If you’re interested in taking your learning online, these websites like Coursera have other things to offer you, including cheaper courses, better features, experienced industry instructors, and more.
Coursera.org is one of the most popular online learning websites that focuses on providing classes taught at real universities to you at home. The online learning movement has expanded substantially in the past few years, but the University-driven course streams aren’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. If you’re looking for some of the best alternatives to Coursera, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- Best 7 sites like Coursera for online learning
- Coursera alternatives comparison table: cost, best courses and features, and more
- What is a MOOC and how does it work?
- Free courses vs. paid courses: which is right for me?
- Helpful resources for making online learning easy
If you want to learn more about the best online learning sites like Coursera, read on!
Best 7 sites like Coursera for online learning
The cutting-edge program for the tech student of the future
- Nanodegree program is unique and gaining traction as a cutting-edge education system
- Has many courses on tech training and skills
- Partners with leading institutions and tech companies like Google and Salesforce
Udacity.com is one of the most well-known Coursera competitors. One of its best features is its “Nanodegree” course streams. It offers certification for courses in technical fields, such as website development, software engineering, data science, and other roles that the world’s leading tech companies (including Google, Facebook, and Salesforce) are looking to fill. It’s okay if you’re new to technology, though, as you can search for courses based on how much technical knowledge you need to succeed. This lets you start out with the easier courses first (like simple programming and design) and then move on to more advanced concepts, like their amazing course on self-driving cars.
Cost: Some courses offered for free. Nanodegree subscriptions cost $199+/month.
Celebrity and industry professional-taught classes on skills you actually want to learn
- Courses are taught by industry professionals and celebrities
- Each course only covers one specific skill, so you can learn about exactly what interests you most
- A subscription to get unlimited access is relatively cheap when compared to other websites
One of the best things about Coursera is that it gives you the attention of university professors. With Masterclass.com, you get the attention of leading industry professionals, and can learn a specific skill with each course. The classes are taught by celebrities you know who have gained success in their field and have valuable information to share with you. With Masterclass, you truly do get the opportunity to learn from the best, and you’ll more than likely enjoy all the time you spend learning because you get to listen to one of your idols.
Here are some of the coolest courses Masterclass offers:
- Photography: Annie Leibovitz
- Filmmaking: Martin Scorsese
- Cooking: Gordon Ramsay
- Electronic Music: DEADMAU5
- Writing (Young Audience): R.L. Stein
- Conservation: Dr. Jane Goodall
Cost: $180/year or $90/class
The biggest online course catalogue to learn anything and everything online
- One of the largest catalogues of online courses available
- Covers the most minute of topics so you can learn a variety of specific skills
- Some certifications are transferable to programs at real institutions
Udemy.com is one of the largest alternatives to Coursera, with over 7 million users and 30,000 courses. The reason for this is that unlike Coursera, EdX, and Udacity (which rely on partnerships with major corporations and educational institutions to provide their material), almost anyone can put together a course to teach on Udemy about pretty much anything. As a result, it doesn’t have any courses that count towards a university degree, though some may count towards skilled trade certification. Some of its courses are free to take, while others require you to pay a small tuition fee.
Cost: Courses are listed from $9-300, but Udemy is known for huge discounts on their courses, so most cost $50 or less.
Harvard and MIT education for the at-home self-starting student
- Content provided by MIT and Harvard universities
- Certificates offered for completing courses
- Quality of courses is exactly the same for free or for paid (you just don’t get the certificate if you don’t pay)
EdX.org is one of the two most often-mentioned Coursera alternatives. Created from a joint effort by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and Harvard University in 2012, EdX is very similar to Coursera. In addition to its lessons being similarly structured, EdX offers learner’s certificates for completing courses, as well as groups of related courses called “XSeries.” However, EdX is run on a non-profit basis (though that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s completely free), and works by using open-source software (so people can look inside and see how it works). As of the end of 2014, EdX had over 500 courses and over 4 million registered students.
Cost: Free or you can pay to get a certificate, costing between $50-300 per course.
For learning real tech skills you can put into practice instantly
- Many courses are offered for free, allowing you to test out classes before paying for them
- IT and computer-related material instruction is what Pluralsight focuses on
- The skill level required to complete a course is clearly indicated before you enroll
If you’re looking to learn computer-related skills, Pluralsight.com is probably the place for you. For a monthly/yearly subscription, you get unlimited access to all Pluralsight materials, and can enroll in as many courses as you like. Courses are offered at various levels of skill, so you can work with Pluralsight courses no matter if you’re a beginner, or an expert with tech. With Pluralsight, because the courses all focus on only one subject, you’re getting the best-quality information about computers and IT. You can also use Pluralsight to help train your employees if you run your own business, to help improve computer and tech skills in the workplace.
Cost: Some courses are free; premium subscription costs $29/month or $299/year
LinkedIn-owned to help you get the workplace skills you need to succeed
- Courses are focused on workplace skill development to help your career
- Can help you improve your resume or climb the ladder at your current job by filling in gaps in your knowledge
- Focuses on business and marketing skills
Lynda.com is another educational website that, like Udemy, you have to pay to use. Powered by LinkedIn, its courses focus mainly on employability skills for today’s digital workplaces, such as computer programming, audio engineering, graphic design, videography, office software proficiency, and meeting/presentation management.
It’s mainly video-based, and has a few neat features like the ability to search video transcripts for something specific that you want to learn about, or add specific videos to your own custom playlists. It also has a program that makes it available for a reduced cost through libraries or other educational institutions.
Our Lynda.com course has the lowdown on this alternative to Coursera!
Cost: basic — $19.99/month; premium $29/month
Industry professionals are the teachers – so you can do more than just learn
- Courses are taught by professionals that are successful in their industry, still making their living that way
- Notable industry celebs and moguls teach courses on Skillshare
- Courses are taught from experience, so they emphasize action above simply reading along with material
If you like to learn by doing, Skillshare.com is the eLearning site for you. With courses in photography, design, marketing, fine art, music production, and more, you can learn from real professionals who have made their living in their respective fields. Some notable instructors include social media consultant Gary Vaynerchuk, fashion designer Marc Ecko, and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran. Some courses are available for free, but most require a subscription.
Cost: Some courses are free. Premium courses cost $12/month or $100/year.
Coursera alternatives comparison table: cost, best courses and features, and more
|Website||Target Learner||Cost for Courses||Popular Courses||Best Feature|
|Wants to specialize their learning in the tech industry|
|Free or Nanodegree $199+/month||Android Development for Beginners||Nanodegree gets you real, tangible skills in your intended area of expertise|
|Intro to HTML and CSS|
|Intro to Computer Science|
|Want to learn a specific skill from a successful mentor|
|One class $90 or year subscription $180||Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking||Courses are taught by celebrities and industry professionals|
|Dr. Jane Goodall teaches conservation|
|DEADMAU5 teaches electronic music|
|Wants to learn a variety of skills over time|
|Free or $9-300 listings, typically $50 or less||The Web Developer Bootcamp||Courses are almost always on sale, so you can get them for very cheap prices, often under $20|
|The Complete Digital Marketing Course (12 in 1)|
|The Complete Ethical Hacking Course|
|University-driven self-starters who need little mediation|
|Free or $50-300/course||TOEFL Test Preparation||Partnered with the Top Universities in the U.S. and around the world|
|Essential Statistics for Data Analysis Using Excel|
|The Science of Happiness|
|Wants to learn computer/tech skills|
|Free or Premium $29/month or $299/year||Understanding Machine Learning||Sorts courses by skill level necessary to complete it|
|Introduction to SQL|
|Performing Incident Response and Handling|
|Looking for employment or to improve their current career|
|Basic $19.99 or Premium $29||Time Management Fundamentals||Lessons available on computer, phone, tablet, and smart TV|
|Introduction to Graphic Design|
|Wants to learn lessons and tips from people in their industry|
|Free or $100/year or $12/month||Personal Branding Essentials: Making the Most of Squarespace||Industry professionals bring their wisdom to what you learn|
|Mobile App Prototyping|
|Create a great social media strategy|
What is a MOOC and how does it work?
A MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, is a class that is taught online, and is open to a large number of people at once. It is presented over the Internet, so users can sign up online, and then gain access to all course materials through an online platform. Courses are still mediated by an instructor.
The size of a MOOCs varies depending on the institution, and in general, has no limit. The way the course is taught, how it’s mediated, and the medium(s) used can also vary, including lecture-style, videos, assignments, quizzes, open discussion, interactive lessons, and more.
Free courses vs. paid courses: which is right for me?
Online course websites often require a yearly or monthly subscription to use them, or make you pay per course you take. Sometimes, these websites will offer some courses for free, or a free trial, so it’s difficult to make the decision between the courses that cost money, and those that are free. Here’s some information to help you decide:
Take a paid course if:
- You need certification to prove you completed a course
- You want to work with a paid instructor, including University-level professors or industry professionals
- You want a higher-quality course
- You want attention from instructors
- You want to submit assignments and have them evaluated
Take a free course if:
- You want to add skills to your repertoire
- You want to test out how the website works before you commit to paying for it
- You don’t need any proof you completed the course
- You don’t have the money to spend but still want to learn
These are the websites we’ve listed above that you can get access to (at least in part) for free:
Helpful resources for making online learning easy
These articles will help you take your online learning to the next level, either by helping you find the perfect site to use, or what to do with these skills once you’ve learned them
- Udemy vs. Lynda vs. Udacity vs. Pluralsight: Best Online Learning Site – These are 4 of the best online learning sites, so check out how they directly compare to one another.
- Back to School is Not Just for Kids: 18 Sites for Adult Learning – These 18 websites geared towards adult learning can help you learn new skills in no time!
- Best 8 Udemy Alternatives for Online Learning Courses – These websites have a few more options for learning specific skills in well-rounded courses.
- Best 8 Sites Like Lynda.com for Online Learning – These sites are more similar to Lynda.com than Coursera, but they can teach you amazing skills to implement in your workplace.
- How to Find a Job: Best 11 Sites + Tips for Getting Hired – These websites can help you find the perfect job, and our tips can help you stand out and get that interview.
- Best 8 Apps to Build Your Resume – These apps can help you create a stellar resume to make sure you get the jobs you’re looking for.