Students have several factors to consider, before making a decision about online learning programs. The most important factor involves deciding which online learning platform to choose. Short of stumbling upon an invitation to EDX, these two online learning platforms offer the best of the best for online learning.
We offer online education students a straightforward comparison of two leading online learning platforms: Udemy and Udacity.
An Overview of Udemy:
Udemy refers to its operation as an “online learning marketplace.” Highly successful software designer, Eren Bali, created the online learning marketplace, with the official launch in 2010 led by Gagan Bali and Oktay Caglar. Incredible growth has created a student base that exceeds nine million students who enroll in more than 35,000 courses. Dedicated instructors who have accumulated work experience in their academic niches teach a vast majority of the online courses. Udemy offers downloadable on-demand videos that present class lectures. Curriculum includes business, software development, languages, and health & fitness subjects.
An Overview of Udacity:
Udacity operates on the guiding principle that “university-level education can be both high quality and low cost.” The Internet brings together accomplished instructors and hundreds of thousands of students located throughout the world. More than 160,000 students that live in nearly 190 countries enrolled in the first Udacity class ever offered titled “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.”
Similarities between the two online learning platforms include:
- Downloadable, on-demand video instruction
- Courses taught by accomplished instructors that have gained work experience
- Affordable course prices
- Easy to navigate websites
Paid vs. Free Learning
From day one, Udemy has operated an online learning platform that features paid online courses. Although a few online courses offered by Udemy are free, the offerings are typically for beginner level students who want to acquire fundamental knowledge about a topic.
The Udemy mission is to “build a platform for authors, professors, experts, professionals, entrepreneurs and public speakers to create and teach courses online as a business model.” After seven years, Udemy has remained true to its mission. Students enroll in free beginner courses, as well as pay for intermediate and expert level classes. Courses range in price mostly between $29 and $99, with a few classes nearly reaching $1,000.
When Udacity uploaded its first course offerings in February of 2012, the company wanted to operate on a model that featured open enrollment. Open enrollment allows students to progress through online courses at their preferred rates and more important, receive a certificate of completion, without having to pay a class fee. Udacity quickly changed its fee policy in April of 2014 by requiring students to pay for courses to receive a certificate of completion. Courses cost around, which is considered a bit above average in the online learning platform industry.
Udemy offers classes in the following disciplines:
- Test Preparation
- Personal Development
- Office Productivity
- Information Technology
- Software Development
- Web Design
- Teacher Training
- Health & Fitness
Udacity offers classes in the following disciplines:
- Web Design
- Virtual Reality
- Artificial Intelligence
- Data Science
- Computer Programming
- Mobile Device Development
- Digital Marketing
Udacity clearly offers courses in high tech niches that attract students who take courses on a full-time basis. The online learning platform offers Nanodegrees, which represent highly specialized curriculum that comes with the Udacity Job Guarantee. The Job Guarantee pays back full tuition to students who cannot find a job after graduation. Udacity also must perform a job search to meet the requirements of the Job Guarantee program. The Talent Source program works closely with companies to match students with the right employers. Students can earn the Android Nanodegree and pay about $2,000 for employment in an entry-level Android-related job.
Navigating Udemy and Udacity
Both Udemy and Udacity receive praise for creating easy to navigate websites that retain fast downloading speeds, even during periods of heavy traffic. Udemy’s well-organized website organizes coursework by ‘Sections,” with sub-sections listing the courses available under a certain curriculum section.
Click on a course sub-section to read the short description of what the class is all about. The search box helps you gain quicker access to course descriptions, but only if you type in accurate phrases rich in keywords. For example, short phrases such as “learn web design” or “marketing 101” should get you where you need to go on Udemy.com
Signing up for an Udemy course takes about as long as snapping your fingers three times. Udemy provides students with a self-management tool that allows them to click lecture boxes to verify the lecture was completed. Students have the opportunity to provide feedback both for the course and the instructor teaching the course.
We would prefer it if Udemy included longer instructor bios to give students a better idea about the academic and professional experience of each instructor.
Udacity breaks down its curriculum by category as well. Located on the left side of the screen, Udacity lists the multiple curriculum options. All you have to do is click one of the boxes to move forward. Then, click whether you want to enroll in the standard Udacity course or a course offered through a Nanodegree program. Udacity allows students to select the academic level of each course, with Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced representing the three options. You also can decide which company or academic institution you want to collaborate with, as well as the technology you want integrated within the coursework.
Udacity includes an “Explore” section, which includes several boxes that contain information about a wide variety of occupations. This unique tool educates students to help them make the best career choices.
Drum Roll…Which One is the Best?
Udemy and Udacity both rank high in online reviews presented by both students and online learning analysts. However, the two platforms reach entirely different student populations. Udemy attracts students who want to gain life and/or professional skills, mostly to bolster professional resumes. Udacity features college quality curriculum teaching advanced technological skills that help student gain employment. Both companies charge fees for enrolling in classes, with Udemy costing a little more per course, unless an Udacity student enrolls in one of the Nanodegree programs.