Coursera vs Udemy vs Lynda: Online Courses Compared

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Online courses are a great way to further your career or just to enhance your life. The following three companies all have a great selection of online courses. Coursera has a large selection of courses from instructors at major universities, all for free.

Taking online courses are a great way to further your knowledge about a certain subject or learn something entirely new. Online courses can help you advance in your job or career. You can get certificates when you take courses that would look good on your resume and possibly help you with your next job interview. Maybe you just want to take an online course to learn something new to enhance your life. The following companies all have great online courses that anyone can take.


Coursera is an online education company that is partnered with top universities including Stanford, Tel Aviv University, Ohio State, Yale University and many more. Their online courses are free for anyone to take.

Coursera Online Courses

When you take an online course from Coursera, you will watch lectures given by actual professors, test your knowledge and learn concepts through interactive exercises. You will learn the course at your own pace. Their online courses are designed for you to learn the material quickly and effectively. Coursera offers online courses in many subjects including:

  • Biology
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine
  • Social Science
  • The Humanities

You can choose from over 400 online courses in 20 different categories that have been created by 62 universities.

Choosing a Coursera Course

To find an online Coursera course you would like to take, you can search by selecting the category you are interested in or search by courses that are starting soon. When you select a course category, you will then be presented with a list of online courses in that category. Once you choose a course, you will then be presented the following course details:

  • The University.
  • The professor's name and a short introduction about the course.
  • A short video by the professor explaining the course.
  • The starting date and how long the course lasts.
  • About the online course.
  • The recommended background.
  • The course syllabus.
  • The course format.
  • A short FAQ, which lists the type of certificate, if any, will be awarded at the completion of the course.

If the Coursera course details are what you were looking for, you can then sign up for that course. 

Coursera Online Learning

Once you have chosen your online course, you will learn by:

  • Watching short video lectures.
  • Taking interactive quizzes.
  • Completing assignments that are peer graded.
  • Interaction with classmates and teachers.

Designing and Executing Information Security Strategies with / Coursera YouTube

Coursera Course Costs

All Coursera courses are free for anyone to take.

Coursera Course Certificates

With certain Coursera online courses, you will receive a Statement of Accomplishment if you have completed all graded assignments and reached a certain overall percentage.

With other completed online courses, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from the University that gives the course.

Coursera has a new Signature Track option that allows students taking certain online courses the opportunity to earn a Verified Certificate upon completion of the course. Signature track offers the following:

  • You will link your coursework securely to your real identity using your photo ID.
  • The Verified Certificate is official recognition from participating universities for your accomplishment with a verifiable electronic certificate.
  • You will be able to show your employer, school or any other interested party the verified certificate through a secure URL.

If you choose to take a course that is a Signature Track Coursera course, you do not have to participate in the Signature Track program in order to take the course.


Udemy has more than 8,000 courses, mainly technology and business related.  They emphasize teaching skills that will help employees advance in their jobs, which in this economy is very helpful.

Udemy is like a catalog for creators of educational videos and teachers. Instructors on Udemy create their own videos and earn money teaching their online courses through Udemy. Course instructors who get students through the Udemy web site are able to keep 70%. All instructional videos must pass Udemy guidelines before being offered on their website. 

Udemy Online Courses

You can search for a course on Udemy using their search bar or clicking on one of their categories. In addition to their popular technology and business categories, their course categories also include:

Udemy Online Course Information

When you click on a course you might want to take, you will see the following course information.

  • The instructors name
  • A video introduction to the course
  • Access time to the course
  • Everything the course will teach
  • A list of supplemental resources
  • Student reviews
  • Course requirements
  • Content and goals

If the course information meets your requirements, then you will register for the course. Each Udemy course has a star rating and student comments such as these comments from the Udemy course, "Excel 2010 Beginner: ZERO to HERO in just 1 day".

  • "Very well explained and very systematic."
  • "Starts with a simple idea, displaying data for a the XYZ corp. Then this data gradually developed to showcase features available in Excel. I feel more capable after watching each and every lecture. This is one of the best software training courses I have taken."
  • "Designed course material is excellent and easy to understand. As it is online training, it's very much convenient and accessible 24*7, the videos are designed in such a manner that any layman can understand."

Udemy Online Learning

You will be taught the course with lectures and quizzes. For example, the Udemy course titled, "Learn Android Development From Scratch", has 44 lectures, 11 quizzes and 7 hours of content. This course costs $99. Some online courses have less lectures and other courses have more lectures.

Udemy Course Costs

Each online course on Udemy has its own price. Their online courses can range anywhere in price from $9 to a few as high as $899 for certain certification courses. Udemy does have some online courses that are free. Here is a look at the prices of a few of their most popular courses:

  • Microsoft Excel 2010 Course Beginners/ Intermediate Training - $99
  • Become a Web Developer from Scratch! (Complete Course) - $199
  • CFA Level I Accounting Module - $69
  • Learn C++ Game Development - $9
  • Learn how to make iPhone and iPad apps in 1 hour without any programming - $499
  • Welch Way: Leadership in Action - $500
  • Online Pastry School- 1 Week Mastery Course - $159

Udemy Certificates

When you complete Udemy online courses, you will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Udemy Certification Track Courses

Udemy has certification courses that will prepare you to take certification or licensing exams. These certification track courses will help you get industry recognized certifications such as IT, financial and business operations like Cisco, Microsoft, FRM and Six Sigma.


Lynda is another great place for online courses. You can learn a subject at your own pace and when you want to. You will have unlimited access to the entire course library. Lynda currently offers 2,049 video courses covering hundreds of subjects taught by qualified instructors. You can call their customer service and sales department at 1-888-33LYNDA or 1-888-335-9632.

Lynda Online Courses

You can search for an online course on Lynda by subject, software you want to learn about, most viewed courses, newest course, by author, skill level or you can search for a subject using their search bar.

Lynda not only has many subjects to browse through, but many courses in each subject. Here are their most viewed subjects and courses currently listed.

3D Animation


  • Audio Recording Techniques
  • Logic Pro 9
  • Pro Tools 10



  • Google Sketchup 8
  • Revit Architecture 2013
  • Rhino 4.0 Essential Training



  • HTML Essential Training
  • Javascript Essential Training
  • PHP With MySQL



  • Premier Pro CS6
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • DSLR Video Tips


The above online courses barely touch the surface of all the subjects and courses that Lynda offers.

Lynda Course Information

All Lynda online courses are video courses. When you click on an online course you are interested in, you will see the following information:

  • A brief outline from the instructor describing what the course teaches.
  • The level of the course, such as beginner, intermediate and advanced. 
  • The length of the video course in hours and minutes.
  • The release date of the course.
  • A table of contents of every chapter and subchapter on the video.

You will also be able to choose different formats you want to view the online course video, such as:

  • Flash
  • QuickTime Standard
  • QuickTime Custom
  • Windows Media

And if available for the specific video, you can choose to have closed captioning turned on or off. You can also search a transcript of the course to quickly find information.

Table of contents for XHTML and HTML Essential Training

Lynda Memberships

You have to subscribe to a membership in order to access all of the online courses on Lynda. Lynda offers several types of memberships. As a member, you will have access to all of their 2,049 video courses and tutorials with new ones added continually.

Monthly and Annual Memberships

  • Anytime access
  • Access over 104,000 tutorials
  • A monthly membership costs $25.00
  • An annual membership costs $250.00 for a $50 savings

Premium Memberships

  • Anytime access
  • Access over 104,000 tutorials
  • Includes exercise files
  • A monthly premium membership costs $37.50
  • An annual premium membership costs $375 per year

Lynda Certificates

You will get a Certificate of Completion for each course viewed that you can show to employers and potential employers of your accomplishments.