How good is Coursera?

How recommendable is it to study with the Coursera e-Learning platform? We address all the features offered by the pioneering MOOCS project, and one of the main current exponents of online education.

The Coursera e-Learning platform is one of the most recognized alternatives worldwide to the phenomenon, which began to be known as MOOC a decade ago. In fact, Coursera started the revolution.


It is the question that many are asking lately, more and more, interested in taking advantage of online education, due in large part, of course, to the situation derived from the pandemic, and one of the available alternatives is without a doubt Coursera. A platform that offers online courses from an elite group of universities, from different parts of the world (in addition to other types of top-level allies), and that, in addition to its reputation for educational quality without discussion, have met the highest standards to be able to Publish your virtual courses in this teaching space, with global access.

The fact that the courses offered by the platform are developed by prestigious higher education institutions, both public and private, should be enough reason to decide to search among the more than 7.000 courses offered by Coursera, in different formats that we will address later. , and have the peace of mind of making a good decision.

However, it is worth delving into what are the features that Coursera offers., which make it an excellent study option, with a closed eye.

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Currently Coursera already has more than 220 associates or allies, who are in charge of developing the content and courses offered by the platform.

Among these, as I mentioned previously, there are universities from more than 50 countries, but in the last 4 or 5 years new allies have begun to unite, not only from the educational sector but from sectors such as technology, with giants of the stature from Amazon, Salesforce, IBM, Hubspot, GitLab, Google or Facebook, among others that add up to more than 50 associates from various industries, who often deliver additional certifications or badges to the Coursera certificate, which are relevant to their sectors of influence.




E-Learning platforms, due to a simple business need, must be at the forefront of what technology offers, and what users or students demand. There is no doubt that the e-Learning proposal offered by a platform with the global relevance of Coursera must be at the highest level of technological standards.

In this sense, it is not only about having comprehensive accessibility, from a PC, or tablets and cell phones with applications on both Android and Apple. It is more of a constant evolution in terms of development, which makes Coursera a unique learning experience for students, and teaching, for instructors.

With a methodology OKR (in English “Objectives and Key Results”) implemented by the team of programmers and designers which today has about 40 engineers (out of a total plant of at least 500 employees), is how the team that they have internally baptized FLEX (Future Learning Experience) has set out to achieve Coursera's objectives and be in constant evolution.

Before 2016, Coursera offered a platform with a conventional LAMP structure in its web service stack (LAMP for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python), which allowed them to maintain themselves well, with a scheme of usual e-Learning features. such as questionnaires, assessments and peer reviews, forums and authoring tools for partners, and a “classic” framework on their EC2 hardware supported the entire process.

From that year Coursera enters a new stage that has allowed them to develop a new platform much more flexible and robust that now uses technologies like Cassandra, React, Scala, Swift and more in its stack, and a fast pace of production, running dozens of A/B tests every week while optimizing the learner experience.

In terms of hardware, this new platform demands new requirements, so they migrate from EC2 to Amazon's VPC.



We will study part of this topic in more detail in the point related to study formats. But for now, it is important to highlight Coursera's goal, which has as its goal "Serving the world through education."

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Coursera has like core, enable global access to quality education. The quality is guaranteed with the allies that publish the courses on the Coursera e-Learning platform.

Access, Coursera makes it possible thanks to all the different alternatives within its course formats, with which a student can, from access to short courses and for a limited period take the virtual class and thus learn at no cost, a new knowledge or skill, until taking a Specialized Program or Professional Certificate, which from 1 to 6 months and on average for USD $39 per month will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the subject you want to master, to boost your professional career and complement your curriculum.

Another format is in what Coursera calls Guided Project, which for a tiny fee starting at $10, students quickly learn (on average 2-3 hours of video content + assessments and individual project development time) job skills and specific tools required in the industry in which they work.

As I mentioned, Coursera offers more advanced formats that we will address later, however, these formats allow the platform's purpose to be fulfilled in terms of universal access to quality education.



Not only private users can enter Coursera to study. At the end of 2020, more than 2.300 companies contracted the services of Coursera, to train more than 550.000 employees around the world. Loreal, Volvo, Procter and Gamble, Paypal, Samsung, Microsoft, among many others, trusted the Coursera catalog as the best option to update their workers in soft skills, but also with robust programs that we will address later, making it easier for nearly 110.000 of them will end up moving up to new intermediate or advanced level positions.



Coursera's relationship with important public and private universities in the world is not limited to offering a service with the highest standards so that they can publish a virtual academic offer with a global reach. Coursera has understood the crucial role it can play in the entire education environment and is increasingly finding ways to integrate into the ecosystem on multiple fronts.


With its Coursera for Campus product, the platform provides academic, teacher and student communities access to a high percentage of its course catalog through the implementation of an exclusive virtual campus for each university. In fact, this proposal was widely received by the world's universities, which did not necessarily need to have a link as a partner that publishes their courses on the platform, but simply needed to offer educational resources to their students, especially during the limitations they faced. in the Covid-19 crisis.

The figures are overwhelming: 10.000 schools and universities around the world have created virtual campuses for their communities, benefiting more than 1.7 million students.

Coursera Covid Response Image1
Coursera covid response - Image: Coursera 2020 Impact Report

In general, the Coursera for Campus initiative, which has been implemented since 2019, has developed more than 2020 campuses at the end of 3.700, benefiting more than 2.4 million students.


Coursera For Campus Image2
Coursera for campus figures - Image Report Coursera 2020 Impact Report


The Covid-19 crisis awakened in the Coursera team an eagerness to expand its capabilities and respond quickly to the needs that society was requiring. Being aware that they had part of the solution in their hands, they were open-minded enough to see all the scenarios in which they could contribute substantially.

This is how Coursera's plan would not only cover the educational community, schools and universities that wanted to use its catalog and create campuses for their communities.

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Coursera also saw the opportunity to propose a similar scheme to the governments of the world, which would like to offer access to the platform's catalog to their citizens. 290 government entities from 70 countries around the world accepted the proposal, benefiting more than 480.000 citizens, especially affected by the loss of their jobs due to the crisis generated by the pandemic.

One of the pioneer leaders in accepting the proposal was the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez.

Coursera Government Colombia Image3
Coursera Government Colombia Pdte Iván Duque - Image: Report Coursera 2020 Impact Report


But we must not only take into account aspects of an academic, technical, or global relevance, to understand why it is a good idea to study any of the courses offered by Coursera.

Another key aspect, which in fact is something that a format like e-Learning allows, is what is known as social proof, and that is that through the experience of others and their assessment of a product or service, in this case the experience taking a course, other users can make the right decisions and lean towards one or another study option, based, on the rating (rating) and your personal opinion (review), which usually gives more confidence and peace of mind when investing in their academic training.

On average Coursera has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 and at least 79% of students have given a rating of 5 to the course they have taken. Additionally, students not only take a course, but the satisfaction with the experience of the first is such that they decide to take a new course, in 75% of cases.

Coursera Student Rating Image4
Coursera student assessment - Image Report Coursera 2020 Impact Report


However, the experience of having access to a large group of courses on the platform (more than 3.000) is not a unique privilege of governments, educational institutions or companies.

Coursera also allows individual users to access this service through their Coursera Plus Plan, designed for those who want to get the most out of the platform. The Plan covers the right for one year to study in an unlimited way, the courses that you can and want to study within a group that includes more than 3.000 courses, among which are short courses, Specialized Programs and the vast majority of the Certificates Professionals.



After seeing different key aspects, about why it is a good idea to study on Coursera and acquire one of its certificates, let's talk about something that I personally think closes the discussion of whether or not it is good to study on the platform, and that is the scope of its Academic Offer.

As I mentioned at the beginning, Coursera started the MOOC revolution. Initially, the project was conceived as a social responsibility effort by Stanford University, by allowing people from different parts of the world to access courses that, in fact, were part of the classes taught in some of its face-to-face programs. But that was 10 years ago.

While that part of the Coursera model continues, with deep technology and experience enhancements, Coursera has evolved to become a comprehensive solution across all stages of learning a student might need.
That is why, then, I believe that the academic offer and its variety should settle the debate on whether it is a good decision to study, basically anything on Coursera.