Coursera Alternatives: Other Sites & Free Programs

Coursera Alternatives
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There are Coursera alternatives like edX, Udacity, Skillshare & LinkedIn Learning that provide sessions catering to specific interests that Coursera may not extensively cover. In addition, some alternatives are also relatively more affordable than Coursera.


Coursera has surged in the popularity charts because of its accreditation and tie-ups with big names like Yale, MIT, IBM, and Google. It provides quality education with certified results and university credits.


However, it won’t be wrong to say that there are a few areas where Coursera could improve. Also, there could be a set of audiences who won’t find Coursera as the best option for e-learning.


The reasons to look for Coursera alternatives could be different for different people. It could be the high cost, lack of creative courses, inadequate peer reviewed results, etc. Here comes the role of other e-learning sites like edX, Skillshare, Udacity, Udemy, etc. Each has its own area of expertise.


So, the platform that gets closest to Coursera is edX. It also offers courses from top universities like Berkley, MIT, and Harvard. For creative learners


Skillshare is another option to get well-acquainted in creative fields like music, design, and photography. It has a subscription model but does not provide a certificate of completion.


For tech-based topics your best bet among other sites like Coursera is Udacity. Udacity offers courses in data science, artificial intelligence, programming, etc. It collaborates with top tech companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft to provide industry-specific programs and courses.


If Coursera’s accredited certificates and institution name is not a deal breaker for you, Udemy is a good choice. It offers courses in different fields like personal development, business, marketing, tech, and creative topics, etc.


We will have a detailed discussion on these and a few other alternatives to Coursera in the coming sections. Before that, let’s look at Coursera’s strengths & weaknesses.


Comparing Similar Sites To Coursera – Its Pros and Cons


Pros Cons
  • Coursera partners with top institutions and universities to offer programs and courses taught by experienced experts in their respective fields
  • Coursera lets students learn at their pace and schedule and from any location, provided they have an internet connection.
  • As for Coursera’s pricing, several courses are free, and even the paid ones are more affordable than the traditional university programs.
  • They cover social sciences, humanities, arts, business technology, and many more domains.
  • Coursera programs and courses offer a certificate of completion. You can use this to showcase your skills or knowledge to potential employers.
  • Some courses also provide university credits.


  • There is little opportunity for interaction with instructors or other students.
  • Since Coursera imposes no strict attendance requirements or guidelines, some students fail to stay motivated and complete the course.
  • Even though Coursera delivers an array of programs and courses, it may not cover every field or topic or offer the same depth as traditional university programs.
  • The peer review system on Coursera has received a huge backlash time and again.
  • The course prices lie a bit on the higher side.


Other Platforms Like Coursera – A Brief Summary


Platform Cost Best for Topic Range Certification
Coursera Subscription ($39-$79/month). Variable for different types of programs from specialization to MasterTracks, etc. University-level courses Technology, business, arts, humanities, Science, social sciences, and more Certificates from universities, some courses offer credits
Udemy Variable ($10-$200+) per course. Subscription model is not available in all regions. Professional development/hobbyist learners Technology, business, arts, creative Non-accredited  certificate of completion
edX Variable ($50-$3000+), often one-time University-level courses Technology, business, arts, humanities, social sciences, and more Certificates from universities, some courses offer credits
MIT OpenCourseWare


Free University-level courses/

Higher education

Industries, including tech & engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, humanities, and more. No certificates offered
Harvard Online $50-$2000 Professional development/

Higher education

Business, computer science, medical, education, humanities, law, mathematics, social sciences, and more Certificates of completion
FutureLearn Subscription ($39/month), free courses University-level courses Mental health, social science, business, computer science, humanities, law, mathematics, and more Certificates of completion
Skillshare Subscription ($15/month), Creative skills Design, photography, film and video, music, writing, and more No certificates offered
LinkedIn Learning Subscription ($29.99/month) Professional development Business and technology Certificates of completion


Other Sites Like Coursera That You Can Consider

Coursera has great reviews. However, there are a few things that could have been better. So, here we bring you some of the alternatives to Coursera that may be on par with it for specific range of topics.


Here are some of the top alternatives you may want to consider:


A. edX – A Close Competitor to Coursera

edX Course

edX is a popular online learning platform that offers programs and courses from leading institutions and universities. edX classes are mostly self-paced and have interactive exercises, video lectures, assignments, and quizzes. Students can bag certificates from edX on completing some programs.


Pricing: edX course cost can vary depending on the program and the course chosen. However, most of its classes come for free to read the course material, but you will have to pay if you want their certificate of completion.


Their verified courses range between $50 and $300. edX also has a subscription-based program called edX Plus that costs $399.


Ideal For: It is one of the best Coursera alternatives for those seeking top-quality courses from renowned institutions and colleges, particularly in business, engineering, and computer science. It is also an excellent option for students seeking accredited degree programs.


Does it have an edge over Coursera?

edX has an almost similar catalog and pricing structure to Coursera. edX predominantly focuses on academic programs and courses, whereas Coursera provides courses from different providers like non-academic organizations.


Further, edX gives you an edge as it is a robust platform for students enrolled in degree programs with features like career services and course advising.


B. MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare

It is an initiative by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that offers free access to the course materials from MIT’s graduate and undergraduate courses.


Their materials comprise assignments, exams, videos, and lecture notes, but they do not offer any degrees or certificates. It can be the best option if you need to learn without spending money.


Pricing: You pay no money to access the materials by MIT.


Ideal For: It can be the best platform for individuals hoping to explore humanities, engineering, science, and mathematics domains. MIT OpenCourseWare is also one of the superior Coursera alternatives for students aspiring to learn from MIT’s world-class faculty without enrolling in a formal program.


How does it compare to Coursera?

Compared to Coursera, MIT MOOC has a limited selection of courses. Further, you do not get any degrees or certificates. But the materials from OpenCourseWare are presented to you by one of the top global universities. Hence, those seeking free alternatives to Coursera will love this option.


C. Harvard Online Learning

Harvard Online Learning


It is a leading online platform that offers programs and courses from Harvard University. Their classes are mainly self-paced, but you will find several instructor-led courses too. Most of their lectures have interactive exercises, video lectures, and assessments.


Some of the sessions also allow you to bag a certificate upon completion. It can be your go-to pick in similar sites to Coursera if you need a platform with instructor-led classes.


Pricing: While some courses are free, others may need payment. The paid courses range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Some self-paced courses range between $800 and $1600, whereas the certificate programs can cost upwards of $10,000.


Ideal For: Harvard Online Learning has programs like Coursera from one of the most prestigious universities in the world, especially in fields such as computer science, business, and healthcare. It can also be a go-to platform for those seeking courses to accentuate their management and leadership skills.


Is Harvard Online better than Coursera?

Compared to Coursera, Harvard Online has a limited course selection. However, their courses are more in-depth and specialized.


But, the platform can be one of the best Coursera alternatives to learn from the prestigious Harvard faculty and earn certificates from one of the most well-respected universities globally.


D. FutureLearn

Futurelearn is a popular platform that provides various programs and courses from institutions and universities. They have self-paced and instructor-led courses full of interactive exercises and video lessons for an all-around learning experience.


It is one of the apps similar to Coursera, as it offers a certification once you complete the classes.


Pricing: You can find both paid and free courses on FutureLearn. The paid subscription is as follows:

  1. $39 per month for a monthly subscription
  2. $99 for a 6-month subscription
  3. $179 for a 12-month subscription


Ideal For: The courses from FutureLearn are perfect for individuals seeking a diverse range of programs and classes on topics like technology, business, and healthcare. They also have sessions for individuals who enjoy a more social learning experience, as this is one of the Coursera alternatives with opportunities for peer discussion and collaboration.


Why choose FutureLearn as the alternative?

Compared to Coursera you can choose FutureLearn because it has similar pricing and course options. However, they focus more on social and collaborative learning.


Further, FutureLearn has a more user-friendly platform. It is known for its engaging course design, short courses, top production quality, and micro-credentials.


Related: edX vs. Udacity


E. Udacity


It is a leading online learning platform with various programs and courses focusing on technology for career development. Udacity’s courses allow you to earn nano degrees or certificates with industry-recognized credentials.


Pricing: If you need one of the free alternatives to Coursera, Udacity can be one of them as it offers some courses for free. But their paid individual courses usually range between $50 to $300 per course. Nanodegrees will cost around $399 per month.


Ideal For: Udacity is perfect for individuals hoping to amplify their skills in artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, and programming. It is also an excellent option for those wanting to transition to a new field or advance their careers.


When to choose Udacity as the alternative?

Udacity can be one of the better Coursera alternatives if you need courses with a stronger focus on career development and technology. They have a range of nano degree programs that prepare students for in-demand tech jobs.


Udacity also has personalized coaching and support to help students achieve their career goals. Further, Udacity courses are relatively more project-based. So you will have a more hands-on and practical learning experience.


F. Pluralsight


Pluralsight is another online learning platform that offers tech-related programs and courses, including topics like cybersecurity, IT operations, and software development. Pluralsight has some of the best instructor-led and self-paced courses with several assessments and hands-on exercises.


Pricing: As one of the similar sites to Coursera, Pluralsight has multiple pricing plans. Their personal plans start at $29 per month or $299 per year, which gives you unlimited access to on-demand courses, skill assessments, and paths.

Premium plans start at $449 annually and have certification practice exams, projects, and interactive classes. Business plans are also available, but their pricing varies on specific features and the number of users.


They have a free trial for new users. So, you can test the waters before putting in your money.


Ideal For: Pluralsight is perfect for individuals seeking to advance their skills in tech-related fields, such as cybersecurity, IT, and software development. It is also an excellent pick for someone hoping to reskill or upskill for a new career.


What makes Pluralsight a good alternative?

It is one of the better Coursera alternatives for its praise-worthy focus on tech-related programs and courses. Even though Coursera does offer some tech-related courses, Pluralsight has a more specialized and in-depth approach to the topics.


Further, Pluralsight ensures a more personalized experience. They focus on hands-on and practical learning. The platform has features like customized learning paths and skill assessments to help the students materialize their learning goals.


Lastly, Pluralsight’s subscription model allows you to buy all the programs and courses for a flat fee. Thus, it is an incredibly cost-effective option for individuals hoping to gain knowledge in specific areas.


G. Skillshare


Skillshare is a leading online learning platform that offers programs and courses on creative topics, including writing, animation, photography, and design. The best Skillshare classes are predominantly project-based and have several video lessons, hands-on exercises, and peer feedback.


Pricing: Skillshare is another one of the programs like Coursera that comes with various pricing options for its premium features and courses. Their premium membership offers access to the complete library with exclusive features like ad-free browsing, offline viewing, and community features.

It costs $15 per month or $99 per year. They have team membership plans for businesses, but the pricing depends on the specific features needed and the number of users.


Ideal For: Skillshare is perfect for individuals hoping to develop skills in creative areas like photography, graphic design, and writing. It is also excellent for individuals who want to explore their creative interests and develop new skills in a collaborative and supportive manner.


Who should choose Skillshare as Coursera’s alternative?

It can be the go-to choice for someone looking for a platform that can help them materialize their interests in creative fields. Further, individuals seeking more collaborative and project-based learning experiences can also opt for Skillshare.


The courses on Skillshare are shorter and more focussed on practical skills than the more academic courses on Coursera. Further, their subscription model gives you access to an extensive library at a flat fee, making it a cost-effective option.


H. LinkedIn Learning 

LinkedIn Learning

Among other Sites Like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform that offers programs and courses focused on business-related topics and professional development. LinkedIn Learning sessions are predominantly video-based and comprise several quizzes and exercises.


Pricing: LinkedIn Learning offers an array of pricing models. You can get their monthly subscription with unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning courses for $29.99. Their annual subscription has the same access to classes as the monthly subscriptions.


However, it comes at a lower cost of $299.99 per year or $24.99 monthly. They also have a premium subscription for organizations and businesses, comprising additional features like custom learning paths, reporting, analytics, and collaboration tools.


The pricing depends on the number of users and specific attributes needed. Like similar sites to Coursera, LinkedIn Learning also provides a one-month trial for new users. So, you can try their sessions before paying.


Ideal For: LinkedIn Learning is perfect for individuals hoping to develop skills in project management, leadership, communication, and marketing. It is an excellent option for individuals who wish to improve their professional profile and advance their careers.


What makes LinkedIn Learning a good alternative?

LinkedIn Learning can be one of the good Coursera alternatives for its focus on business-related and professional development topics. The LinkedIn courses are more career-focused and practice.


They focus on developing skills that are in demand in the job market. Further, they have personalized recommendations and learning paths to meet users’ career goals and interests.


Hence, it is easier for individuals to find programs and courses that meet their specific learning needs. LinkedIn Learning also allows learners to bag a certification of completion that they can share on their profile to showcase their skills and expertise to potential employers.


I. Udemy


Udemy offers a wide range of free and paid courses. Though their classes are easy to understand, there is one problem. Anybody can teach on Udemy so the standardization in courses is missing.


Pricing: Individual courses range from $9.99 to $120. There is also a subscription model available but not in all geographical locations.


Ideal For: Professionals looking to brush up their skills & hobbyists.


When to choose Udemy?

Udemy is the option for you when you don’t want accredited certificates or college credits.


Related: Udemy Alternatives | Skillshare Alternatives | Udemy Review | Skillshare Review| LinkedIn Learning Alternatives


Specialty Wise Other Platforms Like Coursera

A. For Coders:

  1. Codecademy as it has many interactive coding lessons with a focus on programming languages and web development.
  2. DataCamp


Related: Codecademy vs. DataCamp


B. For Data Science & Machine Learning:

  1. Datacamp has interactive coding projects with exercises focused on data science.
  2. Kaggle Learn has a bunch of free courses on this domain.


C. For Creative Professionals:

  1. Skillshare has courses and programs on creative topics like graphic design, photography, and writing
  2. MasterClass
  3. CreativeLive has live and pre-recorded sessions on art, design, and photography.
  4. Domestika


Related: Domestika vs. Skillshare


D. Coursera Alternatives for University Education:

  1. MIT OpenCourseWare, Harvard Online Learning, and Stanford Online provide free and paid online courses from top universities on several topics.


E. For Business Courses:

  1. LinkedIn Learning has courses and programs focused on business-related and professional development topics.
  2. Udemy has easy-to-understand courses on business, technology, and creative skills.


F. Free e-Learning Apps Similar to Coursera :

  1. Khan Academy has free lessons and courses on multiple topics.
  2. OpenLearn has free resources and classes from The Open University.
  3. Alison has free sessions and certification programs.


Related: Alison vs. Coursera


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