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Layla Acharya
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Udemy Vs. Coursera: Freelance Or Academic – What Is Your Style?

Udemy Vs Coursera: Freelance Or Academic – What Is Your Style?

Unlike how once perceived, remote learning is a serious commitment. It involves investing time and money into something new that you want to learn.

This learning can range from academic to professional and personal level learning. Numerous online learning platforms can help you acquire a new skill or learn to try a new hobby.

But the two options worth considering are Udemy and Coursera. These online learning platforms offer excellent services, whether you are looking forward to mastering a new skill or acquiring a certificate or degree.

However, one of the biggest concerns remains whether to go for Udemy, the global marketplace for endless courses, or Coursera, a platform that connects you to the world’s best educational institutions?

And in this ongoing debate of Udemy vs Coursera, the question is not about which learning platform is better. More precisely, it is about which remote learning platform best serves your needs.

In this guide, you will find out answers about which online learning forum best meets your learning needs and style. We are hopeful that by the end of this post, you will be in a better position to decide whether to go for Udemy or Coursera. 

Difference Between Udemy and Coursera

Difference Between Udemy and Coursera

Before we get into the differences between Coursera and Udemy, let’s first start with an overview of each learning website.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is one of the most widely used online learning platforms around the world. It allows you to create courses on endless categories ranging from marketing to business, design, and development as an instructor.

You can create a course on the subject that you have expertise on. Each course has a video-based format that includes descriptions and explanations of content followed by features for discussions.

Apart from the video-based content, the instructor also needs to provide PDF attachments related to course content and quizzes. And the best part for instructors is that you can make money simply by creating courses on this forum. 

Udemy is not just heaven for course instructors, but it is also a great learning place for students.

It is an online learning platform that offers more than 100,000 courses to 24 million students worldwide. It provides a relaxed learning environment for students and focuses more on shorter courses featuring personal and skill development.  

What is Coursera?

Coursera is another great online learning platform that collaborates with renowned universities around the world and offers MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

The learning experience on Coursera closely resembles typical online learning characterized by pre-recorded video lectures that students can access as per convenience. 

Offering over 2,500 courses, Coursera partners with 150 distinguished universities worldwide and is used by over 20 million students globally.

One key feature of this online learning platform is the high-quality learning that closely resembles the partner universities’ on-campus experience. By registering on Coursera, you can earn a certification or even a degree from some of the world’s most prestigious schools.

Anyone Can Anyone Create Make aUdemy Course or Can They?

As mentioned earlier, anyone can create a video-based course on Udemy, and the topics can range from personal development such as yoga, to more advanced skill development such as web design.

And since the course instructors are not necessarily industry experts, the average prices for a course are relatively lower, ranging between $19 and $199.

For each course that is offered at Udemy, the website charges 30% of the earnings. The average class size is around 500 students, with some courses attracting as many as a few thousand students.

As a course instructor, we can earn with all types of courses; however, the most highly rewarded ones are more technical courses such as Python, entrepreneurship, and business education.

Moreover, highly qualified industry experts who put up more informative and practical content can make more money on Udemy. And lastly, once you create a course, you will continue to earn for as long as the course is being offered on the website. 

Coursera’s Professional Educators

If you compare Coursera with Udemy, the two websites are exact opposites in terms of who can teach the course.

At Coursera, only professional educators or industry experts can teach a course. Moreover, since most of the courses offered at Coursera are partnered with accredited universities, attending a course here is more similar to attending a traditional college.

So if you take up a course with Coursera, rest assured that some of the best people in the industry are teaching you content that they really know. 

Differences Between The Two Platforms

Based on the overview provided above, it is simple to identify some of the main differences between Udemy and Coursera.

  • At Udemy, you can find endless course options compared to Coursera that offers limited courses. 
  • Anyone can teach at Udemy but only professional sound professors from some of the top educational institutions offer a course at Coursera. 
  • Courses offered at Udemy are more unstructured and allows the student to complete the course at their own pace, but Coursera offers a more structured approach to course work that is often fairly intensive.
  • While both Udemy and Coursera offer online learning, Courserarequires on-time submission of assignments and quizzes, something that is not a feature of courses offered by Udemy. 
  • Upon completion, Udemy offers a certificate of completion (CoC); however, Coursera provides a certificate or degree that adds more value to your resume compared to the CoC that is offered by Udemy.  

Now that you are aware of the differences between Udemy and Coursera, let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of both the online learning platforms. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Udemy

Advantages and Disadvantages of Udemy

Udemy Pros

Allows You to Buy Courses Individually with a Life-time Access

At Udemy, you can buy courses individually, and each course comes with a life-time access. Once you pay the fee (or monthly subscription), there are no deadlines that you need to stick to.

Moreover, since the courses are not specialized degree programs, you can purchase access to the course that you enjoy the most. And since there is life-time access, there is flexibility and a low level of commitment so you can complete the course at your own pace.

Udemy is Inexpensive 

Courses that are offered at Udemy are generally inexpensive. Moreover, you will almost always find further discounts.

It is not uncommon to find a course with a price of $200 discounted to as low as $15. And since each course comes with a life-time access, you can easily buy a course at a discounted price that you may intend to take up in the near future.

And even if you don’t use the content, there is very little that you will lose. Moreover, you can also find some free courses on the website. 

Huge Variety of Courses to Choose from

Udemy has a huge variety of courses. Since it allows anyone to create a course, there are over 100,000 courses that over 24 million students refer to.

So whether you want to learn about music, and arts to computer programming or graphic designing, there is something for everyone. 

Udemy Cons

Course are Not Accredited

As you complete a course at Udemy, the website offers a Certificate of Complete (CoC); however, this certificate is not accredited by potential employers.

Even though the courses add a lot to your existing skill set, but since a professional institution does not back them, there is little credit you get for completing them. CoC adds little value to your resume.  

Quality of Courses Vary 

As mentioned earlier, anyone can create a course at Udemy and this is exactly why the quality of courses can vary significantly.

A specific course on a certain topic may be very thorough and detailed while another course of the same topic may not be as thorough and you might be left with little or no learning.

Therefore, every time you search a course on Udemy, make sure you do some research about the course instructor, their industry experience and reviews by their previous students. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Coursera

Advantages and Disadvantages of Coursera

Coursera Pros

A Typical Classroom Experience 

When you take up a course at Coursera, you know that your course will be taught by some of the most well-respected educators around the world that come from some of the best universities, including MIT, Yale and Stanford.

So you end up getting a typical classroom experience without any question about the quality of education that you get. 


At Coursera, you get a certificate of completion that adds value to your resume.

Since the courses offered at Coursera are backed by some of the prestigious institutions around the world, potential employers and your LinkedIn connections view it as a highly regarded addition to your skill set and qualifications. 

More Structured Learning 

When you enroll in a course offered by Coursera, you sign up for more structured learning.

There are deadlines that you need to meet. Moreover, there are tasks and assignments that you have to submit on time. If you are up for a structured online course that provides more accountability, Coursera is the place for you.

Wide language selection

Coursera offers courses from accredited universities andreknowned organizations from all over the world so regardless of the language you speak, there is something for everyone.

Moreover, if you want, there is a large variety of courses that offer transcriptions in various other languages.

Coursera Cons

Coursework Requires More Commitment

Since courses offered at Coursera offer a more structured approach to learning, it is only natural that these courses require more time commitment.

When you sign up for a specialization course, that means you are required to oblige the coursework requirements for a few months. Moreover, if you are into completing a degree program through the site, this would mean years of commitment to online learning.

And you just don’t have to commit in terms of time but you are also required to complete all the coursework (including assignments and class participation) in time as well. 

Courses are More Expensive 

If you compare the price of courses offered at Coursera, there are generally more expensive when compared to other online learning platforms such as Udemy. 

What is the Right One for You?

What is the Right One for You?

Now that you know about the differences between Udemy and Coursera and are aware of the pros and cons of taking up courses on each of the online learning platforms, it is time to answer about which online learning forum best meets your learning needs and style.

Here we compare the two websites on three criteria so you can make the right choice for yourself. 


Online learning is expensive, not just in terms of time but also in terms of money. Both Udemy and Coursera offer affordable online learning but Udemy is always cheap. 

At Udemy, the regular prices of courses are generally lower compared to Coursera. Moreover, there is almost always a discount so you can easily find most of the courses between the range of $10 and $20. Furthermore, all courses have a 30-day money-back guarantee

On the other hand, Coursera offers slightly more expensive courses with prices ranging between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.

However, the higher price is often due to a highly structured program and if you compare the prices of online degree programs at Coursera, they are generally lower compared to a traditional college degree program.

When you sign up for a course at Coursera, you can get a seven-day free trial (in case of specialized degree program) so you get a better picture of what to expect during the course and you can go for free cancellation if required.

And while the courses are generally more expensive at Coursera, the website offers financial support if you qualify

In all, if you are into cheaper courses with little or no commitment, Udemy is your best bet. 

What Courses the Platform Offers?

Both Udemy and Coursera offer a wide variety of courses but if you just look at the numbers Udemy has a lot more to offer compared to Coursera. 

With over 100,000 courses from 42,000 course instructors in more than 50 languages, Udemy’s course list is almost always never-ending. Moreover, you can find courses of thousands of different topics that include almost everything under the sky.

Furthermore, when you buy an online course at Udemy, you get a life-time access to the content, which means that you can view the content now or later and you can also retake the course as and when required. 

On the other hand, Coursera’s catalog is slightly different from that of Udemy. Here you will find over 2,000 courses in a variety of languages 150 accredited universities around the world.

These courses are primarily related to specific job skills. So Coursera is not something that you will sign up for when learning about a new hobby but it is definitely the choice if you are looking for courses that will help you grow up the corporate ladder. 

Another thing that you should always keep in mind is the time commitment involved in courses offered by Coursera.

Note that a single course may up to six weeks, specialization courses take up to six months, and degree programs can take up to three years. So make sure you know about the time commitment before you sign up for the course.

Lastly, access to course content is available for the duration of the course only, so if you want to revisit the content at a later point in life, you will have to pay for the course again.

In all, given the variety of courses, Udemy is definitely the winner but if you are interested in quality professional learning from some of the best educational institutions in the world then go for Coursera. 

Offered Certification

Both Udemy and Coursera offer a certificate of completion but the course credibility and acceptability may be the decisive factor as you decide between online learning platforms.

Udemy is an excellent resource when it comes to acquiring new skills. However, there is only a very limited number of certifications that are accredited by potential employers.

So as you master a new skill through Udemy, that may not add value to your resume. However, there is only one exception Udemy for Business, a course designed by industry experts that may be worth adding to your resume. 

On the other hand, Coursera is completely opposite. The courses offered by Coursera are affiliated with accredited universities and professional institutions so they can be a great addition to your resume and Linkedin profile

In all, if you want to add value to your resume, go for Coursera but if all you want is to add some great skills to your existing skillset and enjoy fun learning without showing off on your resume, Udemy can be a great choice. 

Further reading: Udacity Vs Coursera

Final Words on Udemy and Coursera

Both Udemy and Coursera are great online learning platforms but they both come with their advantages and disadvantages. While both the websites offer learning opportunities to students around the world, the methodology and approaches vary significantly.

Udemy is an excellent choice for relaxed learning intended to enhance an existing skillset or learn new skills. On the other hand, Coursera offers a more intensive, more structured, and professionally oriented approach.

In all, both online learning platforms have a lot to offer, but the choice depends on what you want, and if you are looking for an answer to the debate of Udemy vs Coursera, only you have the right answer. So think about it!

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