Never in history has it been as easy to learn new things and develop skills as it is in this century. The resources are plentiful – from YouTube tutorials to private tutor meetings on Zoom – but perhaps the most convenient and accessible of them is taking online learning courses. Today's edX VS Udemy comparison will introduce you to two names that are among the most popular in digital learning circles.
Throughout the article, we'll compare the essential components of the two platforms, such as what foreign languages they offer, how easy it is to navigate the websites, and how much the courses cost. Before we begin, you'll get a chance to familiarize yourself with our five evaluation criteria. You can also take a look at our Comparison Tool for online learning platforms for additional information about the platforms.
Speaking of our edX VS Udemy comparison subjects, let's have a brief introduction. Udemy has been a player in the digital learning field since 2010. It's a massive catalog of user-submitted courses on a massive range of subjects, from medicine to knitting. Its competitor, edX, is a learning-based platform that was launched in 2012. It offers various courses in cooperation with internationally renowned universities and focuses on academic and professional development.
Now, let's kick things off with an introduction to the evaluation criteria.
Table of Contents
edX VS Udemy: Comparison Criteria
Some online learning platforms are more niche, focusing on a specific market (like data science); others, as you'll see in our edX VS Udemy comparison, are more versatile. This means that making a fair and equal evaluation is a process that requires thorough research and analysis.
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For this reason, we have established our comparison system. With each platform that we analyze, we focus on five categories – course quality, accessibility, language support, certification programs, and pricing. This way, we can present you with an accurate portrait of both platforms and help you make the final decision.
Since Udemy and edX both cover a very broad scope of subjects, it would not be possible to analyze them on a micro level by comparing the courses. So, here are the five comparison criteria:
- Language support. We'll start the Udemy VS edX comparison by tackling one of the biggest challenges that learners might come across – language accessibility. If English isn't your native language, it can be challenging to follow along, whether we're talking about in-person classes or online video guides. Besides, it's pretty convenient to be able to understand everything with ease when the content is available in your native tongue. We'll be taking a look at what foreign language support the two platforms provide and how extensive it is.
- Course Variety. Next on our agenda is figuring out what content edX VS Udemy offer you. Some online learning platforms focus on one particular field, like data science or creative arts, while others are more versatile. We're going to find out how broad the catalogs of both platforms can go. We won't be comparing specific courses, but you'll get a good idea of what you can find and how well your experience may go depending on whether you're a complete beginner or an advanced learner.
- Accessibility and Ease of Use. The user interface is not something we should overlook, especially when it comes to studying online. You want the essential resources to be easily accessible and spend as little time as possible just navigating to the content. We're going to see how easy the two platforms are to navigate, especially when you're a newcomer. Additionally, we're going to discuss the options for mobile users. You're going to see whether the platforms support smartphone apps or if you can only access the websites.
- Certificates. As a student on an online learning platform, you likely have two goals – develop new skills and earn a certificate that proves your achievement. Typically, an online learning platform offers one of two kinds of certificates – accredited and non-accredited. In this comparison category, we're going to find out how you can earn certificates on Udemy VS edX and what recognition level they hold.
- Pricing. Finally, we're going to discuss a crucial aspect of your online learning experience – the expenses. Sometimes, a platform may offer a subscription model, while other websites have a pay-per-course model. Here, we're going to see what the price models are and where you can find some discounts. And to end on a sweeter note, I'll show you some of the free perks you can enjoy as an edX vs Udemy user.
At the end of this comparison, you'll be able to decide which platform best suits your needs. We won't be giving any numerical evaluation, and if you find yourself wanting more details to make the final call, you can find our edX and Udemy platform reviews. Additionally, our Comparison Tool will help you explore the essential features – all in one place.
With that out of the way, let's begin our comparison.
edX VS Udemy: The Comparison
We'll follow the same order as we discussed the criteria above.
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Let's be honest – the internet is very, very English in terms of language use. If a website is built for global audiences, you might not always be lucky enough to find other language options. And isn't that a shame? Seeing, reading, and hearing content in your mother tongue can often make things so much easier – especially when that experience concerns learning.
But what support could you look for on an online learning platform, exactly? Well, it varies. Sometimes, it's going to be video subtitles and, perhaps, transcripts. In other situations, the entire course has been designed from scratch in a foreign language, so all the exercises and written materials are already translated. Occasionally, you'll find that the whole website interface has been localized, so you can change the settings and browse away.
So, how do edX VS Udemy differ in terms of foreign language support?
Well, to start, both platforms get points for having this support in place. Localization is a tricky process, so having options is always a great sign that the team is working on becoming accessible to more and more users.
If you're an edX user, you're going to get two settings – the site language and the course language. Site language concerns the whole interface. At the time of writing, you have 19 options to choose from, including Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Hindi. The edX team is actively working on adding new languages to the platform.
Course language settings aren't as straightforward. Spoiler alert for the other criteria in our comparison – edX offers over 3,000 courses. That's a massive amount of content to translate into 19 different languages, and the courses are updated all the time. So, making sure that absolutely everything is translated isn't really possible.
Nevertheless, if you look at some of the course descriptions, you may find additional languages listed alongside English. While there isn't really a way to filter the search by your language preferences, you might still be able to find some gems.
Things are similar on Udemy. For starters, the website itself has been translated into more than 15 languages, such as Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Dutch, making it easier to navigate for millions of learners. However, the approach to the courses themselves is a bit different.
You see, the content on Udemy is submitted by the users themselves, while edX courses are made in collaboration with various academic institutions and enterprises. So, this gives the instructors a lot more freedom – in fact, they can post their course in their preferred language. The learners can then search for courses by filtering only the languages they need. Overall, it's a pretty convenient model.
So, if you're on the lookout for foreign language support on your dream online learning platform, the edX VS Udemy match-up is pretty close. Bear in mind that due to the courses being user-submitted, it might be harder to filter out lower-quality foreign language courses from the good ones.
Joining a new online learning platform can be very exciting. There's so much content to explore! And if you're lucky, you're going to find the golden ratio between quantity and quality. After all, that's probably what you're looking for – a combination of range and good quality. However, when there are thousands of courses to pick from, where do you start?
Well, since we're discussing edX VS Udemy specifically, let's start with the amount of content available to you. As you've already learned, edX's catalog consists of over 3,000 different courses, ranging from arts and literature to data analytics and life sciences. Essentially anything that can be learned at a university can be found here – and we'll get into it even deeper shortly.
3,000 is inarguably a huge number. That's hundreds upon hundreds of hours of content. Well, what if I told you that Udemy offers even more – more than 213,000, to be exact? Isn't that just mind-blowing?
Of course, here's where the question of quality vs quantity comes up. Both platforms offer an impressive range, but how credible is it?
Well, that's why the source of the courses is important. Udemy is a community-based platform. Any user is welcome to become a Udemy instructor, as long as they meet the content criteria. All courses must contain at least five lessons, and the video guides must come up to a minimum of 30 minutes. While this is a hefty commitment – especially if you plan to handle student feedback directly or moderate community spaces like Facebook groups or Discord servers – not everything is going to be of the highest quality.
So, you might have to spend a decent amount of effort just sifting through everything and finding the best course for you. That said, there are filters you can apply. For example, you can select courses based on their reviews, learner level, and overall popularity.
It's easier to find reputable instructors and highly-rated courses on edX. In fact, there's more than just regular courses that you can find.
The service catalog includes:
- Executive education – these are short-term leadership courses that help you prepare for the modern organizational structure and challenges;
- Professional certificates – this is something we'll dig into more in a bit. However, the gist of professional certificates is that they're series of courses designed by industry and academic professionals to enhance your personal marketability and improve your self-development;
- Bachelor's and Master's Degrees – exactly what it says on the tin. These digital degrees are organized in collaboration with various universities and hold the same value as a physical Bachelor's or Master's degree. Bear in mind that these courses are significantly pricier;
- MicroBachelors and MicroMasters – intensive courses that use materials from various Bachelor's and Master's programs offered by universities worldwide. They can be converted to college credit;
- XSeries – field-specific course series that help you gain more in-depth knowledge of lucrative fields, such as sustainability, astrophysics, and programming.
So, the key thing you need to keep in mind as you're surfing the edX catalog is what intensity and level you want to tackle. Do you want to start with something easy or go for a more intense academic challenge?
As far as course quantity is concerned, it's hard to compete with Udemy. However, it's balanced out by the course quality offered by edX. Overall, in terms of the edX VS Udemy course variety, learners are certain to find what they need, as there are literally thousands of courses to choose from.
Accessibility and Ease of Use
As a newcomer to an online learning platform, you want to spend as much time as you can working on the courses themselves, and as little time as possible figuring out what's where. It can be a massive drawback if a platform is hard to navigate intuitively. After all, the learning experience should be welcoming, not even more confusing.
So, in terms of the user interface, how do edX VS Udemy compare? Well, both are pretty straightforward to get around, even if they appear very differently from their layouts. Let's start by looking at edX.
As we've already established, edX offers a broad range of courses, degrees, and certificate programs. This could all get confusing – thankfully, it doesn't, as everything has its own category with explanations of each service provided. The website also provides in-depth explanations of the differences between the programs to help you figure out what suits your needs best.
The edX catalog is updated frequently, and the hot and trending new courses are highlighted on the homepage. You can select to browse based on your preferred subject – whether that's languages, engineering, or computer science – or look up a particular university that you want to explore.
The content on edX is focused on three learner groups:
- Individuals – that's most likely to be you. All courses that can help you with professional development fall under this umbrella;
- Business – custom-tailored solution for teams and enterprises. These courses can be adapted to be part of workshops and team-building exercises;
- Educators – did you know that online learning platforms can be integrated into your school curriculum? These courses allow you to explore the prospects of blended learning.
So, as you can see, edX is heavily focused on prioritizing the convenience of the learner. What about Udemy?
Well, Udemy also happens to be a very user-friendly platform. Everything is sorted by categories, which then branch off to smaller sub-categories. For example, if you select the Music category, you'll be able to choose from:
- Music Fundamentals
- Music Production
- Music Software
- Music Technique
From there, the sub-categories can have even smaller sub-sections. So, while the sheer amount of available courses is immense, it's rather easy to filter things down to your niche. Speaking of filtering, Udemy can let you search in a pretty detailed way.
Overall, the edX VS Udemy desktop learning experience is pretty similar – both platforms should be pretty easy for newcomers to wander around. But what if you prefer doing things on your phone? Do you have to use a mobile browser, or can you enjoy the in-app learning experience?
Whether you're an Android or iOS user, whether you choose edX or Udemy, you're in luck. Both platforms have smartphone apps that you can download and use for free. All your learning experiences will be synchronized throughout your account. This is a great option if you're on the go and only have a few minutes to spare.
However, keep in mind that not all interactive aspects of edX courses may function on the app. In some cases, you may be required to log into your desktop browser to finish the lesson. In general, drag-and-drop tasks are available exclusively on desktop devices.
If you study hard, you deserve to reap the rewards for your achievements. In the case of online learning platforms, these achievements are typically commemorated by certificates of completion – digital proof that you've completed a course or a program. Typically people add these certificates to their CVs or LinkedIn profiles to highlight their skills.
Naturally, it feels good to be rewarded. So, do edX VS Udemy offer such proof of accomplishments?
Well, if you've been reading attentively, you already know the answer is "yes" for edX learners. In order to earn it, you need to make sure that you're taking a verified track. Verified tracks require you to pay for the course (and we'll get to payments in a bit). There's a deadline to verify the course you're taking, and if you miss it, you won't be eligible to earn the certificate.
The XSeries service offers qualifications that require you to complete multiple courses. For each verified course that you complete, you earn a certificate. Once you've finished all courses, you receive an additional XSeries certificate of completion.
If you complete a MicroBachelors or a MicroMasters degree on edX, you can convert your redeemed certificate into real college credit. This is an important factor as it makes edX certificates accredited. The platform works with numerous universities worldwide that provide accreditation for the edX certificates. The same goes for completing IBM courses – you can earn and redeem IBM badges which can go towards other official certifications.
Unlike edX, Udemy does not offer its users accredited certificates. The reason for this is simple – anyone, including you, can become an instructor, as long as they have the required material. And while you may be the expert in your field, that's harder to verify than the backing of an academic institution.
Not every course on Udemy will grant you a certificate, either. The only eligible courses are the ones that are paid. So, if you opt to learn from the free course catalog, you won't earn proof of completion.
Overall, you can say that when comparing edX VS Udemy certificates, the former has more impact on your academic and professional career. Nevertheless, Udemy certificates can still be useful for your CV. Besides, it's not solely the certificate that you're learning for – it's the knowledge.
Finally, we need to discuss the pricing of Udemy VS edX. For most people, online learning platforms are associated with affordability. They're seen as kind of mini-degrees – a way to gain university or industry-level knowledge without paying massive fees or taking years to finish courses you wouldn't be interested in otherwise. In some cases, you can even find services completely free of charge. Let's start by taking a look at those.
In terms of free content, Udemy shines here. You can refine your course search by price, selecting either free or paid courses. Naturally, the paid ones make up for the vast majority of the catalog. Nevertheless, if you're interested in, say, learning the basics of programming or figuring out the basics of a foreign language, chances are you'll find exactly what you need. There's just that one caveat we've discussed – you won't get a certificate for a free course.
The lack of certification for free content is a similarity shared by our edX VS Udemy competitors. However, edX has a different approach to free content. When browsing the main course catalog (that is, not the university degrees or the Micro degrees), you can opt to audit the course. This means that the course you're taking won't be verified, and you'll have access to is the video lectures and additional reading. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to expand your knowledge on your subject of choice.
Next, let's discuss the costs themselves. Udemy VS edX use different payment methods. Let's start with the easier one. Learners on edX have to purchase content based on the pay-per-course model. This means that if you want to take five courses, you'll have to pay for each of them individually.
There's no fixed price for all courses – it may vary based on the university that teaches it, the duration, or the level. In general, the range varies from $40 to $200. However, there's no need to worry – if you find a course that you really want to take, you can use one of our special coupons and offers for edX here.
As I've implied, payments on Udemy are a bit more complicated. There are two ways you can go here:
- Udemy Personal
Similar to edX, the pay-per-course price options can vary quite broadly. Some courses will only cost you $15, while others can go as high as $150 or even more. However, Udemy frequently offers special deals for its users – and you can find some of the coupons and discounts here.
Udemy Personal is a recent addition to the ecosystem. It's a subscription service that, at the time of writing, consists of over 6,000 courses. It's a small portion of the overall Udemy catalog, but more than plenty to choose from nonetheless. The plan hasn't been rolled out worldwide yet, so keep an eye on its availability. If you can access it in your region, the Udemy Personal plan costs $16.58/month.
In terms of costs, the edX VS Udemy selection can be a bit of a gamble. While edX is often pricier, you'll come out of it with an accredited certificate – that's something worth keeping in mind. However, you may have an easier and more cost-efficient time diversifying your knowledge with the Udemy Personal plan.
For starters, if you don't want to learn in English, you're in luck – both services provide foreign language support. Just make sure to check the settings to see if your preferred option is available. Combined, you could have access to over 215,000 courses – the majority of which are offered by Udemy. However, make sure to research and check if the course quality meets your expectations before you sign up.
Now that you know everything there is to know about Udemy edX, it's time for you to make your final call. Need more data before you can commit? Then check out our Comparison Tool for online learning platforms here – it should help you settle your thoughts in order.
Don't forget to share your decision and learning experience with us in the comments below. And now – good luck and keep on learning!