In a previous article, we wrote about Best AI Courses for Beginners on Coursera (2023) and it was very well received. Since then we have received several good questions from readers on whether they should consider Coursera Plus and other subscriptions available at Coursera. It’s all a bit confusing. So we decided to prepare an article focused on Coursera Plus so you can decide whether it’s right for you to begin your learning journey.
Coursera vs. Coursera Plus
|Access to Courses||Pay per course or audit for free.||Unlimited access to many courses with a subscription.|
|Payments||Individual payments for each certificate course.||Single annual or monthly fee for unlimited courses.|
|Certificates||Available upon payment for each course.||Available for all courses taken under the subscription.|
|Graded Assignments||Available with the paid version of each course.||Included in all subscribed courses.|
|Course Range||Access to all individual courses, including Specializations, Professional Certificates, and MasterTrack™ Certificates.||Access to most courses and Specializations, but some Professional Certificates and MasterTrack™ Certificates are not included.|
|Best Suited For||Learners interested in specific courses or auditing.||Learners planning to take multiple courses over a year.|
|Flexibility||Flexibility to choose and pay for what you need.||Flexibility in course selection without individual payments.|
|Commitment||No long-term commitment; pay as you go.||Commitment to a subscription service (annual or monthly).|
In summary, Coursera Plus is a good option for people who want to take multiple courses, whereas, without the subscription, you will need to pay for individual courses that may add up to cost a lot more than the Coursera Plus subscription.
The best way to evaluate if Coursera Plus is right for you is simply to sign up for their free trial.
What’s Coursera Careers?
Coursera Careers is not the same as Coursera Plus. Different from a subscription, Coursera Careers is a platform within Coursera that aims to connect learners with job opportunities. It is designed to leverage the skills that learners have acquired through Coursera’s courses and match them with potential employers or job openings that fit their skill set. Here’s an overview of what Coursera Careers typically offers:
- Job Matching: Learners can be matched with jobs that align with the skills they’ve developed in their courses.
- Career Resources: Provides various tools and resources to help learners prepare for job searches, including resume-building tips, interview preparation, and career advice.
- Professional Networking: The opportunity to connect with a network of professionals and companies in the field of interest.
- Direct Application: Facilitates the application process to job listings directly through the Coursera platform.
- Skill Development: Recommendations for courses that can help bridge the gap between a learner’s current skill set and the skills required for the jobs they are interested in.
If you are serious about leveraging the Coursera Careers platform, subscribing to Coursera Plus is a good choice because it gives you unlimited access to over 90% of the courses including certifications upon completion. These certificates are provided at no additional cost for every course that you complete successfully within your subscription period.
With that said, Coursera certificates can play a beneficial role in Coursera Careers, but they are not necessarily essential.
Coursera Financial Aid
Financial aid for individual courses or specializations usually requires an application where the learner needs to demonstrate financial need and a commitment to completing the course. The process involves filling out an application with questions about your educational background, financial situation, and reasons for seeking aid.
To apply for financial aid:
- Fill out an application that includes information about your educational background, career goals, and financial circumstances.
- Commit to abiding by our Honor Code and Code of Conduct.
- A limitation of 10 applications for financial aid can be applied at any given time
Coursera Plus Discount
Unlike financial aid for individual courses, you can’t get Coursera Plus for free. However, there may be discounts offered from time to time throughout the year. Because Coursera Plus is already deeply discounted to make learning possible, the best option forward is to sign up for a free trial and explore Coursera Plus risk-free.
Coursera Plus Plans
The part where people get confused is Coursera’s multiple plans and learning options.
- Single learning program: this allows you to learn a single topic or skill and earn a credential.
- Coursera Plus Monthly: this plan allows you to access and complete multiple courses and earn credentials
- Coursera Plus Annual (saves 44%): this plan combines flexibility and savings with long-term learning goals
I honestly don’t see any reason to sign up for the single learning program given the price point. Coursera Plus Monthly is a much better choice. Once you decide Coursera Plus is right for you, their annual plan will have you save 44% compared to the monthly subscription.
Will your company pay for Coursera Plus?
In other words, you want to find out if your company offers education reimbursement benefits that can potentially cover the cost of Coursera Plus.
To do this, you want to check your employee handbook or set up a quick meeting with HR to understand your options. Tuition reimbursement (also known as tuition assistance) is an employee benefit from your employer. While Coursera Plus isn’t a traditional degree program, many employers will pay for a pre-determined amount of continuing education credits or college coursework to be applied toward a degree. Given the affordability of Coursera Plus, your company or even your team (manager, supervisor) may offer to pay for your monthly or annual subscription.
How good is the Coursera Plus experience? How’s their customer service?
This is an area we like to cover on Feisworld Media. After reviewing and learning several courses on Coursera, I have to say that the course content and overall experience are very good. However, we have also researched Trustpilot and a few other review sites to find mixed reviews. Some of the negative comments were surrounding coupon codes and the need to have questions addressed immediately, such as course questions, certification, and so on.
Because Coursera is the hub of so many learning institutions and instructors, it can be hard to deliver a consistent experience from course to course. For the most part and at the rate of $59/month, you are certainly not looking at a 1:1 private tutor experience.
You may also experience courses that are beyond or below your current level of knowledge. This is especially true when it comes to tech and AI courses. Therefore it’s ok to move on to another course that’s better suited for you. As an adult who’s been out of school for nearly two decades, I find learning on Coursera Plus exciting, yet it’s something new I have to get used to.
Luckily I find Coursera’s course overview, description, and pre-req to be intuitive and helpful.
Group Learning for Coursera Plus
Coursera Plus itself is primarily an individual subscription service, offering access to a wide range of courses for a single user. It doesn’t include or focus on group learning features as part of the subscription. However, you are welcome to learn Coursera with other colleagues and friends. I find group learning experiences on difficult and new subjects to be most effective in a cohort environment where support and accountability are inherently built in.
However, Coursera does offer other features that may support group learning in some capacity:
- Coursera for Business: This is designed for organizations looking to provide training to their employees. It offers group learning features, such as progress tracking, curated learning programs, and administrative tools to manage users.
- Coursera for Campus: Aimed at educational institutions, this service allows universities and colleges to provide Coursera’s courses to their students, which can include group learning elements managed by the institution.
- Study Groups: Some courses on Coursera encourage the formation of study groups where learners can discuss course material and work together on projects, though this is more informal and depends on individual courses and learners.
- Discussion Forums: Many courses on Coursera have discussion forums where learners can interact with each other, which can foster a group learning environment.
Individual learners or organizations interested in group learning features should explore Coursera’s offerings beyond Coursera Plus, like Coursera for Business or Coursera for Campus. These platforms are more tailored to the needs of groups and organizations. Always check the latest updates directly from Coursera as their offerings and features are subject to change.
Conclusion: Is Coursera Plus right for you and your organization?
The answer is yes if you are in the pursuit of long-term learning as opposed to a single course experience (in which case, you can still subscribe to Coursera Plus for one month and cancel it later, there’s no obligation or fees when you cancel).
With Coursera Plus, you can bounce between multiple courses. This gives you the ability to learn from different institutions and instructors on the same or related subjects. To me, this is a huge plus! When I find myself in times of struggle with a certain subject, switching to another course allows me to focus on a different teaching style, and strategy to tackle unfamiliar grounds. I get to make these decisions and switch early on in the course without waiting until the end.
Coursera Plus can also get a bit overwhelming if you don’t lean in with a clear strategy. Typically I recommend learning no more than 2-3 courses in parallel. Everyone’s learning capability is different, but it’s important to understand how you learn to optimize your personal experience on Coursera.
Do you find this helpful? Please share your experience with me about Coursera Plus. Let’s learn together!
You may also like…
- Best AI Courses for Beginners on Coursera (2023)
- Your Guide to Finding Entry-Level AI Jobs (2023)
- Best AI Job Search Websites You Need to Know (2023)