So you've probably seen that LinkedIn now offers its own course platform, formerly called Lynda. But how does it compare to other online course providers like Udemy? In this article you'll get a comparison of both.
What are the major differences between Udemy and Lynda? On Udemy, you pay for each course individually. Lynda has a subscription model where you pay one amount per month for unlimited courses and videos. Udemy has one of the broadest ranges of course topics, while Lynda is more limited to business and career-related topics.
In this article I'll cover the costs associated with each platform, the cost, time commitment required, and other useful information you should consider when deciding between the two.
Udemy and Lynda are both within a handful of the most popular online learning sites available today.
Udemy is one of those online course websites where anyone can sign up and be an instructor, as opposed to the more structured platforms where instructor credentials are thoroughly checked and verified. This comes with some advantages and disadvantages.
The great part is that there are a massive number of Udemy courses available on practically any topic you could want to learn.
The big downside is that course quality can vary from instructor to instructor, so it's important to use the review and rating systems to verify they're worth your time.
On Udemy, you pay to buy each individual course that you want.
The downside for Udemy is that if you consume a large amount of education content, the cost associated with it will very quickly start to add up.
Lynda.com is now owned by LinkedIn. 100% of its lessons and instructors have been moved over, and the service is now called LinkedIn Learning. But it still offers the same services it has always been known for.
Their video descriptions and titles are clear and concise, which makes it easy to find exactly the course content that's most relevant for you.
Lynda first launched around 20 years ago, and now serves courses in five languages to over 10,000 business clients, as well as individuals. Lynda has a massive library of video content which students can work through at their own pace.
Students pay a subscription fee to get full access to as much educational content as they want. Think of it like an all you can eat buffet when it comes to course content.
Videos can range from just a couple of minutes to more than 30 minutes.
Since they offer individual lessons moreso than full courses, you're free to jump around and watch as much or as little as you want. There's no requirement to complete specific lessons.
On Udemy, you pay for courses individually. Some may cost as much as $200, but the best selling courses typically get marked down by 90% or more every few weeks. To learn more about picking up a Udemy course on sale, read this article: How Often Does Udemy Have Sales?
So there are almost permanent sales going on where you can get a course on nearly any topic for about $10. Purchasing a course gives you lifetime access.
Lynda uses a subscription model instead of paying for lessons individually. You can get a free 30 day trial. After that, the subscription plan is $29.99 per month.
For that price you get access to more than 13,000 expert-led courses on your phone or computer. You can assess your progress with quizzes and get a certificate when you complete a course.
You get access to project files to practice while you learn, as well as offline viewing so you can learn while you're on the go.
You even get personalized course recommendations based on your current job, skills, and what others in similar careers are learning.
It's difficult to say which platform is better based on cost. It depends on how much you'll use each service.
If you will only be taking one or two courses per month, Udemy likely would work out to be cheaper. But if you're more of an active learner than that, you may benefit more from Lynda's subscription model.
Lynda has thousands of industry expert led courses on topics like business skills, IT, photography, design, video, network administration, and more.
For example, they have thousands of videos just related to the subject of programming.
However, their courses are aimed more at skills that you can use in a business, and are less focused on creative applications.
The quality of Lynda's videos are consistent from video to video, and from topic to topic. You can expect high-quality video regardless of which course you take.
Udemy's courses cover every subject that Lynda's do, plus more. Udemy has more than 100,000 courses available, which is nearly ten times as many as Lynda has!
Although course quality can vary significantly from instructor to instructor. See my list of the best Udemy courses for an idea of what the higher quality courses on Udemy can look like.
For more general and broad course topics, you can likely find videos and courses on both platforms. Particularly if they have career or business applications. But Udemy may offer more niche subjects that you won't see covered on Lynda.
Not sure if the subject you'll be interested in is covered on either Udemy or Lynda?
Here are some inspiring course examples from each platform:
Instructors on Udemy are everyday people who may have specialized knowledge or expertise that they choose to share with the world through courses.
Their skillsets can vary from people with only an intermediate understanding of a topic, all the way up to those with full academic credentials and workplace experience.
Instructors on Udemy are self-employed and get paid directly based upon how well their courses sell. So there is some incentive for Udemy instructors to put out more, lower-quality courses if they think this could potentially get them more sales.
Instructors on Lynda go through an application process and are carefully selected by LinkedIn. Instructors are chosen based on their education, professional and personal accomplishments, and other factors.
It's unclear exactly how Lynda instructors are compensated. But it appears they receive a one-time payment for completing courses, as opposed to earning a share of the views their courses receive.
Overall, you can expect Lynda instructors to be more knowledgable and informed in general than those on Udemy. While they still teach in a fairly informal and casual style, you'll definitely still get well-presented information.
Lynda's lineup of instructor also contains public experts, such as entrepreneur and public speaker Guy Kawasaki, and photographer Ben Long.
Both Udemy and Lynda offer completion certificates for any courses that you finish.
Neither program is accredited or necessarily looks as impressive on your resume as an education from a traditional educational institution like a university might.
Udemy's courses are best used for you as an individual to learn specific skills or knowledge for yourself. You might use this information to improve your business or your personal life. But it's not necessarily something that will be impressive on a resume or CV.
A certificate from Lynda is potentially a bit more professional-looking than one from Udemy. You can put certificates that you've earned directly on your LinkedIn profile to display what you've learned.
Your current employer may also be willing to reimburse you for course costs on the platform, depending on your situation.
Lynda course certificates are a good indication that you're pursuing continuing education related to your field and are working on your personal development.
You may be able to use completion of Lynda courses to help negotiate a raise or promotion at your current place of employment. But neither Lynda or Udemy certificates likely offer much benefit when it comes to interviewing for a new place of employment.
Neither a Udemy or Lynda course will take you anywhere near as long to complete as a traditional university's online course.
Whereas some course lengths are measured in weeks or months, a course on either of these platforms will only take you a few hours to finish at most.
On both platforms, the overall courses are typically comprised of several smaller segments. Although the complete course may be several hours long, each lesson may only have a video that lasts a few minutes.
Since you aren't bound to a specific curriculum, you can mix and match individual courses to create a tailor-made solution that fits exactly the kind of education you're looking for.
There's no need to take extra courses that won't add to your knowledge or skills. Instead you can focus only on what's practical.
Here are some of the pros and cons of each platform.
You can find some really amazing courses on Udemy that are almost permanently discounted to just $10 each. These courses can teach you a lot while not costing much at all compared to some other options out there.
In general, Udemy courses are better at providing you with tangible results. They walk you through real-life projects that you can do yourself while you watch in many cases.
Udemy has one of the largest amounts of courses available out of any platform out there. You can learn everything from how to give a haircut to how to create an iOS app. If you want to learn something, there's most likely already a Udemy course for it.
Compared to Lynda, Udemy's videos tend to have lower audio and video quality. Some instructors have obviously recorded their courses on webcams or even cell phones, as opposed to professional video gear.
Udemy courses are always going on sale. If there's a particular course you want but you refuse to pay full price, it might take weeks for it to go on sale again. Otherwise you could be stuck paying $200 for a single course, which could get you a subscription for several months on platforms like Lynda or Skillshare instead.
Even though Udemy offers completion certificates for all courses you finish, it might not count for much. The courses don't look very impressive on your resume if you're up against competition that has university degrees or more formal types of education. Although it might be okay for some jobs like programming, where bosses may only want to know how much you know, not necessarily where you learned it.
The video production in all Lynda courses are high-quality. The video and audio quality, as well as the overall presentation, is consistently of a high calibre.
Teachers on Lynda go through an application process and are carefully selected. Not just anyone can sign up and create a course. They are all experienced with the subject they teach.
For your monthly subscription fee, you get access to thousands of videos. It's a bargain if you're someone who consumes a large amount of premium educational content.
Lynda works well on both Android and iOS devices, and has well-developed applications for both. These apps also allow you to download your courses so that you can watch them offline, even when you're on the go.
Since it's part of LinkedIn, Lynda obviously tends to focus only on career-related content. Business subjects like sales, marketing, and management are heavily represented. As are technology related topics like programming. However, you may have a harder time finding more creative-oriented topics, aside from specific topics with business applications, like graphics.
Lynda is almost twice as expensive as some other subscription-based course platforms like Skillshare. The content is high quality, but perhaps not superior enough to warrant the extra monthly cost.
Skillshare may be a great alternative to Lynda for you. It operates on a similar subscription model, which gives you access to thousands of videos, and you can watch as many as you have time for each month.
Skillshare's subscription cost is much lower than that of Lynda, and arguably it has similar content quality and covers most of the same topics that you would find on Lynda as well.
Skillshare is often compared to Udemy as well. Both platforms allow anyone to make the courses and they both feature a wide diversity of course topics.
-> Read more about the differences between Udemy vs Skillshare here
If you're looking to learn IT or tech skills in particular, then you might want to check out Pluralsight who offer a range of quality courses on these topics.
-> Find out more about how Pluralsight compares to Udemy here
If you're looking for online courses of a more academic nature, I recommend checking out Coursera.
They partner with many accredited institutions such as well-known universities, and the platform can provide you with credentials that actually look impressive on your resume.
The main downside is the cost and amount of time required.
-> Read my comparison of Udemy vs Coursera for an in depth guide here
If you want some academic in nature but with less of a time commitment, then check out Udacity, who run a series of nanodegree programs.
-> For more info on how Udacity compares to Udemy read this
If you're looking to pick up a one-off skill, purchasing an individual course for $10 on Udemy can be an excellent way to quickly learn it.
Lynda offers a large amount of high-quality learning content which provides a lot of detail. It really excels when it comes to business and technology related subjects.
Lynda members can watch as much content as they like when they have a subscription.
You may even be able to get your employer to cover your cost, if they're interested in paying for your further education.
With either platform, a laptop and wifi connection is all that you need to start learning a new skill or piece of knowledge.
If you're a visual learner and can take what you learn from videos to apply practically in your job or everyday life, then either platform can be an amazing choice.
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