Great Courses Plus vs Coursera – The Ultimate Comparison

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The Great Courses and The Great Courses Plus often go under the radar with all the new and existing platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, or Skillshare. Ultimately, it’s up to you to recognize the value and know what you’re looking for.

In this article, we’ll have a big face-off: Great Courses Plus vs Coursera. Are you interested to know which one is better? Then read on to find out more about each platform, who they are for, how they compare, and which one is better.

Great Courses Plus vs Coursera: Our Verdict…

Courses on Offer

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Student Experience

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Instructor Quality

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Course Quality

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Flexibility and Commitment Needed

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Price

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Both Coursera and Great Courses Plus are massive platforms with some of the world’s best professors at your disposal. While they do appeal to different audiences, there’s a lot to love about both platforms.

Coursera is better for learning professional skills for your career, while the Great Courses Plus platform is an entertaining platform with courses for just about any hobby.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which platform you choose, and what you need from it. For learning professional skills, Coursera edges it.

But on the whole, you just cannot look past the entertaining value that Great Courses Plus brings to the table – I loved it. You’ll never be bored while learning with Great Courses Plus, which is why I feel like it has the edge over Coursera.

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Product Backgrounds

Great Courses Plus

The Great Courses Plus site is a cousin of the Great Courses site, and both are owned by The Teaching Company. This company was established all the way back in 1990, and during its first few years, it brought educative materials in the form of tapes. In the subsequent years, the company shifted to the CD and DVD format.

Today, you’ll find most of the courses online. But what is the difference between Great Courses and Great Courses Plus?

The main difference is that Great Courses Plus offers a subscription-based model where you can watch all the videos on the platform after you pay for the subscription, making it the Netflix of learning. The Great Courses site, on the other hand, offers you to buy courses individually.

The Great Courses Platform prides itself on having some of the world’s best instructors, which is thanks mainly to their strict vetting of teachers. Most of them are independent, but with a proven track record of top-quality work.

One of the biggest selling points of Great Courses Plus is on its content – in fact, most of the people who have used this site will tell you just how awesome the content is, and how interesting it is.

You can read our Great Courses Plus review if you want more information, or, see how it compares to MasterClass.

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Coursera

Coursera is the go-to learning platform for people looking to learn from the top professors from some of the world’s best institutions. Established in 2012, Coursera grew rapidly and is today one of the biggest, if not the biggest, e-learning platforms out there.

Professors from brick-and-mortar universities such as Yale, Harvard, University of Michigan, and others, can be found on Coursera.

This makes it an appealing option to learn new skills and become more appealing for employers. Most of the courses on Coursera are for learning practical skills – these can range from programming, IT, data analysis, to health, business, and personal development.

So now that you know a little more about these two platforms, how does Great Courses Plus compare to Coursera? Let’s find out.

Courses on Offer

Great Courses Plus

Most of the courses on Great Courses Plus are for those who are looking to improve their knowledge or skill about a hobby. Whether you’re interested in history, or if you like literature, travel, or cooking, there will be something in it for you.

Again, don’t expect to learn how to code or how to use WordPress; however, the entertaining value of Great Courses Plus is definitely a big appeal.

For example, if you love cooking and food, then you can select that particular topic and watch everything there is to know about food. Learn great recipes, and even dive deep into the history of cooking.

This platform goes very deep, too. For example, it’s not just about food in general. You can even dive deep into topics like beer and beer brewing, where you’ll learn how beer is made, what types of beer there are, and much more.

Coursera

On Coursera, you’ll have access to some of the best courses there are online about professional topics. If you want to learn a new skill or enhance your career by earning a new certificate, Coursera is your go-to platform.

You’ll be able to earn a new skill through an individual course, or you can take specializations and learn one skill in more detail and become an expert at it. Alternatively, there’s also the MasterTrack program, which is sort of like a boot camp that can take months or even years and covers a range of courses on one topic.

And there are thousands of courses on Coursera provided by some of the world’s top instructors. These courses also have resources that have worked well in the past and are tested in physical classrooms, too.

Winner: Tie. Both platforms are very good in their own right. However, they are for different audiences; Great Courses Plus has many courses for hobbyists, while Coursera is a bit more practical and professional.

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Student Experience

Great Courses Plus

The Great Courses Plus platform is intuitive to use for beginners. You can easily find what you’re looking for in the navigation bar, or you can use the search bar to find a topic you’re interested in.

Signing up is easy, as you can take a free trial and continue with the subscription later on, or you can end it right there.

Plus, you’re getting a nice mobile app for watching these courses on the go. The app is nicely designed, too. Yes, the design might look a bit generic for some, and some might even say uninspiring, but it’s the content that wins out with Great Courses Plus, and it’s not ruining the user experience at all.

Coursera

Coursera follows the ever-successful MOOC design template that you’ll find on almost any e-learning site.

As you enter the page, you’ll see all the featured courses and the recommended courses for you. You can pick right where you left off and start learning again, too. Overall, the navigation of the site is really easy, and the whole experience is painless.

Winner: Tie, again. Both sites do pretty well with the student experience, although both suffer from the “lackluster” design syndrome. None of the platforms will blow you away with their design and experience, but they do a great job of delivering the content.

Instructor Quality

Great Courses Plus

You’ve got to love the interesting and engaging content that the instructors put out on Great Courses Plus. It’s just so damn immersive, and the instructors are undeniably a great part of that.

The way some instructors present the content is in a more documentary-type of way. This makes the entire deal seem like a Netflix deal where you binge-watch the videos.

However, we simply can’t ignore the educative value that these courses bring, too. Although they might look somewhat documentary-styled, you’re learning a lot.

Plus, Great Courses have always been known for having very strict requirements for who can provide the content. Most of these instructors are independent, but all of them have a proven track record in their field. I’ve read somewhere that Great Courses Plus only picks from the “top 1%” of instructors. That’s impressive, if at all possible.

Coursera

Coursera’s instructors are world-class. There’s no denying it. They come from the world’s top learning institutions – Harvard, Yale. It’s pretty clear that Coursera will only offer you courses from the best.

However, this doesn’t always mean engaging content. Coursera’s instructors are always goal-oriented, which means that their main goal is to teach you a new skill. However, this approach can sometimes be a little dry.

It might be just my personal experience, but I actually found some courses that I tried a bit dry, at least compared to Great Courses Plus. It might have been down to the instructors, although some of this is to be expected when you’re learning a serious skill.

Winner: I have to give this one to Great Courses Plus. Coursera does have some world-class teachers on its platform, but the way instructors present the content is more engaging on Great Courses Plus.

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Course Quality

Great Courses Plus

I absolutely loved the courses on Great Courses Plus. They’re just so interesting that you’ll want to binge-watch them even if you have other things to do.

I found myself engaged and craving for more, even when I completed a course. And they are so complete – you’ll learn everything from the history to new applicable skills that you can use right away.

The only concern is that you’re not getting any certificates, and the skills you’re learning are more leisurely. If you’re looking for something for your career, this platform might not be the best.

Coursera

Coursera has a proven track record of helping many people get their careers on track or providing them with the skills necessary to do the job properly.

For the full price, you get certificates, and you can also enter the MasterTrack Program. Plus, you’re getting quizzes and assignments to put your skills to practice, which you don’t get with Great Courses Plus.

Winner: It’s a very tight one, but Coursera just edges it here slightly. You’re getting certificates and the courses also have assignments here. If accreditation doesn’t matter to you though, Great Courses Plus is a better option overall.

But it’s Coursera’s certificates that do it for me here.

Flexibility and Time Commitment

Great Courses Plus

With Great Courses Plus, you’re getting the majority of the content in the video format. This means you can watch them at your own pace, just as you would watch a documentary. For this reason, the platform is a flexible one.

Coursera

The same can be said of Coursera, too. You can complete the courses and even the assignments at your own pace. However, some courses are done in such a way that you have to complete an assignment before you move onto the next section.

Winner: Great Courses Plus takes this one out. While both platforms are somewhat self-oriented, Coursera has some deadlines for courses along with waiting for registration.

Great Courses Plus courses can be done completely at your leisure though, which gives it the nod here.

Price

Great Courses Plus

The Great Courses Plus platform features a monthly subscription to the platform that will allow you to watch ALL the courses on the platform. It means that it acts as a sort of a Netflix for learning.

You can’t watch any courses for free, although you do get a 14-day free trial. I think that for the price ($360 annually or $19.95 monthly), the platform is totally worth it, considering that one course on Great Courses will cost at least $40.

NOTE: Some users from some countries will only be able to access the trial from the app.

Coursera

Coursera has different pricing options. There’s Coursera Plus, which is a one-time price of $340 per year. Or, you can buy each course individually and get the certificate from there.

You can sign up for free and audit courses, and you will also get a free trial if you do so. Coursera is great in terms of pricing if you want to get certificates in a specific area or skill.

Read this article if you want to know more about Coursera pricing options.

Winner: Great Courses Plus. It’s a very nice subscription model that allows you to watch everything for a very modest price.

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Final Verdict

Both Coursera and Great Courses Plus are brilliant at what they do. Coursera is fantastic for improving your professional skills, while Great Courses Plus is more for those who are interested in hobbies.

Here are the final scores:

Great Courses Plus: 3
Coursera: 1
Tie: 2

They are very close, but the scores suggest we liked Great Courses Plus a bit more. It’s just so nice and the content is possibly the best around, but you can try it for free and see for yourself.

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About the author: Hey there! I’m Vince. I’m a trained and practicing teacher with experience in e-learning and course design, along with having an extensive background in building and maintaining websites. I started EduTest Labs to help course creators and students find the best resources (without the BS).