Senior Online Learning - The Great Courses vs Coursera

Ready to jump into online learning? Good for you. Discover the pros and cons of The Great Courses vs. Coursera to make the best choice for you.
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Thinking about online learning is a smart way to be a lifelong learner. Instead of waiting another minute, let's explore two of the great options. Like many things in life, we often enjoy doing things that are easy-to-use, fun and high quality.

Let’s look at two options from the standpoint of ease of use, content quality, features, and price. As you’ll be choosing your topics, you will be the judge of your learning experience.

The Great Courses

On The Great Courses Plus, you’ll see the slogan: “Never Stop Learning.” That sounds appealing, right?


In terms of ease of use, this site is simple and intuitive. Navigating is a breeze. While some of the design and look seem a little dated, you can easily find your way around.


The courses are professionally designed and taught by subject matter experts. It seems to be a site that has been around for some time, so the professional quality of courses has been field-tested. The student reviews confirm that quality of material is professional, and maintains a college-level standard.


There are two features that set The Great Courses apart.

First, it offers great mobile support. They have a native app, available on all the major devices. The app works via WIFI.

Second, when you download the app and sign up, you can get a 30-day free trial. This is a great way to try out the service before you make a bigger commitment.


The best deal here is to do the annual option at $360, or the monthly plan of $49.95 per month. If you opt for individual courses, the fees can add up to closer to $500.

According to reviews, students find The Great Courses to be an excellent learning experience. Of course, you will be the only one who can confirm if you find learning fun or tedious.

Because the teachers are experts in their fields, you can study, learn, and explore with confidence.



One of the first things you notice with Coursera is: it’s intuitive and easy-to-use. The professional design invites you to explore and find what you’re looking for.

Coursera’s slogan is: “100% online learning from world’s best universities and companies.”

That sounds good! It’s easy to understand and inspiring. In this day and age, this is a great opportunity to get a front row seat and learn from world-class experts.


The quality content of the coursework is evident, and is produced by certified experts in their fields. Many of the class teachers are thought leaders in their industry. These are people who have spent their lives studying and researching their field. You couldn’t find a more qualified group of people.

Student reviews confirm this and people seem to be very satisfied with the quality of course design.

Some reviewers do comment that certain teachers seem camera shy. This can be added challenge when studying complicated topics.


There are a number of features on Coursera that appeal to different needs. First, students are encouraged to do a project and apply their learning. This direct approach guarantees that you won’t just be learning an academic subject without exploring its real-world applications.

Coursera offers options to audit their courses. This can help you take the course, get the materials, and learn topics—free of charge. Of course, you won’t be eligible for a certificate, degree, or course-specific activities.

You can take courses for certification, as well as select a group of courses for a specialization in a subject matter. Additionally, Coursera offers degrees, many focused on IT and business topics.

Financial aid options are available. Explore these on the website.


For many students, pricing is an issue. The courses often run $50 per course. Alternatively, you can pay by subscription, costing from $40 - $90 per month. Coursera Plus offers unlimited access for $399/year.

Many of the reviews comment that a number of formerly free courses are now only available for a fee.

What’s The Best For You?

In evaluating online learning, the most important part of the equation is: You.

Your experience is what matters most. If you’re looking for a fun, engaging, and interactive experience—you’ll enjoy the Coursera offerings. Many of the teachers especially focus on building community and fostering group interaction.

If you prefer a lecture-style format, The Great Courses could be more suited to your needs. The learning style invites learners to dive deep into topics.

If you are still wondering which would be best for you, do an experiment. Try them both before making a more long-term decision.

Take The Great Courses for a test drive in their 30-day trial. Try out Coursera, with paid or audit courses that appeal to you. With a little active exploration, you’ll sample the offerings and find your favorites.

Assistance Club Summary

The #1 big idea: make learning your life long dedication.

Keeping your mind sharp, expanding your horizons, exploring new topics is a great way to stay young. By engaging in online learning, you are actively participating in staying healthy and fit.

“The key to success is dedication to life-long learning.” — Stephen Covey