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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Coursera vs Great Learning

Coursera Vs Great Learning: Which Is Better?

Within the worlds of science, technology, and engineering, things move fast.

And if you want to keep up, and keep your career moving forward, it’s important to stay educated.

Further education is also essential if you want to switch career paths or try out new areas of your preferred industry.

But while many of us are interested in further education, it can be hard to fit in learning among work, family, and busy lives.

Online learning offers an adaptable solution.

You can often learn from home, on your own time, and in a style that suits you. 

Online learning platforms have a reputation for casual learning, but Coursera vs Great Learning do things differently.

These online education centers are partnered with top-level universities, providing in-depth courses on advanced STEM subjects.

Combined with a tier of free online courses, Coursera and Great Learning are excellent potential resources for adult learners.

But which is better: Coursera vs Great Learning?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of both platforms, and what they offer to home learners.

We’ll also compare the key features, to determine which comes out on top.

What Is Coursera?

Coursera is one of the top online learning platforms available, and one of the best known.

Many learners have turned to Coursera to achieve their goals, change career paths, or even simply enrich their general knowledge.

Coursera is a platform with a lot of versatility.

Featuring thousands of courses, with different levels of intensity and commitment, Coursera has plenty to offer a vast range of learners.

The free trial makes learning accessible, while the paid courses offer people a chance to earn certification, qualification, and even degrees. (See ‘Is Coursera Accredited?‘ and ‘Is Coursera As Good As A Degree? Everything You Need To Know!’)

This means Coursera has a pretty variable price range.

Some courses can be accessed for free, while others will require thousands of dollars to enroll in.

The majority of courses on Coursera are STEM-focused — science, technology, engineering, and math.

However, Coursera also features arts and humanities courses, so you aren’t limited in your choice.

There’s also versatility in how the courses are taught.

Instructors are allowed to build their own lesson plans, although lectures supplemented with tests and questionnaires are common.

With all these options, Coursera can be a little overwhelming when you first join up.

It might be easier to have a go at the free courses and see how you like the platform, before committing to anything more expensive.

And if you need help with a question, keep your fingers crossed that it’s already been asked in the help center: the Coursera support team can be hard to reach.

The active Coursera community is an indication of the quality of Coursera.

Having partnered with top universities and institutions to create the courses, there’s plenty of quality to be found in even the free course offerings.

And if you’re looking for university-level instruction, this is one of the best online learning platforms.

Pros Of Coursera

  • Coursera has partnered with multiple top-level universities and institutions to provide an impressive course listing.
  • With a focus on STEM, Coursera is an excellent online platform for engineers looking to advance their careers.
  • Coursera has a diverse range of courses, including arts and humanities options, and a robust language department.
  • There are over 2000 courses available for free on Coursera, and the Coursera Plus subscription service grants access to specialized services.
  • Coursera can be used to complete certification, and even degrees, in certain subjects.

Cons Of Coursera

  • Coursera has a large help center, but if you have a direct query, they’re hard to reach. 
  • Coursera largely offers STEM courses, with fewer arts and humanities programs.
  • The free courses don’t provide certification.

What Is Great Learning?

Learning should be a lifelong pursuit, but many of us find it hard, even impossible, to continue our education once we’ve entered the workforce.

But sometimes learning is necessary, particularly for advancing or changing your career path.

Great Learning offers in-depth learning opportunities that can be completed at least partly from home. The core of Great Learning is STEM courses created in partnership with top universities.

The courses are expensive, but they often include 1:1 tutoring, and upon completion, you receive certification, or can potentially complete a degree.

But Great Learning also offers courses for everyone. Great Learning Academy is a free service, packed full of high-quality programs.

These courses might not be as academically advanced as paid courses, but they are an excellent resource for curious students.

They’re also a good way to check out the Great Learning interface and quality, before committing to a paid course.

Great Learning is a smaller platform than many other e-learning sites.

However, don’t assume a smaller size means a reduction in quality!

Great Learning courses are backed by many universities, and the supportive programs can help you reach your learning goals. 

While Great Learning might not have the same resume as Coursera, anyone interested in a STEM course should consider the platform.

But if you’re looking for something in the arts or humanities, you’ll need to look elsewhere — Great Learning has a limited course list. 

Pros Of Great Learning

  • Partnered with high-level universities, Great Learning offers quality STEM courses to distance learners.
  • Many advanced Great Learning courses feature 1:1 instruction, and guided mentorship.
  • Great Learning courses can be used for career advancement, and paid courses typically offer certification on completion.
  • Great Learning Academy offers a wealth of free courses to casual learners.
  • Great Learning Academy is a good way to learn about the courses on offer and the style of the platform before committing to payment.

Cons Of Great Learning

  • Great Learning is almost exclusively STEM-focused, and there are limited courses on offer. This isn’t a site that caters to every learner.
  • There’s a big price jump between the free courses and the paid courses, and Great learning might benefit from a midway subscription tier.
  • Free courses don’t provide certification.

Coursera Vs Great Learning

There are similarities and differences between Coursera and Great Learning.

Both platforms offer online courses and advanced learning for those seeking further education and provide a free tier for casual learners.

However, the notable differences are essential to consider when choosing the right online learning platform for you.

In this section, we’ll consider the main features, and how they compare between Coursera and Great Learning.

Courses Available

If you sign up for Coursera or Great Learning, what kind of courses can you expect to find?

Which platform offers the most variety, and where can you find specialized courses?


Coursera has an absolutely fantastic range of courses available, from one-off certificates to actual degree programs.

This is online learning designed to advance your career, with certification that will be recognized by employers. 

Most of the courses focus on STEM subjects, with plenty of science and engineering courses to suit your fancy. If you’re interested in something a little more artistic, you might want to start your search elsewhere.

Coursera has a decent range of Arts and Humanities courses, but this isn’t the primary aim of the platform.

But when it comes to science, technology, and business, you have a lot to choose from.

Within each subject, there are levels of courses, from brief introductions to full-time university degrees.

Coursera doesn’t pull any punches: the courses tackle difficult subjects.

Coursera is consistently expanding the course range on offer.

If you sign up for a subscription, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by what’s available — unless you were hoping to pick up a hobby.

Coursera leans towards lectures and career advancement, rather than skill-based hobbies and creative skills.

Great Learning

Great Learning was created to offer further education in an accessible setting.

With a mixture of online, in-person, and blended courses, Great Learning provides certification and even degrees to those who complete a course.

Great Learning courses are heavily focused on STEM subjects, including computer science, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data science courses.

With business management and marketing courses also available, Great Learning is aimed at advancing careers and helping people find their passion in the tech industry.

Great Learning is also home to the Great Learning Academy.

This provides free courses to learners, in a similar subject range as Great Learning. 

Compared to other online learning platforms, Great Learning is small.

Add on the Great Learning Academy, and you expand your options significantly, but this is still a niche platform.

Coursera has a larger course range, featuring arts, humanities, and language courses.

However, if you’re interested in high-level STEM courses, both platforms have plenty to consider.

Quality Of Course

Online education courses can have a mixed reputation.

What kind of quality can you expect when you sign up for Coursera or Great Courses?


Coursera collaborates with over 275 universities and companies from around the world.

That includes universities such as Stanford, Duke, and Imperial College London, companies such as Google and IBM, and the top-quality instructors you can expect to find at these institutions.

You really can expect quality when it comes to Coursera.

These courses are highly curated, and Coursera only partners with skilled instructors.

Many of these courses are recognized by employers and come with certification.

Some courses can even count as credits toward a master’s degree.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that every course on Coursera is going to be high quality.

There are enough of them available, including free courses, that you might be disappointed by a few options.

But for the most part, the quality of Coursera is incredibly high.

Coursera Vs Great Learning: Which Is Better?

Great Learning

Like Coursera, Great Learning partners with a range of quality institutions and universities.

Great Learning has created courses in partnership with Stanford Business, MIT, and Northwestern, among many others.

The central Great Learning platform offers high-quality courses.

These are often created in partnership with top universities, and promise direct contact with skilled instructors.

This is an online learning alternative to in-person further education courses, and you can expect to receive quality guidance.

Great Learning Academy also works in partnership with major institutions, but as these are shorter, free courses, you can expect a more accessible style. 

Although quality is expected with a professional Coursera or Great Learning course, it’s worth researching before making your decision.

These are long-term, often expensive courses.

No matter the quality, the style and subject might not be right for you.

Both Coursera and Great Learning have partnered with prestigious universities to provide the best courses possible. When it comes to quality, there’s no difference between the two.

Ease Of Use

What kind of user experience can you expect from Coursera or Great Learning?

Will you enjoy taking your course, or will a complex interface turn you away from learning?


For new users, Coursera isn’t the most intuitive of platforms.

The sheer breadth of courses and options can make the initial navigation a little intimidating.

If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, it’s easy to get lost in the depths of Coursera.

But if you push past that, Coursera is relatively easy to use.

The Coursera free account offers access to 2000+ free courses, which you can filter and search to find what’s right for you.

Alternatively, you can sign up for individual courses that require a one-time payment or subscribe to Coursera Plus to access the free catalog as well as guided projects and specializations. 

Once you’ve chosen your course, Coursera does what it can to work for you.

This is a platform that encourages learning on your own time and in your own way.

So, while the initial navigation might be overwhelming, it will improve from there.

Great Learning

There are two different Great Learning experiences. 

The main Great Learning site is relatively easy to navigate, but as you’re committing to a long-term course, there’s a lot of information.

This is to be expected — you’re making a financial and time commitment, and there’s a lot to consider before you start using the course.

Once you’ve signed up, Great Learning is a clearly laid-out platform with an attractive design and easy-to-access information.

Great Learning Academy, the free section of Great Learning, also presents a lot of information upfront.

Navigate your way through this, and you should find a friendly platform that offers an adaptable learning experience. 

Both platforms have reasonably user-friendly interfaces, but the sheer amount of initial information can be off-putting for first-time users.


Coursera and Great Learning offer complex courses that often require a financial investment.

So, who do you turn to when you need help?


Coursera is a hugely popular online learning platform, so you’d expect a robust customer service experience. In reality, the support system isn’t quite so good.

Coursera has a large help center, where they aim to answer almost any question you might have.

This includes setting up your account, troubleshooting payment issues, and deciding which course is right for you.

But if you want to contact Coursera directly, be prepared to do a little searching.

The Coursera website largely directs users to the help center.

If you have a specific inquiry, you’ll have to search for the contact details. 

The Coursera help center is good, but it would be nice if Coursera made direct contact a little easier. 

Great Learning

Great Learning takes the opposite approach to Coursera.

Instead of offering a large help center, they have multiple methods for contacting the support team directly.

This is mostly aimed at learners considering an advanced course, instead of the free options.

However, if you have a general inquiry, at least you have access to a contact point.

Neither of the customer support options from Coursera and Great Learning is perfect, but Coursera just about comes out on top.

The help center is huge, and there are answers to most inquiries.

And if you do need to contact Coursera, there are options — they just aren’t very easy to find.


How much can you expect to pay when learning with Coursera or Great Learning?

And are there any free courses? 


Pricing is a tricky one to answer when it comes to both Coursera and Great Learning because there are so many different options.

Coursera does have a free tier. Users need to create an account, and then they have access to upwards of 2000 courses.

This is a great option for casual learners who want access to university-quality courses.

The free tier features a real range of topics, learning styles, and instructors. For no money whatsoever, this is a fantastic resource.

Once you’ve made the most of the free tier, you can consider upgrading to Coursera Plus. This costs roughly $399 for an annual subscription, and grants you access to more courses, including guided courses and specializations.

Coursera Plus really takes things up a level, and this is worth considering if you’re curious about advancing your career.

Alternatively, Coursera offers single services. These are one-off payments, providing you access to specialized courses, certification courses, and degrees.

Depending on the course, the cost varies massively — from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. 

Great Learning

Great Learning has two options: the Great Learning professional-level courses, and Great Learning Academy. 

If you choose a Great Learning professional course, then you can expect to pay several hundred dollars. These courses are priced individually, and you’ll need to inquire to find out the exact costs.

Although these courses aren’t cheap compared to other online learning platforms, they’re comparable to what you might expect to pay at a college, or institute of higher learning.

Great Learning also offers Great Learning Academy. All the courses offered by the Great Learning Academy are completely free, and subscribers can access materials, lectures, and quizzes at no extra cost. You can subscribe to as many free courses as you like.

With such a disparity between the prices offered by Great Learning, it would be nice to have a midway tier, similar to Coursera Plus.

However, the free Academy is an excellent resource, and a good starting place for anyone curious about the courses, but not yet ready to commit.

Which Is Better? Coursera Vs Great Learning

Coursera and Great Learning both offer similar features. Both are online learning platforms with university partnerships.

Both offer a chance to earn certification, and even a degree, in your chosen subject, with a heavy focus on STEM courses.

And both have a free tier, with access to a large number of courses, again, with a focus on STEM. 

It’s very hard to look beyond Coursera. This prolific platform is absolutely packed full of courses and offers at-home learners a chance to connect with some of the greatest learning institutions from around the world. 

Coursera has more variety of courses than Great Learning, with arts, humanities, and language options, as well as more ways to learn.

You can join the free tier, subscribe to Plus for specializations and guidance, or pay for an individual course. 

In terms of volume, Great Learning can’t compare. And while it has some fantastic STEM courses, the focus on technology won’t appeal to everyone.

It’s also a shame that there are no levels between the free tier and courses that will set you back a lot of money.

However, Great Learning does offer many of the same benefits as Coursera. The free tier allows you to access a world of learning, while the paid courses are advanced options for career growth and development.

Coursera might be the better platform overall, but if you’re looking for an intense course in a STEM subject, it’s worth checking out both platforms.

And if you’re interested in access to a free course, then you might as well sign up for both!

Final Thoughts

Coursera and Great Learning are both excellent platforms for those interested in advancing their career and understanding STEM subjects.

Coursera offers better versatility, and this larger platform definitely has wider appeal. However, what Great Learning does, it does well.

As both platforms combine high-level training courses with a free tier, there’s value in considering both options. While Coursera might be the better platform overall, there are many positives to Great Learning.

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