Are you looking for Coursera alternatives that give you a way to learn a new skill or gain more knowledge?
Online course websites like Coursera have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially as the cost of college keeps rising.
The beauty of online courses is that you can access them anywhere in the world with internet access (some even with download options for offline learning), so you can continue your everyday life while learning on the go. And you can usually take these classes at your own pace, fitting them into your schedule as you’re able to.
Whether you are a full-time working professional, a stay-at-home parent, or a world traveler, you don’t have to put your life on hold just because you want to enroll in a course. Because of that, it’s been easier than ever to make self-improvement, new hobbies, or continued education part of your personal and professional goals.
While Coursera is certainly among the most popular online course sites out there today, it’s not always the best fit for everyone. Fortunately, there are some great Coursera alternatives and competitors out there to choose from that may be a better fit for your budget, interests, or learning style.
We’ve reviewed and tested dozens of course websites at this point, and in the guide below, we’ll share other websites like Coursera that may be a perfect fit for your learning needs.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
What is Coursera?
Coursera is a high-quality, affordable alternative to traditional in-class education.
With Coursera, you can take college-level courses and earn certifications in a vast range of subjects, such as IT, business management, or healthcare. Their platform is great if you are considering a new career or a career change.
It’s also a great learning platform for hobbyists who just want to pick up new skills and knowledge.
Coursera’s classes are delivered to you by reputable US and even international universities such as Harvard, Yale, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Berklee College of Music, making it accessible for you to take college classes that might have been either unattainable due to in-person attendance, enrollment requirements, cost, or location. Coursera works with over 150 university partners and a number of organizations like Google and Accenture.
Most programs take 6 weeks to 10 months to complete at your own pace, so you can decide how much time you want to commit to a specific program.
Coursera unlocks infinite potential in each learner by fostering your curiosity and desire to learn, grow, and ask questions.
Whether you are looking to earn a certification or simply want to take courses in an area of interest, the options are endless.
For working professionals, Coursera is a perfect fit for career advancement: you can earn different certificates, setting you apart for promotion or new hire possibilities.
With all that Coursera has to offer, it is very affordable. You can technically audit any Coursera class absolutely free, but if you want to earn a certification for taking a class, you’ll need to pay a small fee. Prices can vary, but your best bet is to sign up for Coursera Plus, their monthly subscription plan that gives you access to over 7,000 classes on the platform for about $59 a month or $399 for an annual subscription (see our Coursera Plus review for more info).
Drawbacks to Coursera
While Coursera is undoubtedly among the best online course websites out there, it does have some potential drawbacks depending on your needs.
Coursera’s subscription plan is more on the high-end spectrum when compared to its competitors. Of course, when you consider that you’re getting access to courses from world-class universities, it’s a great value, but if you’re just a hobbyist learning for fun or you’re someone on a tight budget, this is worth keeping in mind.
The size of the Coursera catalog can also be overwhelming for some. For first-time online learners or individuals who have never enrolled in online classes in the past, the whole process can feel a bit overwhelming, especially since there are so many options, leading to many decision points, such as: “What university offers the best courses?”, “What course should I take?” “What happens if I cannot keep up with the content or pace?” etc.
Also, Coursera has a peer-review grading system. Anyone who has ever worked on a group project with team review grading knows that this can be quite frustrating and challenging. Depending on whom you end up with, this might be a stumbling block for some, especially inexperienced students or those who take their studies seriously. If you want to learn more about the peer grading system at Coursera, check out this article.
Coursera does well with customer feedback to keep its students happy, so if you feel like you need better instructor feedback or support, make sure to reach out to Coursera to give them an opportunity to help you out.
All in all, Coursera is an excellent site for taking courses online. However, it’s possible it might not be the best fit for your particular situation.
Thankfully, there are lots of other great websites like Coursera that could be a better fit.
The Best Coursera Alternatives You Should Try
Masterclass is a top choice when it comes to learning new skills for personal or professional development.
Because of its quality content and variety of over 180 online classes from world-class talent, you can access the best in their industry.
What really sets Masterclass apart from other learning websites is the star power of its instructors. You’ll be able to learn from A-list celebrities and industry titans like Christina Aguilera, Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Lynch, Serena Williams, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Richard Branson, and Gordon Ramsey.
New classes are offered monthly, with individuals like Bob Iger (Business Strategy and Leadership), Marc Jacobs (Fashion Design), or Chris Voss (Art of Negotiation) sharing their expertise and experience with everyday people.
Even more novelty topics, such as wedding planning or intentional eating are presented engagingly so that you can hear from the masters and find out how they are successful as they share their expert tips and tricks.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to think like an FBI profiler? Well, now you can! John Douglas, a retired special agent and unit chief in the FBI, shares from his years of experience, either for your entertainment or to help you prepare for your career in forensics, criminal justice, or other law enforcement niche.
Think of Masterclass as having access to select on-demand lectures from people with a proven success track record. To be great, you have to study greatness. That’s the basic idea behind Masterclass.
If you’re someone who wants to learn as a recreational activity and isn’t concerned with gaining professional certifications, Masterclass is the best Coursera alternative for you.
The courses are very budget-friendly, with three different monthly plans, from Individual Plan at $15/month to Family Plan at $23/month-which allows you to stream unlimited courses on up to 6 devices at a time.
Check out our detailed Masterclass review if you’d like to find out more.
Skillshare is the ultimate website for learning just about anything imaginable. You can explore 30,000+ online classes across countless categories, from business to hobbies and more.
Our second choice is Skillshare because of its sheer volume of course selection: with over 34,000 different courses and over 11,000 instructors, this platform has a high-volume library that offers you access to a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experience from top-notch instructors.
Because you can choose from many different instructors, you can “shop around” for one whose teaching style you really like and who helps you learn the best by presenting the course material in an engaging and meaningful way.
Skillshare is the perfect Coursera alternative for creative professionals looking to upskill or newly-minted professionals looking to gain the basics. With its vast array of courses, dedicated instructors, and engaging content, Skillshare is a great fit for learners of all levels who want to continue their journey towards professional success.
You can get started without risks with your first month free. Keep learning with an annual Premium Membership that runs around $165 a year, which gives you access to the entire Skillshare course catalog.
If you want to dig deeper into what all the platform offers, we encourage you to check out our Skillshare review.
LinkedIn Learning is a natural extension of its well-known parent networking platform LinkedIn.
Offering over 16,000 courses, this online learning platform leverages its executive influence in the world of working professionals. It offers courses for those who seek employment, look for career advancement, or want to grow their business.
Whether you learn online on a desktop, laptop, or on-the-go with mobile access, LinkedIn Learning offers courses in subjects such as MATLAB, and Excel, with project files and quizzes to check your progress and level of understanding.
If you want to see if LinkedIn Learning would match your learning needs, you can try LinkedIn Learning for free, with only $19.99/month when billed annually or $39.99 if you’d rather pay month-to-month after your free trial.
LinkedIn Learning is a great alternative to Coursera if you’re interested in your professional development and your career advancement.
Check out our LinkedIn Learning review to learn more about the platform and how it can benefit you in your learning journey. We also provide comprehensive information about pricing, discounts, and available courses for those interested in taking advantage of LinkedIn Learning’s offer.
CreativeLive is a great place to learn new skills in creative fields. With a large selection of classes, it's easy to find something that fits your interests and needs. Whether you want to learn photography, design, or songwriting, CreativeLive has the perfect class for you.
CreativeLive is a great online course platform for anyone on the creative side.
As the name implies, you receive life training on topics that deal with creativity. To feed the right side of the brain, simply enroll in courses like “Color Fundamentals” or “How to Use Adobe InDesign.”
CreativeLive also offers courses that help you navigate how to monetize your creativity, whether it’s your paintings, jewelry, or digital art. Each course is designed to encourage your creativity, help you think positively about your learning progress, and to challenge you to grow as an individual.
Don’t worry if you can’t attend the live sessions when they are streamed: you can download recorded sessions for offline learning at your convenience.
Starting at only $12.42/month, CreativeLive is a great way to encourage and grow creativity in your life.
Udemy is a household name when it comes to online course platforms. Udemy started out in 2010 and has exploded in growth since, offering over 185,000 courses on pretty much any subject.
Udemy is great for learners at every stage of learning, from novice to expert. They are also for learners of most ages, from younger learners to adults. Many homeschoolers utilize Udemy to supplement their core subjects or to “farm out” the electives, such as “Python for Beginners” or learning how to play the guitar.
Adults can learn anything about SQL, financial analysis, email marketing, or cyber security, whether for personal advancement or to help them perform their job better.
With Udemy, prices for courses can vary greatly, but you can usually expect to pay around $20 for the typical class.
For more info on this popular course website, check out our Udemy review which talks about the pros and cons of the platform, its pricing, and course selection.
edX is an online learning platform offering courses from some of the world's most prestigious universities and organizations on a vast array of subjects.
edX started in 2012 and has been delivering online courses to its clients since then. It boasts over 42 million students who have enrolled in its classes and programs over time, with over 400,000 students logging in daily worldwide.
Today, edX offers over 3,600 courses in software development, coding, and digital marketing. edX partners with over 160 top universities, utilizing their instructors so that you have access to teaching staff from colleges like Arizona State University or the University of Michigan.
edX is an attractive platform for individuals, as well as businesses alike; in fact, many businesses choose to partner with edX to develop their top performers within their company.
In many ways, edX is the website most like Coursera. It has many of the same university partners, and its pricing model is similar where you’re able to audit courses at no cost or pay a fee for getting a certificate upon completion.
If you are looking for additional info, you should read our edX review for a full look into everything that it offers.
Pluralsight is a dinosaur compared to some of the newcomers in the industry. It started in 2004 as an online classroom alternative to traditional education. Since 2011, the company has exploded due to the huge increase in online learning demand.
Pluralsight is tech-skill-focused and offers technology-specific skill courses, such as IT management, cybersecurity, or software development, to help you advance and excel in the workplace.
The special thing about Pluralsight is that they offer certification prep courses for specific CICSO and Microsoft certifications. The company also offers peer support so that you don’t have to struggle on your own.
You can try Pluralsight for free for 10 days; after that, you can select from either the standard ($29/month) or the premium plan ($45/month). Pluralsight offers different learning paths based on your skill starting point and learning goals.
What to Look for in a Coursera Alternative
As mentioned before, Coursera is a solid option for your online learning goals. With so many alternative options clamoring for your attention, time and money, we want to help you boil it down. So consider the following as you shop around:
It can be overwhelming to sift through the many courses that each platform offers. That’s why it’s helpful to sit down and narrow down what your study focus or interest is and then narrow down the matching services from there. Most, if not all, online course platforms are fully searchable, with clearly indexed courses, so you are not looking for a needle in a haystack.
If your goal is to improve your drawing skills, consider Udemy, CreativeLive, or Skillshare. If you need to get up to speed on cybersecurity tools for your new job, platforms like edX or Pluralsight might be a better fit.
Each online course platform has a different way of presenting and delivering the learning content to you. While some instructors offer live classes with self-created PowerPoints or other learning materials, other courses offer learn-as-you-go or step-by-step videos that you can follow along and learn, whether it’s to take notes or perform specific tasks.
Learning goal clarity
Especially self-motivated and goal-driven individuals thrive in a checkpoint-style environment, with clear accomplishments along the way. Whether it’s the satisfaction of course-by-course completion or even seeing a learning path toward a final goal, each online course platform has different ways of keeping you going. Some platforms and programs offer a certificate or a degree upon successful completion, as well.
When you decide to enroll in online courses, you will not be alone. From 24/7 online tech support offered by some platforms to peer study groups, you will receive the support you need to be successful. Built-in progress or completion checkpoints and rewards also help you stay motivated.
Online courses cost a tiny fraction when compared to traditional continued education or a university degree. But money can still be a stumbling block for some, holding you back from pursuing a dream of learning a new thing or taking the next step to advance your career.
Most online course platforms allow you to get started for free and offer monthly subscriptions that are very affordable, starting at as little as the cost of two cups of coffee ($13-$45 per month). Investing in yourself and your future is now not only within reach but totally doable.
A Final Word on Coursera Competitors & Alternatives
These days, there are so many websites out there offering online courses that it’s impossible to keep up with them all.
The good news is with this vast selection there’s truly something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for free courses, short-term classes, or comprehensive degree programs, there are many websites (like Coursera) out there that offer a variety of options to suit your individual needs and budget.
Take the time to do your research and find the platform that best fits what you’re looking for in an online course.
Remember, many of these websites offer free trial periods or money-back guarantees that let you try everything out risk-free for a while, so make sure to take advantage of these offers.
Have any questions about our guide to the best Coursera alternatives? Have you tried any of these Coursera competitors already? Share your questions and thoughts by leaving a comment below.