Udemy vs Lynda: Monthly Subscription or Per Course – What’s Better?

Udemy vs Lynda methods of learning

We all know Udemy, which is one of the largest online education platforms in the world, but what a lot of us didn’t realize is that Lynda is a direct competitor with them.

For technical skills such as coding, design, web design and more, Lynda is quickly becoming one of the top providers for online education.

Today, it’s Udemy vs Lynda: we want to see how the veteran of online education stacks up against the fast-growing community of excited students that Lynda has created.

We’re going to cover costs, quality, training methods, and everything in between so that you can make a sound and solid decision on where to learn your next skill from.

Udemy and Lynda Compared

Lynda is an online learning platform, and Udemy is one of the oldest—what do these two have to go head-to-head about?

Well, they’re actually competitors for one another, and there’s a lot of differences that we need to go over before you decide which platform is right for your learning needs, and style of learning.

What is Udemy?

udemy

Udemy was one of the first major online learning platforms. It’s designed to attract expert course creators to make user-generated content, and apply it to a course structure.

The platform is designed to help you learn skills from technical coding to hobbies, such as learning guitar or knitting. On Udemy, anyone can make a course, they can market it, and generate earnings.

This attracts experts who have a lot to share, but because of the quality Udemy expects and how they monitor the site, it keeps low-quality, poor courses at bay and away from their directories. Udemy is the most cost-effective way to hone skills with intense, extensive online courses.

What is Lynda?

Lynda is an online learning platform centered around increasing your job skills and creating a better working understanding of your field.

Through Lynda, you can enhance current skills, learn new marketable skills, or begin an educational course to swap career fields for the better. Through sequence-based learning, they offer rapid methods to learn new skills through intuitive design, and only offer professional-level, expert-taught courses instead of user-generated content.

What Courses do They Offer?

education on lynda

Lynda primarily offers skill-based courses such as software development, design, web development, photography, and multiple business-related categories.

With Udemy, you’re seeing user-generated content in those fields, but you’re also given access to view tens of thousands of hobbyist-based courses that center around music, art, and non job-based skills.

Udemy boasts a whopping 130,000+ courses that grow every single day, while Lynda offers 16,000+ on the more technical side of things.

Who Teaches the Courses

On Lynda, you’re only being taught by true professionals and experts in their respective fields. Because there is no user-generated content, you only get information from trusted sources. Lynda is regulated in that regard.

With Udemy, it’s all user-generated content. Some of those users are seasoned professionals who understand their earning potential 

Pricing

udemy courses pricing

Lynda (LinkedIn Learning) has a completely different pricing structure from Udemy, and while they’re polarizing, they each give you something to think about. You can choose how you move your education with these pricing models and packages.

Udemy

Udemy charges you on an a la carte basis. There’s no subscription to view demos or even look at course content, but you do not get access to X amount of courses for a one-time payment or a recurring subscription.

You do, however, get lifetime access to just about every course you purchase (information for this will be available in the features and benefits column on individual Udemy course sales pages). That means if you want to brush up on your knowledge a year down the line or a decade from now, you can do that.

The thing is, course creators get to decide just how much they’re going to charge for the courses. That’s good, because they can value it at what it should be valued at, but it also puts up pretty big paywalls for some courses on the site.

Buying courses individually means that unless you have more funding right now to buy another course, you’re stuck. With subscription models, you’re at least going to get access to a ton of courses in the meantime. It’s a trade-off either way you look at it.

Lynda

courses on lynda

Lynda is part of LinkedIn Learning, so you can either sign up for a monthly recurring account specifically for LinkedIn Learning, or you can sign up for LinkedIn Premium, which includes learning in the package.

Just going with LinkedIn Learning means you’ll be able to spend $19.99 per month and get access to all those courses with no holds barred. However, many of them can be used through your LinkedIn Premium profile to help attract recruiters.

Features

How can you pick which site is good for you if you don’t know what they offer?

These are the main features offered by both Udemy and Lynda, and what separates them from one another.

Udemy

On their site, Udemy has a list of their features, but some are arbitrary. These are the features that really matter and help drive your decision as to which platform you’ll choose.

  • Video lectures
  • Audio lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Text-based lectures (articles)
  • Coding exercises
  • Post reviews
  • Direct message with instructor
  • Downloadable certificates of completion

While there aren’t as many direct features, a lot of it is left up to course creators to include course-specific features such as downloadable content, articles, and more.

Lynda

Lynda has come a long way over the years, and with the new LinkedIn Learning integration, you can expect these awesome benefits and more:

  • Mobile app for learning on the go
  • Access to 16,000+ online courses
  • Course “playlist” function to save favorites for later
  • Expert teachers: you’re only taught by professionals here
  • Excellent quality videos and learning materials
  • Transcripts of just about every course
  • Certificates of completion
  • LinkedIn profile certification and recognition
  • Job-ready level exit knowledge

Teaching Methods of Udemy

udemy methods of learning

Udemy uses modular training. What this means is that you open a course, and you’re met with (usually) a video or visual piece of content.

This teaches you a basic element to the total course goal, and then if the instructor wishes, you’re presented with study material for it before moving on to the next module.

This has been proven to work, but some of this is up to the instructors and their ability to integrate everything properly. You finish one video, get your downloadable materials, and move on to the next. Eventually, you finish the course, get a certificate or some significance of completion, and you’re on your merry way. It’s a guided path.

Teaching Methods of Lynda

Despite being taken over by Microsoft, Lynda still has a website and courses that dare to impress.

Instead of the basic modular program that we see Udemy, Skillshare, and so many other online education platforms use, they use a progressive sequence-based learning program.

This works similarly to modules, but with a twist. Each sequence is not dependent on the last. You learn working parts of a topic individually, and in the end, they can all be used to work with one another.

This way module two doesn’t rely on module one, and so on. You can revisit sequences as needed if there are certain topics within a skill that you haven’t fully mastered yet.

Udemy Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Variety of Courses: At the time of writing this, Udemy boasts over 130,000 classes from coding to learning guitar, from marketing to personal development, and so much in between. You have one one, if not the largest catalogue of online courses at your disposal. Now you just have to cherry pick them.
  • Top-Notch Experts: Udemy was one of the first big online learning platforms, and as a result, you still have leading experts on this platform time after time. You can find inexpensive, extensive expert-led courses that are as good as high-quality college courses (if not, better).
  • Lifetime Access: Nearly every single course on Udemy offers lifetime access. There’s no subscription to run out, so you can enjoy learning materials over and over again. If it’s something complex or requires repetition, just keep going back to the same module until you master it. You have to be self-motivated, but you can do it at your own pace with great results.

Cons

  • There’s No Clear Learning Path: Buying individual courses is great and all… until it isn’t. You have to decide how to proceed from course to course, but that doesn’t help you take elements of a skill and make it marketable like it should. With Lynda/LinkedIn Learning, it’s designed in a learning path format.
  • A La Carte: There’s no subscription, and while it’s great to be able to buy courses individually and work at your own pace without worrying about a subscription around the corner, it also has its drawbacks. You could end up buying half-a-dozen courses before realizing that they weren’t pertinent to your goals (also applies to learning path drawback).

Lynda Pros and Cons

lynda pros and cons

Pros

  • Over 16,000 Courses: That’s intense when you consider the fact that they’re all skill-building courses. There’s not much room for anything that isn’t technical here, so that’s a seemingly endless library of courses that you can pick from to increase your current skills and enhance your income.
  • Extremely Affordable: For a whopping $19.99 per month, or roughly $240.00 per year, you have access to all these skill-building courses that can actually be applied to your job or career to help you earn more money. You could make up an annual cost of Lynda in one week’s worth of a paycheck when you get an increase from the skills you learn through it. That’s getting a return on your investment.
  • LinkedIn Premium: LinkedIn Premium includes LinkedIn Learning, and while that bumps it up to $29.99 per month, it’s beyond worth it. For that $360 per year, you end up with access to information that can help you design your profile in a way that attracts recruiters and employers. Those new skills—which will be featured on your LinkedIn Premium profile—act like billboards that attract these folk.

Cons

  • Shorter Courses: Lynda simply has short courses compared to Udemy. On Udemy, for a similar price, you’ll find that Udemy has 40-50+ hour courses on technical skills, while Lynda may just be 10 to 12 hours. It depends on the skills, and it depends on the instructors.
  • Not All 16,000 Courses Are Viable: There’s bound to be a few bad apples. When all this content was ported from Lynda to LinkedIn Learning, maybe they didn’t review it all. There are some surface-level courses here that don’t really do much beyond introduce you to a topic, let alone make you a beginner at it.

Certification

Udemy and Lynda share one thing in common: there is no certification. There’s no accreditation. Anything that you learn is just so you can learn the skill, but there are no points that will carry over to another learning platform, or to college courses.

The thing is, most business owners, entrepreneurs, and good hiring managers just care that you have the necessary skills and can display them.

For technical skills such as coding, photoshop, digital marketing and more, you can display your proficiency. We’re entering an age (finally) where people are not so hung up on your diplomas and degrees, and just care about skill and dedication. Either way, you learn the skills here, but it’s up to you to showcase and apply them outside of the virtual classroom.

Who Has the Better App: Udemy or Lynda?

lynda mobile app

Lynda, when they had an app, were way better than the current LinkedIn Learning app that they have now. LinkedIn was initially designed to be used on PC/desktop, and the designs haven’t switched to being quite as mobile friendly as they maybe should have by this point.

Udemy is in between feeling like a desktop application, and actually being a good, solid app. I would say that Udemy wins in this case, but it’s not by a whole lot.

They also need to come up with some better UI designs than what they have for smartphone and tablet-friendly layouts. Thankfully, both apps are responsive (in terms of load times) and don’t annihilate your phone’s processor just to run.

Is One Better for a Specific Skill?

Udemy has a catalog that’s 8x larger than Lynda, so it’s hard to properly and accurately assess these against one another.

That being said, you can expect to find creative, hobbyist-style courses on Udemy, and Lynda is more focused on technical skills. If we just compare those skills against one another, we find that there’s a balance.

For one, Udemy comes in with better coding courses, but Lynda has some really solid digital marketing courses. Udemy may be better for Microsoft Office (which is ironic considering Microsoft bought Lynda), but Lynda wins when it comes to business management. It’s a push and pull. You could subscribe to one, and cherry pick the other if you wanted to.

Lynda vs Udemy for Photoshop

Udemy has more courses on Photoshop than Lynda does, but they’re not as good. Lynda has a few courses that just scratch the surface, but when you find the in-depth courses, they’re 100% worth it.

There’s one specifically on photoshop water coloring and layering that help you turn a picture into art. Udemy isn’t far behind, but it’s harder to find quality courses in the sea of options that they host.

Lynda vs Udemy for Android Training

android training

Udemy really wiped the floor on this one. Not only do they have more courses of a higher caliber on Android training, but they have a 32-hour N Developer course on Android that’s cheaper than a month’s worth of Lynda. Is it technically a better value?

I would say no, except for the fact that Lynda displays their top Android classes, and most of them are under two hours long. Android is very technical, and two hours is going to be an introduction and some brief fundamentals at best. Udemy really knocked this one out of the park.

Decide What Skills You Want, Then Pick a Platform

What do you plan on doing? While Udemy has more course types available, Lynda seems to have better web development, Android, and other technical skill courses that pertain to the digital world we find ourselves in.

Then again, there’s the cost difference to consider.

Udemy is always going to try and be the number one online learning platform at all costs (as we’ve seen), so depending on what your budget and needs are, you have a tough choice to make, although either way you’re going to be in good hands.