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Introduction

What is your favorite MOOC provider – edX vs Coursera? edX and Coursera are both great options for online courses, but there are some key differences between the two. Coursera provides a more social experience with quizzes and discussion forums, while edX offers a more academically focused approach.

When it comes to the debate of Coursera vs. edX, you’ll have lots of factors to take into consideration. 

Which online learning platform will provide you with a verified certificate or opportunities for professional development? Which courses require the most time commitment? Which online learning platform has the widest selection of courses and quality of content to help you meet your unique learning goals?

If you’re stuck between these two MOOC platforms, consider our comprehensive review and in-depth comparison to help you decide. 

Related reading: edX Review – Are edX Courses Worth It?

edX vs Coursera Ease of Use

Founded in 2012, edX was created by Harvard and MIT scientists who then partnered with more than 100 different renowned universities to offer both paid and free courses. It is one of the best platforms for course completion certificate programs and full degrees in a variety of topics. As a nonprofit organization, edX offers high-quality course content along with plenty of free resources for you to tap into.

Coursera, like edX, was also founded in 2012. This platform was created by two Stanford professors and partners with more than 150 different institutes, including Stanford, Princeton, and more – just like edX. The main difference in the origin stories of the two is that while Coursera is privately financed – and therefore focused on creating content for profit – edX is and will remain a nonprofit with a more philanthropic point of view. 

Besides those origins, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to how easy it is to use either platform. 

But before you can dive into taking classes on either platform, you need to register. Here’s where the process starts.

It’s relatively straightforward to register with edX. All you have to do is provide your name and country of residence before creating a password and a public username. Of course, you’ll also need to plug in your email address. Once you do, you will receive an activation email. You can alternatively choose to sign up with Google, Microsoft, or Facebook, if you prefer.

Coursera has a similar registration process. You’ll just provide your name, email address, or password and then you can join – there’s no activation necessary. You have the alternative of registering with your Apple or Facebook accounts, too.

edX vs Coursera Features

Here are some of the top features of both edX and Coursera to be aware of.

Course Audits

If you’re interested in testing a class out to see whether it’s the right option for you, Coursera is likely going to provide you with the best opportunity to do so.

That’s because this unique online learning platform offers a course audit feature that will let you take a look at what kind of material is taught in the course and other information (like student feedback). However, you won’t be able to access assignments, quizzes, or certificates unless you actually enroll in the course.

Certifications

Both Coursera and edX offer professional program certificates for the vast majority of their courses. After paying for a course and enrolling, you’ll be able to start learning immediately, moving through quizzes, exams, and other assignments.

If you do well enough on these, you’ll be able to receive a professional certificate of completion at the end. This can be added to your resume or used in other ways during your job search. We’ll go into more detail on the kinds of program certificates available with both platforms below, but for now, know that certifications are a huge aspect of what makes both edX and Coursera appealing to so many learners. 

Specializations

Coursera offers a unique feature in its specializations. 

In the Coursera specializations, you will be able to pursue several related courses that are specific to one area. In taking this sequence of courses, you’ll build mastery in a given subject and rise to the top of your career.

Degrees 

Both Coursera and edX offer degrees. Coursera’s online degrees offer the same kind of learning experience you’d get while taking an online class at a university. 

Free Courses

Both edX and Coursera offer free courses. 

With edX, you’ll be able to audit a course for free (as mentioned above) or choose to pay for a verified certificate. With Coursera, you will be able to choose from the paid or free option for just a few types of courses – for the rest, a free trial is only available for seven days. After that, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to keep learning.

Financial Aid

Both edX and Coursera offer financial aid. In the case of edX, financial assistance is available for learners who can show that paying the fee for the verified certificate would cause significant economic hardship.

The financial aid in this case will provide for a reduction of up to 90% in your overall costs!

edX vs Coursera User Interface

Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be able to view all the features that both platforms have to offer. edX is a good platform to consider because it is remarkably easy to navigate around. 

Everything looks crisp, clear, and sharp. It’s easy to find whatever you’re looking for in the navigation pane, whether that’s courses, programs, and degrees, schools and partners, or business plans. 

These navigation options are helpful because they make it possible for you to find courses offered by a specific school or courses in a specific subject. You won’t have any trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for.

edX can be used from any internet browser on your laptop or desktop. It can also be used on an app – there’s one available both for Android and iPhone users. 

Coursera isn’t much different in terms of its ease of access. Once you’ve created an account, you can navigate back to the homepage and view the many partners with whom this MOOC works. This will give you an excellent idea of everything that is offered here. 

Available from any modern internet browser on your laptop or desktop, Coursera can also be accessed via the Apple or Android app. 

Ultimately, the two platforms are very similar in their ease of access and design. You won’t have any issues navigating around either, though it’s important to note that edX has a cleaner, simpler design that can make it easier for you to find exactly what you are searching for. 

edX vs Coursera Support

Both Coursera and edX offer excellent learner support with their courses. 

Let’s look at edX first.

From the edX help center, you’ll be able to find the answers to just about any questions you might have. You can browse specific categories to find answers, such as Payments and Refunds or Certificates, or if your question can’t be answered in this way, you can submit a Contact Us request.

You’ll be able to submit a support ticket that will enable you to ask more in-depth questions.

Courses are more or less identical to edX in terms of how it offers support. You can search for a specific topic in the database of questions or you can browse popular topics like ENrollment and Account Setup. 

The advantage that Coursera has over edX is that it offers a live chat function. Rather than having to wait for someone to get back to you, you can type in your question and chat with the live operator. This is wonderful if you are looking for the answers to very specific questions and the standard articles just aren’t cutting it. 

Diving a little deeper into what both platforms offer in terms of support, it’s also important to recognize the help you’ll get while taking individual classes. 

Coursera’s instructors are known for their ability to interact with and support their students on all questions and issues they might have. These courses are offered at the university level so you will find that not only the quality of instruction but also the quality of assistance is better here. Remember, most Coursera instructors are university professors at major institutions, with most holding master’s or PhDs. 

edX isn’t too far off. Like Coursera, edX offers courses taught by university-level instructors so you’ll benefit from individualized attention.

Of course, you’ll find naysayers on both sides of the fence here, too. Some students have expressed that they’ve had administrative issues with assignments not being graded in a timely fashion on edX. Other users complain that it takes edX customer support professionals a long time to respond to queries.

At the same time, complaints of Coursera have to do with students being unable to cancel free trials and being charged full price. In fact, many users decry the lack of clarity when it comes to Coursera’s support in general. 

edX vs Coursera Certifications

Both edX and Coursera offer certifications at the end of most courses. Depending on the level of the course and what kind of industry you work in, these certifications can be immensely helpful when it comes to landing a job or promotion.

The strength and validity of a Coursera certification will depend largely on what level it is acquired at. While a standard-level course with a certification probably won’t be officially recognized by a company and instead serve more as some supplementary information you might include on your resume, a professional Certificate is accredited and will be recognized as being as valuable as an actual university degree. 

edX is similar. All edX certificates, when verified, are well-regarded by employers. As long as you pay around $50 and meet all other requirements, these certificates can be helpful in landing you a job. This article will give you more information on whether these edX certificates are truly worth it. 

Not only that, but many of these certificates are accredited and will allow you to transfer earned academic credit to an actual university, something you aren’t likely to find with most other MOOC providers. 

If you take a class in audit mode, you can upgrade to get a paid certificate at any time during your audit.Since edX is partnered with a variety of impressive institutions, like MIT and Harvard, these certifications are quite valuable. 

The only downside of edX’s certification process is that it can take quite some time for the verification process for certificates to be completed. 

edX vs Coursera Pricing

edX courses vary in price, with each one offered at a price point of somewhere around $50 to $300 for an individual course. This online learning platform also offers master’s degrees – these can be priced between $10,000 and $25,000, depending on what you’re looking for. These degrees are pricey, to say the least, but still much more affordable than if you were to enroll at a university to earn your degree.

Coursera also sells individual courses. These can cost anywhere between $29 and $99. This company also offers online master’s degrees. Again, these are costly, coming in at around $25,000 each. 

edX has a vast array of course options to choose from, so while this lends itself nicely to having choice and versatility in your online learning, the downside is that it can be quite complicated to figure out exactly how much you are going to have to pay. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of course pricing on edX;

  • A standard course will cost around $50-$300
  • Global Freshman Academy (which will allow you to earn college credit and transfer to another school) costs around $200 per successfully completed credit hour
  • Micro Programs are $500-$1500 
  • Professional Certificate programs are $150-$1000
  • Masters degrees can be up to $25,000 depending on the subject 

Again, edX offers users the option of auditing a course so that they can try a large portion of the class for free.

Like edX, the pricing on Coursera can also be a bit convoluted because there are so many different options. There is less free content on Coursera than there is on edX, too, which can be a downside, but you can preview the entire library of content for free for seven days with a free trial plan.

The breakdown of prices on Coursera is as follows:

  • A standard course will cost around $29-$99
  • Coursera specializations are $49 per month (for several months, in most cases)
  • A master’s degree will cost up to $25,000 depending on the subject

edX vs Coursera Courses

Both edX and Coursera offer a lot in terms of course content – both in variety and in quality. They are unique from other MOOCs, the bulk of which focus heavily on topics like software development, computer programming, and computer science.

Some of the most popular subjects on edX include:

  • Data analysis 
  • Humanities
  • Language
  • Business and management 

The only downside to courses on edX is that they tend to be elementary in nature. Despite being offered by some of the most prestigious universities in the country, courses here rarely go beyond the surface level and are instead quite broad. 

Most courses on edX are taught in English. There are a few courses available in Chinese, French, and Spanish as well, but these are few and far between. 

Coursera offers more courses than edX and does so in a more career-driven, professional way. The most popular subjects you’ll find on Coursera include:

  • Business
  • Data science
  • Social sciences
  • Health
  • Computer science
  • Logic 

Coursera’s courses, again, are taught primarily in English. However, this online learning platform does offer a great diversity of language in its classes. 

edX vs Coursera Content Quality

When it comes to the argument of Coursera vs. edX and which platform has the best course content quality, this one is going to be hard to quantify. Much of this will be personal and up to the discretion of the individual student.

Of course, both have university-level courses taught by some of the most well-respected instructors in the world. Both offer certificates, too, so that you can prove that you put the time and effort into these courses as well.

edX and Coursera each have unique features that will speak to their quality. On edX, you’ll be able to participate in a Global Freshman Academy that will let you earn transferable credits to actual universities. There are also microprograms that will enable you to take a variety of courses at the graduate level so you can advance your career later on. 

Coursera, on the other hand, has Coursera specializations. These unique courses are focused on particular areas and meant to train students for specific areas in the corporate world.

Coursera also offers a professional certificate that will allow you to participate in a training for a specific job position. You will be able to become qualified for a specific career without having to spend many years in school. 

edX vs Coursera Instructors

All edX courses are taught by instructors who are employed at the partner institutions. This is quite reassuring when you realize that these instructors are top ports in their fields! 

Not only that, but you’ll be able to connect closely to your instructors when taking classes on edX. You can read about instructors’ prior experience and access their social media links directly through the platform.

Similarly, Coursera’s courses are created with the help of the partnering institutions – helping to ensure that all content is of the very best quality each course is tested before it is launched by beta testers (generally experts in the field that is being taught) so that they can give feedback on the course before any students take it.

As is the case with edX, with Coursera, you will be able to read the biography and prior experience (along with accessing the social media links) of your instructor before you begin a course, too. 

edX vs Coursera Course Count

You’ll be hard to find a clearcut answer on which is better – edX or Coursera – in terms of course quality. The fact is that the two are so competitive and it’s difficult to compare them in that way.

However, there is one quantifiable detail that is important to note – Coursera offers far more courses, specialisations, and degrees. /

It has nearly 4000 courses with dozens of categories and subcategories. While this can make it a bit more challenging to find precisely what you are looking for, the variety is more extensive with Coursera than it is with edX. 

edX vs Coursera Available Languages

Both online learning platforms, in addition to offering features like quizzes, discussion forums, readings, videos, and more, also offer transcriptions of the video lectures. These transcriptions can be in English as well as in a myriad of other languages.

However, in addition to course count, it’s clear that Coursera far surpasses edX in one other way, too – the variety of languages available. With Coursera, you can take classes in ten different languages, while with edX, only five are readily available. Of course, with both platforms, these languages are not offered for each and every class – just for some.

edX vs Coursera for Business

If you’re a business owner trying to figure out whether Coursera or edX is right for you, you’re not alone. Plenty of companies like to be able to offer their employees a way to keep learning and develop their professional skills long into their careers. 

You can purchase a business plan for online learning both with Coursera as well as with edX. 

edX for business offers on-demand learning solutions that you can use to help your company grow and thrive. It offers packages for companies of all sizes and types so that you can “upskill and reskill” with content provided by top institutions. 

edX for business offers course content that is relevant and tailored toward businesses paired with helpful technical and customer success support. You’ll also be provided with learner data so you know whether the continued education is worth it for your company or not. 

The business packages offered by edX are priced on a per-situation basis and customized to meet your company’s needs.

Coursera also offers training and development programs that have been created specifically for businesses. There are enterprise and team packages. The team package is designed for small organizations and costs $400 per year per user, providing access to thousands of courses. The other package, the enterprise package, is priced on a case-by-case, customized basis. This is meant for larger companies, for the most part. 

Value for Money

It’s tough to say which online learning platform – Coursera vs. edX – offers the greatest value for your money. This will have to be determined on an individualized basis, since each platform offers different types of classes and all of these are similarly priced.

However, for the most part, we’d have to argue that Coursera offers the highest content quality with a wide range of courses to choose from. Not only that, but Coursera is accessible for everyone – it has plans for business (which, admittedly, edX does, too) but also offers courses in the widest variety of languages. 

edX has a slightly lower price tag than Coursera, with courses starting at $50. Coursera does offer a free trial, but according to some users, this can be tricky to navigate (and to cancel). 

Payments and Refunds

With both Coursera and with edX, you’ll pay upfront, on a monthly subscription basis, or through loans. 

Both offer financial aid. 

It’s important to note that for online degrees with either platform you will be expected to submit a formal admissions application. These applications are typically free but meant to demonstrate your readiness for such a program. 

A major complaint about Coursera, in particular, is that the platform is not the most transparent when it comes to pricing and refunds. To get a clear course price, you’ll have to register for a course – often, courses are offered on a monthly subscription basis. You’ll have to remember to cancel your subscription or you’ll be hit with automatic debits.

Refunds are challenging for Coursera – you’ll have to get in touch with customer service which at times, can be tricky (even with the live chat feature). 

Both Coursera and edX advertise refund periods of 14 days. Although it can be challenging to get ahold of edX customer service for any other reason, contacting them for a refund is, according to past student reviews, quite simple. 

EdX or Coursera – Which Online Learning Platform is Right For You?

The decision of Coursera vs. edX is one that we cannot make for you. Each of these MOOC platforms offers unique advantages and a wide selection of courses – you’ll have to choose the option that’s best for you in terms of your learning goals and professional development needs.

Want to learn more about each platform in depth? Be sure to check out our Coursera review and our edX review to help you make this decision.

Hopefully, our comprehensive review of the learning experience offered by each online learning platform has been helpful. Consider trying both Coursera and edX courses to help you decide which learning experience is your ideal option. 

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Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce is a writer with a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. She has worked both as a college admissions counselor as well as a high school English teacher and has also written extensively on topics related to educational technology and the college selection process.

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