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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
Coursera vs coursera plus

Coursera VS Coursera Plus: Which Is Better?

If you have heard of Coursera vs Coursera Plus, you are probably wondering what the differences are between these two online learning programs and what makes them unique and different from each other.

As you can imagine from the naming, Coursera and Coursera Plus are essentially the same service, with Coursera being the basic free plan, while Coursera Plus is the paid version.

Since you are going to be getting more from Coursera Plus because it is a premium service, a lot of people wonder if just using the free version of Coursera will work suitably for them. (Check out ‘A Guide On How To Sign Up To Coursera.’)

So, if you have been considering using Coursera or Coursera Plus, but you are unsure what the differences are between these services are, and which service will be best for you, then this article will give you all the information which you are looking for!

We will go in-depth on what separates Coursera from Coursera Plus and which service will work better for different people and situations.

So, if you have any questions about if Coursera or Coursera Plus will be better, keep reading!

What Is Coursera?

To start our comparison, we will look into what each of these services is so you know exactly what is offered by each so you know what is included and missing with each version.

The basic version of Coursera will offer you thousands of courses for free.

Some of the courses which are available on Coursera are certificate-style programs, while other courses on Coursera are in the style of an online degree.

One of the main benefits of Coursera is how it allows its users to learn and work through the courses at their own speed.

This lets them learn while using a variety of different educational platforms, as well as occasionally doing more hands-on projects.

How To Use Coursera

It is actually pretty simple to start using Coursera, and the process of signing up and starting to use the service will not take you much time at all.

To start with you will need to go to Coursera’s sign-up page and after this, you will be prompted to fill out a questionnaire which is designed for new users of the service.

Once you have done this you can freely start looking for whatever online course you want to start. While there are some paid courses on Coursera, a lot of them are free and will not require any payment to use.

Academic Levels And Courses On Coursera

On Coursera, there are plenty of different options when it comes to the scale of the courses which are available for you to work with.

There are some courses on Coursera that can be completed within a morning, while others will take years to complete.

For example, there are guided projects which usually take between 1 and 2 hours, and then courses which are longer being between 4 and 12 hours.

Moving up to longer projects there are specializations that take between a month and 3 months, with professional certificates being between a month and half a year.

There are MasterTrack certificates which will generally take between 4 and 7 months.

Then finally there are the much more long-term courses which are available on Coursera like a Bachelor, or a Master’s degree which will take you between 2 and 4 years to complete.

Most Popular Courses On Coursera

When you are signing up for a course on Coursera, of course, you want to ensure that you are not wasting your time and you are going for courses that are informative and useful to complete.

You can check how good and high quality a course is on Coursera by reading the reviews left by people who have completed the course, and seeing how high the courses have been rated.

Some of the most highly rated, and high-quality course subjects which are taught on Coursera include; Machine Learning, Foundations of Data, Science of Well-Being, English for Career Development, First Step Korean, and even Mental Tools for Overcoming Tough Subjects. 

Coursera has been offering unique and useful courses like these for personal development since the platform was founded in 2012, and it has a massive headquarters located in California.

The service was started by 2 Stanford computer science professors, Andrew Ng, and Daphne Koller.

Since the service started running, it has gained global recognition for its ease of use, as well as the accessibility of knowledge which it helps share.

On Coursera’s website, you can see them talking about their dedication to offering online courses and degrees to be accessible to anyone.

So, if you are looking for an opportunity to learn about a new subject and augment your career options, Coursera is a great idea.

How Does Coursera Work?

Coursera is simply an online service that you can sign up for without needing to take too much time, and once you are signed up, you can attend online courses in whatever services are being offered.

While anyone can set up a course using Coursera, there are also incredibly prestigious courses offered as well which are hosted by leading universities that are also offered by Coursera.

To name just a few of the universities which have courses available on Coursera, there are; Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macquarie University, and Duke University.

How Much Does Coursera Cost?

Coursera VS Coursera Plus : Which Is Better? (1)

Signing up for the base version of Coursera is completely free, however, this does not mean that all of the courses which are available on Coursera are free.

For example, most guided projects which are available on Coursera will cost around $10.

There are also a lot of courses that will offer a free entry lesson, however, there will then be a cost for the rest of the lessons which can vary depending on the course.

The specialization courses will generally cost around $39 monthly, and a professional certificate will also cost around this much.

While all of these are generally quite affordable, there are more expensive options, like the online degrees and the MasterTrack certificates.

For example, a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree will usually cost around $9000. 

Coursera Summary

Hopefully, this section of the article has given you an accurate insight into how the basic free version of Coursera works.

While Coursera is free to start and has plenty of accessible options, this does not mean that all of the options available on Coursera will be free to start.

However, because of the lack of a signup fee, we recommend signing up yourself, and then looking at the potential courses you would try out yourself.

If you are happy with the experience you have had with the standard version of Coursera, then this is when you should maybe consider upgrading to Coursera Plus.

What Is Coursera Plus?

Compared to the basic version of Coursera, Coursera Plus is the premium version of the service which, for a fee, will give you access to plenty of different online courses.

By signing up to Coursera Plus you will get access to an ever-growing number of online courses with over 7000 currently available.

This includes; classes, hands-on projects, guided projects, and even professional certificate programs.

Under the price of Coursera Plus, you will have access to courses on a wide variety of topics and subjects, like computer science, business, health, data science, IT, humanities, and the arts.

While signing up for the basic version of Coursera is free, you can also trial Coursera Plus for free as well with the 7-day trial option.

After you have completed this trial, you will need to pay to continue using the service.

If you want to pay monthly, this will cost you around $59, and this means you have the freedom to stop whenever, however, if you want to pay annually, you can pay an annual fee of $399 which also has a 14-day refund guarantee.

Pros Of Using Coursera Plus

One of the main reasons we love Coursera Plus is that it features a lot of the courses from Coursera which are partnered with the most prestigious universities which have courses on Coursera.

Some of these courses which are available with Coursera Plus are also attached to reputable companies like Google.

With the Coursera Plus subscription, you will have unlimited access to around 90% of the courses which are on Coursera, this means you can do professional certificates, specializations, as well as guided projects.

This learning program gives you almost unlimited learning opportunities.

Compared to the price of a lot of in-person courses and learning opportunities, the price of Coursera Plus is actually quite affordable and also lets you focus on exactly what you want to learn, and the qualifications you are looking to get.

On top of this, compared to in-person courses, you can have flexible learning with courses on Coursera Plus and you can usually learn at your own pace which lends itself to those who already work full-time or have a busy schedule.

With Coursera Plus, you also get access to unlimited certificates from the program, and if you are unsure how effective the service is, it is shown that 87% of Coursera Plus users have received a career boost or promotion from the knowledge they gained from Coursera Plus.

Cons Of Using Coursera Plus

 It is worth noting that a few of the courses which are available on Coursera Plus as well as standard Coursera will require having some previous knowledge or experience in specific subjects.

While this is usually advertised by the course, others are a bit less specific. Because of this, you will want to make sure before starting a course that you know everything you need to go in.

Other than this, the only main drawback of Coursera Plus is that there are a variety of different payment plans which are available, and some of these can be quite confusing to get your head around.

So, when signing up for Coursera Plus, make sure you know what you are paying for!

Is Coursera Plus Worth It?

After our time testing out the Coursera Plus membership, we can say that this course has plenty of value to offer, especially if you are looking to gain more certifications and specialist job relevant skills that are not easily accessible otherwise.

This online learning platform has a massive variety of different options available, and the options they give for upskilling within your industry make it an indispensable tool you should definitely use if you are looking to increase your salary.

However, we do not recommend jumping straight into Coursera Plus, instead, we would recommend trying out the standard free version of Coursera to see if you get along with the service.

The free version of Coursera has some limitations, but it is great for trying out the premium courses, and seeing how the platform works.

However, if you have spent some time using the free version of Coursera, and you are happy with how the service works, then we heavily recommend jumping into the premium version as you will definitely get plenty of use out of it!

How Much Does Coursera Plus Cost?

As we mentioned in an earlier section Coursera Plus will cost you $399 if you want to pay annually, however, if you are instead looking for a shorter-term investment, you can pay the $59 monthly fee, however, this of course adds up quite quickly.

It is also worth noting that there is a 7-day trial for Coursera Plus and that if you choose to buy the annual package, you are given 14 days after purchase to claim a money-back guarantee.

This payment will give you access to 90% of so many courses which are available on Coursera, in contrast to the free version which has much more limited access.

If you want to buy Coursera Plus, you can do this in plenty of different ways, whether you are paying with a Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover, or AmEx, however, this can only be used for courses that are priced in USD.

You do not have to worry about Coursera Plus renewing without you knowing as you can cancel your subscription plan whenever you want.

If you are not sure whether you want to keep going after purchasing, we recommend automatically canceling the subscription after purchasing just so you do not have to worry about doing it at a later date.

Premium Account Perks

Coursera VS Coursera Plus : Which Is Better? (2)

It is worth listing exactly the perks you get when you are using Coursera Plus which is the premium version of Coursera.

There are plenty of benefits that make signing up for this service a great option! The main benefit of Coursera Plus which we love is that you save a fair amount of money when you are doing a specialization course.

If you were to buy this specialization course with the free version of Coursera, with the amount of time it would take you to complete the course, you will have saved a lot of money if you instead completed the course when subscribed to Coursera Plus. 

We also love how Coursera Plus will give you access to plenty of professional certifications, and all you have to do is complete the courses which you are paying for.

These certifications cover a wide variety of different topics, so if you are looking to diversify your skill set, and want certification to prove it, using Coursera Plus will help you get there!

On top of the access to the certifications and the specialization courses, there are also the Coursera Plus guided projects which are mostly free when you have a subscription.

What also helps Coursera Plus stand out from any competition is that there is no limit on how many d