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When it comes to the world of online learning, there are hundreds of options to choose from. edX and Udacity are two of the best e-learning platforms available, but which one is better?
Both edX and Udacity are MOOC platforms, although the former is more well-known and popular than the latter. Each one offers a good selection of educational programs. Still, from our research, we’ve gathered that edX provides a broader range of subjects and topics to choose from, while Udacity’s target audience is learners interested in technology and tech-related skills.
When choosing an online learning platform, high-quality instruction is crucial.
This article will compare edX vs. Udacity, look at the main differences between them, and break down their features. You will learn about each platform’s benefits and what factors to consider when deciding which platform to choose from for your online learning experience.
Which One is Better: edX or Udacity? We would recommend both platforms for different audiences.
EdX is the platform that we would highly recommend to learners searching for courses under various subjects, such as the Arts and Sciences, Philosophy and Psychology, Medicine, and Language.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for courses that cater specifically to programming, data science, and business, then we’d highly recommend Udacity.
If you are looking for inexpensive online courses on a wide range of topics, we recommend edX. edX is one of the most popular e-learning platforms out there, and for a good reason. It offers over 2600 courses from premier universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkely on topics ranging from biochemistry to arts and culture, environmental studies, to philanthropy.
If you want to learn new skills related to programming, business, data science, and project management, we recommend Udacity.
On the other hand, Udacity’s range and the number of courses are not as broad as edX is; they currently offer around 200 courses. Their courses include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing, programming and development, and data science. While you can audit their courses for free, they do not come with a certificate. Udacity does not offer financial aid. These courses are also created as part of a paid micro-credential that the platform provides called a Nanodegree, which we will expand on later in the article.
In the table below, we’ve weighed out the pros and cons between edx vs. Udacity, based on the parameters given in the left column.
|Variety of Courses||✓|
|Certificate of Completion||✓||✓|
|Availability of a Micro or Nano Degree||✓||✓|
|Availability of Financial Aid||✓|
Our final verdict: edx for a variety of courses, Udacity for tech-related, programming, and business courses.
edX or Udacity: The Main Differences
Now, let’s take a look at the main differences between edX and Udacity.
Variety of Courses
When it comes to edX, you probably already know that it is one of the most popular and successful course providers available online. It has over 120 institutional partners, and it offers over 2600 courses. You can audit one of their courses for free or upgrade and purchase a verified certificate. You could also sign up for a MicroBachelor’s or a MicroMaster’s program, or you can sign up for an XSeries program. Additionally, edX offers an online Master’s Degree program. edX offers subjects from premier universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkely on topics ranging from economics and finance to medicine, energy and earth studies, and even design.
Udacity: This platform is another commonly known MOOC platform. Unlike edX, Udacity offers free courses, Nanodegrees, Executive Programs, and Single Paid Courses. The free courses are created as part of the Nanodegree, a paid micro-credential that the platform provides. Their programs come from the schools of data science, artificial intelligence, programming, autonomous systems, cloud computing, business, cybersecurity, and product management.
When it comes to edX, there is no cost for taking edX courses when signing up in the free audit track, but if you want to earn a certificate for a particular course, there is a fee. The amount varies from course to course, but it can cost anywhere from $50 to $300. The average cost per credit for the edx MicroBachelor program is $166. Regarding the pricing for a MicroMaster’s course, you must first earn a certificate in each course in the program. The fees for the verified certificates vary across courses and MicroMasters programs. Understandably, you may have a few concerns, so click here for more information. As mentioned on the edX website, “The fees for upgrading to the verified track or enrolling in a professional education course are the only charges on edX. There are no other fees associated with edX courses.”
For Udacity, you can sign up for the free courses created as part of the Nanodegree, which is the paid micro-credential that the platform provides. The cost of enrollment varies for each Nanodegree program, and you can find this information on the program details page of each Nanodegree program. Please note that for multi-term Nanodegree programs, you could have costs associated with each term that will be charged separately during the time of enrollment for the applicable term. Please click here for more Udacity pricing and financial information. Additionally, classcentral.com has put together a pricing chart containing the course title, duration, and cost.
Verdict: Both platforms.
While edX may offer a wide variety of courses and subjects to choose from when compared with Udacity, both platforms provide good quality courses. The favorable reviews indicate this for courses on both platforms and the growing number of students constantly enrolling in courses. Over 33 million students from 196 countries have signed up on edX, and over 160,000 students from 190 countries have signed up on Udacity.
Verdict: Both platforms.
Certificate of Completion
EdX currently offers two types of certificates. They are certificates for single courses and program certificates for programs (series of courses). Udacity also offers certificates; all graduates from any Nanodegree program, single paid course, or executive program receive a certificate. Once you have completed the graduation process, you will receive a certificate that can be printed and shared through your Udacity account.
Availability of a Micro or Nano Degree
As we mentioned earlier, edX offers a MicroBachelor’s and a MicroMaster’s program. The MicroBachelors program is built for adult learners looking to further their careers. It will prepare you for a job and provide you with a credential to land you a better job. The MicroMasters programs are a series of graduate-level courses designed to advance your career, providing you with deep learning in specific career fields. Udacity offers the Nanodegree, which is a project and skills-based education credential program. Once you’ve enrolled in it, you will learn a set of skills, complete a series of projects that demonstrate your grasping of these skills, and eventually, you will receive a credential stating that you have mastered said skills.
Verdict: Both platforms
Availability of Financial Aid
While edX does offer financial aid in the form of a 90% discount on verified certificates. On the edX platform, assistance is available in most courses that offer verified certificates. However, there are a few programs and courses that are not eligible for the same. Udacity, unfortunately, does not provide financial aid.
edX: An In-depth Review
EdX is an American massive open online course (MOOC) provider, and was founded in 2012. It was created by Harvard and MIT and conducts university-level courses in various subjects for students worldwide. EdX is a nonprofit organization, and it has partnered with over 150 prestigious universities, organizations, and companies such as Berkeley, Microsoft, and Harvard.
As of July 2020, edX has seen over 33 million students sign up for more than 3,000 courses online. The platform also has more than 6,000 instructors and has seen students from 196 countries enroll in their courses.
Let’s have a look at some of the main features of edX:
- Multiple hours of video footage in every course
- Extensive course catalog
- Mobile app for on-the-go learning
- Courses available in other languages like Chinese, Spanish, or French with English subtitles
- Graded assignments for verified learners
- Reading material with each course
Getting Started on edX
When you log onto the edX website, this is what you will see. This is the edX homepage, from which you can select which course, program, or degree you want to sign up for.
As you can see, some of the top universities offer courses on the platform, providing you with a wide array of courses to choose from, complete with multiple hours of video footage and graded assignments. All of the content on edX is carefully curated for students to have the best online learning experience possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about a particular subject but don’t know where to start, you can click on the ‘Courses’ option, and the following list will show up on your screen:
This list is a great starting point. As you can see, there are several varied options available, from the arts and sciences to philosophy, business, and education.
Suppose you’re interested in registering for a MicroBacherlor’s or a MicroMaster’s program. In that case, you can click on the ‘Programs & Degrees’ option, and the following list will show up on your screen:
Who is edX For?
If a higher education-level course is what you’ve been looking for, then edX is the platform for you. This MOOC provider is a platform for serious learning, especially if you have a pretty good understanding of what you want to study.
You must put in a considerable amount of time and effort because the edX courses are equivalent to University subjects. If you don’t, you could struggle.
If you are one of the following learners, then edX is good for you:
- A professional looking to gain new skills or elevate existing ones
- Someone looking to learn at their own pace
- Someone looking to gain knowledge to advance their career
- Someone looking for an affordable, university-level education
- Someone searching for ways to boost their academic or professional portfolios
edX for Business
In addition to offering individual plans, edX also has plans for businesses. edX for business customizes plans to train your employees and elevate their skills, and its learning pathways are curated for each business and team.
While there is no pricing information, we know that edX for business has worked well for well-known companies such as Goldman Sachs, Mercedes-Benz, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and the Boston Consulting Group.
The courses come with actionable data and social learning designed to facilitate inter-company learning and real-world applications. The actionable data comes with administration and learner dashboards that provide businesses with insight into learner progress while also helping the admins manage their programs.
How much do edX courses really cost?
The array of courses that edX offers come with different pricing that reflects the type of the course.
If you’re looking to ‘Pursue the Verified track,’ which is the paid option for a course, the pricing ranges from anywhere between $50 to $300.
When you enroll in a course on edX, you have two options.
- You can audit the course for free. However, you won’t have access to all the course materials, and you won’t earn a verified certificate when you’ve completed the course.
- You can pursue the verified track. Now, you will have full access to all the course material, and you will earn the verified certificate.
The pricing for the professional certificate courses, along with their approximate costs, are listed below:
- MicroBachelor’s Program: $166 per credit
- MicroMaster’s Program: prices range from $1,000 to $1,500 USD
- Professional Certificate Programs: prices range from $150 to $1,000
- XSeries courses: prices range from $100 to $450
- Online Master’s Degree: prices range from $10,000 to $25,000
As we’ve mentioned numerous times throughout this article, the edX course catalog is one of their most notable features. They offer more than 3,000 courses from multiple institutions, including Ivy League colleges like Harvard.
Their most popular courses come under Data Science, Computer Science, Business, Healthcare, and Design, from IBM, the University of Michigan, Harvard, Penn State University, and Imperial College, London.
The courses and their content have an overall 4.5-star rating on TrustPilot. 71% of students have left 5-star reviews, with the majority of them stating that they enjoyed and appreciated the quality of the content and the variety of subjects provided. While students have noted the courses are pretty challenging, they have also said that the rigid material proved worth it after receiving their certificates and immense knowledge.
Most Popular Courses:
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular courses on the platform.
- Python Basics for Data Science
This beginner-friendly course is brought to you by IBM. In it, you can practice through lab exercises, and by the end of it, you’ll be ready to create your first Python scripts by yourself.
- HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals
In this course, you’ll learn how to build websites using HTML5 and basic CSS from W3C, which is the creator of the latest web standards.
- Introduction to Marketing
Brought to you by the University of Edinburgh, this course will teach you how successful businesses use marketing to increase revenue, share, and profitability.
- Strengthening Community Health Worker Programs
In this Harvard course, you’ll learn to deliver high-quality primary health care at scale through national community health worker programs.
Programs and Degrees
Another edX feature that we’ve mentioned numerous times throughout this article is the various kinds of programs and degrees that the platform offers. Let’s take a closer look at them.
The MicroBachelors Programs are specifically designed and built for adult learners searching for ways to progress their careers. From Computer Science Fundamentals by NYU to Professional Writing by Arizona State University, a MicroBachelor’s program is the only path to a Bachelor’s degree that makes you ready for a job. The programs cost less than $200 per credit, making it one of the most affordable ways to access college classes; some companies even help cover education costs for eligible employees, meaning that getting started is simpler than ever.
This program is flexible, self-paced, and entirely online. The credits that you earn from each program are real and transferable from edX’s university partners. If you combine your MicroBachelor’s credit with previous credit earned before, you’re well on your way to earning a full Bachelor’s degree.
The MicroMasters programs are a series of graduate-level courses that are designed to advance your career. These courses come from top universities, they provide deep learning in specific career fields, and employers recognize them for their real-life job relevance. You can apply to the universities offering credit for the MicroMasters program certificate, and if you’re accepted, you can pursue an accelerated and less expensive degree. The courses that come under the MicroMasters program range from Cybersecurity to International Law. If you compare the lower prices of the MicroMasters program to the price of a Master’s degree (which costs anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000), this is much cheaper.
Please note that earning a MicroMasters program certificate does not guarantee admission to a full master’s degree program.
Professional Certificate Program
The Professional Certificate Programs are a series of courses that are designed by top universities and industry leaders to enhance critical and professional skills needed to succeed in today’s most in-demand fields. The professional certificate program has anywhere from two to ten courses in it.
Just like the MicroBachelor’s program, this one is also rigorous and challenging. However, it is also flexible and self-paced, allowing you to complete it on your own time.
The XSeries Programs come with different difficulty levels, as shown below (taken directly from the edX website):
- Popular Content – High-level, challenging courses to provide a comprehensive understanding.
- Expert Instruction – Learn from professors at top universities, including Harvard, MIT, Columbia, and more.
- Easy Enrollment – Enroll now and start learning online from anywhere in the world.
To enroll in an XSeries program, all you need to do is enroll in the individual courses that are part of the XSeries and select the Verified Certificate option. Then, when you complete all courses of the XSeries, you will receive your certificate. The prices for each program vary across courses and specific XSeries.
Online Master’s Degree
EdX offers full online Master’s degree programs. They offer top-ranked programs by the world’s best universities. These programs are affordable online graduate degrees with the same rigor as on-campus courses, and they are designed for easy and flexible learning.
These courses are all 100% online, giving you the flexibility needed to fit the program into your regular life.
Udacity: An In-Depth Review
Udacity is another massive open online course (MOOC) provider founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky. The Udacity platform was announced at the Digital Life Design conference in 2012, and it is the extension of free computer science classes offered in 2011 through Stanford University.
It is a for-profit organization, and it offers over 200 courses at present. As of January 2020, Udacity has seen over 11.5 million students sign up for the different courses available.
Let’s have a look at some of the main features of Udacity:
- Udacity enterprise
- Well-developed course catalog for the subjects on offer
Getting Started on Udacity
When you log onto the Udacity website, this is what you will see. This is the Udacity homepage, from which you can select which program you’d like to sign up for, career services, Udacity enterprise services, and the Udacity for Government service.
As you can see from the image above, there are eight schools to choose from; they are:
- Data Science
- Artificial Intelligence
- Autonomous Systems
- Cloud Computing
- Product Management
There are multiple courses to choose from under each school, providing you with a wide array of choices, complete with numerous hours of video footage and graded assignments. All of the content on edX is carefully curated for students to have the best online learning experience possible.
If you’re interested in learning more from one of the schools the platform offers but don’t know where to start, you can click on the ‘Programs’ option, and the following list will show up on your screen:
This list is a great starting point. From here, click on the blue button that says ‘Full Catalog.’ You will be taken to the entire list of courses that come under each topic. For example, we’ve included the list of courses that come under Artificial Intelligence. As you can see, there are several varied options available, from AI for Business Leaders and AI for Healthcare to Computer Vision and Natual Language Processing.
Who is Udacity for?
Udacity’s high-quality curriculum is designed with top-tier partners and not academics, so the courses will equip you with the high-impact skills that top companies seek in employees. The learning you will do is active, project-based, and self-paced. Additionally, the platform also offers 24/7 help, so you can reach out to your mentors whenever you need it.
Udacity for Enterprises
Udacity offers an enterprise-based option that allows companies to sign up for courses that can better their workforce. As the platform is based on technology, the courses offered are hugely beneficial to companies working in the tech industry. As mentioned on the Udacity for Enterprise webpage, their programs “address the skills gaps that enterprises are facing in core and emerging technologies, like Data Science, AI/ML, Cloud, Cybersecurity, and more. [As a result] learners experience a combination of lessons and hands-on projects designed by technology experts and are able to immediately apply their newfound skills in a professional setting.”
Udacity for Government
The platform’s public and private partnerships deliver government-funded scholarships for their Nanodegree programs designed to both upskill and reskill workforces at scale. Over 74% of students have reported a positive career outcome. The programs under this category are tailored to specific goals. Udacity designs services and curriculum mapped to a program’s targets, such as employing job seekers. Industry leaders also develop Udacity’s courses for individuals already working in their respective fields, and they are designed to deliver skill sets that can be immediately applied in professional settings.
The enrollment costs for each Nanodegree program vary. You can find that information on the Program Details page of each Nanodegree program. It’s important to note that for the multi-term Nanodegree programs, you might have costs associated with each term that will be charged separately at the time of enrollment for the applicable term.
Udacity also has a payment service called Affirm. It allows you to create a monthly payment plan over 3, 6, or 12 months. Once you’ve entered the required information, Affirm will provide payment options with rates from 0-30% APR and no hidden fees, so you’ll know exactly how much you owe. Please note that payment plans are subject to credit checks and approval, and down payment may be required.
Udacity does not offer financial aid.
The Nanodegree is something that we’ve mentioned several times in this article, and now, we’re going to take a closer look at it.
A Udacity Nanodegree Program, as described on their website, is an online education program designed to bridge the gap between learning and career goals. The platform partners with industry leaders and experts who understand which skills are in demand in the job market. Interested students enroll in the specific courses, are prompted to view the online course, and then complete a series of projects and support courses designed to help them develop job-relevant skills and build portfolios to show prospective employers.
The Nanodegree program includes services like classroom mentorship, moderated forums, and project reviews, all of which ensure a personalized experience.
Before signing up for a course, you will have access to a detailed syllabus complete with the prerequisites, requirements, and project descriptions.
While Udacity does not have a wide range of courses in various subjects like edX, it offers students several options under each of the eight subjects available.
Some of their most popular courses are Blockchain, C++, Programming for Data Science with Python, AI for Trading, and Deep Learning.
The courses and their content have an overall 4.7-star rating on coursereport.com. Students appreciate the provided course materials, the well-taught and clearly delivered content, and the practical skills that can be applied in the projects accompanying each course.
Edx or Udacity: The Final Verdict
In this article, we’ve given you a detailed overview of both edX and Udacity, two MOOC platforms providing learners all across the globe with courses designed to help strengthen their knowledge and skills.
When looking at edX vs. Udacity, we’ve looked at the types of course offered by each platform, pricing, course catalog, and what kinds of learners each platform caters to.
We would like to recommend this particular platform to learners searching for University-level courses taught by world-renowned universities and experts. Whether you’re a learner searching for a course without a specific subject in mind, or a learner who wants to elevate their existing knowledge and skills, then edX is the perfect platform for you. It is more affordable than many university courses, and it is self-paced and flexible.
We would recommend this platform to learners searching for courses solely dedicated to programming, technology, data science, and business. These courses are designed to help learners develop new skills and elevate their existing skills. Each course comes with projects and mentors ready to help you. Udacity’s courses are also flexible and self-paced.