Udemy vs Coursera vs Udacity – Which is Best for You?

Opting to publish courses on an online course platform is often much easier than hosting them on your own website. 

That being said, if can be difficult to choose between online platforms because of their vague pricing models, hidden fees, and unclear features. 

In this post, we will compare Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity to determine which platform is best for new online course creators. 

Features Udemy Coursera Udacity
Potential Income 4 stars 3 stars 4 stars
Time Commitment Low to Medium 4 stars High
Marketing Efforts High 4 stars Low
Eligibility Criteria Low High High

Now that you have an idea of what each platform has to offer, let’s look at them in detail to determine which one could be best for you. 

Udemy Review – Intuitive to Use with Extensive Control

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You will most likely have heard of Udemy before since it’s one of the most popular Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms out there. 

It boasts over 32,000 courses with a community of over 35 million students. 

Such a big community ensures that no matter which your course’s niche is, you will most likely get in touch with students that are search for what you have to offer. 

Furthermore, Udemy is completely free to join and you can publish as many courses as you want on the platform free of charge. 

Udemy is also very simple to use with its dashboard that does an awesome job of managing different assets related to your online courses. 

It keeps everything organized so you can easily upload lecture slides, images, video lectures, and anything else you may need. 

Since anyone can join Udemy and publish their online courses, it makes it one of the best online course platforms for beginner course creators. 

Pros Cons
Discount codes and coupon generation for gathering traffic

Extremely large community of potential customers

Extensive control over course content

Tons of categories to choose from

Free to join and publish courses
A lot of competition

Benefits of Udemy

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The glaringly obvious benefit of Udemy is the fact that it’s completely free to join. Not only that but you can also publish as many courses as you want free of cost as well. 

In addition to that, Udemy has no eligibility criteria.

This means you don’t need to be an expert in your field or have a relevant university degree in order to be able to publish online courses on the platform. 

It’s extremely simple to use and you don’t need to have knowledge of web development in order to create compelling landing pages for your online courses. 

Udemy makes it super easy for you to upload, organize and manage different assets that you need for your online course. 

Since Udemy is so popular, it’s more than likely that you’ll be able to find a community that searches for what you have to offer with your online courses. 

This allows you to build a loyal customer base easier than it usually is on most other websites with a lower number of students. 

Furthermore, Udemy provides you with the ability to generate coupons and discount codes for your online courses. 

These can be great tools to generate hype and market your online courses in an effective way. 

Since Udemy courses can be either free or paid, you can also use this to your advantage. 

You can do this by first creating small, free courses that provide value to your customers. Then, you can market your paid courses to them as well. 

Since they’ll have gone through your free courses, they will know that your courses are high-quality and you do have actual value to provide. 

This will make them much more likely to buy your online courses. It’s a great way to secure loyal customers.

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Udemy

Potential Income 

It’s more than likely that the reason you’ve wanted to sell online courses is that you want to set up a source of passive income for yourself. 

In order to generate passive income, your online course has to be able to find new customers. 

This is definitely possible with Udemy. 

Once you build a loyal customer base and a sizable number of students have paid for your course, your course ratings, testimonials, and reviews will help you continually find new customers. 

One other important thing you need to worry about though is the fact that Udemy keeps 50% of the revenue you make for every sale. 

This means that no matter how popular your online courses become, 50% of your revenue will always go towards Udemy. 

Time Commitment

It’s tricky to talk about time commitment when it comes to Udemy because while it is definitely substantial, it’s also temporary. 

This is because you’ll have to spend a ton of time and effort at the start when it comes to publishing and marketing your online course. 

However, once you have successfully done so and built a loyal customer base, you won’t have to do anything else apart from minimal management. 

This is because as we mentioned above, course ratings and testimonials will help you to find new customers. 

Marketing Efforts

Udemy does not market your online courses for you. 

Thus, this is definitely something you’ll have to spend a lot of time and effort on. 

The marketing process is just as important if not more when it comes to the success of your online course business.

It’s not something you can slack on.

Thus, if you opt for Udemy, be prepared to create and execute marketing campaigns for your online courses. 

While Udemy does not provide you with marketing services, it does have some tools that can assist you with the promotion of your online courses. 

An example of this is the ability to generate discount codes and coupons. 

You can use these coupons in your email marketing and social media marketing campaigns to gather potential customers. 

Eligibility Criteria

Absolutely anyone can publish online courses on Udemy so this is not something you have to worry about at all. 

What Do the Customers Think?

Udemy is one of the most popular course platforms out there and if you read user reviews, you can clearly understand why. 

People love its ease of use, the fact that it’s free, and how it gives you access to a wide community of students. 

Here are some reviews we came across: 

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Best Free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Platform

The best free MOOC platform is Udemy because it costs you nothing to join and you can publish as many courses as you want for free. It’s very easy to manage different assets of your course and you get access to an extremely large community that you can market your courses to.

Coursera Review – Robust and Affordable

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Coursera is one of the most prestigious online learning platforms out there. 

Unlike Udemy, the courses offered on Coursera are highly curated. This means that students get much higher quality when it comes to courses. 

This can be a downside for you though because that means you’ll have to go through a vetting process to determine whether or not you’re eligible. 

Coursera hosts over 3000 courses which isn’t a lot when you compare it with giants like Udemy. This disparity is largely due to the fact that anyone can post courses on Udemy, unlike Coursera. 

Moreover, Coursera also gives you many options when it comes to the price structure. You can choose to have a subscription or a one-time payment for your online courses. It’s very easy to implement with Coursera. 

You can choose to have brief courses that teach students basic skills or you can also have full-blown in-depth courses that are priced much higher than usual. 

While there are many categories offered on Coursera, the most popular ones are: 

  • Business
  • Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Language Learning
  • Arts and Humanities

Pros Cons
Great option if you’re creating a course in a popular niche

Not a ton of competition

Large student base

Does not require marketing efforts

Easy to use
High eligibility criteria

Benefits of Coursera

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Coursera takes a far more academic approach to e-learning compared to platforms like Udemy. 

The fact of the matter is that it’s quite difficult to have your course accepted on Coursera but if you fulfill their criteria and are able to do so, there are tons of benefits to enjoy. 

Firstly, Coursera’s platform is highly curated which means there’s not a lot of competition even in popular niches such as computer science, business, etc. 

As long as you create a course about a specific topic within the niche, you can rest assured that your course will definitely find an audience. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to conduct marketing for the course yourself either. You can choose to do so if you wish but it’s not something that is essential on Coursera. 

Coursera’s support team is also highly responsive and helpful. If you run into any issues, they’ll be able to solve them within hours, if not minutes. 

This ensures that you don’t lose out on any potential students due to bugs or any other issues. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Coursera

Potential Income 

Now if we talk about the potential income when it comes to Coursera, we agree that it can get quite tricky. 

This is because Coursera is associated with educational institutions and not individual professors. 

So firstly, you need to be associated with an institution (we’ll talk about this more later). 

Next, the amount of revenue you generate will not depend upon Coursera but rather the educational institution you are associated with. 

Thus, if you’re going to go for Coursera, be sure to research how much your educational institution is willing to compensate you in relation to course sales. 

Time Commitment

You’ll mostly spend your time creating and publishing your online course on Coursera. 

Once that’s done and your online course is accepted, you’re pretty much done. 

You can choose to conduct marketing campaigns if you wish but in most cases, courses tend to find students on their own. 

Marketing Efforts

As mentioned above, marketing is not something you’ll have to worry about if you opt for Coursera. 

That being said, you can choose to do it on your own if you really want to boost its popularity and help it find an audience faster. 

You can do so by writing blogs that lead traffic to the course, conducting email campaigns as well as ad campaigns on social media. 

Eligibility Criteria

This is the part where most people fail when it comes to getting their courses published on Coursera. 

The courses on Coursera are highly curated which means you need some serious credentials in order for your course to be accepted on the platform. 

Firstly, as we mentioned, you need to be associated with a prominent educational institution since Coursera primarily associates with institutions and not individual instructors. 

Note: There can be exceptions to this if you are an authoritative and prominent figure in your respective field. 

Secondly, you’ll need to prove your authority and expertise. 

Things that will help you do this are a university degree as well as publications you may have made in your respective field. 

What Do the Customers Think?

Sadly, we could not find any reviews online that came from course creators.

As far as students are concerned, they love the high-quality Coursera courses as well as how easy to use and navigate the platform is. 

Here are some student reviews we found: 

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Best Curated Online Learning Platform

The best curated online learning platform is Coursera since it only publishes courses offered by highly qualified individuals. While you need credentials to get onto the platform, if you are able to do so, it offers benefits that are unparalleled. 

Udacity Review – Robust and Reliable

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Udacity is a lot similar to its approach to Coursera than it is to Udemy. 

This is because it is also a highly curated platform that requires substantial credentials from its instructors. 

While it does have high eligibility criteria, Udacity is a much more reliable source of income compared to platforms like Udemy. 

This is because, unlike Udemy, Udacity pays you based on your skill set, expertise, and authority rather than based on-course sales. 

Thus, you don’t have to worry about your online course becoming popular in order to keep your online course career afloat. 

You can choose to have free courses on the platform but the main attraction for the platform is the Udacity Nanodegree programs. These typically start at $399 per month. 

Prices and duration can vary depending on the course itself. 

Pros Cons
Udacity handles the marketing of your online course(s)

Access to Udacity’s content team that helps with course creation

Responsive customer support

Reliable and consistent source of income

Wide array of tools to help with course creation
High eligibility criteria

You can lose out on potential revenue if your courses become wildly popular

Benefits of Udacity

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As mentioned earlier, Udacity is a lot more curated and polished compared to most online learning platforms. 

This means that while it’s difficult to get into it, if you manage to do so, then you’re almost guaranteed to succeed. 

Udacity boasts a wide library of tools that can help you with course creation as well as course refinement. Thus, you’ll have a much easier time creating your online course exactly the way you want. 

You even get access to Udacity’s content team which is there to help you refine your course even further. 

When it comes to course marketing, Udacity handles that for you too. Thus, you won’t have to spend any time or effort developing marketing campaigns to help your online course reach new audiences. 

Since Udacity is aimed towards students who have a clearer idea about what they want, you’ll get to meet and work with highly talented students. 

Udacity also gives you the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other talented Udacity instructors within your respective field. 

This gives you great opportunities to network, collaborate, and further increase your prominence within your niche.

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Udacity

Potential Income 

While the income you receive through Udacity may not be as high as it could potentially be on platforms such as Udemy (assuming that your course becomes highly popular), the point is that it’s reliable income. 

Your livelihood does not hinge on the fact that whether or not your course is popular. You will be paid based on your expertise, regardless. 

Time Commitment

While you don’t have to spend time marketing your course, the time commitment expected out of a Udacity instructor is much higher compared to other platforms. 

On average, Udacity requires instructors to spend at least 7 to 10 hours each week helping their students out with their courses. 

Thus, if you want to keep earning income through Udacity, you’ll have to invest time in it for as long as your course is available on the platform. 

This is not ideal if you were looking to turn online course selling into a passive stream of income. 

Marketing Efforts

As briefly mentioned above, Udacity completely handles the marketing aspect of your online courses. 

Thus, if you’re not confident in your marketing expertise or just don’t want to spend time and effort to learn new marketing campaigns, then Udacity is definitely a great choice. 

Eligibility Criteria

Udacity only accepts courses from individuals who are experts in their respective fields. 

Not only that but you also have to prove your expertise and authority as well. 

This will usually be done in the form of credible publications, successful businesses you may have started or any other prominent achievements you may have in your field. 

What Do the Customers Think?

Course creators love Udacity’s ease of use and how you’re able to organize video lectures, images and other course content in a neat way. 

Instructors also love the reliability of the platform and how their livelihoods don’t depend on the popularity of their courses. 

Some of the reviews we found for Udacity online are as follows:

udacity social proof

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Best Online Course Platform with Marketing Services

The best online course platform with marketing services is Udacity thanks to its ease of use and a dedicated team that handles marketing for you. Furthermore, it’s a much more reliable source of income since you’re paid based on your expertise and not on how popular your courses are.

Udemy vs Udacity vs Coursera – Buyers’ Guide

Choosing an online learning platform can be extremely confusing due to their complex price models, hidden fees, and similar features. 

Luckily, there are certain factors you can think about which can help you reach an informed decision about which online course platform is best for you. 

These factors are: 

Potential Income

Before you choose between online learning platforms, the first thing you’ll have to consider is their prices and how much you will earn. 

Some learning platforms charge monthly subscription fees, others take a cut out of all course sales you make but are free to join. Some also do both. 

 Ultimately, you’ll have to make a decision about which pricing model suits you best. 

The monthly subscription model is perfect for course creators that are want to create courses related to a popular niche. This is because no matter how popular their courses become, they will still have to pay a single, static fee each month. 

Their fees will not increase with the popularity of their courses. 

On the other hand, the commission model can be suitable for course creators who create courses related to a super obscure niche. 

This is because their courses will most likely not increase too much in popularity but they will have a dedicated customer base to keep their business afloat. 

Time Commitment

Different course platforms offer different services to make your online course business succeed. 

For example, Udacity offers marketing services whereas most other course platforms do not. 

When you’re opting for an online learning platform, you’ll have to research and consider the services you’re getting with it. 

Based on that, you can calculate how much time and effort you’ll have to spend in order for your online courses to succeed. 

Some online course platforms require you to spend at least a few hours per week helping your students out. If you’re looking to sell online courses as a means of passive income, then this would not be suitable. 

Hence, be sure to check out the requirements of online course platforms and ensure you’re willing to invest the time needed in order to be successful on a specific platform. 

Marketing Efforts

We mentioned briefly above how Udacity offers marketing services as part of its package. 

This means you don’t have to worry about marketing at all if you opt for it. 

Similarly, platforms such as Teachable don’t do marketing for you but they do provide you with a number of tools to make marketing easier. 

Whilst you research for online course platforms, be sure to check out if they do marketing for your courses or not. 

If they don’t, then be sure that you’re prepared to do the marketing for your online courses yourself. 

Always remember that marketing and promotion of your online courses is not something you can skip. It is essential and hence, you should plan it accordingly. 

Eligibility Criteria

Some online course platforms have very strict eligibility criteria. 

For example, Udacity won’t accept you unless you’re an authoritative figure in your respective field. You have to authenticate this authority by providing proof in the form of publications or achievements you’ve had in your field. 

On the other hand, other platforms such as Udemy allow pretty much anyone to publish free and paid courses onto it. 

It can be stressful spending weeks or even months trying to publish your course on a certain platform only for it to be rejected. Hence, you should properly research the eligibility criteria and ensure that you fulfill them before you opt for any platform. 

Udemy vs Udacity vs Coursera – Final Verdict

With that, we’re at the end of our comparison between Udemy, Coursera and Udacity. 

They’re very different platforms for different types of course creators. 

If you’re an expert in your field with credentials to your name, then you can opt for Coursera or Udacity since they’re much more reliable with a low risk of failure.

However, if you’re just a hobbyist with not many accolades to show, then Udemy would be the best choice. 

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