Udemy vs. Coursera vs. LinkedIn Learning – which one is for you?
If you have heard about them, you already know they are one of the best MOOC platforms on the web. They have made learning experience cost-effective, easy to access, and more flexible.
Now, for enrolling in the courses, which one should you prefer? Which platform will do justice to your investment?
To find out, I have compared all three of them based on the following points.
- Educational Goals
- Number & Types of Courses
- Subjects & Topics taught
- Quality of Courses
- Instructor/Student Interaction
- Pricing Model
- Course Completion Certificates
- Course Example
- Time Commitment
So, ensure to read till the end to find out.
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Comparison #1 – Education Goals
Udemy is a unique global marketplace where anyone can teach or learn online via online courses.
The very fact it’s a marketplace gives students the ability to learn just about anything they want at their own pace.
Apart from this, it is also a superb place where independent instructors can create their courses to share their knowledge.
The only thing they need to make sure is they meet its quality and other requirements.
Coursera is an academic education platform that partners with top universities and educational organizations such as Stanford, HEC Paris, and corporations such as IBM, to offer curated courses.
It is more like a student-focused platform where they can take courses in a more structured manner to complete it over several weeks or months.
The courses come with clear deadlines, due dates & grades just like you feel while taking classes in universities/colleges.
If you miss an assignment, you are also likely to get poor grades.
LinkedIn Learning is a LinkedIn platform created to offer online courses to help LinkedIn members educate themselves and better their careers.
It helps people to develop the skills through a more personalized, data-driven learning experience.
Unlike Udemy where anyone can share their course, you need to apply as an Instructor here via filling a form & showing a demo of your teaching.
If they like it, you’ll be hired else there is a chance of rejection.
Due to their strict selection procedure, you can expect better courses to help you obtain those skills.
Comparison #2 – Number & Types of Courses
Udemy offers over 150,000 courses in highly diverse subjects supported by 16 languages.
You can find courses from beginner to advanced levels and it can take anywhere from an hour to several hours to complete a course.
Additionally, Udemy also offers free courses for individuals who are short of budget.
Coursera offers over 2,500 courses from over 190 leading Universities & companies.
The courses are more academic in nature, targeted for college students.
When you join Coursera, you are given 5 learning options i.e. Individual courses, Specializations, Professional Certificates, MasterTrack Certificates & Degrees.
Each one of them serves a different purpose and oftentimes, these options will overlap with each other.
To get a clear idea, let’s have a look.
- Individual courses (free) – It is a single course that includes both the free and paid ones. While the free ones won’t charge you anything but you need to pay a fee in case you want additional benefits and certificates.
- Specializations – A specialization is a mini-credential or certification program, grouping several courses together. Sometimes, they also combine a Capstone project into a group. They can have 4 or 5 courses, although some have up to 10 arranged sequentially to help you master a subject.
- Professional Certificates – Courses under Professional certificates are developed by the Universities to offer you an accredited University certificate on completion. The certificate is usually different from the regular certificate issued by Coursera.
- MasterTrack Certificates – MasterTrack certificates courses are more advanced than Specialization and professional certificates. They provide semester-length courses as a separate portion of Master’s degree programs split up into modules. Enrolling in it ensures your MasterTrack coursework can be applied as credits towards the full Master’s degree in the future.
- Online Degrees – Online Degrees offers courses for an online Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. They are equivalent to a regular university or college degree, but a lot cheaper.
Most courses are beginner-level & you can also find them in many languages.
LinkedIn Learning falls below Udemy but above Coursera as they offer over 5,000 courses & personal recommendations.
The courses usually fall under business, technology, and creativity categorized by subjects, software, and learning path.
While in subjects and software sections, you can find courses according to the topic and software you want to learn, but the learning path is a little different.
The learning path is similar to Specialization in Coursera where you can learn a specific subject by taking a combined selection of related courses by different expert instructors.
Overall, LinkedIn learning has all length courses ranging from short to dozens of hours.
Comparison #3 – Subjects & Topics Taught
Udemy courses cover a very diverse range of topics, including
- Finance & Accounting
- IT & Software
- Office & Productivity
- Personal Development
- Health & Fitness
- Teaching & Academics
Coursera offers courses in the following subjects.
- Art & Humanities
- Computer Science
- Data Science
- Information Technology
- Math & Logic
- Personal Development
- Physical Science & Engineering
- Social Sciences
- Language Learning
LinkedIn Learning offers courses in the following subjects.
Comparison #4 – Quality of Courses
As Udemy is a marketplace where any independent instructor can create and sell their course, there is no standardization.
Udemy doesn’t have any quality control process for approving the content of a course.
Though there is a Quality checklist on their website having required and recommended items, it still doesn’t guarantee quality.
To cut to the chase, you can find both good and poor quality courses on Udemy. Some excellent instructors are selling in-depth valuable courses while others are just there to make money.
All the courses on Coursera are provided by Colleges, Universities, and Organizations. So there is no doubt in the quality. Having said that, from what I have seen, some courses are more focused on breadth than depth.
Despite their advertisement, you will get disappointed with some courses if you’re looking for advanced knowledge.
But it doesn’t mean there are no in-depth courses. In fact, you can find some pretty good courses depending on the subject you’re enrolling for.
The courses are generally an overview of the topic instead of in-depth discovery. If you don’t mind taking courses that are something general, you will love LinkedIn Learning.
However, if advanced knowledge is your preference, then you may get disappointed.
I would recommend that if you are going to take any course on LinkedIn Learning, ensure to look into the background of the course creator. How experienced he/she is to make sure you’re enrolling in a good quality course.
Comparison #5 – Instructor/Student Interaction
Udemy allows students to interact with the Instructor but only through the Q& A section.
This means if students have any doubt, they can type their questions and the instructor will reply to them whenever they are active. Even though it’s good but I feel it’s limited.
Students can receive feedback on their assignments from instructors & other students but it’s not guaranteed.
In the case of Instructors communicating with Students, they do not have access to their email address and they are only limited to promotional emails they can send out.
Promotional emails only allow the instructor to send details about their other Udemy courses and apart from that, there is no communication possible.
Interaction between students and instructors are more like a typical college where they can interact in chats and during live videos.
Students also receive immediate feedback on their assignments from the instructors along with peer feedback. They can have a discussion with other students & can receive assistance from course mentors.
LinkedIn Learning has a Q&A feature that allows learners to ask any questions, and get answers from instructors, co-workers, and more within the community.
Not only that, but you can also view questions & answers from other learners you think are helpful.
If you want to let other learners know about a particular question that could benefit them, you can tag them as well.
Comparison #6 – Pricing Model
The video courses on Udemy are priced between $20 and $200 & there are some courses offered for free.
Though it can seem pricey for students, the good news is, Udemy offers massive discounts most of the time.
This means if you’re planning to buy a $150 course, you can get it for as low as $10.
Due to the very fact, Udemy is one of the favorite platforms for many students who love to learn new skills for cheap.
Coursera offers a lot of free and paid courses. Usually, the free ones don’t provide certificates and if you need one, you have to pay at least $39.
It’s a one time fee that ensures you get a certificate on successful completion of your course along with other benefits.
Apart from this, Specializations & Professional Certificates category courses are priced starting at $39 per month.
Courses offering MasterTrack certificates are around $2000 and Online Degrees from World-class universities are priced around $9000.
Also, both the Professional certificates and Specializations have a 7-day free trial plan.
LinkedIn Learning offers a free one-month trial and once it’s over, you can either go for the monthly or annual plan.
The monthly plan will cost you $29.99 & the annual plan is $19.99/month.
As LinkedIn Learning is a monthly subscription-based site, it won’t charge you for individual courses. This means you can take several courses without worrying about paying for each one of them.
But beware about the free trial plan & ensure to cancel it if you’re not going to buy their subscription.
That’s because there is a chance they might deduct money from your card without giving you any notification.
It happened to me a few days ago when I tried their free trial. Giving no notification via email, they straightway deducted money from my debit card.
That’s the reason if you’re going to try them, ensure to put a reminder on your phone regarding your free trial expiry date.
Comparison #7 – Course Completion Certificates
Udemy doesn’t offer accredited certificates. The certificates you receive after completion of a course hold no value compared to the certificates from the University. It is just a sign that you completed a course successfully.
Coursera certificates are much more valuable than Udemy because it is accredited by an institution.
They have a structured process when it comes to the certification and even offers degree programs.
The only problem is that when you pay for a course, you need to complete it within 180 days with graded assignments to receive the certification. Failing to do so results in paying again to earn your certificate.
LinkedIn learning also offers certificates on completion of a course. But the certificate is not accredited & they are not the same as a degree program or a software certification program.
Additionally, they are not endorsed or recognized by any third party. So, it’s only a proof that you successfully completed a course & it’s nothing more than that.
Comparison #8 – Course Example
- The Complete Digital Marketing Course – 12 Courses in 1
- iOS 13 & Swift 5 – The Complete iOS App Development Bootcamp
- Machine Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science
- Deep Learning Specialization
- Machine Learning (Free)
- Google IT Support Professional Certificate
- Machine Learning for Analytics MasterTrack™ Certificate
Comparison #9 – Time Commitment
Udemy courses are self-guided, which gives you lifetime access. This means as soon as you buy a course, you can complete it as per your own time and pace. It can be a day, week, or month.
Coursera courses are like online classes that you can take from any formal institute or university. They start and finish on a specific date & you have to follow the timeline. Other courses have a 180 days completion period.
Just like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning courses are also self-guided and you can complete the full course on your own term.
Side-By-Side Comparison Between Udemy, Coursera & LinkedIn Learning
|Type of Courses||Almost on all types of subjects||Career-focused courses on technical, business, and other subjects||Business, technology & creative courses|
|Certificate||Yes, certificate of completion||Yes, certificate of completion with a logo of university/institution||Yes, the certificate is provided at the completion of course|
|Course Instructors||Almost anyone can become an instructor without any screening test||Usually university professors||Instructors are screened & selected by Pluralsight|
|Approximate Number of Courses||150,000+||4,200+||5000+|
|Learning Paths or Playlists||No||Yes. Through course, Specializations.||Yes|
|Suitable For||Beginners||People who are seeking a job or promotion||Beginner to Expert|
|Instructors Assistance||Yes. Limited only from course instructors||Very little. Available only for MasterTrack & Degree courses.||Instructor assistance through forum|
|Support through Chat||No||No||No|
|Support through Mail||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fee||$20 – $199 per course||Mostly range between $39-$89 per month. Top-level courses are priced more.||$19 – $300 (depends on country)|
|Discounts||Yes, almost every week||No. But most courses are free to learn||Yes, sometimes|
|Access Periods||Life Time||Till course completion or 180 days, whichever is earlier||Monthly or yearly|
Udemy Vs Coursera Vs LinkedIn Learning: Which One to Choose?
Even though all the platforms are very effective at offering a wide variety of learning options, it boils down to what sort of courses you are looking for.
If you want to have access to a large catalog of courses at an affordable price, Udemy is suitable for you.
If you are more focused on getting an accredited certificate or degree of well known University, Coursera is a better choice.
LinkedIn Learning is also suitable for Udemy lovers where they can access several courses for a monthly subscription. If you’re fond of Business, Technology, and Creative related courses, you may try their free trial to give it a shot.
Overall, I find all of them worthy of your investment & even if you’re not satisfied; I suggest you try other MOOC platforms to see which one works best for you.