If you are planning to take an online course to learn a new or improve existing skills, one of the challenges you’ll face is deciding which platform to settle for.
The last thing you want is jumping from one online learning platform to the order or starting and leaving a course half-way to start another. You want to maximize your time to get the best possible education at the most affordable rate.
Online learning has become popular within the past few years compared to when the trend took off few years ago.
While responding to the question “How did Udemy get 5,000 courses online so quickly?” Gagan Biyani, co-founder recounted how difficult it was to convince book authors, professors and famous public speakers to create online courses as a business model.
At the time, the format for online course was foreign to them; they wanted to keep writing books and doing public talks. Fast forward to three years later and you can imagine how much has changed.
With over 10,000 instructors, 16,000 courses and 3 million students on Udemy, the online learning trend is only getting started.
The purpose of this article is to compare two major online learning platforms – Udemy or Udacity – and help you make a better decision on which platform to continue your journey in learning.
About the online learning platforms
Udacity believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, it has connected great teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world.
It was founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online for very low cost. A few weeks later, over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled in the first class, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.”
Udemy’s goal is to disrupt and democratize the world of education by enabling anyone to teach and learn online. Just as blogging democratized the publishing industry (enabling anyone with basic knowledge about something to quickly become an authority), Udemy seeks to dramatically change the way we learn by empowering millions of experts around the world to teach & share what they know.
Instructors can use video, PowerPoint, PDFs, audio, zip files and live classes to quickly build a course and share their expertise.
Free or Paid
When Udacity started its first courses in February 2012, the model was that all classes are open enrollment; you can learn at your own pace and access all of the information you need at any time. Upon completion of the class, you download your class certification to demonstrate your level of achievement in the course, all for free.
However in April 2014, Udacity announced that effective from May 16, they will be phasing out certificates for free courseware completion. Students are now required to pay to complete courses and get a verified certificate.
There is no free launch after all.
From the word go, Udemy started with paid online courses in mind. The goal was to build a platform for authors, professors, experts, professionals, entrepreneurs and public speakers to create and teach courses online as a business model. And they have been consistent with this model. You will also find interesting free courses on the platform.
Who create the courses?
Courses are built by experts from tech companies in Silicon Valley and institutions including Google, Facebook, cloudera, Salesforce, San Jose University etc
Teachers are knowledgeable on skills tech companies need, because they work there. You’ll learn skills that match industry demands, with the credential after completing each course.
Courses are created by authors, professors, experts, professionals, entrepreneurs, public speakers and just about anyone who can teach something worth learning.
Average cost of Courses
Courses cost about $150 a month. However, you can take trial version of the course.
Paid courses typically range from $5 – $250, even more. In fact instructors have the full control to charge whatever price they deem fit. Learners pay one-time fee to access the full course.
What category of courses can you learn?
With Udacity, “stand out by learning in-demand tech skills from the best companies in Silicon Valley”.
Learn in-demand tech skills needed in the tech industry today from web development, software engineering, android etc.
“Our mission is to help anyone learn anything online”.
Students can take courses across a great breadth of categories, including: business & entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health & fitness, language, music, photography, yoga, technology, games, and more.
Udacity – the screenshot below shows the region most active on Udacity
Udemy – the screenshot below shows the region most active on Udemy
Interest over time
How often does the platform make news headline? Google Trends provides us with the information we need to find out.
From the graph above, as at February 2012, Udacity (blue) made 44 news headlines while Udemy (red) made just 8. Udacity continued to rise above Udemy in media publicity until February 2014, for the first time, Udemy overtook Udacity by making 71 news headlines while the latter made 62. Udacity has since been decreasing in popularity compared to Udemy which continues to grow since early 2014.
Here is the link to this graph on Google trends
User rating and reviews
There is no user generated reviews or rating for the courses. As a result, prospective learners don’t have the luxury to make decisions based on social proof.
Before you enroll for any course on Udemy, you can read what past students have to say about the course. You can see the ratings for each course to help you decide to take the course or not.
This is a great social proof to help you maximize your investment.
For the instance, the screenshot below is the rating for the Course, Become a Certified Web Developer
Which platform is better?
Eventually, it’s totally up to you to decide. If you want to learn tech skills from large companies like Google and Facebook, and pay about $150 per month to complete the course and get a certificate, Udacity will be the choice for you.
If you want to learn just about anything in a less formal, less academic-looking environment, Udemy could be the better choice for you. Click here to browse the thousands of courses on Udemy