MasterClass vs Coursera – Which One is Right for You?

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If you’re new to the field of online learning, then the choice of which e-learning platform can be baffling. 

MasterClass has established itself as the go-to site for learning from celebrities and well-known people, while Coursera is popular for its courses made by some of the world’s biggest learning establishments.

The question is: which one is right for you?

To establish that, you’ll have to consider your needs, what you want to learn, and what is your preferred style of learning. 

We’ve spent a few hours with both MasterClass and Coursera and dived deeper into a few courses on both platforms to provide you this MasterClass vs Coursera review. Read on to find out which site is right for you.

Is MasterClass Better Than Coursera?

MasterClass is the better option if you are an advanced level learner or a hobbyist and you want to learn about higher concepts from your favorite celebrities.

On the other hand, Coursera is right for you if you want a more traditional style of learning and you want to dive deeper into a specific topic with the help of the world’s best universities. It’s better for professionals and is more career-oriented.

MasterClass is in a class of its own when it comes to online learning. Its production value is undoubtedly on a higher level than Coursera, and the pricing is more affordable ($180 gives you access to all courses), especially if you intend to take more courses on the site.

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However, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. MasterClass courses will give you actionable tips and high-level advice that you won’t find on Coursera, but it won’t give you fundamental skills and theory, especially if you’re a beginner in a certain field.

If you’re looking to learn fundamental concepts about topics and gain a deeper degree of knowledge, then Coursera is without a doubt a better option. It gives you a university-style learning experience with constant assignments and quizzes that will test your knowledge, making it a better option for practical learning.

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Interface

Let’s first take a look at both interfaces – how user-friendly they are, how easy it is to sign up and get started, and more.

MasterClass

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MasterClass comes with a sleek black design that makes it easy for you to read content on the site and see the videos. 

When using the site, we’ve found it very easy to use. It doesn’t overwhelm you when you first enter the site, and you’re able to access all the content you have from a smartphone app, too.

If we compare it to other online learning sites like Coursera, it definitely has a more lighthearted and casual feel to it, especially when you see celebrities like Gordon Ramsay on the front page, which almost makes you feel like you’re watching television.

Now, signing up with MasterClass is easy.

signing up with MasterClass is easy

The easiest way to do that is to use one of your social media accounts (Gmail, Apple, Facebook). After signing up, you will need to purchase a subscription to access the content. 

If you want to try the site out first before buying, make sure to take advantage of the 7-day free trial!

Coursera

Coursera - Earn your Degree

Coursera’s site is also quite easy to use, but it’s not as sleek as MasterClass. 

There’s a lot going on in the main window as you first enter Coursera, which might make it a bit intimidating for beginners. Plus, there are hundreds of courses to choose from, including MasterTracks, Degrees, free courses – all of that can seem confusing at first.

Our tip here is to just choose a topic you want to learn about, and then select the course or degree that’s most popular. You’ll find that Certificates and Degrees are split into courses, so you can take each course individually if you want.

If you want, you can audit courses on Coursera before buying them, too, which is great if you want to test the waters here.

Coursera - Sign Up

Luckily, signing up with Coursera is just as easy as it is with MasterClass – enter your name, email, and password, or just continue with a social media account.

And, there are also apps that you can use on both IOS and Android devices, so Coursera is on par with MasterClass in this aspect. 

Overall, I’d have to say MasterClass is the easier and more convenient to use of the two.

Courses

The meat and potatoes of an online learning site is always going to be the courses offered – which one comes out on top in this regard?

MasterClass

courses on MasterClass

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that courses on MasterClass have a higher entertainment value than on Coursera.

These courses are not only made to educate you but to entertain you as well. The celebrity instructors definitely help make them more fun. It’s relaxing and highly inspirational to watch and listen to instructors like Gordon Ramsay, Chris Voss, or Malcolm Gladwell, for instance.

The courses have a more casual approach because you aren’t tied down with constant assignments and quizzes as you are on Coursera.

This all means that MasterClass courses probably won’t be right for you if you want to learn professional skills. Instead, they take a more “Hollywood-like” approach to learning, making them less intimidating for the casual learner.

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If you look at the lineup of instructors, you can see why MasterClass is so vastly popular…Some of the most popular courses on MasterClass include:

Coursera

Coursera’s courses are the better fit for you if you’re a professional

Coursera’s courses are the better fit for you if you’re a professional and you want to learn a skill that will help you advance your career.

You’ll find courses on almost any topic here from business, computer science, health, to personal development and social studies.

Compared to MasterClass, the courses on Coursera are designed to help you learn new skills and improve your learning level. The great thing here is that there are courses for almost any learning level, regardless if you consider yourself a beginner or an expert in the field you want to learn about.

The biggest difference is thus the assignments and the quizzes, which are a bit more rigorous here. Also, you’re expected to spend at least an hour or so a day for several months (if you want to get the most out of Coursera, of course).

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Most popular courses on Coursera:

Quality of Courses

How is the quality of courses on both sites? That’s what we’re looking at in the next section (hint: both are awesome in their own way!)

MasterClass

Courses on MasterClass have the very highest level of production

Courses on MasterClass have the very highest level of production, and if you pair that with the awesome creators and instructors, you get an irresistible package.

The vast majority of courses on MasterClass are video-based, offering you the option to view the content at any time you wish. They’re split into bite-sized lessons which makes the course easier to follow. Expect each lesson to last anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes.

With celebrity instructors and Hollywood-style production, we can safely say that MasterClass is one of the most casual and enjoyable platforms to use, but you can still learn many things by watching the courses here.

One of the downsides with MasterClass is the fact that the assignments and the quizzes inside are certainly not as in-depth as on Coursera. While you will get some assignments inside the lessons and an additional workbook, these assignments are not as strictly tracked and rigorous as they are on Coursera.

That’s because the style of learning on MasterClass is completely different. Here, you’re getting courses that are meant to provide value to your life and add actionable tips that you can use in your life, whether it’s for hobbies, personal, or professional life.

Don’t expect to learn new skills from scratch with MasterClass. If you come with the expectation to this platform, then you’re going to be a bit disappointed. But adjust your expectation a bit and you’re getting a great package.

Coursera

Marketing In a Digital World

Course quality on Coursera is at the very highest level. The courses are taught by instructors from the most prestigious universities in the world, which means that you’ll learn from the very best.

Coursera takes a more university-like approach with its learning. In this aspect, it’s vastly different from MasterClass, but the course quality, again, is on a very high level.

While you won’t get the fancy graphics and the amazing editing that you’ll find on MasterClass, the primary focus with Coursera is on the actual content itself.

It aims to bring you the best possible way to learn new skills and even start your journey on your career path. And learning new skills takes practice, which means you’ll get constant assignments and exams inside the course, which are aimed to help you both refresh what you’ve learned and reinforce it through repetition and practice.

The community is another perk of using Coursera. You can grade your peers’ homework and have your homework graded by others, too. Compared to MasterClass, the aspect of the community is much better developed.

If you’re willing to invest your time into a Coursera course (2-12 months at least) and are looking to learn professional skills, then it’s very hard to beat the quality of courses and their contents you’ll get with this platform.

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Quality of Instructors

The instructors are just as important as the contents of the course…

MasterClass

learning from celebrities

When you use MasterClass, there are no two ways about it: you’re learning from celebrities, people who have been there and done that.

There’s really no other platform that manages to bring the same quality of instructors as you’ll find on MasterClass.

And because these teachers are used to lights, camera, action, and have spent years in front of cameras, the quality of instructors is at the very highest level.

Almost every single course we’ve reviewed was fun and enjoyable, primarily thanks to the characters of teachers. And if you consider yourself a fan of one of the instructors, then you should absolutely try one of the courses on this site.

Not only will you learn from the best, but you’ll tap into the background of these people and what makes them tick: how they work, why they’re so successful, and what you can do to try and reach their level.

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Coursera

Liljedal & Dahlen (2018) Journal of Marketing Communication

The instructors on Coursera are teachers and lecturers from the world’s best universities; some of these include Harvard, Yale, University of London, Paris, and many others… only the very best.

This is also a part of the attraction behind Coursera. If you’re looking for a good platform to enhance your career and learn skills that will benefit you professionally, then you can’t look past Coursera.

The best thing here is that you’re quickly able to see that these instructors are well drilled and experienced in learning, which makes for an exceptional learning experience.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you take a MasterTrack on Coursera, for instance, you’ll get constant monitoring and feedback from instructors, which is amazing if you come to think that it’s an online learning platform.

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The bottom line on instructors is this: both platforms have the very best instructors in their fields. However, the instructors are vastly different on Coursera than on MasterClass, where you’ll find celebrities, while the instructors on Coursera are teachers and experienced educators.

Certifications

Are the courses on both platforms certified?

Is MasterClass Accredited?

MasterClass is not accredited and you also won’t get a certificate upon completion of a course.

If you’re looking to add to your CV with the certificates and additional degrees, then MasterCass might not be the best option for you.

MasterClass is not your classic online learning platform; it features celebrities and is a bit more casual, as it is not meant to help you improve your CV. Instead, it focuses on the production quality and entertainment, as well as providing value to learners.

Is Coursera Accredited?

Yes, Coursera has certified and accredited courses and degrees that are accepted and acknowledged by most employers. This is especially true of MasterTracks on Coursera.

You will also get certificates when you complete courses on this platform, provided that you pay for the course.

The certificates you get here are great for your CV because they can enhance your chance of getting a job

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But perhaps more importantly, Coursera courses will massively boost your skills and knowledge in your area of interest, which is far more important than any certificate you’d earn from completing these courses. If you’re only in it for your CV and to get certificates, then you might not get the most out of these courses.

Pricing

Lastly, let’s discuss the pricing options of these two platforms.

How Much Does MasterClass Cost?

You can get an all-around subscription for all MasterClass courses for $180 per year ($15 per month), which will give you access to all of the courses on the platform.

You can also buy single classes for $90 each.

But considering that the yearly subscription for accessing all the courses on the platform costs just $180, it is an excellent value – provided you’ll invest your dear time into the courses and actually complete them.

If you’re just interested in one specific course, then it might be worth paying the fee for the course, but the yearly subscription is where it’s at in our opinion.

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How Much Does Coursera Cost?

The pricing on Coursera is much more complex. This is how it’s structured:

  • Some individual courses are free, but most will cost between $29 and $100. For this fee, you’ll get access to all the materials and the certificate, but you can audit the course before buying as well.
  • Coursera Specializations cost $39+ per month. These are ongoing classes that you’ll complete over a period of several months.
  • Coursera Plus costs $399 a year, and it will give you access to more than 90% of the courses on the platform. It’s only worth it if you’re looking to complete many courses in just a year.
  • Coursera MasterTracks cost several thousand dollars – from $15.000 to $40.000. You’ll get a full degree that is accredited, though, but it might take a couple of years or longer.

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Conclusion

To conclude, MasterClass and Coursera are both exceptional at what they offer – but they’re also very different.

MasterClass is better if you’re a casual learner and you enjoy listening to celebrities. It’s particularly worth it if you are a fan of one of the instructors that teach one of these courses.

Coursera, on the other hand, is the clear option between the two if you’re looking to learn professional skills. It will even offer you degrees and specializations which can take several months (or years) to complete, but you’re learning from some of the world’s best instructors on this site.

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).