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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
Coursera vs futurelearn

Coursera Vs FutureLearn : Which Is Better?

Throughout recent years with the development in technology, and further perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, online and distanced learning platforms have gained a massive boost in popularity.

These services offer a wide variety of different options when it comes to learning from the comfort of your own home.

These digital learning platforms can aid people in gaining skills, specializations, and certifications which would otherwise be quite inaccessible.

Many people who want to invest in their development want to use these platforms to help them gain skills that will boost their careers.

Because of how popular these learning platforms have become, there is now more choice than ever for those who want to start using these platforms.

This means that a lot of people get overwhelmed by the massive amount of choice which is available to them, and struggle to know which learning platform will be the best for them.

Two online learning platforms which you may have heard of are Coursera and FutureLearn. Both of these services are well-established and well-liked by those who use them.

However, this also means that it can be hard for a newcomer to decide which of these platforms will be the right choice for them. Because of this, we have put this guide together to aid you in choosing between Coursera vs FutureLearn.

This article will not only help you choose which will be best for you but will also show you the differences and features of each so you know exactly what you are signing up for.

So, if you are struggling to pick between Coursera vs FutureLearn, then keep reading to get all the information you need to make an informed decision!

What Is Coursera?

Firstly we will go into each of these services so you will know exactly what each of them offers. Firstly, Coursera is a digital learning platform that offers online courses, specializations, and degrees.

People can create courses and sell them on Coursera, but part of the reason why Coursera is so popular is all the specializations and certifications you can get from using it.

These certifications are particularly useful in getting proof that you have skills in a specific area and are a great way to diversify your portfolio.

Another massive appeal of Coursera is that the service is completely free to start. The free version of Coursera is a little limited with most courses either only having the first couple of lessons free, while the others are behind a paywall.

However, you are given the option to buy individual courses, or you can pay the monthly fee for Coursera Plus which gives you full access to almost all of the courses available on Coursera without having to pay for them individually. (Check out ‘Coursera VS Coursera Plus: Which Is Better?‘)

Even with the free courses, if you want a certificate from them, this is the only part of the course which you would need to pay for. (See ‘How Do You Take Coursera Courses For Free?‘)

A big part of Coursera’s appeal is how many reputable platforms host their courses and services on Coursera. There are plenty of famous universities and companies which host courses using Coursera.

This of course makes these courses even more valuable to get certification from and is part of the reason why so many people love using Coursera.

This is a great way for courses that would usually be impossible for some people to take, to become accessible options for them.

While some online learning platforms are quite limited in the range of subjects that they teach, this is not the case for Coursera which offers a massive range of courses on different subjects.

These can range from courses on the humanities to engineering, some on IT and computer science, while others are focused on biological sciences.

There is practically no limit to the variety of courses that are offered, and even if you do not want to pay for Coursera, you can freely browse the courses which are offered. 

It is also worth noting that Coursera will regularly update itself as a platform to ensure that the user experience is always as simple as possible and is not difficult to work with.

This means that tools are regularly provided to make working with Coursera a breeze. This includes the use of video classes, assessments, extra materials, and more to create an engaging and reputable online learning space.

The courses on Coursera are also well-vetted to ensure that they are of a high standard, especially if they are paid courses.

As we mentioned earlier, there are courses on Coursera that are hosted by some of the most reputable companies globally as well as big companies like Google.

Because of this, you can see that companies like this would not use a platform that was clogged up with spam and fake courses.

Free Courses On Coursera

In most fields, there will be at least one course that is worth taking which is completely free. These courses can often be just as high quality as the paid courses which are available as well.

These courses are left free to show you the quality of content which you can expect from the paid version of Coursera which is understandable.

It is worth reminding you here that you will have to pay if you want to receive the certification from these specific online courses, however, this fee is not much compared to the prices of the premium courses.

It is worth spending your time with the free version of Coursera to try out some of these completely free courses so you can see if it is the type of thing that you would want to invest in for the paid version.

Coursera Is Certified

As we reminded you of in the previous section, Coursera certificates are behind a paywall if you are using the free version of Coursera. This is a bit of a drawback, even though you get the knowledge for free.

It is also worth noting that the paid version of Coursera, while an investment, allows you to claim an unlimited amount of certificates from courses that you have completed.

This is a great feature to have which helps it stand above competitors which will occasionally limit the number of certificates you can claim in a certain period depending on your payment plan.

It is also worth noting that not all courses with Coursera will offer a certificate, so if this is something that is a requirement for you, ensure that it is included with your course.

Coursera Vs FutureLearn : Which Is Better?

What Is FutureLearn?

FutureLearn is another learning platform that has been in use since it was founded in 2012. It is occasionally referred to as a MOOC which stands for Massive Open Online Courses, and this is because it offers plenty of online courses.

These courses are sourced from around the world, however, FutureLearn has a bit more of a focus on professional courses that are provided by reputable universities based in the UK.

It is worth noting that a lot of the courses which are offered by FutureLearn are actually free university courses, however, just like with Coursera, a lot of them are also restricted, or partially restricted by paywalls.

And also similarly to Coursera, if you are looking to get unlimited access to all of the features on FutureLearn like exams, testing, and certification, you will need to pay for the premium service.

What makes FutureLearn stand out, however, is that it also offers programs that are a combination of different courses all within a certain field which can be very useful to complete.

These accredited courses that are offered by FutureLearn are part of what makes it stand out from the competition.

FutureLearn Features Free Courses

As we mentioned in the previous section, there are plenty of free courses which are offered by FutureLearn. These can often be equivalent to a university course, especially those which have been created by UK-based partner universities.

These free courses can range from short courses that you can complete within a day, to more in-depth programs which will take a lot longer course duration to complete but will be just as rewarding.

However, if you want to get the certification from a free course, similar to Coursera, you will need to pay for the premium version of the service or buy the certificate as a one-off purchase.

These are a great way to learn the basics of a course without having to invest too much, however, you will still need to pay if you want proof that you have learned this information.

FutureLearn Certification

It is worth noting that the professional certificates on FutureLearn are quite different from those which are earned on other online course platforms.

The main reason for this is, to avoid fraud and faking certificates, the certification on FutureLearn actually comes in the form of a web page that is permanent and has its own unique online address.

This makes it simple to share with others and to include in online portfolios like those on LinkedIn.

Which Is Better? Coursera Or FutureLearn?

Hopefully, this article has explained the differences between Coursera and FutureLearn and given you some insight into what makes them unique from each other.

As you can tell from our analysis, these two services are actually quite similar. The main difference between them is the grouped courses which are offered by FutureLearn, but other than this, they are very similar.

The main distinction between Coursera and FutureLearn is the different courses they offer, and who is offering the courses.

As you can see when looking at the courses which are offered by these platforms, with Coursera, there is more of a focus on universities and companies which are based in the USA, while for FutureLearn, there is much more of a focus on UK-based universities.

This should affect your decision, this is because you should aim for courses which are more reputable where you are from.

For example, if you are in the USA, and you do a course accredited by a UK-based university, this will not look as impressive as one accredited by a more well-known USA-based university, and the same can be said for UK-based users doing USA-based courses on Coursera. 

This is not to say that if you are in the UK you should not use Coursera, and if you are in the US, you should not use FutureLearn, however, we are saying that this should impact your decision.

However, the bottom line should be which service offers the most courses and will aid you the most.

Even if you are based in the UK, if the courses offered by Coursera are more relevant to your field than those on FutureLearn, then you should go for Coursera, and this is the same for those based in the USA and FutureLearn.

It is also worth keeping in mind that both Coursera and FutureLearn both offer a free trial of their premium editions, and both also have free versions as well.

This means that no matter which service you seem to be more interested in, you have the option to try both of them however you want at no cost.

So, our main takeaway from the comparison between Coursera and FutureLearn is that you should go with the service which is the most compatible with your goals.

However, if they are both stacking up equally, then you should take into consideration which service offers courses that will be more impactful where you are working.

For the rest of this article, we will be going into more detail on what is offered by both Coursera and FutureLearn respectively so you can know more about why these services could be right for you!

Coursera Vs FutureLearn : Which Is Better?

More On Coursera

One of the best ways to assess whether Coursera could be right for you is to look into the specific advantages and disadvantages of working with this learning platform. Firstly let’s look at the advantages.

One of the main reasons you should use Coursera is how many reputable universities and organizations they are partnered with.

This means that as well as the knowledge you are getting from the course, you are also getting a certification that is attached to a well-known and respected company, and this will reflect well on you.

It is also worth noting, that when compared to in-person courses, the courses which are offered by Coursera are much more affordable than those which are offered physically.

Of course, another big bonus for working with Coursera is that there are plenty of different free courses available which means you can demo the software and the service for yourself without having to invest any money.

Of course, this free version of Coursera is quite limited compared to the premium version with the intention of incentivizing you to upgrade, but you can still get plenty of worth from just the free version.

We definitely recommend trying out the free version of Coursera before you decide to invest.

There are also some accessibility features that put Coursera above its competitors, for example, Coursera has a compatible app that lets you download the course material from your course so you can access it when you are on the go.

This makes Coursera a great option for those who can not rely on a stable internet connection or those who travel frequently.

The quality of the courses which are offered by Coursera is also thoroughly beta tested so you do not have to worry about wasting your money on a course that ends up being low quality.

So, while there are plenty of positives that come with working with Coursera, there are of course some drawbacks as well. One of the main issues we have with Coursera is that the pricing scheme can be quite confusing.

This is because of plenty of different pricing options being available, as well as different ways to buy things. All of this taken into account, we wish that Coursera went with a more organized and linear approach.

The only other main issue we have with Coursera is that there are a few courses that are offered on the service which will require significant previous knowledge. This can be seen as a positive or a negative.

Of course, there are people who will want every option to be friendly to those who are going in with no prior knowledge, however, there are also those who are using Coursera to access more advanced information a