edX vs Udemy – Which One Should You Go for?

Publishing your course onto an online course platform is a good route to take when you start out.

Two of the most popular online course platforms out there are edX and Udemy. 

But which one is better for beginner online course creators? 

In this post, we’ll compare the two and discuss their strengths and weaknesses to determine the most suitable one for you. 

Potential Income3 stars4 stars
Time CommitmentMedium to HighLow to Medium
Risk of FailureLow (if accepted)High
Marketing EffortsMedium to HighHigh

Now that you’ve had a brief look at what each platform has to offer, let’s take a closer look at them. 

edX Review – Reliable and Easy to Use

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edX is an online course platform that was founded by MIT and Harvard back in 2012. Due to this, you can find a whole bunch of courses from MIT and Harvard on the platform. 

In addition to that, edX also allows other course providers to publish their own courses on the platform too. 

The courses provided on the platform are highly curated so you’ll need to have some authoritative credentials if you expect to be accepted onto the platform. 

edX gives you the option to have free courses as well as paid courses with different payment options such as subscriptions or one-time payments. 

You can utilize this flexibility to first provide free content that generates trust and value and then offer paid content in order to generate revenue. 

Furthermore, edX has a great course publishing tool known as Studio. It does a great job of organizing different assets of your online course in order to make it ready for publishing. 

Pros Cons

Different payment and subscription options

Intuitive to use

Wide range of course categories

Well-established and reliable
Tends to freeze sometimes during course development

Benefits of edX

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When it comes to submitting your online course onto the platform, you can do that for free.

With that being said, it does not necessarily mean that your online course will be published as it has to go through a vetting process. If it gets accepted, then you can start to gain revenue from it. 

The platform itself is very simple to use. Its Studio tool makes it extremely easy to upload and organize different assets of your online course such as: 

  • Lecture slides 
  • Videos 
  • Infographics
  • Images 

And much more. 

Studio also enables you to generate course activities that increase student engagement such as quizzes, class activities, assignments, etc. 

edX even gives you the option to provide additional coaching and mentoring to your students. You can utilize this option to generate extra revenue along with the revenue you will generate from course sales. 

edX also provides users with a wide variety of niches to choose from. Thus, if you intend to develop a course about a super-specific niche, edX can facilitate this. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy edX

Potential Income 

If your online course gets accepted onto the edX platform, given that it’s not about a super-specific niche, you can expect to generate sizable revenue from it. 

The platform has just over 2000 courses on it so you don’t have to worry about your course being lost and undiscoverable by students. 

Furthermore, since the platform gives you the option for additional coaching and mentoring, you can utilize this to generate additional income as well. 

Time Commitment 

If you intend to use edX as a platform to generate passive income for yourself, this may not be the right option. 

While it’s definitely possible, the truth of the matter is that you’ll have to spend more time and effort if you want to generate profits through the platform. 

You will be required to provide additional coaching as well as hands-on training to the students that take your courses. 

Risk of Failure

Given that your course is accepted onto the platform, the risk of failure on edX is fairly low. 

You can expect to generate sizable revenue from course sales and additional methods to earn revenue ensure that your livelihood will not be threatened. 

Marketing Efforts

You’ll have to market your course on your own and this is definitely something you should take into account.

Not only will you work to provide additional coaching but you’ll also need to run email and social media marketing campaigns to make your online course discoverable to as many potential students as possible. 

What Do the Customers Think?

People love edX’s ease of use and how the Studio tool makes it super simple to upload and manage online courses. 

It also does a great job of keeping course providers and students in touch. 

Here are some reviews we came across: 

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Best Easy-to-Use Online Learning Platform

The best easy-to-use online learning platform is edX thanks to its neat interface and easy-to-navigate website. The Studio tool makes it super easy to upload courses and also to manage their different assets.

Udemy Review – Robust and Beginner-Friendly

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Chances are you may have heard of Udemy before because it’s one of the most popular online course platforms out there. It boasts over 32,000 courses that are available to its students.

Most courses posted onto Udemy typically cost below $100 so this is definitely something you should take into account. 

If your online courses are relatively brief and don’t offer in-depth content, then Udemy can be the right place to market them at a cheap price. 

As an online course creator, you can publish your online courses onto the platform completely for free. 

In addition to there being no cost to publish your course onto the platform, there’s also the fact that there are no eligibility criteria. 

Pretty much anyone can post their courses on Udemy so, you don’t have to worry about failing any vetting process as it does not exist. 

Pros Cons
Ability to generate coupons and discount codes to drive traffic

Huge student community of over 30+ million to market your courses to

Full control over course content and pricing

Caters to all sorts of niches and different categories

Completely free to join and publish courses
Large number of competitors

Benefits of Udemy

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The first and most obvious benefit of Udemy is the fact that it’s free to join and it also does not cost you anything to publish courses on the platform. 

You can post as many courses on the platform as you want and it won’t cost you a dime. 

Of course, Udemy is one of the most popular course platforms out there so naturally, it is host to an extremely large community of students, 30+ million to be more specific.

This means that no matter what niche you target, you’ll more than likely find students that want whatever it is you’re teaching. 

 You have full creative control over the content of your online courses. Udemy does not dictate what you can and can’t have within your course so it’s great if you want a platform that isn’t restrictive. 

Furthermore, it’s very easy to use. Udemy has all the tools you’ll need to effectively upload and publish all assets of your online course. These include: 

  • Lecture slides 
  • Images
  • Video lectures
  • Infographics
  • Assignments
  • Quizzes

And much more. 

Udemy provides you with the ability to publish free as well as paid courses.

This may not seem like it matters much at first since you want to make revenue from your online courses. However, it can be a great source to attract potential customers.
You can do this by providing some value in the form of free courses. Then, you can have further methods, processes, and techniques related to the same topic locked behind paid courses. 
Once students go through your free course(s), they’ll know that your courses do indeed have good value to offer. Thus, they’ll be a lot more likely to pay for your premium courses. 

As it’s one of the most popular course platforms, you’ll find that you have access to a wide array of niches to choose from. 

This means that no matter what your online course is about, you’ll most likely find a relevant category for it.

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Udemy

Potential Income 

You may wonder how exactly Udemy stays afloat when you can just publish courses on the platform for free. 

Well, that’s because Udemy takes 50% of every sale you make through it. 

This is definitely something to keep in mind. 

50% of all the revenue you make will not go towards you but towards the platform. While this may seem like a lot, the fact that you don’t have to pay anything else besides this (sort of) makes up for it. 

It does feel bad though once your sales start to go up. The more popular your course becomes, the more you’ll have to pay in commission fees. 

Udemy can become a passive source of income though, once your course gains popularity. Once that happens, all you have to do is sit back and watch the revenue roll in. 

Time Commitment 

Udemy is a significant time commitment but the thing you have to recognize is that this time commitment, unlike its competitors, is temporary. 

Unlike Udemy’s competitors such as edX and Udacity which require you to provide hands-on training to your students as long as your course is up, Udemy does not require you to do anything of the sort. 

The majority of your time will be spent publishing your course on the platform and then running marketing campaigns to promote it. 

Once your marketing campaigns have done their job and gathered a loyal customer base for your courses, you won’t have to invest more time into it. 

After a certain time, your course’s ratings, reviews, and student testimonials will do that for you.

Risk of Failure

Udemy may seem like the best candidate for your online course platform so far but here’s a factor where you need to really consider things: 

Udemy is the most popular course platform out there with over 32,000 courses and more than 30+ million students. 

This means that there’s a ton of competition on the platform and there’s a high chance your course may fail to gain popularity if you don’t market it properly. 

Marketing Efforts

Udemy does not handle marketing and promotion of your course for you so this is something you’ll have to handle on your own. 

Effective marketing is paramount to the success of your online course business so it’s definitely not something you can skimp out on. 

If you publish your course on Udemy, be prepared to develop marketing campaigns for it both on social media, through emails, blogs as well as any other avenues you see fit. 

What Do the Customers Think?

People who’ve used Udemy love its ease of use for both students as well as course creators. 

You can find courses from pretty much every niche and course creators find it very easy to manage and publish their courses too. 

Here are some reviews we found: 

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Best Free-to-Publish Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Platform

The best free-to-publish MOOC platform is Udemy since it does not cost you anything to register and publish courses on it. It’s very easy to use and you get access to a base of over 30+ million students. 

Udemy vs edX – Buyers’ Guide

Potential Income 

First things first, the amount of income you can expect to generate from a certain massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform. 

This is important to consider: You need to understand the level of income you intend to aim for and the amount of effort you’ll have to put in to achieve it. 

Some online course platforms tend to take a percentage of the profit you make from course sales. Others let you have 100% while charging a fee for your membership on the platform. 

If you expect your online courses to become highly popular with a large number of sales, then you should opt for the latter. 

If you cater to a small but dedicated niche with your online courses, then you should opt for the former. 

Time Commitment 

Do you want online course creation to be your full-time job or do you want to set this up as a passive source of income? 

This is a very important question you must ask yourself when you choose between online learning platforms. 

Some of them involve little to no effort on your part once your courses get popular. Once this happens, you can just sit back and watch the revenue roll in. 

Others expect you to be active and help out students as long your online course is on their platform. 

Thus, depending on what you want to achieve, be sure to take note of this when you choose an online course platform. 

Risk of Failure

No one wants to spend time, money, and effort only for their online courses to be unpopular. 

When you opt for an online course platform, be sure to do some research into how their model works. 

Do they pay you based on how popular your course is (e.g., Udemy), or do they pay you based on your expertise (e.g., Udacity)? 

It’s always important to measure the risk and base your online course platform choice on it. 

Marketing Efforts

As we’ve mentioned time and time again in many of our posts: Creating your online course is only half the battle, you also have to market and promote it. 

Some online course platforms market and promote your online courses for you (e.g., Udacity) while most others leave that to you. 

Be sure to know whether or not the online course platform you intend to choose does marketing for you or not. 

If it doesn’t, be sure that you’re ready to develop marketing campaigns for your courses as they are paramount when it comes to your success in this business.

CLICK HERE to learn how to start your online course business without getting overwhelmed.

Final Verdict

With that, we’re at the conclusion of our post for Udemy vs edX.

In the end, we have to say there’s no clear winner as both platforms are meant for completely different types of course creators. 

If you don’t have a lot of credentials, then Udemy is the platform for you. 

edX is much more reliable but you’ll need to be an authority in your field for your course to be published onto it. 

Which platform do you think is better? Let us know in the comments below.