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Martin Barrett
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Coursera vs futurelearn

Coursera Vs Shaw Academy 2023: Which Is Better?

There are a lot of the best online learning platforms out there. It’s pretty handy since you can learn all sorts of new skills without even leaving your own home.

Of course, with so many different educational platforms out there, it can often be difficult to decide which one will be best for you and your individual learning needs like Linkedin Learning, Udemy, Skillshare, and more

Two courses that you may have heard about quite a lot include Shaw Academy and Coursera. These are both great like most online learning platforms, but which one will be best for you?

Here’s everything that you need to know about Coursera VS Shaw Academy so that you can work out which one you should use to facilitate your learning needs.

Coursera Overview

Coursera was initially created by professors from Stanford University with one key aim – to give the whole world free education. Coursera is a provider of MOOC, meaning Massive Open Online Courses. 

Coursera is an online learning platform.

The courses are primarily offered via video, quizzes, readings, and various assignments. It’s not a particularly complicated platform to use – it’s very good for helping you to learn a wide variety of skills, however. 

One of the main selling points of course is that the platform actually provides users with courses that are designed by universities.

Not only that, but you don’t need to spend your life’s savings to take them either since a variety of the courses are available for free. It’s essentially like getting your college degree but for a fraction of the price, if that. 

The courses aren’t just written by universities, of course. There are also private companies that have created courses for the website so you can get your education from a wide variety of different kinds of professionals.

Whether you are looking to take courses to improve your career or just for your own enjoyment, the likelihood is that Coursera has something for you.

Courses are available in a number of varieties to suit your learning style. You can take a timed course or a self-paced course, meaning that you don’t have to be restricted by things like your day job.

There are courses that you can do in a matter of hours at your own pace, and there are courses that take a number of weeks to complete. 

What’s even better? You don’t even have any homework! How great is that? 


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Shaw Academy Overview

Shaw Academy has been on the web since 2013. It was created in Dublin by Adrian Murphy and James Egan.

The company has one key mission statement: To provide people with low-cost education so that they can be the best that they can be. 

One of the best things about the courses from Shaw Academy is that they are interactive, which makes the courses that much more engaging to take.

In fact, this is a feature that you are unlikely to find with many other online course providers, giving Shaw Academy a real edge.

The company provides courses from a wide variety of different companies. GoDaddy, Adobe, and Vodafone are just a few of them. 

Of course, the courses aren’t completely free – you will need to get a free trial for 30 days and then after that, there’s a monthly cost that you need to pay.

The free trial will allow you to take free courses for 30 days though, which is pretty spectacular. 

The other great thing about Shaw Academy is that, unlike many other learning providers, all of the courses are life.

This may sound a bit nerve-wracking for busy professionals who may not have a lot of time to carve out during their days to attend a lecture, but there’s no need to worry – they are held at numerous points throughout the week.

Even if you find that you cannot make any of the lectures, they are also recorded after the fact so you can go back and watch them again for reference.

You also get to have a direct relationship with your teachers, which is a huge bonus in comparison to many other learning providers.

Coursera Vs Shaw Academy

What Courses Does Coursera Offer?

When it comes to the courses, there are three main types that you can get from Coursera.

First of all, you can get free courses and you will audit these yourself. These courses do not come with any certifications or assignments, but you will get given access to any of the learning materials that you may need.

In addition to this, there are also paid courses that you can access. For a small fee, you will be able to correspond with an instructor to get feedback and you could potentially get a certificate depending on the program.

Finally, there are bachelor’s and master’s degrees available on Coursera. These are provided by well-known universities and Coursera is simply the host. 

You can study a wide variety of different topics on Coursera, including history, music and art, business, math, physical sciences, engineering and so much more.

There are also other advanced courses that you can get including AutoCad for Design, Google IT Automation with Python, Programming courses Introduction to International Criminal Law, and more.

What Courses Does Shaw Academy Offer?

Okay, so as you can see Coursera provides a wide variety of different course options to its customers. What about Shaw Academy, then? 

The very first Shaw Academy course was offered around a decade ago, and since then they have only created a bigger repertoire of courses.

In fact, the company provides more than 100 online courses to choose from. It’s no wonder then that the service has over 12 million students worldwide.

Shaw Academy offers courses from a wide variety of globally accredited organizations, including the International Accreditation Organisation, Austin Peay State University, and the International Council of Specialized Online Certifications.

When you’ve finished the course you can even get a physical copy of the certification emailed to you.

It is worth noting, of course, that if you want to have a certificate then you will need to complete a minimum of 4 modules of the course that you are trying to take.

As such, you are unable to get a certificate if you have completed just one module. 

Many platforms offer online courses for students who cannot attend classes.

You can learn about photography, marketing, interior design, coding and computer science, fashion design and so much more.

The courses are presented in an easy-to-understand format and can be taken by pretty much anyone.

Customer Reviews Coursera

As a whole, Coursera typically has a lot of positive reviews. Students typically say that the huge number of courses available is a big selling point – there are so many subjects available for students to appreciate.

People have also said that the initial offer free courses during the trial are great, and even after the trial, it’s not too expensive either.

Many customers say that they enjoy that Coursera allows them the opportunity to expand their knowledge on a subject without it being too difficult to do so.

There’s no need to go through a long enrolment process or to travel back and forth to a university – you can just do the course at home in your bedclothes if you want to. You can even take them with your loved ones!

Of course, there are also some negative reviews, as you may expect. Many people say that engagement with professors is lacking.

People have also said that the courses aren’t quite long enough to give you a comprehensive view of a subject. People sometimes say that the courses are a little too easy to do.

A lot of people also don’t like the verification fees that come with Coursera – they felt blindsided by the last-minute charges that they didn’t know were coming. 

As a whole though the reviews from customers have been positive.

Customer Reviews Shaw Academy

Customer Reviews Shaw Academy

There aren’t quite as many reviews about Shaw Academy as there are about Coursera. The reviews tend to be mixed.

There were a lot of positive reviews saying that these courses are ideal for people who are beginners in the chosen course.

The courses tend to be good at covering the basics of a subject. They will teach you a lot of really useful information.

A lot of people have also commended the course instructors. They said that the teachers were helpful and explained topics well.

Obviously, this will depend on the course that you are taking, but if you want some more hands-on teaching then Shaw Academy may be a better choice for you.

People also liked that Shaw Academy provides a free trial for the courses.

On the flip side, there are also a number of negative reviews, too. A lot of people didn’t like some of the extra costs that can sometimes pop up.

If you want to have notes then you may have to pay more money in order to get them. Likewise, you will likely need to pay in order to get your final assignment checked over.

They are also prone to phoning customers regularly which some people find annoying.

Some people have also found that the courses are too simple and can provide you with information that you could have easily found on google for no extra cost.

User Friendliness

So are these popular online learning platforms user-friendly?

Coursera certainly is. Most of the courses are provided via video. These videos are as short as about two minutes, and some are as long as 20 minutes.

If you miss something then you can rewind or fast forward, and it’s even possible to alter the playback speed if you need to.

If you want to catch up on what was said in the video then you can look at the transcript of the dialogue provided. This is especially helpful since it means that you can save the written transcript as a note.


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Simply highlight the text you want to take as a note and save it – Coursera can then link the note to the video itself so you can access it later much more easily. It’s perfect for when you are reviewing notes.

There are also readings with some of the courses that you will need to take a look at the outside of the course. These are things like academic papers, books, and more.

You can have this material on the screen which makes it great for referencing. Of course, some people have found that these links aren’t very good, with many of them being completely broken.

This can result in you needing to manually track it down yourself, which can take the time that you may not have. This is enough to annoy almost anyone. 

You can also access forums for the classes and speak with other learners, which can be helpful for facilitating your personal development journey.

And Shaw Academy?

Shaw Academy has been commended for its consumer-friendly layout. There’s no guesswork needed when it comes to using Shaw Academy.

The format is up-to-date and easy to decipher. It’s easy to read when you get on the website and finding the course catalog is simple.

You can find the perfect course with very little effort. Shaw Academy even has an app that you can use, which is handy for learning on the go.

In addition to this, the courses are also user-friendly. The content is easy to digest and not overly complicated.

The structure of all the courses is the same – the modules are typically divided into modules over the course of 4 weeks, though this does often depend on the length of the course.

During this time, you will typically get 2 webinars per week. During this time you will get the core knowledge of the topic, and then after a while, you will get given more advanced information to help you to learn more. 


Both Coursera and Shaw Academy provide options for a variety of different learners, but Coursera in particular is the winner here.

The language support on Coursera is great, and you can access courses that are available in a variety of different languages.

You can also access subtitles which is helpful if there isn’t a course you want to do what’s in your spoken language.

Not only that but there’s also a transcription beneath the video which you can use as a reference as you watch the videos. It’s possible to zoom in too.



There are many courses on Coursera that are actually totally free, but this is typical because you as the user are auditing the course.

This isn’t ideal since it often means that there are some ways in which you are unable to participate, for instance, you can’t get a grade after submitting an assignment or something of this nature. 

For the most part, though, your time on Coursera will begin with a free trial period.

Once this trial is over though you will need to either pay a flat fee for a particular course, or you will need to pay a monthly fee of the same amount to take part in a long course.

The price really isn’t too bad when you consider the fact that many other degree programs are significantly more expensive.

So what about Shaw Academy, then?

Courses from Shaw Academy all cost the same amount after you have completed the trial period. It doesn’t matter whether the course is longer or shorter, the amount owed will be the same.

The modules are individually priced, and this is a good thing for many learners since they can just choose which modules they would prefer to take.

If you don’t want to then you don’t even need to commit to a whole 4 modules. As we have previously noted though, you will need to take 4 modules in order to get a certification at the end though.

If you have been with Shaw Academy for a while then you may also be provided with some additional offers to help you to save money.

You can pay on a quarterly basis, half-yearly, yearly, or pay a lifetime premium membership.

As previously stated though, it’s worth noting that customers have also said that both Coursera and Shaw Academy come with additional charges and costs for extra services, so it is worth keeping this in mind.

Is Coursera Worth It?

It depends on who you ask. Most people say that Coursera is a fantastic choice for all of your learning needs.

The service comes with a lot of different courses that you can take, though it’s by no means a substitute for an actual university degree since these come with their own useful benefits.

It is the ideal platform if you want to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill through since it will provide you with the comprehensive knowledge that you need to get started.

Coursera is suitable for a lot of different kinds of people. It’s a good choice if you are beginning a new career and need lots of information in order to help you to succeed.

It’s also a good choice if you’re already in your chosen career but you want to stay up to date with new trends and ideas to give you a competitive edge in your industry.

Coursera is also ideal if you are running an organization and you want to upskill your employees. Small businesses in particular can benefit from it.

Likewise, it’s also good for students who want a certain topic expanded upon because it’s a little confusing. 

You can also take advantage of Coursera if you run a school or library or really even if you’re just a regular person who wants to learn a fun new skill.


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Is Shaw Academy Worth It?

Shaw Academy is a great tool, though it may not be suited to everyone.

It will be best for you if you want to do a number of courses per month since you can access a few courses each month with just one monthly membership cost.

It’s ideal if you have a thirst for learning with a not-so-large wallet.

Shaw Academy is also a great choice if you want to be able to have extra support from your instructors.

Many people find that it’s easier to learn when they can communicate with their teachers and Shaw Academy can certainly provide this option.

Many customers have said that the engagement between students and teachers is fantastic with Shaw Academy.

You may also enjoy Shaw Academy if you need to be able to take a course of your own free will.

There’s no need to be constantly available for the live sessions, though it can certainly help – this fact means that you can complete the course on your own time.

Shaw Academy is especially good if you don’t speak English as a first language, since there are many courses on the platform that is available in a variety of different languages. 

If you want to learn some new skills then Shaw Academy is a great, low-cost option.


So which of these options will be best suited for you? It ultimately depends on things like the amount of time that you have and what kind of learner you are.

Coursera is very similar to many other free course providers out there – you will get access to course materials on demand, including videos and lectures.

This is a good choice if you are busy and want something that you can access whenever you need to, even during a commute.

Shaw Academy, on the other hand, is best suited to learners who want a little bit of extra support from their teachers.

Both of these top online learning platforms are fantastic, though, and provide many different courses. It’s time to enjoy learning about some new subjects! 

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