera also offers a 7-day free trial for all courses, so you can enroll to earn a certificate in a course and if within 7-days of taking the course you decide that the course isn’t for you, you can cancel your trial and you won’t be charged.
Which Platform is Better for Boosting Your Career?
Obviously, there’s two ways to answer whether Udemy or Coursera is the better option to help boost your career.
On the one hand, you could say that, as long as the courses you are taking allow you to increase your knowledge/skill in a specific topic, either platform can help you boost your career.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to boost your resume to help you advance in your career, or to find a new career, a certification that proves that you’ve completed a relevant course can be a big help in your pursuit.
And, even though both Udemy and Coursera offer certifications of completion for their courses, in my opinion, I believe Coursera’s certifications of completion will hold more weight to a potential employer.
Coursera’s certifications show that you’ve completed a course offered by a real University or educational institution. And, the listing of the specific University or educational institution, in my opinion, makes Coursera’s certifications of completion more valuable.
As an example, if two individuals with identical skillsets and experience applied for the same job, and the first individual had a certification of completion in a relevant course offered through the University of Michigan on Coursera, and the second individual had a certification of completion in a relevant course offered through Udemy, I’d guess that the the first individual would have the edge.
The course on Udemy that the second individual took could have even been better than the course offered on Coursera, but because the course on Coursera was offered by a legitimate University, it will likely be more valuable in the employer’s eyes than a course taught by a random instructor on Udemy.
So, while both platforms offer courses that can help increase your knowledge and skillset in a certain area, I believe Coursera is the better option if you want to show-off that increased knowledge/skillset to prospective employers.
Udemy vs Coursera: Which Platform is Better? Final Verdict
I’ve taken great courses on both Udemy and Coursera. For me, it’s not a matter of which platform is better on the whole. Rather, it depends on what subject I want to learn and how important obtaining a certification of completion is to me.
If I want to take a course on a very niche topic (i.e., a course on videography), or on a topic that isn’t well covered in the world of academia (i.e. a course on copywriting), then Udemy makes more sense.
If I want to take a course on a broad topic, either Udemy or Coursera would be worth checking out.
And, if I want to a take a course and earn a certificate of completion that I can use to help me advance in my career or to boost my resume, Coursera would be my first option.
The reality is that both platforms are excellent options for finding courses that will help you expand your knowledge on a given subject.